Stable flies are named for their close association with livestock and horses. They are a common problem in rural and suburban areas. These flies are found living throughout the entire United States including all of Missouri.
The stable fly is very similar in appearance to the common house fly, though they are a bit smaller. They are mottled black and brown in color and have 4 longitudinal stripes running down their thorax which are black. Their most distinguishing characteristic is their head which sits at a slightly upward angle causing their abdomen to “sit” on the surface it is resting on.
After mating, the female stable fly requires 3 blood meals before she is able to lay her eggs. She will lay her eggs in piles of wet organic materials; her favorite places include: hay, wood shavings, and grass piles. Once the eggs are finally laid, they will hatch in 1-3 days. The larvae feed and develop for 14-26 days then move to a drier location to pupate. The pupal stage lasts for 5 to 26 days; adults then emerge and are ready to mate and lay eggs in 5-10 days, continuing the lifecycle of the stable fly. Female stable flies usually live for a period of 4-6 weeks and during that time will lay groups of 35-80 eggs ten or more times.
Both male and female stable flies will use specially designed piercing mouthparts to feed on the blood of livestock animals, horses, dogs, and (unfortunately for us) humans. They generally attack the feet and bellies of animals and the legs and arms of people. Severe stable fly infestations can greatly affect the overall health of farm animals and cause milk production to be reduced; they can also carry and transmit diseases that may make people and livestock ill.
The best way to control problems with stable flies is to make sure that piles of grass, hay, leaves, animal feces, and other organic debris are removed from your property. It is also helpful to make sure that screens are intact in windows and doors to prevent them from gaining entrance into your home. Calking gaps around exterior windows and doors and installing door sweeps is helpful as well.
Control stable flies around your property with Rottler Pest & Lawn Solutions. Our trained pest control professionals will customize a plan of action to get rid of stable flies that may include the application of appropriately labeled residual insecticides to resting surfaces on structures and the installation of insect light traps.