Flies, Livestock & Food Safety


House flies, stable flies, horn flies, and face flies are serious pests of livestock, especially in confined animal operations. These fly species are responsible for damage and control costs that reach billions of dollars each year in the U.S. Stable flies and horn flies inflict painful bites to animals, resulting in direct losses to producers as a result of reduced weight gain and milk production. In addition, these flies can carry more than 65 disease organisms—such as E. coli and Salmonella—that can cause illnesses in livestock and humans. Flies can transmit pathogens to humans via direct contact and bites, as well as through water and food that they have contaminated. Concerns about flies have led to lawsuits, zoning limitations, and animosity between farmers and nearby residents and businesses. Available control technologies have been inadequate, largely because scientific knowledge of the biology of these flies has been seriously lacking and because control options have not been well suited for certain agricultural practices, facilities, processing plants, or climatic conditions.

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