Wherever there are chickens, there is chicken manure--a great habitat for house fly breeding. Biological control is one component of a complete management program for keeping these nuisance flies at low levels. There are several species of commercially-available fly pupal parasitoids that can be used in augmentative releases.
Muscidifurax raptorellus was evaluated for its ability to control house flies in New York poultry houses in 1996. The wasps kill the fly pupae both by parasitizing them and host feeding.
In poultry houses in which there had been previous releases of parasitoids, M. raptorellus killed more than 70% of the immature flies during a 9-week period. In houses with no history of parasitoid releases the rates were much lower; only 26% of the flies were killed by M. raptorellus.
By minimizing applications of insecticides, parasitoids can become established in sufficient numbers to control fly populations in poultry houses. Augmentative releases can help the parasitoids become established more quickly.
Several species of fly parasitoids occur naturally throughout the U.S. Preferences for climates and for fly breeding materials vary from species to species. One species common to dairy farms and poultry houses is M. raptor, which also has been shown to be effective for fly control.
M. raptorellus, however, has an advantage over M. raptor because it typically lays more eggs. The average for M. raptorellus is 3-5 eggs per fly pupa, while M. raptor lays only 1 egg per pupa. This potential for more rapid population growth makes M. raptorellus a promising candidate for biological control of flies in poultry houses.
New York State Integrated Pest Management Program Annual Report, 1997
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