Researchers Develop New Method to Control Flies on Poultry Farms

New research at the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Gainesville, Florida has investigated the use of adult flies to deliver larval fly control agents.
calendar icon 16 September 2013
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House fly
(Image: USDA)

USDA Agricultural Research Service scientists in Gainesville, Florida, have developed an exciting new method to control house fly populations on poultry farms. The rapid development of resistance by flies to insecticides has led to an urgent need for innovative new methods of control.

Dr Christopher Geden, in a research project funded by the US Poultry & Egg Association, has developed a novel method to apply an insect growth regulator, pyriproxyfen (PPF), to prevent the development of fly larvae into adult flies.

Dr Geden constructed a bait station that attracts adult flies, which become contaminated with PPF dust as they feed. When the flies subsequently lay eggs, they contaminate the egg-laying site with PPF, which prevents the eggs from becoming adult flies.

Three dust formulations were made by his team by combining liquid concentrates of existing commercial products (Knack, Sumilarv, Nyguard) with diatomaceous earth and allowing them to dry. The three dusts, which had a maximum potency of five per cent PPF, were equally effective for fly control; LC50 levels ranged from eight to 24 ppm.

Auto-dissemination tests in small cages revealed that dusts with up to five per cent were needed to provide adequate fly control because of the limited payload that flies can carry on their tarsi (feet).

Based on this experience, Dr Geden made new formulations using technical PPF and different carriers and sticking agents. All six of these new formulations - with potencies of 22 to 80 per cent PPF - gave up to 93 per cent fly control.

Treated flies retained the PPF payload for at least six hours after acquiring it.

Candidate auto-dissemination stations baited with molasses and Farnam fly attractant gave 86 to 92 per cent fly control in large outdoor field cages.

The results demonstrate that the concept of using flies as autodissemination vehicles for pyriproxyfen is feasible, commented Dr Geden. The attractant station that was developed is composed of off-the-shelf components that are readily available to producers.

Further development/implementation of the technology will depend on field tests and commercial availability of a dust formulation of sufficient potency.

PPF has excellent potential for fly control, especially in applications for which Larvadex has historically been used by the industry, Dr Geden concluded.

He added that this unique application method, which is called auto-dissemination, delivers the PPF directly to the site of egg and larvae development. In tests, the method has provided greater than 93 per cent control.

September 2013

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