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Dewatered Sewage Biosolids Provide a Productive Larval Habitat for Stable Flies and House Flies (Diptera: Muscidae)

Carl W. Doud, Kansas State University
David B. Taylor, USDA-ARS Agroecosystem Management Research Unit
Ludek Zurek, Kansas State University


Species diversity and seasonal abundance of muscoid flies (Diptera: Muscidae) developing in biosolid cake (dewatered biosolids) stored at a wastewater treatment facility in northeastern Kansas were evaluated. Emergence traps were deployed 19 May through 20 October 2009 (22 wk) and 27 May through 18 November 2010 (25 wk). In total, 11,349 muscoid flies were collected emerging from the biosolid cake. Stable flies (Stomoxys calcitrans (L.)) and house flies (Musca domestica (L.)), represented 80 and 18% of the muscoid flies, respectively. An estimated 550 stable flies and 220 house flies per square-meter of surface area developed in the biosolid cake annually producing 450,000 stable flies and 175,000 house flies. Stable fly emergence was seasonally bimodal with a primary peak in mid-July and a secondary peak in late August. House fly emergence peaked with the first stable fly emergence peak and then declined gradually for the remainder of the year. House flies tended to emerge from the biosolid cake sooner after its deposition than did stable flies. In addition, house fly emergence was concentrated around midsummer whereas stable fly emergence began earlier in the spring and continued later into the fall. Biosolid age and temperature were the most important parameters affecting emergence for house flies and stable flies, whereas precipitation was not important for either species. This study highlights the importance of biosolid cake as a larval developmental habitat for stable flies and house flies.

Suggested Citation

Carl W. Doud, David B. Taylor, and Ludek Zurek. "Dewatered Sewage Biosolids Provide a Productive Larval Habitat for Stable Flies and House Flies (Diptera: Muscidae)" Journal of Medical Entomology 49.2 (2012): 286-292.
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