Using Parasitoids in an Integrated Pest Management Approach to Control Flies on Dairy Farms

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2004: $288,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2008
Grant Recipient: University of Arkansas
Region: Southern
State: Arkansas
Principal Investigator:
Kelly Loftin
University of Arkansas CES

Annual Reports


  • Animal Products: dairy


  • Animal Production: animal protection and health, manure management, parasite control
  • Education and Training: demonstration, display, farmer to farmer, focus group, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
  • Pest Management: biological control, chemical control, cultural control, economic threshold, integrated pest management, sanitation

    Proposal abstract:

    II. Abstract The overall objective of this multidisciplinary project is to develop a biological-based management system using parasitoids to control house and stable flies on small-and medium-sized dairy farms. Specifically, the objectives are to: 1) determine the species, seasonal occurrence and numbers of pupal parasitoids (Family Pteromalidae) that are naturally present in Arkansas, Mississippi and North Carolina dairy production systems, 2) evaluation of parasitoid dispersal and level of filth fly pupal parasitism after releasing parasitoids in the dairy agroecosystem , and 3) educate extension faculty, dairy producers and related personnel on the use of parasitoids in a dairy integrated filth fly management program. This project is based on the premise that dairy producers can no longer rely solely on pesticides for control of flies as resistance of these pests to common insecticides increases. Relying on an IPM approach using biological control that is augmented with sound manure management is necessary to insure the long-term success of IPM programs and to decrease the use of insecticides as a primary fly control method. For three years producers with Arkansas Dairy Cooperative Association (ADCA) have successfully participated in preliminary demonstrations involving commercially available parasitoids for fly control through a SARE producer grant. This project will extend that participation to other states plus determine naturally occurring parasitoid wasps in Arkansas, Mississippi, and North Carolina and evaluate optimal release rates. Dairy producers from ADCA and their assisting county extension agents will also serve on the focus committee that formulates recommendations for the use of the parasitoids. Further, this project will include other educational components involving distance-learning techniques to train county agents and specialists locally and across the southern states in IPM techniques to manage flies on dairy farms by utilizing parasitoids.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    B. Objectives
    The objectives of this proposal to use parasitoids in an integrated filth fly management program are:
    1. Determine the species, seasonal occurrence and numbers of pupal parasitoids (Pteromalidae) that are naturally present in Arkansas, Mississippi and North Carolina dairy agroecosystems..
    2. Evaluate parasitoid dispersal and level of filth fly pupal parasitism after release of wasps in the dairy agroecosystem. Objective 2 will be accomplished through releases of (a) commercially available parasitoids and (b) red-eyed strain of parasitoids. Releases of red-eyed Muscidifurax raptor will be used to evaluate parasitoid dispersal relative to established release rates to optimize fly control with parasitoids.
    3. Transfer integrated filth fly management technology to dairy producers and evaluate their efforts integrating parasitoid wasps into filth fly management programs.
    4. Educate dairy producers, extension agents, and other dairy-related personnel in each state relative to parasitoid effectiveness and use as a tactic to include in an integrated filth fly management program.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.