What flies can you control?

Flies are a serious problem for Australian livestock industries including beef cattle, dairy cattle and horses. There are several types of flies that cause problems, but we have solutions to help.

Buffalo fly (Haematobia irritans exigua)

Buffalo fly is a small biting fly 3.5 – 4 mm long which feeds off cattle and buffalo.

Buffalo flies are now endemic in Australia, introduced into northern Australia they continue to spread further south each year. We have had reports of buffalo fly as far south as central NSW. Warm, moist weather increases populations.

Buffalo flies live on their host, and can only survive 1-2 days off an animal. The life cycle takes approximately 2 weeks (longer in cooler weather).

fly life cycle

Life cycle of the buffalo fly

Stable fly

Stable fly (Stomoxys calcitrans) has become an aggravating pest in Western Australia, particularly on the coastal plain, north and south of Perth. It is similar to buffalo fly as it draws blood.Stable fly is present in large numbers from late spring through to late autumn.

Stable fly can be a serious pest of livestock around animal enclosures, stables, feedlots and paddocks or pastures. Cattle and horses are most affected. Animals will try to avoid the fly by stamping their feet, tail switching, throwing their heads down toward their front legs, and kicking sand up onto their legs and body. When there are large numbers cattle will often bunch together in an effort to get to the centre of the group and avoid the fly.

House fly

The house fly (Musca domestica) is common throughout the world. They are a nuisance non-biting fly but still aggravate livestock like both buffalo and stable flies.