|The literature on traps for
biting flies is mostly in scientific journals; many of
the key references with practical details of trap
construction and efficacy are old and are hard to
find. Fortunately, there are
alternative modern sources for the same information. Here I provide
several key references and web
links to useful resources, with an indication of the
"styles" of traps used for different
flies. More references can be
found in bibliographies on visual
ecology and behavioural
techniques. I have also
prepared a major compendium of the literature on horse flies and deer flies (Tabanidae).
The Literature Research Service search engine at the
Armed Forces Pest Management Board deserves special mention. It contains >
100,000 references as free PDFs. The coverage is broad with many current and
historical papers available.
There are many idiosyncrasies of trap
performance, even for
the same species in different localities.
There is no such thing as a "universal" fly trap.
The Nzi happens to
be a particularly good trap for most tsetse, tabanids and stable flies,
and hence, has some of the attributes of this elusive
goal for a universal trap, but it clearly does
not catch all species with the same efficiency. As
data are published on the efficacy of the
trap in different environments,
it will be posted in a
comprehensive bibliography of
|An authoritative and straightforward source
of information for instructions on how to make
and use diverse traps,
targets, and odour attractants is available at the
Natural Resources Institute
in the United Kingdom. It is well-illustrated and referenced. It covers a wide
variety of practical topics in tsetse control.|
|Useful information on making traps can also be found in the
Information Resources section
PAAT (Program Against
African Trypanosomiasis) at FAO in Rome (Volume
4, Chapter 3 of the Training Manual for tsetse control). This
comprehensive information and links to many resources,
including the twice-yearly news and bibliographic publication
Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Information. Practical information on
sampling tsetse has recently been compiled by FAO in the publication "Collection
of entomological baseline data for tsetse area-wide integrated pest
management programmes" (Leak
et al., 2008).|
|In 2004, the Commonwealth Agricultural Bureau
International published a major book
"The Trypanosomiases" edited by
Maudlin, Holmes & Miles. It contains authoritative chapters on diverse
topics related to tsetse and trypanosomiasis, including a chapter on
biting flies. It can be obtained from the
|In 2004, the TDR programme hosted by WHO
published a strategic review of the use of traps and targets in Africa.
It is available on the web, and is a good source of pictures of control
devices and recent major papers.|
Kuzoe, F.A.S. & Schofield C.J. (2004) Strategic review of
traps and targets for tsetse and African trypanosomiasis control, UNICEF
/ UNDP / WorldBank / WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in
Tropical Disease Research, TDR / IDE / TRY / 05.1. Geneva World
|In 2003, John Hargrove
produced a major report on tsetse control for DFID in the United
Kingdom. This report, along with other useful information is at the
Animal Health Program.|
|An encyclopedia of technical and historical information on
the biology and control of tsetse and sleeping sickness
was / is available
in French at La
Maladie du Sommeil. Unfortunately, the website
seems to have lapsed (September, 2008). It was created by Claude
Laveissiere and Laurent Penchenier in December 2001. It is well-illustrated and comprehensive.
In 2005, the authors published a practical manual on all aspects
of sleeping sickness control, available from
for 22 euros. Similar useful resources are also available from the Centre
International de Recherche-Développement sur l'Elevage en zone Subhumide.|
|Every two years, the International Scientific
Council for Trypanosomiasis Research and Control holds a meeting in
Africa. In 2007, proceedings from recent meetings were posted on the
web. This is an important source of news and activities on many topics
related to tsetse and trypanosomes. See the web site of the
|Detailed information on tsetse species identification and biology is
available in a CD-ROM produced in 1998 by ORSTOM/CIRAD. This is an excellent electronic
compendium that is still available from
IRD in France.
Much of this information is now also available on the IRD/OCEAC web site
|The literature on biting fly identification to the
species level is enormous; it is
contained in regional monographs and journal articles. General information
on biology and useful taxonomic keys can be found in entomology textbooks.
An excellent reference is: Lane,
R.P. & R.W. Crosskey (1993) Medical insects and arachnids, Chapman
& Hall, New York. Major taxonomic works are mostly out of print and are available only in university, museum or
|A good pictorial introduction to the various
groups of biting flies (and other insects) can be found at Bioimages
in the UK, and at
IPM Images in the USA (many
excellent photos of tabanids). This site has exquisite images of many species.
High-quality annotated images of representative flies are also available
Anatomical Atlas, produced by CSIRO in Australia.|
|Links to a vast number of useful web sites in entomology can be found at Iowa
State University. Diverse extension information is available for common pest species on
a large number of regional web sites. A few special interest
groups also maintain web pages, e.g. there is a group
exchanging information on biting
|A good search engine for integrated pest management is the
Database of IPM Resources.
A practical introduction to
pests in Canada is
Flies Attacking Man and Livestock in Canada. There
is an excellent photographic key to Canadian female mosquitoes on the
web site of the Biological Survey of Canada produced
Thielman. & Hunter (2007) as well as a
similar excellent photographic key to many Canadian Tabanidae by
Thomas and Marshall (2009). |
|For a discussion of the many
issues related to vector-borne diseases and animal and human health in
developing countries see the electronic book published by the UK
Collaborative on Development Sciences in January 2010 -
Science and Innovation for Development.|
/ EPSILON - Savannah Tsetse, Horse Flies
|The NG2G trap was designed for
economy and simplicity for
community use. It was refined for Glossina pallidipes
in Kenya following the
development of the F3 trap in Zimbabwe,
and its later refinement as the Epsilon trap shown below.
The NG2G or NG2F (two equal blue wings) are good
traps for many tsetse, and for tabanids.
There are several other options in triangular traps, but with important
differences in efficiency in different localities.
Brightwell, R., Dransfield, R.D., Kyorku, C., Golder, T.K., Tarimo,
S.A. & Mungai, D. (1987) A new trap for Glossina pallidipes. Tropical
Pest Management 33, 151-159.
The initial development of the "NGU'
series of traps in Kenya.
Brightwell, R., Dransfield, R.D. & Kyorku, C. (1991)
Development of a low-cost trap and odour baits for Glossina pallidipes and G.
longipennis in Kenya. Medical and Veterinary Entomology 5, 153-164.
The design of the final "NG2"
series, with many practical details on traps and simple odour baits.
Institute for the Epsilon trap
R., Dransfield, R.D., Stevenson, P. & Williams, B. (1997) Changes over twelve
years in populations of Glossina pallidipes and Glossina longipennis
(Diptera: Glossinidae) subject to varying trapping pressure at Nguruman, south-west Kenya.
Bulletin of Entomological Research 87, 349-370.
Ecological studies on the impact of a community-based
trapping program against the vectors of animal trypanosomosis at a Maasai group ranch in
the Rift Valley of Kenya.
BICONICAL - Riverine Tsetse
The Biconical trap was the first practical cloth trap
designed for tsetse in West Africa. It is an efficient trap for riverine tsetse.
been used for fly surveys for many years, even though it is a poor trap for tabanids and
stable flies, and most savannah tsetse.
The biconical trap is difficult
to sew due to the use of complicated inner screens and its conical shape,
but remains popular.
|Challier, A., Eyraud, M., Lafaye, A. & Laveissière, C. (1977)
Amélioration du rendement du piège biconique pour glossines (Diptera, Glossinidae): par
l'emploi d'un cône inférieur bleu. Cahiers ORSTOM, séries Entomologie médicale et
Parasitologie 15, 283-286.
The final design of the biconical trap.
Instructions for reproducing this trap can be found in
VAVOUA - Riverine Tsetse, Stable Flies
The Vavoua trap was designed as an economical alternative
to the pyramidal trap in widespread use for
the control of riverine tsetse. There are many similar designs that employ hanging
blue-black screens. These open
designs are excellent for both riverine tsetse and
stable flies. Traps like the Vavoua are straightforward to sew and assemble. They can be
hung from simple wooden supports or trees.
Unfortunately, trap styles with this
open design are poor for tabanids and savannah tsetse.
for these styles of traps is available in French in the section Piégiage at
Maladie du Sommeil,
and in a
|Rozendaal, J.A. (1997) Vector control.
Methods for use by individuals and communities. World Health Organisation, Geneva.
This is a useful general reference with details
of trap construction.|
|Laveissière, C. & Grébaut, P. (1990) Recherches sur les
pièges a glossines (Diptera: Glossinidae). Mise au point d'un modele economique: Le
piège "Vavoua". Tropical Medicine and Parasitology 41, 185-192.|
- Stomoxys calcitrans
In North America, stable flies are mostly sampled with compact sticky traps,
or with flat sticky panels (e.g.
Coroplast, Beresford & Sutcliffe, 2006). A retail adaptation of the Alsynite trap
(Broce, 1983) is
sold by Olson
Products. The trap consists of disposable sticky sleeves attached to a
corrugated fibreglass panel. Certain optical properties of clear fibreglass (Alsynite is just a tradename) are
similar to those of blue cloth, likely accounting for the efficiency of this
small trap for stable flies.
|Broce, A.B. (1983)
An improved Alsynite trap for stable flies, Stomoxys
calcitrans (Diptera: Muscidae). Journal
of Medical Entomology 25,
|Zacks, D.N. & Loew, E.R.
(1989) Why is Alsynite fiber glass sheet attractive to stable flies.
Experimental Biology 48, 215-222.|
|Beresford, D.V. & Sutcliffe, J.F.
(2006) Studies on the effectiveness of Coroplast sticky traps for sampling
stable flies (Diptera: Muscidae), including a comparison to Alsynite.
Journal of Economic Entomology, 93, 1025-1035.|
TABANIDAE - Horse Flies
& Deer Flies
There are a tremendous number of traps
that have been designed for tabanids,
with major differences in efficiency for different
species. Just a few examples
are shown here. See the Tabanid
Bibliography for a comprehensive set of tabanid trapping references.
TRAP - Flight interception traps are popular for catching tabanids for
research. The larger models are expensive. Retail versions are
available from many suppliers (e.g.
John W. Hock,
Bioquip). The trap shown at left is 6 m wide
and about 3 m high.
can sometimes catch large
numbers of horse fly species that are not
readily-caught in other traps. Deer flies (Chrysops)
are difficult to catch in any practical trap (French &
Hagan, 1995), but are sometimes caught in good numbers in Malaise traps.
canopy with a black "skirt" and a netting apex is
an economical and portable option for sampling horse flies. It is
usually set about 50-70 cm off the ground. It can be sewn without much fuss
from black poplin and uv-stabilized insect netting. A shiny black visual target
(e.g. a beach ball spray-painted with gloss enamel black paint) is often
suspended underneath the canopy. Although this
is often an excellent trap for many kinds of horse flies, it did not perform well for the
Tabanus and Hybomitra species
at my home in Russell, even
with the use of a target (Mihok et al., 2006).
|Hribar, L.J., LePrince, D.J. & Foil, L.D. (1991) Design for a
canopy trap for collecting horse flies (Diptera: Tabanidae). Journal of the American
Mosquito Control Association 7, 657-659.|
|Schreck, C.E., Kline, D.L., Williams, D.C. &
Tidwell, M.A. (1993) Field evaluations in
Malaise and canopy traps of selected targets as attractants for tabanid
species (Diptera: Tabanidae). Journal of the American Mosquito Control
Association, 9, 182-188.|
|French, F.E. & Hagan, D.V.
(1995) Two-tier box trap catches Chrysops atlanticus and C.
fuliginosus (Diptera: Tabanidae) near a Georgia salt marsh.
Journal of Medical Entomology, 32, 197-200.|
|Mihok, S., Carlson, D.A., Krafsur, E.S. & Foil, L.D.
(2006) Performance of the Nzi and other traps for biting flies in North
America. Bulletin of Entomological Research, 96, 387-397.|
TRAP - The basic concept of a canopy trap evolved from
trap of Thorsteinson et al. (1965), named after where
it was designed in Canada. The original trap was
refined for Hybomitra spp., the common horse fly in northern
environments. The first design had a conical canopy (set 1 m off the
ground) with a black acrylic spherical target (75 cm diametre). Modern
"Manitoba" traps with plastic canopies are often simply referred to as
"Canopy" traps. They now typically use a pyramidal canopy with a
spray-painted or black vinyl beach ball suspended underneath. They may also
incorporate a black skirt. The height at which the trap is set, and the size
and the shininess of the visual target and/or black skirt likely affect
catches. Similarly, the use of uv-stabilized PVC (Schreck et al., 1993)
instead of plain plastic as in the original trap (Hanec & Bracken, 1964) may
affect catches of species that react to ultraviolet light. Except for
Schreck et al. (1993) there have been few tests of how changes in trap
materials or format affect catches.
||Hanec, W. & Bracken, G.K.
(1964) Seasonal and geographical distribution of Tabanidae (Diptera) in
Manitoba, based on females captured in traps. Canadian Entomologist,
||Thorsteinson, A.J., Bracken, G.K. & Hanec, W.
(1965) The orientation behaviour of horse flies and deer flies (Tabanidae,
Diptera). III. The use of traps in the study of orientation of tabanids in
the field. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, 8,
TRAP - Blue- or black-painted plywood box traps are easy to make and are
effective for certain species of horse flies (Greenhead
trap). The basic concept dates back to the
"animal traps" of the 1940's. The example here was made to the same
specifications as the trap currently used for the control of
Tabanus nigrovittatus at Cape Cod. It differs from the Cape Cod
version in the addition of a hanging visual target (black beach ball). It
also differs from the operational version in that it has a netting cone to
facilitate counting the catch (Hayes et al., 1993), instead of a flat screen
to close off the top. The inside is painted black. It contains a
sloping charcoal wire mesh baffle with a slot at the top. The baffle
partitions the inside to provide an upper chamber to hold captured flies
(Wall & Doane, 1980). For the tabanids at my home in
Russell, use of a black visual target
is essential. In some areas, a plain box trap works well without a target.
retail adaptation of the basic box trap concept is the Horse-Pal® horsefly trap.
GREENHEAD CONTROL TRAP
Salt marsh near Barnstable, Cape Cod (July 2012)
Wall, W.J. & Doane, O.W., Jr.
(1980) Large scale use of box traps to study and control saltmarsh greenhead
flies (Diptera: Tabanidae) on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Environmental Entomology, 9, 371-375.
Hayes, R.O., Doane, O.W., Jr., Sakolsky, G. & Berrick, S.
(1993) Evaluation of attractants in traps for greenhead fly (Diptera:
Tabanidae) collections on a Cape Cod, Massachusetts, salt marsh. Journal
of the American Mosquito Control Association, 9, 436-440.
TRAP - This large interception trap is a patented "flying insect" trap
sold by Farnam (US
Patent # 5836104).
original image is on the Farnaminternational web site. Tabanids strike
the black panels and then drown in water-filled trays. It seems to be popular with horse owners, despite lack
of scientific study. Nevertheless, unpublished data comparing the Epps trap to a
conventional Malaise trap for Tabanus abactor suggest that it is a useful
Report). I am only aware of one published study from North
Carolina where this novel trap was compared to the Horse Pal® trap:
|Watson, D.W., Denning, S.S., Calibeo-Hayes, D.I.,
Stringham, S.M. & Mowrey, R.A. (2007) Comparison
of two fly traps for the capture of horse flies (Diptera : Tabanidae).
Journal of Entomological Science,
42, 123-132. North
Carolina Pest News|
|TABANOID trap -
Something new in August 2012. Waiting for a new trap based on the attraction
of tabanids to shiny black surfaces that reflect horizontally polarized
Very high catches
of tabanids are possible if one uses the right approach
Horses and Mihok & Lange (2011)
|Green, C.H. (1994)
Bait methods for tsetse fly control. Advances in Parasitology 34,
229-291. A now dated review, but
an excellent summary of applications related to the use of traps,
targets, etc. to control tsetse. This paper is a
good starting point for someone unfamiliar with this topic.|
|Torr, S.J., Hall, D.R., Phelps, R.J. & Vale, G.A. (1997)
Methods for dispensing odour attractants for tsetse flies (Diptera: Glossinidae). Bulletin
of Entomological Research 87, 299-311.
Detailed advice on the use of chemical odour baits as
tsetse attractants. This is a highly specialised field with many references.|
|Vale, G.A. (1998) Responses of tsetse flies (Diptera: Glossinidae)
to vegetation in Zimbabwe: implications for population distribution and bait siting. Bulletin
of Entomological Research 88 Supplement 1, S7-S59.
Impressive monograph with
practical details on how to use traps.|
Gibson, G. & Torr, S.J. (1999) Visual and olfactory
responses of haematophagous Diptera to host stimuli.
Veterinary Entomology 13, 3-23.
A good review of the principles underlying
the way traps work for many kinds of biting flies.|
Mihok, S., & Lange, K. (2011)
Synergism between ammonia and phenols for Hybomitra
tabanids in northern and temperate Canada.
Medical and Veterinary Entomology 26,
(PDF on request).|