Culicoides spp (Ceratopogonidae) feed on blood and transmit blood parasites to birds. They are vectors for transmission of Haemoproteus to ducks and geese in Canada and turkeys in North America, and for Leucocytozoon to chickens in Southeast Asia and Japan. They also transmit the skin mite Myialges anchora (Epidermoptidae). Bites are reddish and itch for up to 3 days. Midges feed at twilight or night, and typical mesh screens do not keep them out. Pyrethroid insecticides can provide temporary control.
Simulium spp (Simuliidae), also known as buffalo gnats and turkey gnats, are bloodsuckers and transmit leucocytozoonosis (see Bloodborne Organisms: Leucocytozoonosis in Poultry) to ducks, turkeys, and other birds. They are most abundant in the north temperate and subarctic zones, but many species are found in tropical areas. They often attack in swarms and cause weight loss, reduced egg production, anemia, and death of birds either directly or through disease transmission. Control is extremely difficult because immature stages are restricted to running water, which is often some distance from the poultry farm. Larval control can be achieved with applications of Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis during early spring before adults emerge. Chemical larvicides such as temephos and methoxychlor can also be used. Screens of 24 mesh per in. (2.54 cm) or smaller are required for adult control. However, black flies rarely enter shelters.
Pseudolynchia canariensis (Hippoboscidae) is an important bloodsucking parasite of pigeons in warm or tropical areas. It can transmit the blood parasites Haemoproteus and Trypanosoma, the skin mite Myialges anchora (Epidermoptidae), and pigeon lice (Columbicola columbae). It may also cause heavy losses in squabs. The pigeon loft should be cleaned every 20 days, and squabs can be dusted with permethrin or deltamethrin.
Last full review/revision March 2012 by James R. Philips, PhD