New measures in place to control stable fly

Roller and plough on a vegetable farm
New stable fly control measures include vegetable waste being buried and the soil surface compacted with a roller.

An updated management plan to control stable fly is now in place, incorporating improved management methods to minimise and control breeding of the livestock pest.

Stable fly (Stomoxys calcitrans) is an aggravating pest in Western Australia, particularly on the coastal plain, north and south of Perth. It can bite humans, domestic pets and livestock, seeking to draw blood which is essential to complete its life cycle. The peak time for stable fly to breed and be active is from October to April.

The Stable Fly Management Plan 2019 sets out measures to control stable fly in areas of Western Australia where it is a declared pest – the cities of Armadale, Cockburn, Joondalup, Kwinana, Rockingham, Swan and Wanneroo; shires of Capel, Chittering, Gingin, Harvey, Kalamunda, Serpentine-Jarrahdale and Murray.

It is not feasible to eradicate stable fly in Western Australia, however, the new control measures under the updated management plan aim to control breeding.

Close-up photo of a stable fly
Stable fly is an aggravating insect with sharp mouthparts that are used to bite animals and draw blood

Changes from previous Stable Fly Management Plan 2016

Under the 2019 plan, all areas in the declared shires are subject to the plan, not just agricultural land.

Waste likely to breed stable fly, such as post-harvest vegetable waste, must be buried at least a metre underground.

Waste vegetables fed to stock must be in troughs of boxes or on hardstand; the vegetable waste cannot be placed directly on soil. Fodder (hay and silage) must be spread thinly on paddock or fed on hardstand.

Research by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development found that stable fly can be more effectively controlled in commercial vegetable production on sand by rolling or compacting topsoil than with chemical treatment. Vegetable waste can be buried to a depth of 300mm with a stone burier or mouldboard plough, then the soil surface compacted with a roller.

The Stable Fly Management Plan 2019 includes the control measures from the previous plan as approved measures for a period of two years. This will allow for the transitioning to the updated measures. The approved measures are available on the department’s website.

More information about the stable fly management plan and a link to the gazetted 2019 plan is available at

For more information contact Tory Weir, senior policy officer, Invasive Species and Biosecurity, South Perth on +61 (0)8 9368 3428