Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Goddard, Jerome

Committee Member

Baker, Gerald T.

Committee Member

Guyton III, John W.

Committee Member

Harris, Jeffrey W.

Committee Member

Krishnan, Natraj

Other Advisors or Committee Members

Willeford, Kenneth

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Entomology (Medical)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology


Little is known about black fly pest species in Mississippi, other than research from the 1930s. A better understanding of the pest species that occur in Mississippi is important for human and animal health. My research focused on what species of black flies occur in Mississippi, their seasonality and distribution, and a detailed systematic survey of the primary pest species. Lastly, I attempted to quantify nuisance effects and economic impacts of black flies on people, backyard poultry, and livestock. I examined scientific literature and records of black flies occurring in the southeastern U.S., and particularly Mississippi. This search revealed several unpublished manuscripts by Dr. George H. Bradley on the biology, ecology, and control of black flies in the Mississippi Delta during the 1930s. These publications were curated and made available to the scientific community. I identified and compiled an annotated list of larval, pupal, and adult stages of black flies occurring in Mississippi, derived from specimens housed in the Mississippi State University Entomological Museum (MEM). These specimens had been collected over several decades by a variety of entomologists, students, and the public. In addition, I included data from thousands of black flies collected during this project. To assess seasonality and relative abundance of the primary pest black fly species in Mississippi, I systematically collected adult black fly specimens for two years, documenting species present, seasonality, adult emergence patterns, and associated meteorological conditions. These ten sites were selected based on Dr. George Bradley's extensive work and complaints from local county extension agents, veterinarians, and municipal public works personnel. For economic, human, and animal health impacts of black flies, I employed a four-tiered approach: 1) a survey of lay and medical literature for reports of human health problems from black fly bites, 2) a query of city and county public works personnel concerning black fly nuisance effects, 3) an analysis of statewide hospital outpatient International Classification of Diseases-9 (ICD-9) discharge data and lastly, 4) a statewide survey of backyard poultry owners to ascertain animal health and monetary impacts from black flies.