fly-killing fungi

Jack Murphy jmurphy at FMNH785.FMNH.ORG
Mon Feb 26 17:34:16 EST 1996

Dear fungus folks;
        I just fielded a phone call from a representative of the Timber Wolf
Preservation Foundation.  Apparently the wolves at this facility are greatly
bothered by flies during summertime, and as a consequence they scratch their
ears until they are in a very bad shape.  Someone there heard or thought
they heard of a fungus that can kill flies, and did I know anything about this?
        Perhaps some among this discussion group can add to my thoughts on
the matter.  The first was of the "fly agaric," or Amanita muscaria.
Actually, I've never met anyone who has tested the tale that Amanita
muscaria crushed in milk and left on a windowsill will attract and kill
flies.  Is there any truth to that story?
        [Even if there is, I don't expect that A. muscaria will provide a
better solution to the Wolves problems than fly-paper would].
        My second thought was of Entomophthora musci, subject of some recent
postings on this net.  Apparently, E. musci infects living houseflies,
causes them to climb into a conspicuous place such as high on a blade of
grass or onto a window pane, kills them and sporulates.  Theoretically,
large scale infection of flies might be possible with an aerosol application
of spore suspensions, but I haven't heard of any such thing on the market.
Has anyone heard of commercial applications of Entomophthora? 
        Thanks in advance for your comments,

Dr. John (Jack) Murphy  (JMURPHY at
Dept. of Botany
Field Museum of Natural History
Chicago, IL 60605-2496
(312) 922-9410 ext. 722
fax (312) 427-2530

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