Haematophagous females of tabanid flies inflict painful bites on horses, livestock and even people. Apart from the nuisance Tabanid flies presence lead to serious economic consequences. The blood loss of farm animals can reach up to 200-300 cm3 per day, which results in weakening and occasional death in livestock. Through interfering with animal’s natural grazing behaviour it also causes reduced productivity in as much as the milk yield and meat production decrease. Tabanid flies transmit over 35 diseases to livestock and even people, including flafellate trypanosoma that promotes health threatening conditions such as equine infectious anaemia (EIA), as well as other trypanosomes affecting cattle and sheep.
Protecting outside fed livestock, particularly in eco-farms that comply with bio standards is proved to be difficult, as at present there are no effective protective systems or biological methods available for controlling tabanids. Providing protection against blood-feeding horse flies also pose a problem around outdoor swimming facilities or recreational resorts and camp sites located in close proximity of water resources.
The TabaNOid system will develop a passive fly trap using highly and horizontally polarized light that can be adjusted to meet the needs of territories of various sizes. The proposed system will meet all requirements of eco-farms and organic farmers as no polluting toxins or insecticides will be used. Investigation of tabanid behaviour and flying routes will help to develop passive traps that attract only a negligible number of other beneficial flying insects, eliminating almost exclusively tabanids, without having any serious effect on the area’s ecosystem, since there are very few natural enemies of tabanids. The TabaNOid trap system will also comply with the EU’s environment policy directives as degradable materials are to be used.