Edited by Marshall Laird.
Blackflies (Diptera: Simuliidae) occur in most parts of the world where there are fast-flowing streams to serve as habitats for their immature stages. Of the many species now recognized a few transmit Onchocera volvulus, the parasitic worm which is the causal agent of onchocerciasis. This disease affects 20 million or more of the inhabitants of tropical Africa, often inducing partial to total loss of sight, hence the term 'river blindness'. The disease is also encountered in Central America and in the Yemen where it is attributed- to the importation of slave-labour from tropical Africa. Elsewhere, particularly in the northern continental areas of the USSR, USA, Canada and Scandinavia and even on isolated islands, in the mountain valleys of New Zealand for instance, other blackflies constitute a pest to man and animals to varying degrees of intensity. Attacks can have serious economic repercussions on construction work and on farming.
Leading specialists in all fields connected with the description of, and solution to, the blackfly problem have contributed to this book. Classification, zoogeography, ecology and physiology are examined. There are summaries of past and present experience with control methods based on the use of synthetic organic chemical pesticides in the USSR, the Volta Basin and elsewhere. Innovative blackfly reduction procedures are considered and possible pathogens, parasites and predators investigated. Attention centres on those based upon the mass production and marketing of new biocontrol agents. A reasoned case is presented for biological methods which are safe in terms of health and acceptable in their environmental impact. Emphasis is placed upon the importance of an integrated control strategy which combines maximum efficiency with ecological selectivity.
This study has been prepared not merely as a collection of connected papers but as a cohesive whole. It is a comprehensive reference work on the background and on the control of blackflies and it also contains a thorough description and appraisal of the most up-to-date discoveries and ideas on biocontrol. It is an important work, not only for entomologists and parasitologists, but for all involved in public health and the control of insects and those concerned with the environmental impact of such controls.