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Inert dusts and their effects on the poultry red mite (Dermanyssus gallinae)

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  • Department of Integrated Pest Management
  • Danish Pest Infestation Laboratory
The haematophagous poultry red mite (Dermanyssus gallinae) is the most important pest of egg laying hens in many parts of the world. Control has often relied on chemical pesticides, but inert dusts, which are thought to kill target hosts primarily by desiccation, have become one of the most commonly applied alternative control methods for poultry red mite in Europe. This development has occurred despite a lack of knowledge of the efficacy of the different types of inert dusts and how this is affected by environmental parameters, e.g. the high relative humidity found in poultry houses. In this laboratory study the efficacy of different commercial inert dust products against D. gallinae is compared. All tested compounds killed mites, but there was a clear ranking of efficacy (measured as weight loss after 24 h and as time until 50% mortality), particularly at 75% relative humidity (RH). At 85% RH the efficacy was significantly lower for all tested compounds (P < 0.001). Weight changes over time followed an exponential evaporation model until the mites started dying whereafter the rate of evaporation increased again and followed a slightly different exponential evaporation model. A tarsal test showed that 24 h exposure to surfaces treated with doses much lower than those recommended by the producers is sufficient to kill mites as fast as when they were dusted with massive doses. These data emphasise the need for thorough treatment of all surfaces in a poultry house in order to combat D. gallinae.
Original languageEnglish
JournalExperimental & Applied Acarology
Pages (from-to)51-62
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2009

    Research areas

  • Desiccation - Diatomaceous earth - Alternative control - Ectoparasite

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