Engormix/Poultry Industry/Technical articles

Red Mite Control in Poultry

Published on: 2/1/2017
Author/s : Vijay Raghavan / Agricultural Engineer, CEO, DVS BioLife Ltd.
Arachnid mites are external parasites of chickens and turkeys. Dermanyssus gallinae, the Common Red Mite, feeds by sucking blood, mainly at night and may transmit fowl cholera and other diseases. Ornithonyssus bursae, the Northern Fowl Mite, spends its entire life cycle on the bird and can multiply more rapidly as a result.
- Presence of gray to red mites up to 0.7 mm.
- Birds restless.
- May cause anemia and death in young birds. Loss of condition.
- Pale comb and wattles.
- Drop in egg production.
- Spots on eggs.
- Staff complaints - itching. 
Post-mortem lesions 
- Anaemia. 
Number and type of mites identified. However, keep in mind that the majority of the population of Dermanyssus is in the environment so it is necessary to monitor infection levels on feeder tracks, in nest boxes, cracks, crevices etc.
Traditional Treatment
Pyrethroids, organophosphates, carbamates, citrus extracts, vegetable oil and mineral-based products (both liquid sand dusts) have been used to control red mites in the environment. For northern fowl mite, it is essential to apply approved insecticides to the affected birds. 
Thorough cleaning, fumigation and insecticide treatment at turn around. Filling of cracks and crevices, and good design of new equipment to limit harbourages for red mites. Effective monitoring of mite numbers and implementation of control measures before birds are heavily infested improves control.


Avian influenza A virus (AIV) is known to cause heavy mortalities in this mite and this causes of spreading this virus in the poultry. Cinnamon oil has been used to control mites on edible products such as grapes, strawberry, and sweet potatoes. 

The killing efficacy of the entomopathogenic fungi Beauveria bassiana and Trichoderma album, as well as the bacteria Bacillus nigateria israelensis against the poultry red mite, Dermanyssus gallinae (De Geer, 1778), were experimentally evaluated. In spite of Dermanyssus gallinae is a major pest in the poultry production, no information is available on the susceptibility of these mites to entomopathogens. Therefore, infection experiments with two fungi and one bacterial species were carried out in the laboratory. Beauveria bassiana and Trichoderma album were tested in assays in which the mites were exposed to high doses of conidia. Beauveria bassiana and Trichoderma album caused high mortalities within the first 5 and 10 days of exposure as well as the bacteria Bacillus nigateria israelensi. Trichoderma album and Bacillus nigateria israelensi proved to be fatal against the poultry red mite D. gallinae, to our knowledge, this is the first record. Trichoderma album and Beauveria bassiana mixture in built-up litter were highly fatal to poultry red mite.
(International Journal of Poultry Science 9 (3): 259-263, 2010; Susceptibility of Poultry Red Mites to Entomopathogens; Hussein A. Kaoud; Department of Veterinary Hygiene and Management, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Cairo University, Giza, Egypt) 
Aerial conidia of four isolates of Beauveria bassiana (Bb734 and Bb2860) and Metarhizium anisoplae (Ma456 and Ma759) produced on rice were formulated with an emulsifiable oil and sprayed in block-randomized triple plots (6 × 8 m each) of two irrigated cotton fields (Trials 1 and 2) for control of summer populations of cotton spider mites, mainly Tetranychus truncates and T. turkestani, in the Tarim Basin of northwestern China, where the weather is of typical continental desert with a paucity of summer rain. The formulations of B. bassiana and M. anisoplae were sprayed at the rates of 1.5 × 1013 and 1.05 × 1013 conidia/ha, respectively, yielding deposits of 808-1059 and 600-721 conidia/mm2 on the leaves of cotton plants (55-65 cm tall). In both trials, the spider mites were significantly controlled by all the fungal sprays despite some variation among the candidates. Pure sprays of Ma456 and Bb734 resulted in desirable control for 35 days in Trial 1 (sprayed twice at 15-day interval) or 30 days in Trial 2 (sprayed once). Overall means of relative efficacies during the periods of both trials were 85.8% (77.9-94.9%) and 88.0% (82.4-94.0%) for Ma456, and 77.9% (68.6-89.6%) and 85.7% (77.8-87.7%) for Bb734. However, inclusion of a low rate of chlorpyrifos (7.2 g AI/ha) in the fungal sprays in Trial 2 did not significantly enhance the field efficacies despite somewhat improved.
An unusually hot week encountered during the trial caused dramatic decreases of the mite densities in blank control. Hourly field records of relative humidity and temperature under cotton canopy showed 349 and 298 h of 95% RH in the two trials and a daily mean temperature of 23.6 °C for both. Our results highlight for the first time the potential of the emulsifiable formulations of Ma456 and Bb734 for practical control of the cotton spider mites in the desert area under routine irrigation. 
(Wei-Bing Shia, Li-Li Zhang and Ming-Guang Feng ; Biological Control; Volume 45, Issue 1, April 2008, Pages 48-55) 

There are reports on effective control of northern fowl mites using thuringiensin (the exotoxin of Bacillus thuringiensis) sprayed directly to the birds. (http://parasitipedia.net/index.php? option=com_ content&view=article&id=2540&Itemid=2816) 

The poultry red mite, Dermanyssus gallinae, is a major pest in egg production, feeding on laying hens. Widely used non-chemical control methods include desiccant dust, although their persistence under field conditions is often short. Entomopathogenic fungi may also hold potential for mite control, but these fungi often take several days to kill mites. Laboratory experiments were carried out to study the efficacy of 3 types of desiccant dusts, the fungus Beauveria bassiana and combinations of the two control agents against D. gallinae. There was significant synergistic interaction between each of the desiccant dusts and the fungus, with observed levels of mite mortality significantly higher than those expected for an additive effect (up to 38 % higher). Synergistic interaction between desiccant dust and fungus was found also when different application methods were used for the fungus and at different levels of relative humidity. Although increased levels of mortality were reached due to the synergistic interaction, the speed of lethal action was not influenced by combining the two components. The persistence of the control agents applied separately or in combination did not change over a period of 4 weeks. Overall, combinations of desiccant dusts and fungus conidia seem to hold considerable promise for future non-chemical control of poultry red mites. 
(Synergistic interaction between the fungus Beauveria bassiana and desiccant dust applied against poultry red mites (Dermanyssus gallinae); DEFF Research Database (Denmark); Steenberg, Tove; Kilpinen, Ole sterlund). 

The entomopathogenic fungus, Neozygites floridana , is an extremely important natural enemy of spider mites and can rapidly reduce populations when the humidity is high. Because fungal epizootics can rapidly reduce mite populations, it is important that scouting shows that live mites are still abundant before treating a field. (https://420spidermites.wordpress.com /category/spider-mites-cannabis/) 

Fungal pathogens known to cause high infection in spider mite populations belong to the order Entomophthorales and include Neozygites spp. (http://link.springer.com/chapter/ 10.1007%2F978-1-4020-9695-2_21) 

Few bacteria have been reported as pathogens of the Acari but in recent years research has been concentrated on intracellular organisms such as Wolbachia that may cause distorted sex ratios in offspring and incompatibility between populations. (http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023%2FA%3A1026518418163) 

Use a pathogen such as Erynia neoaphidis, the most commonfungus that infects aphids. (http://www.slideshare.net/Maria857qx/ companion-planting-and-growing-outdoor-food-crops-for-your-home-australia) 

Two genuine predators of poultry red mites are identified: Hypoaspis aculeifer and Androlaelaps casalis. (http://link.springer.com/ chapter/10.1007%2F978-90-481-2731-3_8) 

Wees et al. (2003) and Zchori Fein and Perlman (2004) reported mixed infections Wolbachia sp., and Cardinium sp. on the mite species M. occidentalis.
Toxicity of spinosad to mites has been reported as variable and/or reduced in comparison to other insect species (49), although D. gallinae appears susceptible both in vitro and in vivo (34, 70). Combined, these studies demonstrate at least 97% product efficacy after a single dose, with residual efficacy of at least 28 days. Since 2010, spinosad has been approved for use with laying birds in several EU countries under the product name Elector (Elanco, Greenfield, Indiana). Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) may offer a future biopesticide option for D. gallinae control, with known toxicity to insects and confirmed toxicity to O. sylviarum (83). Nevertheless, the exotoxin thuringiensin, on which this work was based, is also toxic to vertebrates, leading several authors to advise against its use in poultry (2, 21). 
D. gallinae is susceptible to infection by fungal isolates of Beauveria bassiana, Metarhizium anisopliae, Trichoderma album, and Paecilomyces fumosoroseus when mites were inoculated with high doses of conidia under laboratory conditions (53, 110, 112). 
By disrupting oogenesis and inducing cytoplasmic incompatibility, endosymbiotic bacteria may exert further detrimental effects on host reproductive potential, as reported for members of the genera Wolbachia and 'Candidatus Cardinium' (40, 51). Although Wolbachia species have not been identified in D. gallinae, 'Candidatus Cardinium' and Spiroplasma have been recorded in these mites (25, 118).
Endosymbiont targeting could contribute to the management of D. gallinae in the future. (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/ 259626025_Significance_and_Control_of_the_Poultry_Red_Mite_Dermanyssus_gallinae) 

Paecilomyces fumasoroseus 
Bacillus thuringienis subsp.israelensis 
Streptomyces avermitilis 
Beauveria bassiana, 
Metarhizium anisopliae, 
Bacillus sphericus 

Recommended Usage: 
Fog the sheds by diluting 500ml of the product per 5500 sft sheds (or say 2750 birds) 

Suggested Level of Application: 
1. Thoroughly vacuum entire room concentrating on areas where mites congregate: such as mattresses, cushions, box springs, headboards, walls, floors, carpeting, and baseboards. 
2. Spray surfaces until damp. On mattresses etc., allow spray to dry thoroughly before replacing bedding. 

May control northern fowl mite Ornithonyssus sulviarum, House Dust Mite Dermatophagoides spp., SCABIES MITES (Sarcoptes scabiei), Varroa and Tracheal mites which is yet to be studied. 

Keller, S. 1991: Arthropod-pathogenic Entomophthorales in Switzerland. II. Erynia, Eryniopsis, Neozygites, Zoophthora and Tarichium. Sydowia 43: 39-122.
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