Growing Impact of Red Mites (Dermanyssus gallinae) on Birds: A Complete Guide
Dermanyssus gallinae, the poultry red mite, chicken mite or roost mite, is a major pest of fowl, pigeons, and other caged birds worldwide. The parasite especially common to poultry breeding and egg production operations, it is directly responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in egg industry losses every year. The surveys have confirmed the extremely high and increasing prevalence, 60 to 85 percent of flocks are known to have suffered or be suffering from infestations in different regions of the world and this is starting to trickle into backyard flocks.
According to studies by the layer industry experts the productivity losses are seen up to €0.57 per hen per year and can climb up to €2.50 in high infestations. In Europe alone, the red mite infestation costs approximately €360 million annually.
Transmission of the poultry red mite, as well as the northern fowl mite and the tropical fowl mite, is by mite dispersion or by contact with infested birds, animals, or inanimate objects. In the integrated poultry industry, mites are dispersed most frequently on inanimate objects such as egg flats, crates, or coops or by personnel going from house to house or farm to farm.
What are Red Mites? How to Identify Them.
Red mites are small, up to 1mm long and 0.7mm wide, slow-moving mites. They range in colour from a very light grey, almost translucent to a light brown, black and blood-red colour after a feed. Their eggs are harder to spot with the naked eye at around 0.4mm and translucent, white in colour. After the eggs are laid, it typically takes up to five days before they take their first feed as protonymphs. When they reach the adult stage, at about 10 days old, this is when they will start to feed most frequently.
They are typically nocturnal feeders and remain hidden during the day in cracks and crevices, nests, cribs and roosts, egg conveyor belts, cardboard boxes and transportation cages. They can occasionally be found in clusters.
Poultry mite is a very resilient ectoparasite. It can even survive for several months without feeding and can continue to exist even though there is no feeding source. Multi-age mite sites are often tricky to manage, but the mite can crawl from shed to shed and carry disease with them. Reinfection is highly likely either by missing a small colony of red mite or on the body of the pullets that make up the next flock. They can even migrate wild birds into poultry sheds. The reason why many producers are failing to control red mite is because of a lack of understanding of the products they are using.
Dermanyssus gallinae Causes Both Direct and Indirect Damage in Poultry Houses:
The loss of vitality due to parasitism reduces hen production; and the mite can transmit several viral diseases (Newcastle disease paramyxovirus; avian influenza a virus; fowlpox virus) as well as bacterial infections (Escherichia coli, Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae, Pasteurella multocida, Salmonella gallinarum and S. enteritidis).
Flocks with mite infestations can suffer from: visible skin irritation and lesions on the breast and legs; increased stress; altered sleep patterns; feather plucking; anaemia, which presents as comb and pallor wattle; and death, in extreme cases. Stress is induced by pain and skin irritation associated with repeated mite bites favoured by the very high parasite load typical of red mite infestations, with mite densities ranging from 25,000 to 500,000 mites per hen. In the worst cases, poultry red mite can consume up to 5% of a hen’s blood in one night.
Limiter, A Novel Efficient Herbal Solution for Poultry Red Mite,
Despite chemical control of poultry red mites remaining the dominant method at the commercial farms, the acaricidal treatments can only give limited or short-period relief to the birds. Mainly due to difficulties associated with the effective application and emergence of resistance in mites.
Limiter is a stable combination of plant-derived oils designed on a pragmatic approach of reducing mites through a multipronged strategy. No resistance due to effective triple way mode of action i.e. gustatory avoidance, olfactory repellency, and contact toxicity. The key elements of the natural remedy for mite management are derived from Eucalyptus oil, Camphor, and Basil. It makes Limiter easy to register, use, and one of the safest products in the market.
Limiter is a concentrated extract of active phytomolecules and therefore it needs to be diluted at the dose of 150 ml per 1000 litre of drinking water.
Limiter is recommended to use for 1 week – 1st application then 2nd application for 1 week after an interval of 7 days. It can be re-used in case of re-infestation as per the recommended protocol.
- Protects birds from blood-feeding stages of the red mites i.e. Protonymphs, Deutonymphs, and some adult stages.
- No prescription required for use at the farms
- Readily soluble in water
- Birds do not need to be removed.
- No harmful effects and can be used recurrently for a long duration without developing resistance.
- No residues in the eggs and meat.
- No withdrawal period
- Reduces stress, irritation, mortality, and body lesions.
- Reduces spread of poultry pathogens
- Improves egg production and FCR
- Controls mite population and saves economic losses
- Improves bird health and welfare