Poultry red mites are Europe's most costly pest
These tiny blood-sucking arachnids are found in many countries and are very difficult to eliminate from infested farms.
Poultry red mites are a small pest that have a large impact on the egg industry in terms of production losses and control cost, especially in the EU.
Read the entire report about poultry red mites in the March issue of Egg Industry.
An epidemiological review found in the article, The Poultry Red Mite, A small pest that packs a big punch, by Monique Mul from Wageningen University & Research and released in November of 2013, reports that 83 percent of European farms are infested with poultry red mites. This harmful mite is extremely costly to the poultry industry; annual European industry losses alone are at EUR360 million (US$446.54 million).
This is an issue that has not yet impacted the U.S.
“In Europe, prevalence of [poultry] red mites is expected to increase because of recent hen husbandry legislation changes, increased acaricide resistance, climate warming and the lack of a sustainable approach to control infestations,” according to a scientific article, Poultry red mite (Dermanyssus gallinae) infestation: a broad impact parasitological disease that still remains a significant challenge for the egg-laying industry in Europe by Annie Sigognault Flochlay et al.
How poultry red mites differ from other pests
Dr. Annie Sigognault Flochlay, director, project management and pharmaceutical development at Merck Animal Health, discussed the differences between poultry red mites and other pests that may cause issues in poultry houses.
While the northern fowl mite is a common parasite in U.S. poultry operations, the poultry red mite presents some different issues. Unlike the northern fowl mite, poultry red mites live in cracks and crevices and only come out about one hour a night to feed off the host. Both types of mites live off the blood of the poultry that they bite, but the northern fowl mite can complete its entire life cycle without ever leaving a bird. Poultry red mites leave the host every day and can survive many weeks of starvation hiding in a housing system. Both types of mites are hard to control and need various forms of pest control options, Flochlay explained.