Darkling beetles are a serious nuisance for poultry growers. Insecticides, when properly used, offer one way to control infestations and reduce the beetles' impact on the operation. 

In a WATT Poultry Chat interview, J.B. Howell, a technical field representative for MGK, shared his expertise on maximizing the effectiveness of a darkling beetle control program. 

Austin Alonzo: J.B., let's talk about two common methods to control darkling beetles.

J.B. Howell: Two really common liquid methods are your banded and your whole house, each one of them has a pro and a con. So we'll start with banded. Banded: Some of the pros are reduced time, because you're only hitting underneath the feed lines, water lines and against the walls. There can be reduced costs, because you're using a little less chemical. But on the opposite side, the cons are, you're only treating underneath those specific areas, the water lines, the feed lines and the walls, which leaves large bands between those lines, with no insecticides, which allows for safe harborage for your insects where there they may never contact your treatment. It can also, if you have repellency in your product, it can drive them into those areas, and cause the exact same issue where your pests simply aren't treated.

With whole house, you have to adjust your equipment to absolutely treat everything, wall to wall, but you're treating every single surface in there. You're not allowing those insects any safe harborage. So, you have reduced resistance issues because you don't end up with insects fleeing your treatment area, and having sub-lethal dosages, and you have less insects all around which can reduce your pressures and allow your birds to rest and increase your conversion rates.

Austin Alonzo: It's common practice to apply litter amendments and insecticides between grow outs. Do you have any recommendations or best practices to follow when applying both products? 

J.B. Howell: The biggest thing that we've seen is, do not tank mix your amendments and your insecticides. Litter amendments often are very acidic, and they can have some detrimental effects on your insecticide. So, if you are using a dry amendment, we recommend putting the insecticide first, allowing it to dry completely and then applying your amendment. If you're using a wet litter amendment, apply your amendment, allow it to dry, and then put your insecticide on top of that.

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Austin Alonzo: Is there anything that you'd recommend adding to the insecticide application to improve long-term control?

J.B. Howell: Yes, we've seen some really good results with insect growth regulators. We know there's several out there. It kind of seems hit and miss on whether people are using them. The big key that you get from using IGRs, or insect growth regulators. It's a completely different mode of action. So, what you're doing is you're going after different life stages of the insect. So instead of just trying to kill adults and a few larvae that are that are present on the surface, you're actually inhibiting those insects from being able to breed. 

You're inhibiting them from being able to molt the, the immatures to molt and then pupate and become adults, so you're actually attacking every single life stage and you're going after their ability to reproduce, which in the long run will collapse colony and population a lot faster and more effectively.

Austin Alonzo: Alright, J.B. was there anything else you'd like to add? Or anywhere where people can find more information about these products?

J.B. Howell: Yeah, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out. You can reach out to our sales team or our technical service team. You can reach us at mgk.com, and we look forward to talking to you.

Transcript edited for length and clarity.