InsectoSec Poultry Mite

InsectoSec Poultry Mite

Poultry mite (Dermanyssus gallinae)


Why control poultry mite?

Poultry mite (Dermanyssus gallinae) is an ectoparasite of chickens and other poultry. The parasitic red mite is commonly found in both broiler and egg laying commercial poultry production. Feeding on the blood of poultry it causes direct economic impact by affecting the condition of the birds, higher rearing costs, increased potential for disease transmission and risks to worker safety.  


  • Higher production costs due to lower feed conversion rates
  • Lower meat or egg production due to animal stress
  • Reduced value of production due to spotting on eggshell or thinner shell production
  • Transmission of disease between birds
  • Causes skin irritation when in contact with workers


Why use diatomaceous earth?

Poultry mites spend most of its lifecycle away from the bird hosts and hidden in cracks and cervices in the poultry house. Products to control this pest should ideally persist for a long enough period of time to ensure contact with the mites as they move between their hiding places and the birds between feeds.  

After it is applied, diatomaceous earth will persist under dry conditions in the treated area allowing it to work when the mites emerge from their hiding places to feed on the birds. This persistence makes it ideal to use preventatively, for example as a treatment after disinfecting between production cycles and before restocking.  


Why use InsectoSec diatomaceous earth?

InsectoSec diatomaceous earth (DE) is a natural acaricide for the control of poultry red mite (Dermanyssus gallinae). A natural acaricide, InsectoSec is approved for use in the UK in both broiler and egg-laying poultry production. It is safe to be used around chickens and all poultry for both egg and meat production.  

  • Approved for use in UK as a biocide under BPR
  • Approved for use by British Egg Industry Council (BEIC) for Lion Mark poultry production
  • High grade diatomaceous earth with tightly maintained production process
  • Zero egg withholding period
  • No chemical residues on eggs or meat
Use of InsectoSec diatomaceous earth to manage red poultry mite (Dermanyssus gallinae) on chickens and other poultry



Integrated Pest Management (IPM) of Poultry Red Mite

Control of any agricultural pest should be carried out through an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. This is the combined use of multiple tools viewed through multiple production cycles and not being reliant on one single product “Silver bullet” to address a problem.  

Poultry Red Mite (Dermanyssus gallinae) is a highly prevalent and persistent pest. Present in the majority of commercial poultry sites, even if eradication was achieved between production runs re-infestation is likely. Once present within a production unit, poultry red mite (D. gallinae) has the ability to double its population every week.  

Red mite re-infestation of a site can occur as a result of:  

  • Mite movement between production units, especially if a site has overlapping production cycles
  • Reintroduction on new birds
  • Re-infestation from equipment or transporting materials
  • Contact from wild birds

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) of poultry red mite has multiple layers. Best practice is that each layer is considered and acted upon before moving to the next layer.  


1. Agronomic practices:

          • Production unit design
          • Clean start to the production cycle (e.g. end of cycle cleaning)
          • Measures preventing re-introduction

2. Monitoring:

          • Poultry red mite monitoring (e.g. mite counts, bird condition, eggshell spotting)
          • Forecast risk of pest based on historical experience

3. Physical management:

          • Rearing conditions to limit red mite spread or development rate

4. Non-chemical control:

          • Use approved product
          • Ensure correct application timing and method, e.g. InsectoSec should be applied preventatively

5. Chemical control:

        • Treatments of either the rearing facility and equipment with acaricides or treatment of the birds with antiparasites
        • Use approved product only when action threshold reached
        • Rotate between products to help manage development of resistance


InsectoSec and acaricide resistance

The number of cases of chemical acaricide resistance are increasing. In UK poultry production resistance of Poultry Red Mite (Dermanyssus gallinae) to carbamates and pyrethroids has already been reported within the UK. As the number of tools available to manage this pest decrease it is increasingly important to manage those remaining. This should be done by rotating between different active ingredients the pest is exposed to and adopting an Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Diatomaceous earth has a physical mode of action on the poultry mite and its efficacy is unaffected by the level of resistance to chemical insecticides and acaricides.  

In addition, there is also increasing antiparasitic drug resistance is also increasing. Again, the performance of InsectoSec against poultry mite will be unaffected by the susceptibility of the mite population to antiparasitic drugs.  


Benefits to the environment

InsectoSec is a natural product. It does not contain any chemical pesticide or biocide and therefore its use does not result in the addition of any chemicals to the environment or food chain. Use of InsectoSec as a partner alongside agronomic practice, pest monitoring and chemical biocides/medicines results in more sustainable poultry egg and broiler production.  



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