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 dusts, 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.
Experimental and Applied Acarology, 2014, Vol 62, Issue 4, p. 511-524