Poultry mites are an ectoparasite that can cause significant problems for poultry and poultry keepers - particularly for layer hens. Science Daily has picked up on a paper published in Parasitology in March that proposes a biological control method instead of the use of pesticides. Mites do survive for quite some time in empty poultry houses; they are difficult to eradicate and then they infect the next flock.
The proposed strategy is quite simple - infect a flock of hens with the chicken body louse which out competes the mites. Once the farm is mite free the louse infected hens are culled and the farm then remains free of mites. The lice apparently do not live very long in the empty housing and the new flock will be free of both.
So far it has only been tested on a very few hens. Any volunteers out there that might like to try it commercially? It would be a bit of a pain if you ended up with both endemic on your farm when only the mites were present in the first place. Can anyone enlighten me on whether or not this approach would need some sort of regulatory approval? Given how much of a nuisance for chickens and farmers mites can be, this is clearly an interesting idea.
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