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How to Treat for Litter Beetles (Alphitobius)

 What is it?

The litter beetle, the black beetle and lesser mealworm are some of the names given to the scientifically named Alphitobius beetle.                                                     

For many years this beetle has caused unquantifiable amounts of damage to the poultry industry in terms of the possibility of passing on pathogens and parasites during and between crops.  This together with the visible damage to the structure of buildings and the insulation that costs the industry large amounts of money means its treatment and control is of major importance.

The species survives well in its poultry house environment, with females producing anywhere between 200 and 2,000 eggs in the litter, as well as in cracks and crevices of a poultry house.  Its survival is almost guaranteed, particularly as the breeding female produces eggs at 3–5-day intervals and can live for around a year.

How to treat for litter beetles

Litter Beetles in poultry houses will migrate into the structure of the house on the turnaround of the flock, at this stage it is important to use a suitable spray or treatment to eradicate and disrupted the migration cycle in and out of the poultry house structure.

Spraying with a product such as Vulcan C Super or BioLink Mefisto Shock has a band spray around post and walls to catch the beetles whilst migrating up the posts, and in addition migrating back down when the birds are next placed.  This can help immediately after depletion, and then again whole house spray with a diluted Vulcan C during the disinfectant process will be an effective method.

The importance of its control based on the above is very important and with the emergence of products like Vulcan C Super or BioLink Mefisto Shock, Alphitobius days may be numbered. These products are available to purchase through our online store CLICK HERE.

Some pesticides cannot be used if birds are present, however there are a number of powders available derived from diathermanous earth such as Hemexasan or Stalasan that can be used.  

Completely removing litter on depletion of the flock (or regularly in smaller backyard flocks) can help to reduce the number of beetles in poultry facilities.

Following clean out of the poultry house standing the poultry house empty can also be particularly effective if time and cost allows.

Treated insulation or more beetle resistant insulation may be helpful to reduce damage to the insulation and new metal lined and sealed housing structures are more resistant. though this will not reduce beetle numbers


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Agrex Limited, Red Barn Offices
Langworth Road, Scothern, Lincoln, LN2 2UP 

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