Darkling beetles (also known as lesser mealworms and litter beetles) can have a significant impact on poultry operations:
- They can destroy wooden structures and damage insulation in the poultry house, which can make temperature control more challenging. Furthermore, beetles can migrate to neighbouring buildings.
- Darkling beetles harbour worms and bacteria and can spread diseases such as salmonella, E. coli and coccidiosis1,2.
- Darkling beetles can cause irritation and discomfort to your birds. Also, chickens can consume large quantities of beetles, which interferes with their normal feed consumption and reduces growth rates.
- Darkling beetles feed on almost anything, including poultry feed, reducing feed consumption. An infestation can increase energy costs and generate expensive repairs1.
A single female beetle can lay more than 2,000 eggs over its lifetime1. It can take eggs between 35 and 80 days to become adults, depending on temperature conditions.
An ideal beetle control program should incorporate regular litter removal and good sanitation and water management practices. However, litter clean-out is not enough to control darkling beetles inside poultry facilities.
Using insecticides with good residual activity and ensuring a proper period of rotation for all treatments is advised. Avoid mixing insecticides and disinfectants in the same sprayer tank as this can reduce product efficacy3.
Bayer products for darkling beetles:
1. Adams, J. (2001). Vector abatement plan: darkling beetles. Retrieved from http://www.clemson.edu/extension/camm/manuals/common_chapters/pch10c_03.pdf
2. University of Georgia (2010). Darkling beetles in broiler houses. Retrieved from https://www.poultryventilation.com/sites/default/files/poultry-tips/2010/2010 7 Broiler Beetles.pdf
3. Geden et al., (1987). Efficacies of mixtures of disinfectants and insecticides. Department of Entomology, North Carolina State University.