Fed nymph

Poultry  red  mite  (Dermanyssus  gallinae)  is  the  most  economically  important  parasite  affecting commercial  egg  production  facilities  worldwide,  causing  an estimated  annual  production  loss  of €130 million in Europe alone.

Infestation levels are estimated to range from a “normal” 50,000 mites per bird to over 500,000 mites per bird in severe infestations.

The impact on bird health and welfare can be severe and involves agitation and pecking, weight loss and anaemia and production losses attributed to increase bird deaths, a decrease in egg quality and output and mite control costs.

Poultry red mites  can also carry  viruses and bacteria which cause illness in hens.

Mite control  is  usually  carried  out  by  spraying  commercial  premises  with  pesticides  but  resistance  to these chemicals has been identified in red mite populations across the EU, prompting research into new ways (i.e. vaccine development) of controlling this debilitating parasite.