The world of biological control using natural enemies is constantly evolving with new beneficial insects being discovered that we can use to combat insect pests. Even pests that are not plant pests are not safe from biological control.
One such example is the new predatory mite for control of red mite/ northern fowl mite in poultry and other birds. Androlaelaps casalis mites were originally found in sparrow nests feeding on red mites. They were then tested on poultry to see if they could be used as a natural solution for the control of reds mites. The results were impressive and they are now available as a product called ANDROLIS
Feather damage by Red Mites
Red mite [ Dermanyssus gallinae ] is a horrible pest as it feeds on the blood of birds, once it has fed it drops to the floor. Reproduction can be very fast, especially in the summer months and the build up of mites on birds can cause severe distress to the bird, causing feather loss and stress. Other symptoms include reduced egg laying and even cannibalism. The red mite has become resistant to many chemical treatments, making it increasingly difficult to treat. The treatments that are available mainly act upon the adults. This leaves eggs to hatch and a cycle of treatments that it is difficult to stop. Often these treatments are un-pleasant for the birds and the applicator.
Androlis mite attacking a Red Mite
(seen under a micropscope)
This is not true when using ANDROLIS. The predatory mites feed on the entire life cycle of the red mites, this means they eat the eggs and adults. The red mite is also not able to become resistant to being eaten! The predatory mites will also search for the red mite by crawling into cracks and crevices to pursue their prey. They do not generally go onto the birds but wait for the mites to fall off. Androlis is supplied in various pack sizes from the smallest unit, which treats up to 10 birds to the largest unit, which treats up to 200 birds. The predators can be applied in two ways either by sprinkling on the floor of the chicken coop or aviary. Here they consume the red mites as they drop to the floor. They can also be applied to the sides of the coops with a special aluminium clip that holds a bottle of Androlis onto the side of the structure. This enables the predators to be released near roosting areas and hiding areas of the mites. This is especially useful towards the end of the season to prevent the red mites overwintering in cracks and crevices.
If you are applying predators to the floor and cleaning out the litter on a regular basis, remember you may also be taking out the predators, so you will need to re-apply or apply using the applicator clip system. Androlis predators are active down to temperatures of 12.c, after this activity will cease. The best times for applying the predators is in the spring and in July. The predators do die back, once red mites are consumed so may need repeat treatment every 6-8 weeks to keep the balance of predators right. They do not overwinter, so will need to be used each year if red mite appears.
This really is a natural way of controlling this horrible pest and it not only provides a safe method but an effective one.
Give your birds a break from chemical warfare and try a more natural method with Androlis predatory mites.
Androlis M (for 10 birds)