Dermanyssus gallinae is the most economically important ectoparasite of laying hens in Europe. Control of D. gallinae is already hampered by issues of pesticide resistance and product withdrawal. With the prohibition of conventional cages in 2012 and the resulting switch to more structurally complex housing which favours red mite, the importance of managing this pest is expected to increase. Integrated Pest Management (IPM), as often employed in agricultural pest control, may be a way to address these issues where a combination of different novel control methods could be used with/without conventional management techniques to provide a synergistic and more efficacious effect. Work at in our laboratory has shown that essential oils, including thyme and garlic, may act as effective D. gallinae repellents and acaricides, whilst preliminary vaccine studies have demonstrated a significant increase in mite mortality in vitro using concealed antigens. Work elsewhere has considered predators and fungi for D. gallinae control and other husbandry techniques such as manipulating temperature and lighting regimes in poultry units. This paper will review the available and emerging techniques for D. gallinae control and discuss which techniques might be suitable for inclusion in an integrated management programme (e.g. synthetic acaricides and diatomaceous earths).
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