Through which routes can red mite be introduced on-farm?

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    Red mite is found very often in laying farms, but how was it introduced in the farm ?

    Hanne Nijs

    Poultry red mite is the most damaging ectoparasite of laying hens, present on well over 80% of farms in Europe (in some countries even up to 94% of farms are infested). There are quite a few routes of transmission, but the most important ones include the exchange of contaminated materials (e.g. egg trays) farms or layer houses, introduction via pullets and people (visitors). Contrary to prior beliefs, wild birds are not a reservoir and thus do not play a significant role in transmission.


    Thanks Hanne, what procedure would you then advice to avoid the contamination from material and visitors ?

    Hanne Nijs

    There are a number of things you can do to try and limit the risk of introducing red mites on your farm:
    – all materials coming into the hen house (such as egg trays) should be clean, so this is something that can be checked visually by the farmer
    – prevent exchanging equipment between houses (e.g. brooms, buckets,…)
    – when layer farmers visit the pullet farm prior to transfer, discuss with the hatchery/pullet farmer whether they have had issues with red mite in the past
    – upon arrival on the laying farm, perform a visual check of crates/containers
    – staff and visitors need to wear company clothing (and preferably shower before entering)

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