Effectiveness of different dusts against litter beetles

The impact of various dust treatments on litter beetles was researched
calendar icon 22 April 2024
clock icon 2 minute read

Litter beetles (Alphitobius diaperinus) are the most prevalent insect species in poultry houses. They are capable of acting as both a vector and a reservoir for a variety of pathogens. Using traditional insecticides for control has limitations due to health concerns and the development of insecticide resistance.

A study performed by Carla Guardado, graduate student at Auburn University, and collaborators investigated the impact of various dust treatments on the behavior of larvae and adult beetles as potential alternatives to traditional insecticides. The results of the study were presented as a poster session at the 2024 International Poultry Scientific Forum.

Ten larvae or adult beetles were placed in each of six plastic cups (5 ½ oz). Dusts were tested by applying 2.5 mL dosages of each dust treatment to the experimental cups. To ensure uniform dust covering, the cups were sealed and gently shaken. Additionally, a control group of six cups that were not treated was included. Observations were made every 8 hours for 72 hours. Dead beetles were counted, and any disruption of the dust or unusual behavior of the larvae and beetles was noted.

The median lethal time was calculated by probit analysis. Larvae were killed by zeolite clay, talc, 85% diatomaceous earth, Moroccan rhassoul clay, and silicon dioxide insecticide. The median lethal time of these dusts was between 24 and 72 hrs.

Some beetles were killed when zeolite clay powder was used. Some larvae were killed when kaolin clay and boric acid were tested, with a median lethal time between 40 and 72 hrs.

When beetles were tested with 85% diatomaceous earth, boric acid, and powdered Moroccan rhassoul clay, few were killed with a median lethal time between 32 and 72 hrs.

Bentonite clay, biochar, ground gypsum, and walnut powder did not show any activity against either larvae or beetles; neither did the talc powder against the beetles nor the kaolin clay against the larvae.

The research demonstrated that various dust treatments had an impact on the activity of the beetles over each phase of the observation period. While some treatments produced less noticeable activities, others seemed to discourage insect activity. These results indicate the potential of dust treatments for beetle infestation control, advancing eco-friendly pest management, concluded the researchers.

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