The poultry red mite (PRM), Dermanyssus gallinae, is a major threat to the egg production industry worldwide and in the North-West European region in particular. The prevalence of PRM is extremely high and increasing; more than 90% of the farms in NWE are infected, causing economic losses of over 100 million annually. Red mite infestations pose serious animal health, welfare and public health concerns, and affect the productivity of the egg industry.
Treatment of PRM is very challenging for farmers as only a few products are licensed for use during egg production and first stages of infestation are difficult to detect and to treat. A sustainable IPM approach is needed to decrease chemical treatment, ban illegal treatment (and avoiding future fipronil-like crises), increase animal health and welfare and economic benefits and meet consumers’ demand for healthy food (eggs with less pesticide residues).
MiteControl builds on recent research activities and conclusions of the COREMI–network and aims to develop, test and demonstrate an innovative automated monitoring technique (smart digital farming), necessary for an early warning system to alert farmers that (extra) anti PRM treatments are needed. Through transnational cooperation, MiteControl will bring together multidisciplinary knowledge and skills needed to jointly develop, improve and test innovative promising treatments, included in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programmes that can be applied on farms directly. Three IPM programmes will be implemented and demonstrated on EPC and 10 commercial (pilot)farms across NWE resulting in low infestation levels and reduced negative effects on production, animal health and welfare.
MiteControl will develop a communication strategy for the entire egg producing sector to raise awareness and change behaviour of poultry farmers so that IPM programmes will become the standard sustainable approach to control PRM infestation in NWE and beyond.