This is the Litter beetle, and it could be causing major disruption and damage to your poultry house. We’ve put together five facts about the Litter beetle that could help you and your chickens!
- Litter beetles are very common in poultry houses, and are known for eating feed, but they could be doing much worse than that. In your poultry house you could have up to 1,000 beetles per square yard, and not even realise it. Your poultry house is the perfect environment due to its dark and warm interior, perfect moisture levels and supply of feed and water, and with female beetles producing 1200 or more eggs per month, your chickens could be sharing a home with millions of beetles.
- These pesky mites not only take shelter in your poultry house, but they also eat a noticeable amount of feed between them, causing you a significant financial loss.
- Their presence can also disturb your birds resulting in unnecessary movement and leading to possible nutritional deficiency. They do this through biting your chickens, but they have even been known to crawl onto the birds and chew on the base of their feathers, especially if they are moisture starved. The lesions caused by this can then sometimes be mistaken for skin leukosis (tumour development in the absence of feathers).
- The skin bites, can also put the birds at risk of contracting Gangrenous Dermatitis or Cellulitis, further adding to the possibility of financial loss. The beetles have been associated with spreading diseases, such as E. Coli or Salmonella. The birds may often eat the beetles, and this can cause many problems like intestinal obstruction and gut lesions, not to mention increased nutrition deficiency. In extreme cases, the beetles have been known to kill weakened chickens during their search for food and moisture.
- As if the damage caused to your chickens isn’t already enough, they can even cause significant damage to the houses themselves. They burrow into wood and foam insulation with ease, in search of dark places to pupate. Not only can this cause hundreds of pounds worth of damage, in some cases, it can also drastically impair heating and cooling efficiency within the house. The amount of damage depends upon the level of infestation, and the construction materials used.
So there you have it, they may be small, but their effects are mighty. However, all is not lost! Sealwise WCB can be used for all aspects of a poultry house, as its properties are great for chickens, but not so great for the Litter beetle.
Information for this blog was sourced from http://www.aces.edu/poultryventilation