MiteMax-spraying for red mite

A new poultry red mite treatment with a physical mode of action has been launched by Bristol-based pest control company, Barrettine Environmental Health.

Designed to fit in with integrated pest management practices, MiteMax is sprayed on to surfaces in the poultry shed to produce a sticky surface that traps the mites, so providing rapid knock-down.

“The treatment is applied directly to a shed’s inner surfaces via knapsack sprayer,” says the company’s Charles Phillips. “Mites are trapped by the sticky surface and rendered permanently immobile.”

See also: How to tackle red mite infestation in hens

The patent-pending product is specifically formulated to penetrate surface dust, ensuring it reaches mites harbouring deep in crevices.

As a physical rather than a chemical agent, the product does not have to go through registration.

It can be used at any stage of the layer cycle, as both a treatment before restocking and as a tactical knock-down in the event of a red mite flare-up.

According to Ian Whelan from Cambridge-based Insect Research and Development, who has been involved in the project, MiteMax fits well into an integrated pest management style of husbandry.

“Using treatments with different modes of action together as part of a flock health plan ensures each one fulfils its potential,” he says.

The treatment, which is based on a food-grade polymer, is not sticky to the human touch, but sticks to the mite, effectively shrink-wrapping it, he says.

On the farm

Egg producer Charlie Bucton, who runs 24,000 free-range hens at Park Farm near Hull, trialled the product for six weeks before depletion in one of his sheds.

“It was easy to mix and apply by knapsack sprayer, and didn’t leave a slippery floor,” he explains. “The treatment penetrated even the most dusty surfaces. Knock-down was swift, with no signs of surviving mites the following day.”

MiteMax is available from Barrettine Environmental Health’s appointed distributors.

Recommended retail price is £59.55 for five litres of concentrate, enough to cover 200sq m of shed surface when diluted in 37.5 litres of water.