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ARS Home » Plains Area » College Station, Texas » Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center » Food and Feed Safety Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #270023

Title: Lesser mealworms on poultry farms: A potential arena for the dissemination of pathogens and antimicrobial resistance

item Crippen, Tawni - Tc
item Poole, Toni

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/2011
Publication Date: 6/7/2012
Citation: Crippen, T.L., Poole, T.L. 2012. Lesser mealworms on poultry farms: A potential arena for the dissemination of pathogens and antimicrobial resistance. In: Callaway, T.R., Edrington, T.S., editors. On-Farm Strategies to Control Foodborne Pathogens. New York, NY: Nova Science Publishers, Inc. p. 233-272.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The increase in poultry production due to market demand stimulates an increase in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO) and thus confined raising resulting in an increased density of birds in poultry houses. The close quarters and high bird numbers generally favor the survival of insect pests. The facilities pest, Alphitobius diaperinus, known as the darkling beetle or the lesser mealworm, that inhabit poultry litter are problematic at almost every type of poultry production facility. The artificially controlled environmental conditions within broiler houses favor expansion of populations. What were once only minor pests in low density flocks have become large infestations in high density bird production facilities, generating management concerns on several issues which we discuss in the chapter. Clearly, we have economic reasons to control A. diaperinus due to the financial loss to producers caused by increased energy costs, insulation replacement, and structural damage resulting from beetle infestations. But an understanding of the role A. diaperinus plays in the spread of bacterial pathogens during pre-harvest production is also necessary to provide insight into their overall economic impact and how to best manage them to lessen their participation as a disease reservoir and vector. The chapter includes sections entitled: Prevalence in poultry litter and environmental requirements; Flock health and pathogen dissemination; Flock health and antibiotic resistance gene dissemination; Alphitobius diaperinus and olfactory secretions; and Alphitobius diaperinus and control measures.