Experimental validation of the AVIVET trap, a tool to quantitatively monitor the dynamics ofDermanyssus gallinaepopulations in laying hens

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Abstract

Dermanyssus gallinae (D.gallinae) infestation causes economic losses due to impaired health and production of hens and costs of parasite control across the world. Moreover, infestations are associated with reduced welfare of hens and may cause itching in humans. To effectively implement control methods it is crucially important to have high quality information about the D.gallinae populations in poultry houses in space and time. At present no validated tool is available to quantitatively monitor the dynamics of all four stages of D.gallinae (i.e., eggs, larvae, nymphs, and adults) in poultry houses.

This article describes the experimental validation of the AVIVET trap, a device to quantitatively monitor dynamics of D.gallinae infestations. We used the device to study D.gallinae in fully equipped cages with two white specific pathogen free Leghorn laying hens experimentally exposed to three different infestation levels of D.gallinae (low to high).

The AVIVET trap was successfully able to detect D.gallinae at high (5,000 D.gallinae), medium (2,500 D.gallinae), and low (50 D.gallinae) level of D.gallinae infestation. The linear equation Y = 10ˆ10ˆ(0.47 + 1.21X) with Y = log10 (Total number of D.gallinae nymphs and adults) in the cage and X = log10 (Total number of D.gallinae nymphs and adults) in the AVIVET trap explained 93.8% of the variation.

The weight of D.gallinae in the AVIVET trap also appears to be a reliable parameter for quantifying D.gallinae infestation in a poultry house. The weight of D.gallinae in the AVIVET trap correlates 99.6% (P < 0.000) to the counted number of all stages of D.gallinae in the trap (i.e., eggs, larvae, nymphs, and adults) indicating that the trap is highly specific.

From this experiment it can be concluded that the AVIVET trap is promising as quantitative tool for monitoring D.gallinae dynamics in a poultry house.

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