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J Econ Entomol. 2012 Jun;105(3):979-87.

Field assessments of control agents for lesser mealworm (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) using litter sampling.

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  • 1Agri-science Queensland, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Ecosciences Precinct, 41 Boggo Rd., Dutton Park, Qld 4102, Australia.


Spinosad, diatomaceous earth, and cyfluthrin were assessed on two broiler farms at Gleneagle and Gatton in southeastern Queensland, Australia in 2004-2005 and 2007-2009, respectively to determine their effectiveness in controlling lesser mealworm, Alphitobius diaperinus (Panzer) (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae). Insecticide treatments were applied mostly to earth or 'hard' cement floors of broiler houses before the placement of new bedding. Efficacy of each agent was assessed by regular sampling of litter and counting of immature stages and adult beetles, and comparing insect counts in treatments to counts in untreated houses. Generally, the lowest numbers of lesser mealworm were recorded in the house with hard floors, these numbers equalling the most effective spinosad applications. The most effective treatment was a strategic application of spinosad under feed supply lines on a hard floor. In compacted earth floor houses, mean numbers of lesser mealworms for two under-feed-line spinosad treatments (i.e., 2-m-wide application at 0.18 g of active insecticide (g [AI]) in 100-ml water/m2, and 1-m-wide application at 0.11 g ([AI] in 33-ml water/m2), and an entire floor spinosad treatment (0.07 g [AI] in 86-ml water/m2) were significantly lower (i.e., better control) than those numbers for cyfluthrin, and no treatment (controls). The 1-m-wide under-feed-line treatment was the most cost-effective dose, providing similar control to the other two most effective spinosad treatments, but using less than half the active component per broiler house. No efficacy was demonstrated when spinosad was applied to the surface of bedding in relatively large volumes of water. All applications of diatomaceous earth, applied with and without spinosad, and cyfluthrin at the label rate of 0.02 g (AI)/100-ml water/m2 showed no effect, with insect counts not significantly different to untreated controls. Overall, the results of this field assessment indicate that cyfluthrin (the Australian industry standard) and diatomaceous earth were ineffective on these two farms and that spinosad can be a viable alternative for broiler house use.

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