Sulfur Use for Northern Fowl Mite Control in Poultry Systems

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2019: $10,409.00
Projected End Date: 03/16/2020
Grant Recipient: Purdue University
Region: North Central
State: Indiana
Graduate Student:
Faculty Advisor:
Darrin Karcher, Ph.D.
Purdue University


  • Animal Products: eggs


  • Animal Production: parasite control

    Proposal abstract:

         Sulfur use for Northern Fowl Mite control in poultry systems will involve the use of Yellow Jacket Wettable Sulfur II powder for use in different types of laying hen systems (i.e., commercial, small farm, backyard flock) as a means to mitigate Northern Fowl Mite (NFM) populations. Northern Fowl Mites are obligate blood-feeding ectoparasites that can cause decreased egg production, profit loss, anemia, irritation to flocks and personnel, and death to hens in extreme cases. We plan to work primarily at the Purdue University Animal Science Research and Education Center Poultry Unit in West Lafayette, IN and at Farm Crest Foods in Pigeon, MI. Sulfur will be administered to hens in cloth bags modified from a prior published study (Murillo and Mullens 2016). The goal of this project is to examine the efficacy of sulfur powder as a means to eliminate Northern Fowl Mites and to help laying hen producers recognize an effective and more natural alternative to traditional acaricides. We will write an extension publication and distribute it to poultry producers, both large and small, through outreach efforts. We also will evaluate the impact of this project through an entry and exit survey given to producers prior to the interaction, one-on-one or through literature, and a follow-up six months later.

    Project objectives from proposal:

         Upon validation of the extension publication and techniques on NFM control, our development of an extension program for educators will be produced to increase awareness and knowledge of sulfur as an alternative solution to Northern Fowl Mite control. Those involved with the production of table eggs will be able to adopt sulfur powder use in dust bags or dust boxes as a means to control or prevent mite infestations, which negatively impact flock production and welfare. This project could also help stimulate more research on Northern Fowl Mites in different types of poultry systems, due to a limited amount of research on this subject. Northern Fowl Mite treatment and prevention will improve producers’ well-being through increased egg production impacting economic viability. Better control of the Northern Fowl Mite will provide a better quality of life for personnel working directly with flocks. The project will enhance established and build new relationships with laying hen operations (regardless of size) in Indiana and the North Central region of the United States through our extension program.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.