Problem and justification: Pennsylvania ranks second in the production of eggs in the US (USDA-NASS 2012) with 9,539-layer hen farms, including 586 farms that are organic/exempt. Despite its major role in the layer industry, it has been over 20 years since poultry arthropod control research has been conducted in this state. High populations of fly pests of poultry facilities present biosecurity risks of national concern. Muscoid flies are competent vectors of >100 pathogens including Salmonella, E. coli. (Mian et al. 2002), Coronavirus, New Castle disease (Malik et al. 2007) and potentially avian influenza virus (Wanaratana et al. 2013, Habibi et al. 2018). Of the more than 9 million food-borne illnesses in the United States, 22% are attributed to poultry (Painter et al. 2013). To offset these pathogen risks, the FDA egg safety rule requires management and monitoring of flies as part of food safety regulations. House flies are notorious for developing insecticide resistance. As a result, flies can’t be managed on most poultry farms using the traditional insecticides Losses due to house flies alone exceed $375 million/year (Geden and Hogsette, 2001). The country’s poultry producers face a pest control crisis with few options to protect animal welfare and human health.
Solution and approach: The proposed research solution to the problem of limited fly control options that are sustainable and suitable for poultry facilities is to screen and select naturally occurring B. bassiana isolates collected locally from flies in poultry facilities, test for compatibility with beneficial parasitoids and predators, and develop a novel dissemination device for fly control. The proposed educational solution to the problem of pest control on poultry facilities in Pennsylvania is to create a short-course in poultry pest management focused on biological control options and appropriate use for fly control, hosted by Penn State Extension.
Six months following the short-course, 40 poultry producers, representing ~640,000 birds will adopt
an IPM plan for fly control. Twenty will document decreases in fly numbers and 20 will save $200 by
reducing chemical pesticide application for summer fly control.
Performance targets from proposal:
Forty poultry producers, representing ~640,000 birds will adopt an IPM plan for fly control. Twenty will document decreases in fly numbers and 20 will save $200 by reducing chemical pesticide application for summer fly control.