Northern Fowl Mite Management
The northern fowl mite, Ornithonyssus sylviarum, is regarded as the primary and most serious ectoparasite of poultry in North America (Axtell and Arends, 1990), as well as in Mississippi. Mites and lice are the most destructive external parasites of the state’s poultry flocks (Goddard and Edwards, 2010). The northern fowl mite is common on wild birds and rodents, which readily introduce it into commercial poultry production facilities unless sound biosecurity practices are in place. Its entire life cycle is spent on the host, where it feeds on blood and is a source of irritation to the bird. Eggs are laid in masses at the base of the feathers, usually in the vent area. It is one of three species of fowl mite that are ongoing pests of commercial breeder and layer flocks.
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