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Is diatomaceous earth efficacious at reducing red mite (Dermanyssus gallinae) burden in the domestic chicken?

Clinical Scenario

A client who owns chickens has reported a red mite infestation in their hen house. They are reluctant to use chemical based products as they have concerns about the environmental impact. They would like to use a product they perceive as more natural and they have heard that diatomaceous earth (a dust comprising the fossilised remains of diatoms) can kill red mites when applied directly to the affected hens or their housing. You have never heard of this product before and you wonder whether diatomaceous earth is efficacious against red mite infestation in poultry...

3-Part Question (PICO)

In [chickens with red mite (Dermanyssus gallinae)] does [topical or environmental application of diatomaceous earth compared with no treatment] [reduce red mite infestation]?

Search Strategy and Summary of Evidence

Search Strategy

MEDLINE(R) In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations and MEDLINE(R) 1946 to Present using the OVID interface

(chicken.mp. OR chickens.mp. OR fowl.mp. OR poultry.mp. OR hen.mp. OR hens.mp. OR gallus.mp. OR layer.mp. OR layers.mp. OR broiler.mp. OR broilers.mp. OR exp chickens/)

AND

(red mite.mp. OR red mites.mp. OR Dermanyssus gallinae.mp. OR roost mite.mp. OR roost mites.mp. OR chicken mite.mp. OR chicken mites.mp. OR red chicken mite.mp. OR red chicken mites.mp. OR poultry mite.mp. OR poultry mites.mp. OR poultry red mite.mp. OR poultry red mites.mp. OR PRM.mp. OR ectoparasite.mp. OR ectoparasites.mp. OR ectoparasit*.mp. OR mite.mp. OR mite*.mp. OR exp Ectoparasitic Infestations/ OR exp Mites/ OR exp Mite Infestations/)

AND

(diatomaceous earth.mp. OR diatomaceous-earth.mp. OR kieselgur.mp. OR kieselguhr.mp. OR kiselguhr.mp. OR kiselgur.mp. OR DE.mp. OR diatoma*.mp. OR exp Diatomaceous Earth/)

CAB Abstracts 1910 to Present using the OVID interface

(chicken.mp. OR chickens.mp. OR fowl.mp. OR poultry.mp. OR hen.mp. OR hens.mp. OR gallus.mp. OR layer.mp. OR layers.mp. OR broiler.mp. OR broilers.mp. OR exp chickens/ OR exp hens/ OR exp poultry/ OR exp fowls/ OR exp Gallus/ OR exp broilers/)

AND

(red mite.mp. OR red mites.mp. OR Dermanyssus gallinae.mp. OR roost mite.mp. OR roost mites.mp. OR chicken mite.mp. OR chicken mites.mp. OR red chicken mite.mp. OR red chicken mites.mp. OR poultry mite.mp. OR poultry mites.mp. OR poultry red mite.mp. OR poultry red mites.mp. OR PRM.mp. OR ectoparasite.mp. OR ectoparasites.mp. OR ectoparasit*.mp. OR mite.mp. OR mite*.mp. OR exp Dermanyssus gallinae/ OR exp ectoparasites/ OR exp mites/)

AND

(diatomaceous earth.mp. OR diatom*.mp. OR DE.mp. OR kiselguhr.mp. OR kiselgur.mp. OR kieselguhr.mp. OR kieselgur.mp. OR exp diatomite/ OR exp kieselguhr/)

Search Outcome

MEDLINE

  • 67 papers found in MEDLINE search
  • 63 papers excluded as they don't meet the PICO question
  • 0 papers excluded as they are in a foreign language
  • 4 papers excluded as they are review articles/in vitro research/conference proceedings
  • 0 total relevant papers from MEDLINE

CAB Abstracts

  • 430 papers found in CAB search
  • 425 papers excluded as they don't meet the PICO question
  • 0 papers excluded as they are in a foreign language
  • 5 papers excluded as they are review articles/in vitro research/conference proceedings
  • 0 total relevant papers from CAB

Total relevant papers

0 relevant papers from both MEDLINE and CAB Abstracts

Comments

No peer reviewed research papers were identified that addressed the PICO question by examining the comparative effect of diatomaceous earth (DE) on red mite infestation in the chicken. This search identified four in vitro based research papers (Maurer et al., 2009; Schulz et al., 2014; Steenberg and Kilpinen, 2014; Kilpinen and Steenberg, 2016) that indicated DE may have some efficacy as an anti-parasitic agent against red mite but were rejected because they were based on findings from in vitro research. One non–peer reviewed report of a case (Roberts, 2010) was identified that reported a lack of red mites observed 3 weeks after DE was applied to a red mite infested hen house, but this was also excluded as it was not considered primary research.

Summary of Evidence

No Summary of Evidence yet.

Comments

There is a need for peer reviewed in vivo research in this area before recommending its use in preference to other products with proven efficacy under the conditions in which the product is intended to be used. Whilst expert opinion, narrative reviews, and other similar sources may provide some guidance, the limitations to these should be acknowledged when advising clients.

Bottom line

At the present time, there is no comparative, peer reviewed, in vivo evidence identifying diatomaceous earth as an effective anti–parasitic treatment for red mite infested chickens. The veterinary practitioner should review the evidence base for other ecto-parasiticides used in the treatment of red mite, their own clinical experiences and that of expert opinion in relation to comparative efficacy of red mite killing products.

Disclaimer

The BETs on this website are a summary of the evidence found on a topic and are not clinical guidelines. It is the responsibility of the individual veterinary surgeon to ensure appropriate decisions are made based on the specific circumstances of patients under their care, taking into account other factors such as local licensing regulations. Read small print

References

Kilpinen, O, Steenberg, T, (2016). Repellent activity of dessicant dusts and conidia of the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassania when tested against red poultry mites (Dermanyssus gallinae) in laboratory experiments. Experimental and Applied Acarology 70: 329 - 341.

Maurer, V, Perler, E, Heckendorn, F, (2009). In vitro efficacies of oils, silicas and plant preparations against the poultry red mite Dermanyssus gallinae. Experimental and Applied Acarology 48: 31 - 41.

Roberts, V, (2010). Clinical Conundrum. Companion Dec: 8 - 11.

Schulz, J, Berk, J, Shuhl, J, Schrader, L, Kaufhold, S, Mewis, I, Hafez, HM, Ulrichs, C, (2014). Characterization, mode of action, and efficacy of twelve silica - based acaricides against poultry red mite (Dermanyssus gallinae) in vitro. Parsitology Research 113: 3167 - 3175.

Steenberg, T, Kilpinen, O, (2014). Synergistic interaction between the fungus Beauveria bassiana and dessicant dusts applied against poultry red mites (Dermanyssus gallinae). Experimental and Applied Acarology 62: 511 - 524.

About this BET

First author:
Louise Anne Buckley
Second author:
Marnie Brennan
Institution:

Harper Adams University

CEVM, University of Nottingham

Search last performed:
2017-07-07 13:01:50
Original publication date:
2017-09-29 13:01:50
Last updated:
2017-09-29 13:01:50
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