Med. Weter. 76 (3), 145-149, 2020

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TOMASZ MITUNIEWICZ, SARA DZIK
Characteristics of lesser mealworm Alphitobius diaperinus (Panzer) (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae)
The intensive increase in poultry production requires a variety of different measures to maintain high productivity of broiler chickens while maintaining a high level of bird welfare. One issue is the growing population of Alphitobius diaperinus, which occurs all over the world. This beetle is considered a pest in poultry production and causes major losses to poultry producers. Its development cycle consists of four stages: an egg, a larva, a pupa and an adult. It is necessary to reduce the number of these insects in poultry houses, in which they constitute a serious problem both for the birds and for the buildings themselves. The beetle does a lot of damage by tunnelling in floor and wall crevices, thus destroying the insulation of the building. It has been proved experimentally that the lesser mealworm is also a vector for many serious diseases of poultry and humans. The beetle infected with pathogens may remain infectious for a long time. A. diaperinus is a carrier of dangerous pathogens and viruses as well as protozoa and parasites in poultry. The lesser mealworm shows a noticeable sexual dimorphism. Correct and quick identification of the sex of A. diaperinus on poultry farms could facilitate insect control. Field and laboratory research is being conducted to find an effective method of reducing the population of the lesser mealworm.
Keywords: darkling beetle, insect pest, poultry production, poultry diseases