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Egg Producers Pleased with Reduced Pests—and Costs

photo of hister beetle eating a fly larva

Hister beetle eating a fly larva. This beneficial beetle will also eat fly eggs, which look like white grains of rice.

Photo: Cornell Veterinary Entomology Program

When New York State’s two top egg producers–with a combined production of close to 400 million eggs per year–are able to cut insecticide use in their poultry barns by 75% or more, that’s worth crowing about. Instead of applying chemicals, they purchase beneficial parasites to keep pesky fly populations down–and they still save money.

Now an additional biological control tactic has emerged from within the poultry facilities–the hister beetle. Egg producers are learning how to trap, transfer, then release naturally occurring hister beetles to areas where better control is needed. This technique has the potential to further reduce fly populations and save tens of thousands of dollars for New York’s egg producers.

"Hister beetles can be very prolific and don’t become pests by migrating. If we are able to perfect techniques for moving them, we should be able to save yet more money."

–John Gingerich, production manager, Egg Farm Division of Wegmans Food Markets