Beetle In Poultry House Controlled By Darkling Beetle Insecticide

Richard Hack

Richard graduated from Clemson University with a Master of Agriculture in development and marketing of parasiticides. His areas of expertise include the development of parasiticides for livestock and companion animals.

Novel Poultry Spinosyn Insecticide Formulation Helps With Darkling Beetle Control

Headshot of Richard Hack

Posted by Richard Hack on 15 March, 2022


Darkling beetles (Alphitobius diapenirus) are the major pests infesting broiler and turkey brooder facilities. They carry and can transmit zoonotic diseases such as Salmonella; destroy insulation, resulting in higher energy costs; and impact production when birds are not feeding or resting due to beetles under the feedlines, creating animal welfare issues.

​​When it comes to helping control darkling beetle populations, producers and applicators should implement an Integrated Pest Management (IPM), one strategy to take control of infestations is by implementing an appropriate chemical rotation for control programs.

Effective Insecticide Rotation Strategy

The development of resistance to insecticides due to the repeated use of compounds belonging to the same mode of action (MOA) is a growing concern. An effective rotation strategy as a part of IPM alternates between products from completely different MOA groups, not just between brands from the same MOA group. Modes of action available include:

  • Pyrethroids: sodium channel modulators that disrupt the normal flow of sodium ions
  • Organophosphates: cholinesterase inhibitors that prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine
  • Neonicotinoids: acetylcholine receptor agonists that mimic the action of acetylcholine
  • Spinosyns: allosteric activators of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors

Pyrethroids and neonicotinoids are the most widely used chemical classes in poultry operations because of their availability and relative low cost. Organophosphates are a class of insecticides that provide long residual control but have come under recent pressure by consumers and legislators.

Spinosyns can sometimes be overlooked in the poultry industry but offer an alternative MOA group option to producers. Recently, Elanco developed a first-of-its-kind, solid tablet spinosyn option, Conquest™, for poultry producers to help control darkling beetles in broilers and turkeys.  

Unique, Ready-To-Use Tablet Insecticide

Adult darkling beetles and larvae are attracted to the tablet and when they taste it, they stop eating and are controlled. The duration of the tablets is determined by the existing beetle population in the poultry house. Tablets will last a longer time with low populations and a shorter time with high beetle populations.

Conquest can be applied down the feed line on top of the shavings using a seeder or by hand. It takes approximately eight minutes to apply with a seeder and 15 minutes by hand.

A laboratory study was conducted to determine the attraction, speed of kill and duration of the Conquest tablet. Five thousand adult darkling beetles were exposed to three Conquest tablets over a five-week period. Results showed:

  • One hundred percent control was achieved at 24 hours after beetle introduction.²
  • One thousand beetles consumed 0.1638 grams of the Conquest tablet over seven days. 
  • Tablets were totally consumed at the end of the five-week observation, concluding the study.²

Additionally, field studies were conducted in six states with the following results:

  • Two sites confirmed a reduction of darkling beetle populations when Conquest was applied to three consecutive broiler flocks.²
  • Three sites confirmed efficacy with one or two Conquest applications.²
  • No adverse reactions were reported.²

Producers can contact their Elanco Technical Consultant to discuss ways to develop a well-planned IPM program or learn more about Conquest and other Elanco solutions for pest control.



Darkling beetle



¹Elanco Study ELA2000309 2021 (v1.0) [Morgan Russell on behalf of Jen Miller]

²Elanco Study ELA2000263 2021 (v1.0) [Morgan Russell on behalf of Jen Miller]