Distributions of lesser mealworm, Alphitobius diaperinus (Panzer) (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae), in litter of a compacted earth floor broiler house in southeastern Queensland, Australia, were studied over two flocks. Larvae were the predominant stage recorded. Significantly low densities occurred in open locations and under drinker cups where chickens had complete access, whereas high densities were found under feed pans and along house edges where chicken access was restricted. For each flock, lesser mealworm numbers increased at all locations over the first 14 d, especially under feed pans and along house edges, peaking at ≈26 d and then declining over the final 28 d. A life stage profile per flock was devised that consisted of the following: beetles emerge from the earth floor at the beginning of each flock, and females lay eggs, producing larvae that peak in numbers at ≈3 wk; after a further 3 to 4 wk, larvae leave litter to pupate in the earth floor, and beetles then emerge by the end of the flock time. Removing old litter from the brooder section at the end of a flock did not greatly reduce mealworm numbers over the subsequent flock, but it seemed to prevent numbers increasing, while an increase in numbers in the grow-out section was recorded after reusing litter. Areas under feed pans and along house edges accounted for 5% of the total house area, but approximately half the estimated total number of lesser mealworms in the broiler house occurred in these locations. The results of this study will be used to determine optimal deployment of site-specific treatments for lesser mealworm control.
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Vol. 100 • No. 4