Understanding the dynamics of movement of bacteria within the environment and between species is crucial to unraveling the epidemiology of bacterial diseases and to developing biosecurity measures to prevent dissemination. Many arthropods, some beneficial and some detrimental, inhabit poultry houses. The lesser mealworm, Alphitobius diaperinus (Panzer) (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae), is a pest commonly found in poultry litter that can harbor pathogens involved in both human and animal health issues. Current farm management practices perpetuate persistent infestations contributing to the dispersal of beetles and pathogens. To study the dissemination of bacteria by this beetle, we require the ability to differentiate internal from external sources of bacteria carried by the beetle. In this study, we tested previously described methods to externally disinfect beetles and found disinfectant efficacies between 40 and 98%. The irregular surface of the insect posed a challenge to cleansing procedures because the surface offered many recesses able to sequester bacteria. Complete bacterial disinfection was achieved with a serial treatment of ethanol and hydrogen peroxide or hydrogen peroxide/peracetic acid.
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Vol. 43 • No. 5