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Studies on the Biological Control of the sheep scab mite Psoroptes ovis - OD0545

Sheep scab is an allergic dermatitis caused by the mite, Psoroptes ovis. Non-chemical approaches to the control of arthropod ectoparasites are being sought as alternative strategies to insecticidal and acaracidal chemicals which are perceived to be harmful to operator personnel and to the environment, and which will eventually select for resistant strains of mites.The use of entomopathogenic fungi as biological control agents for pest insects has been widely considered in the past. To be effective, fungal pathogens must come into external contact with the target arthropod, penetrate the cuticle, debilitate and ultimately kill the arthropod pest or parasite. There have been few attempts to control ectoparasitic mites with fungi. However, there are sound arguments to suggest that parasitic mites may form an ideal target for such biological control agents. Fungal hyphae have been shown to easily penetrate the soft unsclerotised exoskeleton of astigmatid mites, such as the genus Psoroptes over the entire surface. It has also been shown that the sheep fleece provides a microhabitat in which fungal spores can survive and germinate.

This project will seek to bring together the collaborative expertise of specialists in biological control of agricultural pests with scientists and veterinarians experienced in the control of animal ectoparasites to investigate the potential for entomopathogenic fungi to control the sheep scab mite, Psoroptes ovis.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2004

To: 2006

Cost: £639,249
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Central Science Laboratory
Animal Diseases              
Animal Health              
Animal Welfare              
Biological Control              
Endemic Diseases              
Livestock Farming              
Sheep Scab              
Veterinary Medicines              
Fields of Study
Animal Health