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Mites! One thing after another...

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
So, I cleaned my coop and did a scrub down about a week ago. Other than quite a bit of dander and stuck-on poop (it's been cold and wet, so I've done the minimal for cleanings), nothing seemed bad. I bought new straw day before yesterday, cleaned out the previous weeks' bedding and replaced. Yesterday, I go in to hang a new roost,and within seconds, my legs are covered in mites. It seems like every few times I get bedding, it's got a load of free mites, too!

I bought several bales, is there anything I can do to kill the mites in them? Catching and treating 19 chickens is already going to be a real pain, not to mention the creepy suckers getting in my house, I don't want to have to eat that money, too! Any suggestions? I've got permethrin spray and bathe them in permethrin solution, but don't know about wetting baled straw and leaving it sit. Seven dust maybe?
post #2 of 13

Straw can harbor mites inside when you being it in. That is how some people get them. I would switch to pine shavings, which usually stay drier than hay or straw. Also mite eggs hatch every 4-10  days, so they may need to be treated several times. Permethrin is safer than Sevin dust, although I have used it without problems. Sevin can kill beneficial insects such as honeybees, though. There are several good links about poultry mites if you Google it.

post #3 of 13

I would switch the bedding to shavings. You may want to put some sevin dust on the floor of the coop before you put the shavings in. I know it is not great to have to use any poison but when you have to you have to.


Scrapping the straw you just bought really is a bummer but not as bad as treating all the hens over and over and over. They will be more comfortable and healthy if you get rid of the straw.

post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you! For the reply.

I bought some sevin dust today out of desperation, but I'm still on the fence about using it, though. I have only good experience with permethrin solution dips, but I'm worried about bathing them while it's still so cold at night.

I'm not a fan of pine shave (and aspen is too pricy for me), though. I'm allergic to the oils and it doesn't work well in our compost. My bedding stays dry, however. The only mess is usually under the roosts, and I make a habit to clean those 3 times a week. My chickens are only ever in the coop at night, rain or shine.

Shavings can also be contaminated with mites because bags aren't perfectly sealed. I've had tainted aspen cost me hundreds in mite and lice treatments for rodents. So that part is really luck of the draw. I was hoping someone had experience saving unused bedding. With aspen, I just stuck it in the freezer, but baled straw is a bit big for that.

I'm wondering if I coated the bales in sevin and sealed then in trash bags, if that wouldn't fix the issue.
post #5 of 13

There are a lot of back and forth conversations about it but I will toss it out there for you anyway.

Diatomacious Earth may be an option to treat the bales with. (I know my spelling of that is not correct)

It is also harmful to bees and all that but does not contain a pesticide per say. Now when it gets wet it is inert so you could sprinkle it on the bedding in the coop to help control the pests BUT it cannot get them all and would need you to repeat every time you add or change the straw. When you put the straw in the compost wet it down and it should not become air born which would reduce the risk to bees. It would not prevent the risk 100% but would reduce the risk. It will not get them under control ON the birds by itself. If you have an active infestation you will need to take more aggressive action.


I had a case of mites in my coops ONCE. I treated with sevin dust and again in 6 days. I have had no other mite infestations. My climate is dry so that may be part of it. Some use sevin some do not.


That is my thoughts on it. Not sure if it helps but there it is.

post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Your spelling was really close! Just swap that i with an e!

I do dust the coop with DE when I do deep clean and keep it in their bath area, but I heard it's a better preventative than a treatment. But maybe in the unused straw, since it'll sit a bit before use, that would be long enough to be effective! It's worth a shot, I guess. As for the bees, it's pretty minimal risk to them, so I think they'll be safe.

I do think the coop needs a good, strong bug killer, so I'm sure sevin is my best bet (I have lots of wood nooks and crannies). Did you treat the birds with sevin? That's my biggest worry, that I might cause them harm.
post #7 of 13

Mites can be a real headache, and I have read that they can only be controlled. There is a lot written about both lice and mites, and here is some of what exists that might help you:

Edited by Eggcessive - 2/20/16 at 7:10am
post #8 of 13

I did treat the birds directly with it. I mixed sevin and DE in a large tote so I had about 2 inches to work with. I used one can sevin to 3 cans DE. I had to guess at the amount of DE since it came in a 50 pound bag. I lowered a bird in and proceeded to rub handfuls into her feathers while not getting flogged. I was able to just put the lid on the tote and save it for the next application. DO wear a pair of goggles and a particle mask. They make quite a cloud when you let them go.

post #9 of 13
DE may prevent infestation but it won't kill pest readily. ..only if you have them in a contained area where you completely bury them with it....then the dehydration may kill them.
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by bigt447 View Post

DE may prevent infestation but it won't kill pest readily. ..only if you have them in a contained area where you completely bury them with it....then the dehydration may kill them.

Right, that's what I was lead to believe before. It may work for the bales that will sit, but I'm sure I need stronger for the birds and coop.

Another concern I have, the more I think of it is what of my yard? They're FR and I wouldn't even know where to begin with eliminating them in the wooded half acre!
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