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Organic treatment for tiny black mites or bed bugs?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

I'm going crazy!  barnie We discovered tiny (.5 mm or less) black bugs in the chicken tractor about 1 wk ago.  They crawl mostly on me (and the chickens).  My 6 kids aren't bothered or don't notice them.  They (or something else) are biting me at night and I am itchy all night and wake up with new small red bumps around my underarms and upper thighs.  I haven't actually seen any bugs on the bed. The chickens are chewing on themselves and only gently getting each others bugs.  Other than that they look fine.  My kids are the ones who have been locking the chickens up at night and filling their food and water most of the time so I don't know when this started.  They also spend a lot of time holding them and watching them inside the run part.  I'm 6.5 months pg and haven't been going outside much because of the heat (near Houston).  They are almost 20 weeks so hubby has checked for eggs every couple of days and hadn't noticed them.

Yesterday we bathed the chickens in about 3 gallons of water mixed with about a cup of Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Castille soap and a few drops of Eucalyptus oil (stuff I had).  They were rinsed twice, the 2nd rinse had a LITTLE  tea tree oil in it.  I wanted to let the soap sit on them for a while but one of my helpers kept disappearing so some of them got rinsed pretty quickly.  After we were done they still seemed to have a few live bugs on them but it was better and they looked beautiful.  My husband jet sprayed the chicken tractor (with water) and said the number of bugs was disgusting.  After spraying and cleaning everything out he sprayed the whole thing with Garlic Barrier and a little neem oil (things we had).  When we still saw a few bugs crawling on the wood my husband sprayed an orange oil and Dr. Bronner's mix I had for the garden.  We finally got food grade DE and sprinkled that all over everthing with a sifter and today we'll squirt it more thoroughly in the cracks with a mustard bottle (pointed spout). It hasn't really smelled much and I've been too tired and hot to check on the coop part.  I really wish I had done the DE from the beginning.  Also, they now have a dust bath with ashes and DE but we haven't dusted the individual chickens with anything yet because I (the director) got tired and hungry.  The 6 patches of grass/dirt where we rotate the tractor were also sprayed with garlic barrier and later sprinkled with DE.   We all immediately showered when we came in last night and threw the clothes and towels in the wash.  This morning I was the one to let the chickens out into the run part and fill the food and water (QUICKLY) and I have had more bugs on my face and hands than ever!!! They have been around my desk and on the leather couch (which I haven't done anything about).  Atleast that's where I catch them on me.

So, what are these evil things and what do I do?  I know about all the chemical treatments and I don't want to use them or have my kids (15yo-3yo) handling the chickens who've been dusted with them.  I guess I want to know if there's anything else natural first and how to get them out of my house!

Sorry so long! smile

p.s.  They were extremely cute sitting in the sun wrapped in towels.  They must have been in shock.  Most of them just sat there and a couple took a short nap.  There are 14, by the way.

post #2 of 26

Sounds like mites. as in another post about roaches, Borax washing soda, its sharp and pops the little buggers.
totally natural non toxic etc.
plus it actually smells good.
If they look like this then they are bed bugs. if  not they may be typical  chicken mites. for bed bugs
sprikle the borax on the bed pay particular attention to the banding around both mattresses and in between, flip both matresses and treat both sides, let set while you are putting the washing soda in your vaccume.!/2 hour minimum. then vaccume, bag up contents and toss inthe trash OUTSIDE not inside.

The bugs can not get tolerant to the soda as  the main ingrediant is basically  a pulverized type of lime.
good luck.

post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thanks, gypsy2621--I'm a little confused, though.  You said "if they look like this"...  Did you mean to put a pic in there.  They are smaller than all the bed bugs I've seen online (showing mm measurements), and the wrong color.  They are dark brown or black, smaller than a poppy seed.  My husband is looking at a live one (stuck to tape) through a microscope right now.  I'll see what he says.  Oh!  He says it has a big bottom, 6 short tiny legs.  It is so tiny you can only see these details through the microscope.  Didn't I read that mites have 8 legs and bed bugs have 6?  Anyone know?

About the Borax--
Are you talking about Borax OR washing soda?  My borax box says it contains sodium tetraborate decahydrate.  My washing soda says it contains sodium carbonate.  We were going to put DE on the bed but maybe we'll try one of these. 

Hubby's really checking out the bed right now and can't find anything.  They would be easily visible with the naked eye, right?

post #4 of 26

yes bed bugs can be seen WHEN they are en mass,  the more there are the easier they are to see.
either the washing soda or the 20 mule team borax works well. both are sharp  little grainuals and pop the nasty little bugs.
I am not sure why the picture didnt show up in the link, thats curious, usually wikkpedia is good about the pictures showing.
it says they have 6 legs.
also chicken mites have 6 legs, ugh  going to be hard to figure out which one it is  but the Borax and or DE should do the trick either way.
personally I wouldnt go with anything toxic as with you being pregnant it isnt  good for either your not the baby.

If you have a pressure washer available it might help clean them out of the coop. beds  vaccume with either DE or Borax in the vaccume cleaner, I use a Shop vac mostly cause I like how they work. and how they tend to suck the rug contents up much better.
also if you have  fleas the powders in the bottom will help  destroy them also.
I have also been known to throw an organic flea collar in there when there is nothing else available. btu keep in mind shop vacs tend to let the  smell escape unless you have a hepa filter.

have hubby compare what he is seeing under the microscope to this discription and see if it comes close.

Poultry Lice
Poultry lice are tiny, wingless, 6-legged, flat-bodied, insects with 
Figure 1. Lice eggs at the base of the feather shaft
broad, round heads. They lay their eggs on the host birds feathers, especially near the base of the feather shaft (Figure 1). A female louse will lay 50 to 300 eggs at a time, which she cements to the feather shaft. There are several species of lice that affect poultry, and multiple species can affect a bird at any given time. Some species can be localized on specific locations like the quill lice; or others can be found over most of the body surface like the chicken body lice. The lice found on poultry do not suck blood as the lice found in other species of animals; rather they feed on dry skin scales, feathers, and scabs. However, they will ingest blood extruding from irritated skin. The entire life cycle of the lice occurs on the host bird, primarily in the feathers. Poultry lice are host specific and cannot be transferred to humans.

post #5 of 26

I understand that you want to be organic but I would use a pesticide or 2 and keep the children away from the chickens for a week.  Use Sevin liquid mixed with water (per bottle directions) and spray the chicken tractor very liberally and open all door and windows to dry things out.  Then I would move the tractor to a new location and dust everything heavily with DE.  Next I would dust the chickens with a pyrethren poultry dust (made from flowers) and then in a week worm them with ivermectin.  The pour on kind used for cattle.  Apply 6 drops to the birds back near the base of the neck on the skin not the feathers.  This will kill all external parasites and internal worms.

post #6 of 26

I was reading a post about the pour on ivermectin. I got some at the TSC near me. 250ml bottle for 14.99 and is enough to probably worm all my chickens I will have in my lifetime! The thing I liked about what i read was that it also killed biting lice and mites and also wormed the chickens. i have sprayed my chickens with the liquid sevin spray from walmart too. I am soooo paranoind about getting lice and mites, but i keep reading this board and end up itching myself all night! Good luck and I hope you get rid of them!!!! fl
Oh, the ivermectin I got is call Iver-On.

Edited by darbella - 8/19/09 at 6:17pm
Check out my handcrafted chicken jewelry for sale in the ALL Else for Sale thread!
Loving my flock of Modern Game bantams, a few cochins, Shamo chicks, and an assortment of chicks for sale.
Check out my handcrafted chicken jewelry for sale in the ALL Else for Sale thread!
Loving my flock of Modern Game bantams, a few cochins, Shamo chicks, and an assortment of chicks for sale.
post #7 of 26

Their is another post on here about fleas. It was saying to wash with Dawn liquid detergent, as it will break down the wax coating on the fleas and drown them, you need to allow time for the Dawn to do it's magic. It will also destroy Mites and Lice.
It is not a deterrent, You will need to treat with something else for that.

Here is the post:

Butter My Butt and call me a Biscuit!
Butter My Butt and call me a Biscuit!
post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 

UPDATE:  The chickens got individually dusted with DE by hubby and son (about 3-4 days after their baths and cleaning everything out).  Then a few days later I reapplied DE to the ground where the tractor was sitting.  Hubby also put either DE or borax or washing soda or a combination of them on our bed.  By day 7 there were no more bugs anywhere!  2 weeks after the bath and cleaning we saw a couple of bugs but no more since and no more bites!!!  So, I still don't know for sure what these were but there were millions and they are gone WITHOUT USING CHEMICALS. Yippee!!!  woot  Don't give up, you obsessively organic people out there! 

frow Thank you everyone!  I used a combination of advice I got from this thread and many others.  I love this website!

My husband did put quite a bit of DE in the coop part of the tractor (I was concerned it was too much) so maybe that helped.  Also the chickens are back to eating lots of garlic (I had slacked off).  They're not laying yet and the oldest are 23 weeks but hopefully very soon!


post #9 of 26

I'm so happy to hear this.

It can be so annoying. (bugs) To put it mildly. lol

Butter My Butt and call me a Biscuit!
Butter My Butt and call me a Biscuit!
post #10 of 26

I think before taking any should collect more information about that stranger...

Edited by Braxton - 6/20/11 at 11:25pm
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