A Cure for Stick Tight Fleas

Poultry fleas, also known as stick tight fleas due to their ability to attach themselves to a host and not let go, can be a danger to your flock...
By rayday61 · Feb 17, 2012 · Updated Sep 24, 2013 · ·
  1. rayday61
    Poultry fleas, also known as stick tight fleas due to their ability to attach themselves to a host and not let go, can be a danger to your flock as well as your domestic pets. These nasty little critters like to attach themselves to the waddles, combs and around the eyes of your chickens as well as around the eyes of your dogs and cats. While not deadly to the larger animals, they can cause distress and death to members of your flock. The first sign of these fleas will be the constant scratching and shaking of your birds as well as small black specks around the eyes, waddles and combs. At this point you have already had the problem for a while. The hatch time for these fleas is a couple weeks, so you will not be able to rid the coop of them with one treatment. There are some sites that recommend destroying the entire flock and sterilizing the coop area. Pretty drastic, especially if you are attached to the gals. For large flocks there is information from local extension offices as well as within the industry. This article is for the backyard flock and based on my experiences here in Florida. After much trial and error and several infestations I found the best way to rid the girls of this pest was a one on one approach, with a bi-monthly dusting of the coop and surrounding area with Sevin dust. I took each bird and with a cotton swab, I rubbed the infested areas with Adams or Frontline Flea Spray. I then applied a coat of Vaseline to the same areas. No, the flea sprays did not kill any of the birds because they did not inhale the product, thus the cotton swab. I also dusted their bedding, nesting and dusting area every two weeks until all signs of fleas were gone. The birds will naturally dust themselves. I now have all birds clean and have not had a re-infestation in over a year. I continue to dust the area with Sevin about once a month UPDATE:
    After more trial and error I have found Adam's puppy or kitten spray to work best and it can be sprayed directly on the birds. I have also been treating the area with Ortho yard spray with no problems. I wait until the evening when the girls are on the roost. Glad to report all birds happy and clean after 4 months.

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Recent User Reviews

  1. casportpony
    2/5, 2 out of 5, reviewed Sep 1, 2018
    None of the pesticides listed are labeled for use in poultry.
  2. CCUK
    "Flea problem"
    4/5, 4 out of 5, reviewed Jul 29, 2018
    Good advise on how to deal with them.
  3. ronott1
    "Good for getting rid of fleas"
    4/5, 4 out of 5, reviewed Jul 22, 2018
    Great article! I would do this If my flock had fleas

    Needs some after pictures


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  1. Chickie pants
    I need help with buffalo gnats. What is the bet way to get rid of them.
  2. Madison-Jamil
    This article needs revision or removed as it contains recommendations to use Sevin which is no longer approved for use around Poultry or other animals due to safety issues and additionally it kills pollinators.
      Liz7 likes this.
  3. FaerieChicken
    So, I went to the home of the chickens, brought along supplies consisting of Sevin dust (not the actual brand, but it is the same permethrine for veggies and poultry from the feed store), the Adam's Flea and Tick spray for dogs and cats, Vasaline, a wire crate with straw inside sprinkled with the Sevin and DE!
    I took each bird with the help of a friend and swabbed around the eyes, then I sprayed into my hands and decided just to rub it into their comb and wattles and around the rest of their face and head. Those nasty little bugs were jumping everywhere, I was even spraying my friend lol. Then I took the sevin dust and dusted under the neck feathers behind the head, and around the breast feathers, separating the feathers to get the powder in there. Then I slathered on the Vaseline!
    We did this for each and every bird, after each one was done we put it into the crate. I had an old shower curtain down inside my SUV sprinkled with DE and placed the crate of birds on it, the shower curtain went up the sides of the inside of the cargo space as well, to ensure that if the little bugs jumped off they would be landing on DE covered shower curtain :D
    Once we were home, I sprinkled both DE and Sevin on the ground where the crate would sit for the night, placed the crate on top, then sprinkled around the cage. Next day checked on the girls, enlarged their space by placing another wire collapsible crate in front with doors open, more straw and DE with Sevin, added their food, and Probiotic/electrolyte water and let them be, this was now Friday! On Saturday Morning, my friend and I sat out there with them, did another treatment, however, none of the bugs moved, none of them jumped or tried to get away while we were doing it like they had done the first night on Thursday night! But we went ahead and repeated the process again, just to be safe, even though we could see them attached to the chickens, the were not moving. I changed the straw, repowdered, and let them be. Of course this whole time they were getting fresh food and water.....
    Today, Sunday, I sit out there with them, I still see the bugs on them, but I pick up a chicken, and I begin to pull off the bugs, they do not move, and they are a little bit of a challenge to get off, takes a real firm pinch to dislodge them from the skin but they are dead, dead, DEAD! I can't get them all with the chicken moving around in my lap, and there are so many, but man o man, those bugs are definitely dead! I am so happy! Don't get me wrong, they are still on quarantine, and I will more than likely go through and get more off of them as much as I can, put more Vaseline on their heads to ensure I have smothered every last one, but I really do think that I was able to, by starting the treatment at the source before bringing them to my clean environment, not spread it to my flock or my dogs!

    Thank you BYC members for being such a great source of wonderful information. I truly love this place.
  4. rayday61
    My hens have been clean now for over 2 years. The treatment I outlined above works and I believe the spraying of the area with the Ortho yard spray while they were roosting made the difference. Sevin dust never had lasting results. Spraying every 2-4 weeks for about 6 months did the trick. Now I spray only every 3 months.
  5. cracking up
    I used Swat on mine around the face and under the chin. It seems to work well but I sprinkled Sevin dust in their nesting area. They were gone for about a year but when chicks hatch out they seem to come back. They're easier to control in winter.
  6. FaerieChicken
    I am about to adopt 6 young hens/pullets that have this condition. I will of course have them quarentined from the rest of my flock, but I am hoping to rid these girls of it quickly as I do not have the issue at my property therefore keeping the girls contained and heavily treated will be of upmost importance! I hope I can rid them of it in a couple of weeks, wish me luck!
  7. FaerieChicken
    I am about to adopt 6 young hens/pullets that have this condition. I will of course have them quarentined from the rest of my flock, but I am hoping to rid these girls of it quickly as I do not have the issue at my property therefore keeping the girls contained and heavily treated will be of upmost importance! I hope I can rid them of it in a couple of weeks, wish me luck!
  8. rayday61
    Just an update. I went through an entire summer with no recurrence off the fleas. All my birds are looking healthy. I am still spraying the area with Ortho yard spray about every 3 months when they are on the roost.
  9. Michelle82
    Will try. Thanks
  10. cracking up
    Thanks,I guess I'll try the Vaseline and go from there.
  11. rayday61
    No problems. After using this method for a year the birds are clean and none have died from the treatment. I have found Sevin to be useless. I also spray the surrounding area with Ortho Bug B Gone yard spray. I know most folks don't want to use chemicals but the alternative was to sterilize (kill) the flock and start over knowing that the little buggers would come back.
  12. cracking up
    I just found these on my ducks today. I read other comments and tried SWAT on my duck but now I see them on chickens and other ducks. I have sevin but was wondering how you guys are doing with yours.
  13. SAMnELLA
    Well, they still have the fleas, but no lice/mites. I am going to try something else tomorrow. This is getting aggravating!
  14. SAMnELLA
    Oh, they are not on the horses, I was just saying because I have horses, I have a product called "Swat" which I thought would work cause it's an ointment w/insecticide in it. Yes, they ARE stubborn little P. O. S.'s Ha-Ha ! But I WILL defeat them !!!!!!!
  15. rayday61
    Should work on the mites and lice. I'll be surprised if the fleas are affected. If not go with the Adams and /or Vaseline. If they are around the horses eyes, don't spray it on. I know it wont hurt the chickens but I don't know horses. You could use a Qtip in the area. They will die and fall of in a few days. They are stubborn little Sh*#s.
  16. SAMnELLA
    I also have horses, so I put Swat (an ointment made for horses) on their combs/waddles ? where the fleas are. They are hard to pull out !
  17. SAMnELLA
    Diatomaceous Earth. I also found lice on them and the DE got rid of them the same day I put it on, but not the fleas. Yesterday I dusted them real good with High Yeild dust. I didn't notice them getting any new bugs today, but we'll see. The guy in our local Farmer's Co-op said it works better than Sevin.
  18. rayday61
  19. banana-jana
    I have tried viper dust, after about 3 weeks and multiple applications and no reduction in bugs on the birds--I tried the Adams. I used a q-tip it worked great so far. It takes some time. Will repeat this weekend. Also have put seven dust in the entire pen. I have not tried the Vaseline yet. The Adams flea and tick spray applied with a q top has worked to get them off of the birds better than anything I have tried. I did not try DE..what is DE?
  20. SAMnELLA
    Hi, how long does it take for the fleas to come off, or do you have to pull them off. I put Vaseline on them yesterday and put DE on the ground today. I don't have any sevin dust yet.
  21. banana-jana
    Thank you, will try your method. I am so disgusted by the bugs, I am so afraid they will get on me or the boys..so gross. I bought some hard core black plastic gloves, will get to work as soon as the rain passes. I have baby peacocks, and have them in a pen by the house because I am afraid they will get bugs..Thank you so much
  22. rayday61
    If you use the Adams, you probably won't need the Vaseline. The fleas could have been brought in by a new bird or just arrived naturally. They live in the sand and hatch about every 2 weeks so you need to keep at it until you have clean birds then treat the ground area every couple months. Mine are still clean after 4 months.
  23. banana-jana
    Do I use the Vaseline on top of the Adams spray?
  24. banana-jana
    Ok, I have tried the viper dust, there are less but the birds still have the bugs. I have used it 4 times on the birds and the beds and pens. I don't know what else to do. I will have to buy the adams or frontline I guess. Does anyone know where these things come from--the bugs? I have had ducks for 7 years and never had bugs.
  25. banana-jana
    This is exactly what my ducks have, they got them from an adopted turkey..I will try the 7 dust, and the vaseline.

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