Bed bugs in my coop!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Gallo del Cielo, Sep 22, 2010.

  1. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

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    I've been a bit worried about one of my 9 month old hens that stopped laying two months ago and just doesn't look as vibrant as the others. I chalked it up to her being a BO and much less efficient forager than the others and now she's losing feathers as if she's molting (she might be, I don't know) and she does have new pin feathers emerging. Her condition has continued to worry me. I've been checking my girls every week for mites and other parasites and found nothing, not even any marks. This morning I decided to figure this out and spent a couple hours in the coop looking at the smallest details. The first thing I found were insect exoskeletons in the spider webs, but only below where the chickens roost. The highest concentration was right below where the ailing BO sleeps. I collected them and upon close examination, they looked like smallish bed-bugs. I then looked up near the roost and around the crack between two 2x4s were smears I recognized as feces from blood-sucking insects. I jabbed a putty knife I use for scraping in the coop in between the boards and it came out covered in blood. I then was able to collect some intact specimens and they do seem to be bed bugs. It's embarrassing and horrific that they've been feeding nightly on my girls. I just found out minutes ago and I'm contemplating how I'm going to treat this but I really wanted to share this with others since it hasn't seemed to have come up much lately. The odd thing is I can't find any marks on the birds, but they're obviously being bitten. I suspect with the nation-wide outbreak of these pests, we might see them showing up in our coops.
     
  2. Beckyhsinglsc

    Beckyhsinglsc Chillin' With My Peeps

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  3. @~rosecityfarmgirl~@

    @[email protected] Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have them in my HOUSE - my tenant brought them home from the ferry ship he works on, and the government health dept doesn't care AT ALL. We've called, others have called, they don't think its a big deal.
    BE WARNED - they are a menace if you get them in the house! Leave a change of clothes outside for coop work for the next 6 months, NEVER wear anything you touched a chicken with back in your home. EVER.

    That being said.... you can get them out of your coop. Remove all of the shavings and rinse out the coop. Scrub it out with detergent, rinse, let dry.
    Now, we'll kill the bugs. Get yourself a steam-cleaner (ours was $50), and make sure it has attachments for the end. You need to steam clean every square inch of your coop. Steam kills bugs, eggs, and larva. Steam it over and over until you think it's overkill. Then steam some more. Blast it into cracks, everywhere!
    When dry completely, put down a good layer (half inch, to be safe) of diatomaceous earth, you'll find it in bulk, and cheap, at your feed store. Put fresh shavings on top.

    Now, you can't steam your chickens, but you CAN wash them. Water, no matter how hot or cold, won't kill bugs, eggs, etc. But you may be able to wash the bugs out of the feathers. A nice warm, soapy bath should do the trick. Ruffle the feathers to rinse as many out as possible. Blowdry, and when the birds are completely dry, flip them over and dust them with DE. Put more DE where ever they dust bathe.

    This should do the trick! Check every single week for the next 6 months in the cracks, on the birds etc. It takes a while because DE isn't a poison (it clogs their breathing pores and cuts their bodies), but it's the only legal remedy (along with steam, always steam!)

    For any clothing etc in contact with chickens or the coop:
    Wash normally in hot or cold water, with soap, as usual. Put everything trough the dryer cycle TWICE on the hottest and longest setting, it is the ONLY method proven to kill them. We wash our sheets once a week and sometimes just toss the bedding into the dryer for an hour every couple days. They are the WORST pest to get in a house, leaving huge itchy welts everywhere they bite. Vacuum your house like crazy and steam the floors too. Good luck!
     
  4. a2ms4chickens

    a2ms4chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I feel your pain. I had the run in with the chicken mites, or roost mites a couple of years ago. It took us 3 weeks to get them all. We tried dusting with Sevin dust, spraying with Sevin spray and still they would not die. I ended up getting some permethrin dust that I found at Vaquero Feeds and dusted their pens, roosts, inside and out and the next day there were thousands of dead mites laying in their pens.

    I recently had my 1st experience with lice and when I was dusting the pens, I found a few chicken mites crawling around. I immediately dusted everything and so far, haven't seen any more.

    They feed at night, so if you go into your coop with a flashlight, you will see them crawling on the roosts and sticking to your chickens feet and legs.

    I had one rooster, the one in my avatar, that was really affected by them. He lost his feathers, and got really weak. He was one of my DS's showbirds, but in the 2 years since he got so sick, he is just now growing his wing feathers back.

    Good luck in getting rid of them. I hope this helped.

    Angie
     
  5. @~rosecityfarmgirl~@

    @[email protected] Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:We actually found a couple of kissing bugs in our house, I had to look up what they were... they look so weird... BUT they prey on bedbugs! We haven't seen any kissing bugs in months, and the bedbugs are slowly getting better...
     
  6. BayouPoules

    BayouPoules Chillin' With My Peeps

    I want to see a pic Gallo del Cielo?!,.. You have such a nice clean coop,.. but there has been so much on the news about the resurgence of bed bugs,.. I want to know what you do about it,.. are there ways to prevent this?
    this will be a learning thread ,.
     
  7. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

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    @[email protected] Thanks for the info. That is essentially my plan. Fortunately, there are only a couple cracks in my coop in which they can hide. I have to get into the garage and find that steamer. I'm also going to put this serious double-sided tape on the boards above where the bugs sleep during the day but below where the chickens are (the birds won't be able to get to it) and I think that will immediately stop the nightly migration. The odd thing about this is I've been so good about checking the birds and I can't find a mark on them!

    Beckyhsinglsc: No, they're not kissing bugs (I wish!), if you do google-images on bed-bugs, you'll see what they look like. That is great that the kissing bugs eat the bed bugs! I have some in my yard and I'll put them in the coop when I get it cleaned.

    Angie: thanks for the support, it means a lot to me. I've been so worried about all the wild birds (which I finally fixed) I kept thinking the problem was coming from them and I expected to find lice or mites or something like that. I'm definitely looking forward to sundown to see first-hand what's going on in there.
     
  8. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

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    Quote:So much for keeping a clean coop! [​IMG] I really didn't even think of bed bugs in the coop. For all out there that don't know, the bug hides in a crevice during the day, moves up onto an animal, feeds for about 5-10 minutes like a vampire sucking blood, then moves back to the crevice. It feeds about once every five days or so and molting between feeding events. I don't have any pics of the bugs, I was so disturbed I flattened every one I found after I ID'd them. If I find some more I'll post pics.
     
  9. @~rosecityfarmgirl~@

    @[email protected] Chillin' With My Peeps

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  10. @~rosecityfarmgirl~@

    @[email protected] Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 17, 2010
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    Quote:So much for keeping a clean coop! [​IMG] I really didn't even think of bed bugs in the coop. For all out there that don't know, the bug hides in a crevice during the day, moves up onto an animal, feeds for about 5-10 minutes like a vampire sucking blood, then moves back to the crevice. It feeds about once every five days or so and molting between feeding events. I don't have any pics of the bugs, I was so disturbed I flattened every one I found after I ID'd them. If I find some more I'll post pics.

    Hit them with a spray of rubbing alcohol to kill them without flattening!
     

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