Dealing with bird mites; my home, my hens, my itchyness!


6 Years
Apr 13, 2013
I also have them-I am an RN and used to have chickens-husband stopped burning woo and he thought the mites were in the heating ducts-but I think I contracted them from a pt. We also had sparrows in our garage-the chickens have been long gone though. Any way am using green clean and drinking Damtiaticous earth. Have had them for 2 1/2 moths now and had to move out of the house-husband had a few bites but he is fine now and I was infiltrated with them and now have them in my stool. The dE seems to be working and my skin is almost clear but have to keep the green clean on the skin-trying to get them out of my car but difficult to do.


Heavenly Grains for Hens
9 Years
Jun 8, 2010
Pacific NW- where the Douglas Firs grow
I also have them-I am an RN and used to have chickens-husband stopped burning woo and he thought the mites were in the heating ducts-but I think I contracted them from a pt. We also had sparrows in our garage-the chickens have been long gone though. Any way am using green clean and drinking Damtiaticous earth. Have had them for 2 1/2 moths now and had to move out of the house-husband had a few bites but he is fine now and I was infiltrated with them and now have them in my stool. The dE seems to be working and my skin is almost clear but have to keep the green clean on the skin-trying to get them out of my car but difficult to do.

Check with a doctor- could be scabies maybe? Do a search for "permethrin scabies spray" or something like that and you will see various things that doctors tell people to take. Permethrin is the same chemical we use on poultry to kill mites and lice (never use a poultry product on your body or car or home). In terms of them going internal on you, I'd see a doctor about that for sure!

If it is *only* the red mite from the sparrows that you are dealing with (and not scabies), they can live up to 9 months with no bird blood meal. They cannot breed off human blood, and so they will die eventually. They can collect in your home and car and bite humans for that time.

If you are dealing with scabies, however, that is something that should be followed by a doctor for sure. I have no experience with it and cannot really tell you anything. I hope you can be free soon from this.
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6 Years
Apr 13, 2013
Alreday did 5 perm oints and 5 Ivermectens with no relief. Currently doing kleen green and DE which is working so far and getting better. The mites are coming out of every ooening in my body and suspect rat mites.


6 Years
Sep 22, 2013
I read your post and wanted to share with you and everyone what I have learned.

Bird Mites are a serious problem that is growing worldwide. Most troubling is that the medical profession still believes they don’t prey on humans. Well unfortunately they do and in fact, mites have been a plague to humans going back to days of the ancient Greek writings. Mites do turn on humans and they will ruin your life as well as your flock.

Here is a quote from a respected international scientific journal…
“The poultry red mite Dermanyssus gallinae De Geer 1778 is the most important ectoparasite of layers in Europe (Chauve 1998). The chicken mite is a blood-sucking parasite that can lead to high economic losses. Control and production losses in Europe have been estimated at €130 million per annum (van Emous 2006; Mul et al. 2009). Heavy infestations can lead to severe stress among the laying hens resulting in a decrease of egg production, egg quality, weight gain in young birds, and it can even cause death (Chauve 1998; Kirkwood 1967; Pospischil 2001). Furthermore, D. gallinae can act as a potential vector and reservoir for several bacterial and viral patho- gens such as Salmonella spp., Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae, Pasteurella multocida, Borrelia anserina, Coxiella burnetii, chicken pox virus, Newcastle disease virus, and St. Louis encephalitis virus (Chirico et al. 2003; Lundh et al. 2005; Moro et al. 2007; Smith et al. 1945).
Control of the poultry red mite is still difficult today, especially for food producing poultry, because there is currently no registered compound available on the German market. Chicken mites are usually controlled by treating poultry houses with synthetic acaricides. Because of the repeated use of these acaricides, some have become less effective (Beugnet et al.
1997; Chauve 1998; Nordenfors et al. 2001; Mul et al. 2009).
Due to the life habits of D. gallinae, less intensive farming systems like barns, free range, and organic farming show much higher prevalence rates than cage systems. The ban of traditional cage systems for poultry in Europe by 2012, as well as the removal of acaricides from national markets due to the increase in acaricide resistance and welfare concerns, will probably increase the problems caused by the poultry red mite (Sparangano et al.
2009). “

You can also go to to learn from others whose lives have been affected by this menace.

While this is depressing as a life in hell, there is hope. We have successfully regained our lives and pushed the mites back out of home in 30 days and are close to removing them from our flock entirely. I hope that our experience can help others on this site. Raising chickens is no longer a 4H project… it is serious business that can affect your family’s lives forever unless you are prepared. I wish someone had shared his or her story with me and I might have been better prepared for the nightmare that ensued.

Steps to Rid Bird Mites (Dermanyssus Gallinea)

1) Purchase some citrus enzyme at or just buy Dawn liquid soap. Mix it in a spray bottle at around a 7:1 ratio. Use it as a topical spray when you are suffering a swarm of mites. This will knock them down and allow you some temporary relief.
2) Use Epson Salt in your shower and bath. Epson Salt contains sulfur, which will kill the little buggers. I had bad sores on both my legs and was suffering dearly from scratching them to the point of bleeding. My wife said take an Epson Salt bath and voilà; my sores began healing overnight… really overnight. We now keep Epson Salt in containers in the shower and routinely rub down with the salt and let it set for 30 seconds before rinsing. It will clean you right up and get them off your body, until your next exposure. Now you need them out of your environment.
3) Heat Treat your coop. Bird mites die at either -4 F or 113 F / 45 C. Either way you get there, you need to kill off the hive, otherwise you will keep getting infected along with your chickens continuing to suffer. I used heat to cook the coop and had good results. I used a diesel bullet heater, an infrared thermometer and some welding blankets to blast the coop, with the chickens removed, I drove the temperature up to 140 F. I held it there for about an hour. You should go longer for really bad infestations, up to 24hrs. Keep in mind that although the coop may be 140 F deep in the crevices and bedding may be a mild 85 F. Time and temperature are the variables that will dictate how deep your temp gets. WARNING YOU COULD START A FIRE, SO PLEASE USE CAUTION AND COMMON SENSE. Keep an extinguisher around at all times and remove flammable items from area. Use steam as an alternative if possible.
4) Next you need you focus on your home. Steam clean everything you own. I purchased a commercial steamer for this purpose, but an iron will due in a pinch. The key here is to use steam on everything fluffy that you own in your house. This means, cloths, pillows, carpets, couch, chair, car, shoes and anything with padding like stuffed animals, etc. must be brought to 113 F else you will just get re-infested and they will drive you nuts. They are wired to find the nest of their host and to bed close so they can feed and then leave their host. Our fluffy world is a haven for mites, hence why dust mites (which don’t bite) are also such a problem.
5) Bag up everything that cant be thoroughly steamed such as mattresses and pillows. I purchased dust mite mattress bags for all beds and even modified one for our couch until I could heat it. This is daunting since most of us have tons of stuff, but is a must to get control of the situation.

OPTIONAL – Freezing. I also purchased a commercial ice cream freezer that goes down to -50 F so we could freeze our stuff instead of steaming everything. We also use the freezer for flash freezing our vegies and meat now that the infestation is over, so it was a good investment.
6) ADVANCED INFESTATIONS – Heat Treat your Home. In the pest business there is a method called Thermal Remediation, which means they cook your entire home at 120-140 F to clean it out. Forewarning, it is expensive but may be worth it depending on how bad your situation is. We did it ourselves and it was a big task. In a separate email I can privately share with you our experiences with doing it ourselves. IT is VERY dangerous and I recommend hiring a professional to do it. They are around and ask your pest control companies about it. They will know…
7) Change your management of the birds. Reduce any contact. Wear protective suits/clothing when entering coop. Spray coop and birds with enzyme regularly (weekly for us via a commercial fogger which is about $300). Keep wild birds out. They are the source if the bird mite and will re-expose your flock if they are eating their food and comingling. Provide dusting areas with dirt and also wood ash. This is a great way for the birds to treat themselves. Provide roosts made of plastic vs. wood, since mites love wood.

I hope that the following suggestions help all of you rid yourself of this incredibly tenacious critter that has devastated so many. If I had known more about this growing problem, I could have been better prepared to take on chickens on our farm. This whole experience has impacted us forever and we will not be the same, but as the saying goes, “what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger”.

There is a solution.

God Speed.

The Yakima Kid

Cirque des Poulets
9 Years
Aug 7, 2010
Valley of the Dominiques
See a dermatologist. What you have doesn't sound like mites, given all of the treatments you've had. Scabies sounds like a real possibility, especially if you got the problem from a patient. My brother is an emergency room RN, and he jokes about triple gloving and wanting large animal veterinarian obstetric gloves (they reach to the armpit) when handling patients who come in with severe infestations of assorted "passengers."


8 Years
Aug 29, 2012
Also in Australia and also enjoyed the dreaded little brown mites. They drive you insane itching don't they, especially in the mornings.

Good news is yes, treating them on the hens got rid of them from us too. They were only living short term off the chicken hosts so without new ones to jump onto us the problem went away.

This is what we did on recommendation from here and approved by my vet where I bought a small bottle of ivermectin.

We dosed them with 0.25ml of ivermectin per kg of body weight. She said apply either to the back of the neck or feed to them. I've done both ways.

Then we had to buy a bottle of fido's concentrated flea treatment and mixed it up per instructions on the bottle (can buy at pet shops or feed stores). We then sprayed every single timber surface, including perches in the coop. Pulled out all shavings etc and replaced.

Repeat in 2 weeks.

In about 2-3 days the mites were no longer visible and the horrid itching was gone.


6 Years
Sep 20, 2013
Don't ever listen to exterminators. Everything they do is toxic. For mites--in fact for any insects including spiders and ants--simply use DIATOMACEOUS EARTH (pronounced DYE-at-oh-MAY-shuss).

I'm a bird Mom of 36 years and an animal lover and rescuer even longer: since the age of two. Diatomaceous earth is not, contrary to what the name would lead you to believe, "earth". It has nothing to do with soil. It's natural, pulverized exoskeletons of tiny marine animals. When an insect eats this powder, it desiccates them--dries them out inside, depriving them of moisture--and cuts them so that the insects die.

There are 2 kinds of diatomaceous earth: the kind for industrial use which you put outside on the ground, in your trash cans to prevent ants, flies and other insects, etc. and the edible kind which humans use as nutritional supplements for themselves and their pets. The only difference in manufacturing is not in the diatomaceous earth but in the equipment they use. DO NOT EVER USE industrial diatomaceous earth on your animals or yourself because the equipment can be tainted with pesticides and other poisons.

Diatomaceous earth is available at feed stores, hardware stores, online. Of course, the edible kind is more expensive.

Just dust your birdies with diatomaceous earth and the mites will exit rapidly. Get it under the feathers and massage into their skin underneath their insulation feathers which are right next to their skin and look like puffy little snowflakes.

Mites can eventually kill birds and infect their blood. It's a very serious infestation.

Here's one of my personal experiences with diatomaceous earth. My Mom got an infestation of carpenter ants which burrowed through the exterior brick wall of her home and set up residence inside her curtain rods. When I opened the curtain rod it was filled with what looked like black sand. Every inch of space was filled with hundreds of thousands of ants. I poured them out, vacuumed them up (immediately placing the vacuum's dust bag in the outside garbage cans inside double-knotte plastic) and dusted the hollow interior of the rods with diatomaceous earth. Then I got industrial diatomaceous earth "umbrella" (they're covered to prevent rain from washing them away) stands at a hardware store to place in the ground at the base of the home's exterior. I pumped the powder (they have dispensers for that) into crevices of the brick exterior and onto exterior window sills inside and outside of the house, and into the ant houses. I also pumped it into the interior floor spaces between the baseboards and the floor.

Result? Within TWO HOURS NO MORE ANTS! EVER! (Of course, depending upon your situation you might need to reapply annually.)

So, please protect yourselves, our earth, our dear animals, and your home environment from toxins and use non-toxic DIATOMACEOUS EARTH.

Inside the home if you have babies or children or pets crawling around, use the edible diatomaceous earth to apply to the baseboard areas. I used to have horses and I would apply that around the stable and to them and no more flies. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth into your garbage cans (do keep your cans clean with a liner and sprinkle the diatomaceous earth underneath the liner). The stuff is magic and SAFE! I imagine if you order edible diatomaceous earth in a huge quantity the price can be reduced. I always keep both the edible and the industrial diatomaceous earth around the house ready to be applied.

I'm sorry I saw this post so long after it was put online. Good luck to everyone from this lifelong city kid and animal lover! Let me know how it turns out.

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