Red Mites:(

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Swedishfish55, Aug 30, 2013.

  1. Swedishfish55

    Swedishfish55 Hatching

    Aug 30, 2013
    Hello Everyone! So my little family is new to this whole backyard chicken adventure. We got 4 mature hens in March and four 6 week old chicks in April. Well our very sweet Australope just stopped laying eggs and would only lay in the dirt. She stopped hanging with all the hens and I thought for sure she was going to pass. Well I went to gather the rest of the eggs and got a ton of little bugs on my hand. After further inspection there were thousand of little mites. I have dusted the birds with DE and sprayed the coop 4 times with bleach and insecticide. They just won't go away! I won't even let my kids go in the backyard to play because in scared they will get in the house. I'm so grossed out by these things I'm almost ready to do away with the chickens altogether. Can anyone offer any advice?
    Also because I finally gave in and used chemicals the chickens have not been in the coop, therefore not laying eggs. Has anyone experienced this where their chickens didn't lay for a week or so then resumed once the bugs were gone? I'm desperate cause just the thought of these gross little things and I start to itch. Thank you!
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    For treating mites, retreatment at 7 days is VITAL.

    For severe infestations, you may have to treat an additional time.

    It is also very important to get rid of all bedding, including in the nest boxes with each treatment. I have switched to sand in the coop and I sift with a kitty litter scoop. I have fewer mite infestations this way and I don't have to throw anything out except the nest box material. I use poultry dust on the birds and I sprinkle dust everywhere in the coop also (permethrin).

    Permethrin spray is good too...I have some of that also.

    DE is ineffective against an infestation in the coop from my experience (I haven't tried it on the chickens), as the mites walked right across the DE (northern fowl mite) and bit me. So I'd not depend on DE unless you are certain this is the red mite that lives in the cracks and crevices of the coop and not on the bird from what I have read. I realize you are using it on the birds and not the coop.

    I also use cedar shavings in the nest boxes to deter bugs unless I have a broody hen or chicks under a hen.

    Mites can stop them from laying and also kill them eventually, sucking them dry and they just keel over. So you did the right thing by taking it seriously. I have dealt with mites repeatedly and I can say that if you leave a reservoir for them like nest box shavings they come right back.

    I hope this helps. The red mite unfortunately lives for 9 months with no blood meal from poultry. It cannot breed on human blood. Therefore, if you get any in your home and you don't vacuum it up, it can theoretically live for 9 months and bite you. The Northern Fowl Mite lives for 3 weeks with no poultry blood meal. It also cannot breed on human blood.

    The websites that talk about human dwellings needing fumigation by a pesticide expert usually resulted from an air conditioning unit next to a tree with a bird's nest in it or something similar. Then, thousands of red mites can enter the home. That is when people are convinced they are living off human blood.

    But I have seen an extension article written by an entomologist stating that there is no way that these mites breed off human blood. So therefore, the idea is that you need to vacuum and change clothes, take shower, wash clothes right away, etc. until the infestation is gone.

    As long as you are very consistent with your treatments and keep at it until they are gone, they will go! Some mites are resistant to some chemicals in certain parts of the country. So if they truly aren't going away it may be that.

    When you use chemicals, they drop dead immediately. Make sure you get in all the cracks when you spray, and UNDER the roosts. Then more will hatch out in 4-7 days (maybe 10), and if you retreat at 7 to 10 days you are good to go!
  3. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Also I wanted to mention that there are other kinds of mites, like straw mites, grain mites, and just plain fleas that can be around in the coop.

    I would be looking around for a reason for the mites as well. Do you have bales of hay around? Are there birds' nests nearby? (Just thinking of some things....)

    Once I put alfalfa hay in the coop and I was immediately itching up a storm from straw mites I guess.
  4. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO.

    Jun 15, 2012
    Welcome to BYC! Happy you joined!
  5. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years.

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    [​IMG]Mites and other unexpected surprises can come in with new additions to the flock. Some people prefer to quarantine new birds away from their flock for 30 days or so, to be certain they don't have disease or parasites.
  6. Swedishfish55

    Swedishfish55 Hatching

    Aug 30, 2013
    Thank you all so much! This has been such a challenge. We do have a hay bale in the yard ( not near the coop) that we were putting in our garden beds to keep weeds down. The only other things I can think of is we brought in some woodchips for the back yard and we also moved the coop and there are some low hanging cedar branches on our neighbors property that we have been meaning to cut back but just have not gotten around to it. I have sprayed around the coop and have tried to get it into every tiny crack. When I first saw how bad these guys were there were clumps of nests that looked very red on the coop, in my limited research they looked like bird mites? Because up until now we have not had any critter problems we let our girls forage the yard and there are crows and I'm sure other native birds around. We really do love out gals and my daughter loved to go out collect the eggs so this whole process has been tough. Do mite infestations get better in the colder months? Definitely might try sand when I finally get the coop back together. Poor gals have had to have temporary housing for awhile.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2013
  7. redsoxs

    redsoxs Crowing

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    Greetings, swedishfish55, and [​IMG]! Happy you joined our community!

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