small bugs swarming my chickens? What are they?

bassfishrman

In the Brooder
12 Years
Mar 16, 2007
65
1
39
for the past few weeks I have had some small bugs the size of gnats (but definitely not gnats) that continually swarm around the heads of my flock. It seems to drive them crazy. I have dusted with DE and sprayed the entire coop and surrounding area with Pemerthin. It hasn't phased the little bugs at all.

Does anyone know what they are and how to get rid of them?
 

silkiechicken

Staff PhD
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
13 Years
Jan 25, 2007
21,494
965
393
Everett WA/Corvallis OR
So they are not on the chickens, but rather just flying around their heads?

If they are crawling on the chickens, it could be mites/lice, but if they are flying around them, I am at a loss. Is it like those flies that like to hang out on the faces of horses?
 

patandchickens

Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
12,520
254
341
Ontario, Canada
Fungus gnats breed in damp shady places and I suppose if you had some wettish areas in/under/around your coop they might breed there. They aren't particularly attracted to animals as such, they just mill around in general, so if these things seem to be deliberately trying to land on the chickens it probably isn't fungus gnats.

Horn flies also sort of fit your description -- they are the itsy tiny gnatlike flies that you often see swarming around cow or horse manure piles and to a lesser extent the livestock themselves. I have never heard of them living around chickens as such, but if you have large livestock in the area then I guess it's a possibility.

Blackflies? Small mosquitos? I'm out of ideas. Where do you live?

It's going to be really hard to get rid of them if you can't identify them, because with most flies you have to target the larvae (and where the larvae live depends on what kind of flies).

Good luck,

Pat
 

bassfishrman

In the Brooder
12 Years
Mar 16, 2007
65
1
39
the above link to the article explains my problem. It must be the darn mites. It does look like pepper at the base of their cones. They land on the chickens body/feathers, but i guess they make their way to the cone.

Why doesn't the DE or Permethrin affect them?

I have checked under the feathers of my flock and there is no sign of them there. My chickens have a favorite place where they dust. I always put DE on this spot. That explains why there are none of the mites under their feathers when I check them.
 

silkiechicken

Staff PhD
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
13 Years
Jan 25, 2007
21,494
965
393
Everett WA/Corvallis OR
So they are swarming the combs of the birds and are actually on them... I didn't think mites could fly though, just crawl. DE is sworn by some and just an aid to others. I would try a poultry dust. If they are not from your property and let's say, flying in from a neighbors yard, not much you can do even if you kill all the bugs where you are.
 

patandchickens

Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
12,520
254
341
Ontario, Canada
Um, if they are FLYING then they are NOT MITES OR LICE. Absolutely, without exception.

Have you *seen* them fly, or are you assuming? And if you have, are you certain it's flight or could it be fleas jumping (I am wondering about sticktight fleas, if you are in the south)

Also, be aware that if the pests are mites, they can run Real Fast; not seeing 'em among feathers doesn't mean they're not there. Try parting the feathers by blowing on them (rather than with your fingers), in multiple places, and looking extremely quickly and sharply to see mites scurrying out of sight.


Pat, former aquatic invertebrate biologist but not entirely unacquainted with terrestrial ones
 

LynneP

Songster
11 Years
Mar 21, 2008
4,746
57
231
Centre Rawdon, Nova Scotia, Canada
A product containing rotenone and sulfur should get them- should be available at local tack or feed shops. Or a mixture of Sevin and DE. Miss Prissy had a good post about this.
 
Last edited:

ChicknThief

Songster
12 Years
Jan 12, 2008
1,802
6
183
Nor Cal
Bassfishr: I believe I know exactly what you are talking about. We have had problems with this, but never figured out what they were or a solution. We moved, thereby leaving the problem behind us. So I cant really offer advice, just comfort in the fact that you are not crazy!!!
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom