The war on roost mites

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by petalumapaul, Jul 8, 2016.

  1. petalumapaul

    petalumapaul Out Of The Brooder

    As an amateur backyard chicken guy, I was not paying attention. Got a pretty bad infestation of red roost mites the other day. I think I caught it quickly, but still !

    I noticed my birds started sleeping outside. Strange.
    I figured it was just because it's summer.
    Then four days later I noticed a bunch of tiny little specks on the door of my coop. Strange.
    Then I noticed that my egg production was dropping, from six eggs a day to two or three. Strange.
    Then I saw little spot of blood on an egg (from a crushed mite). Strange.

    After much research on this wonderful website I finally suspected roost mites.
    Sure enough when I cleaned out the coop thoroughly the little suckers bit the hell out of me.
    My arms have been itching for a week. They got all over me. I shower three times a day and still feel the creepie crawlies.

    My mistake. I used to clean the coop and replace the wood shavings once a week, but I neglected to replace the shavings in the egg laying boxes.
    They just didn't get so dirty. Big mistake I think.

    So I went to my local Tractor Supply and bought a three pack of bug bomb with Pyrethrin.
    And a pound of Sevin dust. I cleaned the coop and nest boxes and burned all the wood shavings.
    I closed my coop up tightly and fired off the first bomb. Then I went back and dusted the whole coop, and dusted all the chickens on the bottom and under the wings.

    I think it's getting under control.
    Whew.

    Thank you backyardchickens for being such a great resource.

    I hope this **** itching gets better soon!

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  2. BlackGiantMerlin

    BlackGiantMerlin Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi Petaluma, glad you are getting things under control. As a greenie, I would never use those nasty chemicals but I understand the desire of feeling like you have to take drastic measures.

    Though I have raised chickens for almost a decade now I am always learning new things and the one big thing I never did before was provide my chickens with wood ash for their dirt baths. Sand and DE yes but never considered wood ash. I am also going to avoid wood coops and perches as much as possible opting for hard resin materials that can't get mite infestations.

    DE is also good to spread down before you put in fresh shavings -- it's very cheap - about $30 for 50 lbs at most feed stores - food grade of course.

    Just wanted to pass this along in case you weren't already using and have considered some green options too.
     
  3. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    As you may can see Red or Roost Mites live and reproduce in the cracks, splits, joints, and voids inside the very wood that the coop is made from. Anything like DE that doesn't deny the mites these strongholds is pretty much useless as a mite treatment.

    Just saying.


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    Now imagine that you treated the wood joints etc with used or burned motor oil with some Permitherim or Pyrethrin in it and imagine how that would deny the mites a home.

    Especially after the burned motor oil had soaked and flowed into the wood. Carrying the Pyrethrin or other control agent into the cracks, thus smothering and suffocating the adults and their eggs plus denying them shelter.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2016
  4. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    Can't you put the DE in the cracks and/or white wash the walls though? Haven't white washed the walls yet but i do sometimes sprinkle the DE in all the cracks
     
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  5. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I use a soft nylon dustpan brush, dip it into the DE and then brush into all the cracks and crevices. I've seen little piles of dead mites that look rather like cigarette ash form a day or 3 after dusting with DE. I know many people feel it doesn't work as a treatment for an infestation, but using it like this has always worked for me when I've had a bad outbreak.

    I once had a broody hen abandon her nest just a few days short of hatch because it was literally crawling with them. Since then, I make a point of dusting broody hen's nests with it before I add the nest material and eggs and 2 or 3 times during the incubation period as broody hens are particularly susceptible to mites and lice with sitting in one place for so long. I haven't had a problem since adopting this practice.
     
  6. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    Although DE is in many chicken mashes it is not usually meant for pest control but rather as a drying or anti-clumping agent. May I suggest a small experiment? Put a couple of Table spoons full of DE in a clean & dry Mayonnaise jar, you can even punch a few holes in the lid to let in fresh air. Next scoop up a half dozen or so ants and put them in the Mayonnaise jar. Set this mini ant farm aside in a cool place out of direct sun light and see how long an ant can survive up to its chin in pure DE.
     
  7. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here in the UK, DE is marketed as a pest control product under the trade name "Smite".
    I'm afraid I don't have the time or inclination to experiment with ants when my target insects are red mites and I have seen it's effectiveness on them.
     
  8. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    Suit yourself but to me it looks like the ant is doing all the hard work.
     
  9. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    I think I'm going to try that. Although don't ants have a hard exo skeleton? Perhaps it would be different for different bugs.

    And maybe it doesn't always work for infestations, not sure, but it seems it could be a good preventative. I've heard others use lyme though
     
  10. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    Lye in the form of burned hard wood ashes is what is needed. Lye is a naturally occurring component in ashes and acts as an irritant, it should kill external parasites like lice and hopefully force the others to move on.
     

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