What kind of bug did I see????

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by my4ladies, Aug 5, 2010.

  1. my4ladies

    my4ladies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I posted this morning about noticing what I thought were 2 lice bugs on my 7 week old silkie. I noticed those about 4 days ago but when I looked for some tonight I couldn't find a single one...or any trace of them. I checked all 4 birds thoroughly; vents, wings, necks, etc....everywhere. I didn't notice any bugs or anything that would resemble eggs...I even looked for lice 'dirt' (poop), incase that would be some kind of clue. I found nothing. They all did leave behind whitish flakes, like they had dry skin. I examined the flakes closely though and really think that it is indeed just dry skin flakes or something.

    Can the birds get rid of the lice by taking dust baths in the yard? Can they eat them???? Maybe what I saw wasn't even a louse? Everything I've read said they are fast moving, but these seemed to be attached at the base of the feather, right at the skin. I picked on up and squished it between my fingernails. The other one I tried but the chick was squirming. They were kind of pinkish/tan, slightly larger than a dog/cat flea. I thought it was the shape of a louse, but I've never seen one in real life (chicken or human).

    Can someone give me any insight as to what it was if it wasn't lice? Aren't mites very small? I remember picking up a bird nest when I was a kid and having mites run up my arm...hundreds!! And I remember they were tiny. Definitely not what I saw.
     
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Sounds like they could have been chicken lice. I personally wouldn't worry about it if you can't find them now. When they get outside, they'll probably get a few here and there. If it bothers you or you suspect they are just hiding and you can't find them, you can dust them with a poultry dust to kill mites and lice. Dust bathing I think does help them rid of their own bugs in feathers, which is probably one of the reasons lice/mites can be worse in the winter. The flakes you're seeing, are probably just the new feathers growing out and leaving behind the feather shaft dust stuff, it's sometimes waxy-like.
     
  3. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    Out to pasture
    I don't know what your mystery bugs would be. I am tempted to say small ticks but, I don't think they would let go - so you would have seen them again. It's good to have a magnifier, I have one that has 14 x magnification (plastic only cost # 5) and boy you can really make out what bugs look like . I' have seen sawdust like stuff in a couple houseplant saucers and I used the magnifier and was horrified to find they were tiny white larvae things crawling all over each other, thousands of them. The fact that they were invisible with the naked eye made it really creepy.

    If the bugs don't move fast you would be able to write a very good description for when you post again.
     
  4. my4ladies

    my4ladies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmmm. Okay. Thank you. They have been going outside during the day. They have a favorite spot near their coop on the edge of our lawn where it meets the woods. There's soil there where they play and dust bathe. I've watched them do it [​IMG]

    Silkie chicken~ First of all thank you so much for posting the candling thread. I looked at it daily when I was candling my egg. Couldn't have made it w/out it! Secondly, why do you say not to worry? Don't they lay eggs and start a cycle of infestation if not treated?...like fleas do?

    drumstick diva~ I SO want to go out and by a magnifying glass. My husband thinks I'm a germaphobe... maybe I could show him why!!!
     
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Thank you! Glad you found the thread helpful.

    I say don't worry because you'll eventually have to deal with them and you don't need to stress about it. Just check one or two birds every once in a while and if you catch an infestation, treat accordingly. Wild birds often carry bird lice so unless you keep them in a box, they will inevitably get a few here and there. Most poultry dusts only kill adults effectively, so if you can't find any now, dusting the birds might not be very effective. If they were lice, and they did lay eggs (which would be clusters at the bottom of the feather shafts like you were looking for), you can only kill them after they hatch anyways. I'm of the thought that a small parasite load isn't going to hurt them as much as treating for bugs every time you see or suspect one. If you see a few every time you check a different spot on the bird then it would be worth treating.

    Are these what you saw?[​IMG]

    If so, those are lice.
     
  6. my4ladies

    my4ladies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 4, 2010
    I saw that picture too when I was googling. It had that shape, but those look more translucent and orange. Could just be the picture. What I saw was a more pinkish & tan color. I was planning on taking a picture when I checked yesterday, but I couldn't find any. I'm going to assume they were lice.

    So how about a preventative instead of treating them when I find a bunch? Does the DE really work? And is that necessary if they take dust baths outside?
     

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