Your coop of chickens brings many benefits, but red mites are not one of them.
A red mite infestation can be tricky to deal with; these pests hide in the corners and crevices of the chicken coop during the daytime and feast on the blood of theircome nightfall. Their sneaky ways make them difficult to identify and capture. In severe cases, a mite infestation can cause your chickens to become anemic and pass away.
Luckily, there are plenty of modern-day solutions to treating red mites and keeping your roost clean. Spray disinfectants like Poultry Shield and tools like steamers and pressure washers can keep red mites at bay. However, the best way to treat a red mite population quicklyis identifying these pests early on.
Read on to learn about the signs and symptoms of red mites and some of the most effective treatment options.
Signs and Symptoms of Red Mites
Red mites are tiny, slow-moving creatures. They can range from a translucent egg, to a light brown or gray color, and even a dark red color. Once they hatch from their egg, they will look light brown until they feed, which turns their bodies blood red.
Here’s how to know if you have a red mite problem:
- Check your chicken coop. Performing regular mite checks around your coop is your first form of defense. You want to check the ends of the perch and the areas where your birds roost each night. You can also check your chicken eggs for any mites crawling on them.
- Check after dark. Red mites are most active after dark, so be willing to perform a few night-time inspections. Do this by wiping the underside of the perch with a white cloth or tissue, looking for smears of blood. Are there any chickens restless when they should be sleeping? If they are not sleeping well or unwilling to go into the house to roost, this could indicate a problem.
- Egg production will decrease. Your birds may decide to lay outside of the coop to avoid bites. You may begin collecting fewer eggs. You may also see a lightening of the egg yolks.
- Bird condition will deteriorate. As your birds lose more blood, they’ll begin to look worse. Some of the initial signs include a pale comb and wattles.
- Development of anemia. Birds on the lower end of the pecking order may be forced to the worst spots of the roost, getting the brunt of the bites and developing anemia.
How to Treat Red Mites
There are all sorts of different ways to treat red mites around chickens. Some of the most popular ways include:
- Buycommercial pest control products
- Apply creosote annually
- Paint paraffin wax into the crevices of the roost
- Use blow torches in and around the crevices to kill/ off/scare any mites
- Use a steamer to move mites out of any cracks
- Spray a pressure washer around the roost regularly to wash out the mites
- Smear a Vaseline/paraffin wax mixture into any gaps or cracks
- Use double-sided tape or fly papers to catch the mites in the act
- Apply corrugated cardboard to the underside of the perch to trick mites into nesting there—remove these and burn them regularly
- Pour a cola soda around the corners and sides of the roost to dehydrate their waxy outer shell
- Dust baths
If one of these methods doesn’t work, that doesn’t mean they’ll all fail you. You may have to combine a few different things to maintain a mite-free chicken coop.
Mite Problem No More
Regular maintenance like spray disinfectants and pressure washing, combined with spot treatments like double-sided tape or soda, willfight off mites and capture them quickly. Not only will your coop maintenance become much easier, but your birds will thank you too!