Red Mite in Green Frog - Update/Perch Alert

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dinosaw
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Red Mite in Green Frog - Update/Perch Alert

Post by dinosaw »

Just thought i would post an update on how I got on with the red mite in my green frog now that it's been a bit over three weeks, sorry if it's a bit long.
The manufacturers of plastic coops never claim that you won't get red mite in them, but one of their major selling points is that if you do it is easier to eradicate the mite, I have had a chance to put that to the test. Firstly the good news for green frog owners, I haven't seen a single mite INSIDE the coop since my first blitz on it three weeks ago, for that I took the whole thing apart, moved it 20m from the run (don't know how far red mite will crawl) and hit it with boiling water, poultry shield and permethrin powder (Wilko ant killer). Every week since, i have gone back and taken it apart in situ and given it a treatment with poultry shield and powder being careful to hit every nook and cranny.

Now the bad news, the perches!. I treated them in the same way as the house and in addition used vaseline on the perch ends, the gap between perch and house and in the lynchpin holes where I had found most of the red mite. For the first couple of days after cleaning the house I went down daily to check the perches, no mite on the perch itself, but pulling the lynchpin up there were always plenty of grey red mite, nice to know they weren't feeding but the number of new ones I was pulling up each time was worrying. It was then that the penny dropped!, the perches are hollow!!, there is an approx 9mmx2mm slit that runs all the way through them and that was where these new mite were coming from. Given that they say they can live for 6 months without feeding this was a long term problem I could do without, so I made a couple of new perches from wood, same size and shape and replaced the plastic perches, since then the coop has been completely mite free as far as I can tell. I thought it would be interesting to do a little experiment with the plastic perches so I kept them and totally sealed them with vaseline, every week I checked them, every week red mite came out on the lynchpins. At the weekend I sawed them open to see how far the mite had penetrated and found them at four inches along the perch but not as far as six inches, bearing in mind this was a small scale outbreak, (dozens of mites found in the coop rather than hundreds) it is entirely possible they could colonise the entire centre of the perch and there would be no way to kill them apart from sealing them up for six months with vaseline. This for me is a serious design flaw as there is no point in designing a house where it is very easy to eradicate mite and then provide perches where it is virtually impossible.

All in all I'm very happy with the green frog and how easy it was to fight the mite in it, but would have the following advice for fellow owners.

Remove the vent covers, the washers underneath can harbour mite and your unlikely to nee them anyway
Don't bother putting the clips through the pins that hold the coop together apart from those on the back door opening/closing handle(which you need or they fall out), the coop is perfectly sturdy without them and they really slow down taking it apart and putting it back together.
If you can replace the perches then do, the hollow is a mites dream home, if not make sure the end slits and pin holes are smothered in vaseline.
Take the coop apart FULLY every couple of months, I thought I was being quite thorough in my anti mite cleaning program but they just turned up in the areas that I hadn't dusted/disinfected.
When taking the coop apart wait till ALL of your hens have layed!!!, did I get a telling off from one of my white stars as I rushed to assemble the coop and put the nest boxes back in place for her.
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Marigold
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Re: Red Mite in Green Frog - Update/Perch Alert

Post by Marigold »

Have you reported this to the manufacturers, Dinosaw? I think there are a lot of us with Green Frogs would like to know what they are going to do about it (ie, replacing our perches with solid ones.) Like you, it never occurrred to me they are hollow, or at least that, even if they were hollow, they were not sealed fully.
Keep us in touch, and when you have contacted them, the rest of us will do as well!
karminski
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Re: Red Mite in Green Frog - Update/Perch Alert

Post by karminski »

thats great to know even though i dont and wont ever have a green frog house but its something i will bear in mind if i could ever afford one {doubt it } and i to attacked my houses this weekend with ant powder it was brushed into all seams etc as i decided agaisnt using hot water and washing up liquid it was just to cold for that and i have only found 1 mite since then and that was on a plastic nest box that wasnt brushed with powder properly as my little nephrew done it , normally i would find anything from 5-20 a day give or take so for now i am quite happy .
pennyblack chooks
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Re: Red Mite in Green Frog - Update/Perch Alert

Post by pennyblack chooks »

Hi dinosaw

This is really helpful - thanks for taking the trouble to go through everything clearly. I had spotted the perches had slits in the ends - both ends - I didn't realise they were hollow all through as such but assumed they were like a roll of flat plastic that had been rolled and moulded in some way and so probably had some hollow areas in the construction and that the slits might connect with them......but until your post hadn't thought mite would like them as three of them are outside in the cold. My lodge had only been in use a week when you wrote that last post and no red mite - thankfully so I did start with a 'clean' slate as it were. When I went back all over the coop the next day I took off the vent covers - as like you I wasn't going to use them anyway - but like you hadn't thought of them as red mite territory, and I did make some more holes in the walls of the coop (I won't be able to get a refund on it now!) and, as well as vaselining all the clip holes, roof sections, corners and edges I did fill in the ends of the perches with vaseline - pushing it into the slits - outside and inside in the hope that any investigating red mite would find the slits inhospitable.... but I'm going to pop out with a torch now and have a poke about to see if anything going on......

.....Nope. Only things moving were the chickens. They were not amused. The vaseline is quite thick and globby all round the perch ends inside and out and seems to be coping with the hard frosts we have been having lately.

So far then - after a month - no sign of anything untoward. Yet. Every few nights I rub my finger under a perch and no blood. Hope it continues..... I do have a lot of diatom in there - it is rubbed into the perches daily and a generous amount is both in and underneath the aubiose where they roost and in the nest boxes.

So I'll be keeping my perches for the moment. Fingers crossed.

If they can come up with a better designed perch to replace the ones we have that would be nice.....

Liked the picture of you in my mind hurrying to get it rebuilt for your laying (lucky you !) hen. I am sure you had a conversation with her too on the subject...... :)
pennyblackchooks
....chooks with attitude - Maggie, Fliss, Belle, Pheobe, Fanny Ann, Tilly, Edna and their husband Herb
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chrismahon
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Re: Red Mite in Green Frog - Update/Perch Alert

Post by chrismahon »

Very useful reading that Dinosaw. Hollow anything in a coop is bad news. I had mite in a knot hole in one of the perches so sealed it with Araldite epoxy glue. Had mite in some cheap plywood as well -the inner ply was incomplete and they got into the void inside -car body filler sorted that.
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Sue
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Re: Red Mite in Green Frog - Update/Perch Alert

Post by Sue »

Interesting that you have found this! I was cleaning mine at the weekend and noticed that there were gaps at the end of the perches. I don't think I've got red mite in mine at the moment, but I sealed mine with waterproof sealant. I was going to put a post on here about it, but just come on and red yours!!!
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dinosaw
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Re: Red Mite in Green Frog - Update/Perch Alert

Post by dinosaw »

Marigold, the thought hadn't occurred to me as I knocked up new perches in half an hour using wood I already had. You will find that they will advise you to seal the slits with vaseline on a rolling basis or with epoxy resin as Chris suggested for a permanent fix, the chances of getting a new perch I would say are close to nil but you are welcome to site my post if you wish to contact them, raising it with them has the potential to seriously annoy me so would stop me from doing so.
Karminski, you have had an epic fight with those mites, good to see you winning, I do like ant powder, was recommended to me by a real old timer of a chicken keeper.
Pennyblack, sounds like you have made things as mite proof as you ever could, we have a lot of wild birds in the garden including woodpigeons roosting almost on top of the chickens ranging area so are probably more at risk than some of mite
Sue, make sure you seal them on the inside of the pin hole too not just the ends if you haven't already (sorry if I'm being obvious)
karminski
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Re: Red Mite in Green Frog - Update/Perch Alert

Post by karminski »

i still blame the parrakeets for giving them to me if only they didnt dive bomb over the run every evening :lol:
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Sue
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Re: Red Mite in Green Frog - Update/Perch Alert

Post by Sue »

Haven't sealed the inside of the pin hole! How can I do that? Can't do it with the sealant.
In life not everyone follows the same road. Especially if their Sat Nav is broken!
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dinosaw
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Re: Red Mite in Green Frog - Update/Perch Alert

Post by dinosaw »

You will need something small that will fit into the hole, for little jobs like that i normally double fold a small piece of card, then using a small dollop of your sealant, pva glue or resin just scrape down the inside of the pin hole and it should fill in the gap on the inside.
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