good article on red mite control

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rick
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Re: good article on red mite control

Post by rick » Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:34 am

... I don't mean to be argumentative at all Chickenfan. Quite a few have never had red mite and so have never had the dubious pleasure of knowing their ways or getting all to familiar with what they look like. I know I imported our red mite dynasty in a bag of damp wood bark mulch about 3 years ago. I hope they have gone again now as this year I found only one tiny colony in a screw hole in the perch (toasted!) and no sign anywhere else. They are very common (not at all endangered!) but then many years can go by without them getting into a coop. If you were out in the woods looking for them they would be really, really difficult to find because wild populations are in tiny clusters in a big landscape.

Just saying they are a very specific sort of mite with very particular habits and unless your rain shelters are within a couple of metres of your coop (and it was warmer) they just wouldn't be there.

Mind you, it has been oddly warm over the past couple of days after that frosty spell.

But you clearly have an infestation of something creepy-crawly going on there and it would be good to get a positive ID on it just to know what's the cause and the implications - leading, hopefully, to a remedy.
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chrismahon
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Re: good article on red mite control

Post by chrismahon » Wed Nov 07, 2018 9:15 am

There are other mites and I've seen them in the coops on occasion- dust mites I call them as they seem to live and feed on feather dust. They are a pale grey colour and still seem to cluster but not in wood gaps that I've noticed, just in the dust on top of framework or in the corners of the floor. The last two coops I dismantled had them inside.

In a coop red mite are invariably red, although when unfed they are cream coloured and when fully mature they have a dark spot on their back. What does characterise them are the trails of tiny spotted cream/white faeces which are left on the paths across surfaces from the daytime nesting points to the perch ends. This is when having dark stained wood is a bonus as it makes the trails easier or even possible to spot, although a magnifying glass is always useful.

In my experience red mite don't travel more than a metre to their hosts. Whilst they will be found outside, perhaps under shelters or in dust baths it will only be as individuals as to breed and multiply they must drink blood and that happens at night in the coop. If red mite are outside the coop it will only be because all the available hiding places inside the coop are either full or sealed and they will occupy areas as close as possible, like under the roof felt.
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