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Major red mite infestation

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Hi All,


I've had to deal with a massive red mite infestation this week - my cube has had no red mite In five years of keeping hens but this week I noticed the hen house was riddled with red mite, I'm guessing they've been there for about a month. Every surface was covered - no wonder the hens didn't want to be there.


Today, I had the horrible task of spraying everything with Nettex, stripping the cube apart, taking everything out of the run, pressure washing everything etc.


I made the mistake of putting the washed dropping trays on the grass where I sprayed them to let them dry - when inspecting 10 mins later, the red mite had obviously hopped back on the trays meaning I had to respray, then dry and after that rub in diatomaceous earth.


I also made the mistake the other day in throwing away bedding in my compost bin and green bin which now are teeming with red mite...


My question is this - do I need to do anything to my grass where I sprayed the mites? Do they just stay in situ waiting

to attack or do they die quickly in sunlight?


Despite putting all clothes straight in the wash and having a lengthy shower, I'm still itchy now! (No red mite on me, purely psychosomatic!)

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They will be in the grass waiting to find a host Gongladosh. They can be there two weeks I've read, but in my experience it can be a lot longer than that. One of our coops is still getting red mite. The chickens appear to be bringing them in from an area they use for soil bathing and sun bathing. We have put potash (ash from a wood burning stove) down in that area and that reduced the numbers found on the perches every morning quite dramatically. But we are still getting them, so I suppose until Winter kills them off we will have to be vigilant. We've also dusted the birds with Barrier red mite powder. That also reduced the number they brought in. The bedding has been taken out of the coop because red mite were breeding in the wood shavings. We use newspaper now and throw it out every morning. Nettex kills grass by the way, so you are best just keeping them away from that area if possible.


We've had a red mite infested compost bin and a vacuum cleaner as well!


Red mite will live on the birds, so unless they are dusted when the coop is treated the red mite will come straight back in. You may need to repeat the cleaning and spraying exercise in another few weeks. Any eggs missed will hatch as well.

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Our recent experience leads us to think that repeated exposure to permethrin, in the form of powder, considerably weakens chicken's immune systems. We now avoid any powder products that contain permethrin. We do still use Nettex Total Mite Kill, which also contains permethrin, on the basis that they are not breathing the stuff in. Obviously they don't get released back into the coop until it is completely dry. For getting red mite off Barrier Red Mite powder is fairly effective, but importantly it doesn't contain permethrin.

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