Author Topic: Strange Thing Happened (Mites)  (Read 3047 times)

Tailfeathers

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Strange Thing Happened (Mites)
« on: July 18, 2018, 08:50:15 PM »
My mom & uncle just left yesterday after a visit from IA.  Haven't seen them in 15yrs.  The night before they got here a week ago I went out after dark to make my rounds and thought I felt bugs crawling on me around the ears and such.  Never saw anything so didn't give it anymore thought figuring they were just gnats or something.  Well, a week ago today I went out and swirled my hand around an empty nesting box just to verify there was no egg in it anywhere and when I looked at my hand it was literally smothered in what I think are mites.  They look exactly like I had many years ago when I wrote about my trials back then.

So I figured I had a real infestation again.  Now here's the strange thing:  I looked at about a dozen birds and NONE of them had a mite on them or even showed any signs of having mites!  I checked more different ones the next night and same thing.  NO sign of mites on them at all.

Ironically, the last Poultry Press paper I got (stopped my subscription) was February I think and it had a bit under the Vet article about lice and mites.  In it I recall reading that the Doc said mites are host specific.  That birds won't go to chickens or chickens to turkeys, etc.  I wondered about that at the time because I had heard or read somewhere, I think, that wild sparrows/starlings/etc. could bring mites in.  This article was pretty dogmatic about that not being the case.

So now I'm wondering if the guineas and peafowl or maybe ducks have brought these mites in and they're just not bothering the chickens.  They were full of blood so they're definitely eating on someone.  I took the flour sifter I use for DE and put about 1/4 container of DE in each nesting box and then coated the floor and rest of the coop pretty well.  Definitely a LOT less mites now that at first but still saw a few last night.

So whattaya think?  Anybody ever have an experience like this?  My guineas and peafowl are completely and totally free-range.  There's no way I could keep them outta the chickenyard or coops unless I penned them up and I'd get rid of them before doing that. They're good eating but I like having them around.  As long as the mites aren't bothering the chickens I'm wondering if it's worth even worrying about.  I change out the litter and nesting boxes but if the guineas and peafowl are the culprits that brought them in to the coop I imagine they'll be back.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2018, 11:06:17 AM by John W Blehm »
God Bless,

R. E. Van Blaricome
Seek Ye first the Kingdom of God, and all His Righteousness
- then these things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:33)

Mike Gilbert

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Re: Strange Thing Happened (Mites)
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2018, 10:28:55 PM »
Some mites don't stay on the birds.   They just crawl onto them at night and have their feast, and then go back to wherever they are hiding.  Hollow stemmed straw  or cracks in boards and roosts are likely spots.  Have you checked the skin, especially around the vent, to see if they look raw or bitten?
Mike Gilbert
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John W Blehm

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Re: Strange Thing Happened (Mites)
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2018, 11:05:58 AM »
The two most common mites found on chickens, in North America, are red mites and northern fowl mites (NFM).

...It is quite clear that bird mites are not host specific, and they have adapted very well to a changing environment (as mites tend to do).

Chances are you have red mites that host on the chickens at night and hide in the cracks and crevices of wood during the day or other places like the hollow stems of straw as Mike said.  Since red mites like the warmth and texture of cloth, wood, etc. to spend the their days in I believe plastic or metal nest boxes are better options than wood. 
NFM live on the birds all the time (24/7) and are smaller than red mites.

Treatment
Pyrethroids, organophosphates, carbamates, citrus extracts, vegetable oil and mineral-based products (both liquid sand dusts) have been used to control red mites in the environment. For northern fowl mite it is essential to apply approved insecticides to the affected birds.

Once or twice each summer I generally mix some Talstar P (a synthetic pyrethroid) in a handheld sprayer and spay around the perimeter of the yard for mosquitos and other insects.  At the same time I go into the chicken barn and spay the wooden roosts and some walls.  As I've mentioned before I also sprinkle Sevin on the roosts and on the wood shavings in the next boxes from time to time.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2018, 02:39:47 PM by John W Blehm »

Tailfeathers

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Re: Strange Thing Happened (Mites)
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2018, 08:18:55 PM »
Hi guys! Thanks for the replies.  Mike, yes I looked them over really well.  I know about the red mites that don't stay on the birds but there is really NO sign of them being bitten or fed on at all.  No redness, rawness.  No feces in feathers or egg casing or anything.  Last night I had them flying on me the moment I stepped in the coop.  Started looking the interior over real good thinking about those that migrate.  The outside facing panel on the roost thing I have in their was swarming with them.  Rubbed it all down good with DE. Btw, I neglected to mention, it was dark - about Midnight or so - both times I looked over the birds.

John, thanks for the link to the article and the quote.  I was a bit perplexed at first because when I went to the article the first thing I saw was "many are no longer host specific".  That tells me that some are and so kept reading to find your quote.  Lots of good info there and it confirms what I said before about being convinced the mites I dealt with years ago developed a resistance to Permethrin and Pyrethrin. 

As I mentioned they fly onto me when I walk in the coop and I well imagine they are all over the chickenyard and probably the entire property due to the guineas and peafowl.  To date I've not had any of them bite me as far as I know but that certainly wasn't a pleasing thought to read that!

And since they can actually live up to 9mos without a meal I'm not sure I can even totally eliminate them since that would mean I'd have to catch the guineas and peafowl and treat them every month for a year and then who knows when they bring them back from somewhere. 

So I guess I'll treat all the chickens with Fipronil, put some seven dust in the nesting boxes and coop, mix up a solution of Permethrin I still have and spray everything down good in both coop.  Probably even the chickhouses too because I'd bet I took some in there with me when I go to clean them.  Then just hope that I get rid of all or most of them thru attrition that way.  I swear, if it ain't one thing it's another!
« Last Edit: July 19, 2018, 08:23:47 PM by Tailfeathers »
God Bless,

R. E. Van Blaricome
Seek Ye first the Kingdom of God, and all His Righteousness
- then these things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:33)

Tailfeathers

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Re: Strange Thing Happened (Mites)
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2018, 02:13:56 AM »
Thought I'd give an update on here with the mites and perhaps be of some help to somebody in the future.  I think I got the mite problem solved and I didn't even have to treat each bird with the Fipronil.  As I mentioned before I smothered the nesting boxes and bottom of the coop with DE and then the next night I rubbed down the roost good with DE too.

Within 2dys I noticed a dramatic decrease in the mites but I went down to Walmart after John & Mike's replies to pickup some "Sevin" dust.  All they had was "Sevin" granules. I was afraid the birds might try to eat them so I passed.  While I was there though I saw this product that was only $5 so I thought, "What the heck." It's got a different ingredient that I hadn't seen before (Deltamethrin) so I decided to give it a try.  Sprayed in all over the roost and around the nesting boxes.  The next night I saw a few mites still crawling on the panels of the roost but not near as many.  Gave everything another good spray and I don't remember now if I saw any the next night but a couple of nights later I decided to swish my hand around in the nesting boxes.  NOTHING!

As I said in my OP the first night I did that my hand looked like it was covered with Cayenne Pepper and I had them crawling all over my head. 

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Eliminator-Home-Insect-Control-1-Gallon/834624507

I'm still gonna clean all the litter out, dust everything down good again with DE, spray everything down again with the Eliminator but at least it's looking like I'm not gonna have to treat each bird individually.  Sure beats the 3yr battle I have several years ago!!

Folks might wanna give that combo a try if you get mites.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2018, 12:29:10 PM by John W Blehm »
God Bless,

R. E. Van Blaricome
Seek Ye first the Kingdom of God, and all His Righteousness
- then these things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:33)

Russ Blair

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Re: Strange Thing Happened (Mites)
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2018, 11:26:41 AM »
Royce I use an oil based fruit tree spray mixed up in a 2 gallon sprayer that works well. I believe it is Permethrin based, it has a plesent citrus smell as well.
S.E. Michigan

Tailfeathers

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Re: Strange Thing Happened (Mites)
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2018, 07:38:18 PM »
Russ, Permethrin might've worked on these guys.  They actually seem rather easy to eradicate.  You may recall my first posts years ago when I battled the NFM "Super mite" for 3yrs!  I used a Permethrin solution then that was like 10x the dose one gets in the pre-mixed containers.  Also used Pyrethrin and a Spidercide that I don't recall now.  If was only after reading the article on Fipronil and giving it a try that I finally conquered that battle.
God Bless,

R. E. Van Blaricome
Seek Ye first the Kingdom of God, and all His Righteousness
- then these things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:33)

Suki

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Re: Strange Thing Happened (Mites)
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2018, 02:35:22 PM »
In the magazines I've been reading they are recommending Vick's mentholated rub or Vaseline for the legs.  I've tried it several times and except for the most stubborn cases it works.  What happens is the scales come off the legs leaving them red and raw, so I apply blue iodine to that and then wound powder.

John W Blehm

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Re: Strange Thing Happened (Mites)
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2018, 04:29:50 PM »
In the magazines I've been reading they are recommending Vick's mentholated rub or Vaseline for the legs.  I've tried it several times and except for the most stubborn cases it works.  What happens is the scales come off the legs leaving them red and raw, so I apply blue iodine to that and then wound powder.

Years ago when I had a problem with scaly legs, on the chickens, I covered thier shanks with grease from my grease gun.  I believe it worked by sufficating the mites. 

Mike Gilbert

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Re: Strange Thing Happened (Mites)
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2018, 05:19:18 PM »
Ivermectin works for leg mites too.   But use the cattle strength with a withdrawal period, not the other stuff.   
Mike Gilbert
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Suki

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Re: Strange Thing Happened (Mites)
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2018, 09:20:02 AM »
In the magazines I've been reading they are recommending Vick's mentholated rub or Vaseline for the legs.  I've tried it several times and except for the most stubborn cases it works.  What happens is the scales come off the legs leaving them red and raw, so I apply blue iodine to that and then wound powder.

Years ago when I had a problem with scaly legs, on the chickens, I covered thier shanks with grease from my grease gun.  I believe it worked by suffocating the mites. 

Yes that's what they say.