Anyone who keeps chickens will be familiar with red mites. These tiny but deadly arachnids feed on the poultry's blood at night, hence their name.
Red mites are an occupational hazard of keeping chickens, and they're also surprisingly resilient, so eliminating them is more of a regime than a one-off.
Mites have been around for as long as chickens, so there are many treatment options ranging from the traditional method of using vinegar to the latest 21st-century insecticide products.
Find out how to spot red mite infestations and what's the most effective treatment for your flock.
What Are the Signs of Red Mites in Chickens?
Red mite infestation causes skin irritation, restlessness, and stress. If mites are about, the hen house will not be a happy place.
One of the early signs of these mites is that the chickens start to preen excessively and scratch. The mites on their skins cause discomfort and itchiness.
The birds won't look so clean either, despite the preening; you may notice a dusty appearance around their necks and vents. It's easy to miss this if the chickens have regular access to a dust bath.
If left unnoticed or untreated, egg numbers reduce, and birds may develop anaemia.
Ultimately, red mite infestation can also prove fatal for your chickens.
Can You Treat Red Mite Infestations With Vinegar?
Getting rid of red mites in the chicken coop is a top priority. It's essential to choose a product that works quickly.
Vinegar has long been considered a readily available and environmentally friendly home remedy to kill red mites, but does it work?
Will Vinegar Kill Mites in a Chicken Coop?
No, vinegar does not kill red mites on chickens, regardless of whether you use white or apple cider vinegar. In fact, vinegar may actually do more harm than good.
If you have a red mite infestation, you must treat the coop and the birds. Vinegar won't help you with that, either.
Why Is Vinegar Not an Effective Treatment for Red Mites?
Vinegar cannot penetrate the exoskeleton of the mites, so it won't kill them. Bathing chickens in vinegar will only inflame already sore and irritated skin. Adding vinegar to the birds' diet won't work either.
People still subscribe to this myth because vinegar will put mites off, but only for a while, and it certainly isn't an effective treatment for an infestation.
So, What's the Best Solution To Treat Red Mites?
This red mite treatment is a surface spray ideal for chicken sheds and coups penetrating deep into crevices and cracks for fast insect elimination.
The water-soluble concentrate is safe to use inside and outside avian housing without removing the birds. However, always remove the eggs, and operators must avoid spraying the flock directly.
Easy to apply with a knapsack sprayer, Harmonix is available without a veterinary prescription and will also kill other crawling insects. It's effective where pests have developed resistance to chemical insecticides.
Diatom Residual Ret Mite Control is safe for humans and animals. It contains the fossils of ancient, shelled creatures that break down the mites' waxy outer shells.
Use Diatom once or twice weekly if there is an ongoing infestation. Plus, it's a long-term safeguard to keep the red mite population down without relying on harmful chemicals.
Diatom will keep the flock happy and prevent the mite population from building up in the hen house with zero environmental impact.
Organ-X Red Mite Powder contains pyrethrum, an extract of chrysanthemum flowers, and kills red mites on contact.
The powder is perfect for treating infestations and is effective for long-term insect control. It permeates the cracks and crevices where the mites lurk and are unreachable for anything other than the finest particles.
It's safe to use whilst the birds are in residence, and the easy-to-use puffer bottle makes it ideal for small hen houses and coops.
Any chicken housing will benefit from Smite DE powder which acts as a drying agent.
Natural silica absorbs moisture and discourages mites and any crawling insects. Plus, it neutralises ammonia, reducing odours and creating a healthy environment for the flock.
Smite Organic Earth is safe to use with the birds in residence; it's a natural product without any smell or chemicals.
Need to Get Rid of Red Mites? Shop Dalton!
Insect control is part of being a responsible poultry keeper. Red mite infestations impact bird welfare and affect yield and egg production.
For all your poultry management needs, shop Dalton's insect control products.