dreaded spider mite

Well I,’ve had hens now for nearly 4 yrs, and up till now have been very lucky not to have the problem with the dreaded spider mite.

Last Sunday I gave the hens a thorough clean out, washed the coop with poultry shield and dusted with diacom, used a powder sanitizer for the run.

Well to my horror when I went to clean them out this afternoon, as I lifted up the nesting box these tiny mites scurried out from all corners, initially I screamed as you do, then hurriedly prepared to tackle this, I sprayed the mites with concentrated poultry shield lifting out all removable parts then turned the coop upside down to spray the inside of the roof, whilst doing this the hens were as usual helping with the clear up of these mites.

Once it was dried I put more bedding in and powdered entire coop and nesting with diacom, even dusted all 3 hens, Mavis I thought was going into a moult but actually now I think it could be these horrid creatures sucking the life out of my girl, the other 2 are fine, but Mavis does take over the nesting box at night.

So now I have this to do every other day until the infestation is under control, but so glad I saw them before it was too late for my girls.

I,’ve had a shower as could,nt stop itching as even though I had gloves on these horrid creatures were crawling up my hands so there was a few flattened ones on me in the end.

No one could have prepared me for this infestation, all I can say is if any of you know anyone who keep hens it’s probably best to check more than once a week in all those crevices where they like to hide, this hot and humid weather is just how they like it.

Do hope I have,nt caused any of you who may read this to feel itchy as even though I know there can’t be anything on me now I still feel like they,’re crawling on me, YUK !!!!

17 Responses

  1. cilla says:

    Oooh Karem, shall have to look at my chook’s house tonight. Not that I can do much until the owners come back on wednesday. Will tell them to keep their eyes open though. Thanks for that. :good: Long shower for you.

    • karenp says:

      If you can Cilla take a peek under the nesting box and lift a perch up to look in the crevices if your friends have any diacom there just sprinkle it in the corners just incase, but it’s so humid here, when we were in Cornwall it was lovely, then as we came into the city the humidity hit us, I like the heat but not when it’s like this :negative:

  2. Oh Karen, sounds rather a busy itchy afternoon, just as well you found it now, hopefully Mavis will return to her normal self over the next few days :yes: and yes I have started itching just thinking about them :wacko: :scratch:

  3. gertie says:

    Ooch…scratch…scratch
    Thank goodness you found them in time Karen. What a lot of care you have to lavish to keep your girls safe! :heart: :rose:

  4. karenp says:

    Was still itching last night, hubby thought I was getting a bit paranoid in the end :wacko:

  5. Beanstew says:

    Have a dim memory of my father and uncle wading through hundreds of hens, puffing powder under their wings – possibly for the same reason. But must say that I have no memory of attendant personal itch, which would probably be uppermost in my mind if it had happened. But do remember feeling distinctly itchy after de-lousing someone when nursing – think the effects of auto-suggestion are extremely powerful!

  6. Yewbarrow says:

    sounds awful, we have harvest mites here which you cannot see but bite you wherever your clothing is tight to the skin – the itch drives you mad and the best way of dealing with them is to shower whenever you have been outside and rub down like mad with a towel, preferrably one that is a bit rough – they feed on our dead skin I understand – yuk – July through to Sept, and some years are worse than others – bet the chickens are going mad too

  7. karenp says:

    They have,nt been very happy especially yesterday, look a lot happier today as also bought another powder to thoroughly powered them today supposed to last for 6 weeks, and had to laugh as they look quite indignant when powdering under the wings, had the help from David as hard to hold down a irritated hen with one hand :scratch:

    Sheila your dad was probably being precautionary especially with so many hens too, I had been treating the coop but not them so lesson well and truly learnt :yes:

    Those harvest mites sound nasty too, but hopefully don’t live off blood, none of the red mites bit me though so grateful for that :-)

    Still feeling a bit like something crawling on me but hopefully my imagination :scratch:

  8. Hayley says:

    Goodness me Karen, sounds awful. Lots of biting midges about this year, I think you’re right, they like the humidity. Hopefully Mavis is starting to look better now. :good:

  9. karenp says:

    cleaned them out again today, still signs there but not as many so i,m winning i hope :scratch: mavis is starting to look better colour on her wattle getting red again, i,ve been giving them a handful of mealworms daily too and they have a good poultry tonic too in the water, spent a fortune at the country stores but if it all works its worth it in the end :yes:
    and Haley your right there, there is a lot of midges around and mosquitoes, i,ve never seen so many around here before :rage:

  10. gertie says:

    Crumbs :wacko: well done Karen :good: I wonder what it’ll be like down in the south of France next week :unsure:

  11. Allan says:

    Karen it is more than likely that it is red mite that you have, I use diatom powder to get fid of them.Look it up on Google.The mite live on the blood of the chickens and feed on them at night,But if you have an infestation of them,They will be out in the day as well, You have to dust the nests,perches and all the little cracks in the woodwork, The other mite they have is fodder mite but that only survives in any excess food that is there after feeding, Every time I change the perches I powder them with ,Diatomous earth powder,Don’t think that is spelt quite right. :unsure:

  12. Allan says:

    It’s spelt Diatomaceous earth,and it’s sold on line ,it is a 100% cheaper than the ripoff pet shops and vets, I even use it on my broad beans,It can also be added to the chickens food. :yes:

  13. karenp says:

    I have bought that as well Allan in the past, but thought diatom was the same, the farm where I get the hens from use it too, I,’ve been spraying with poultry sheild then washing it off waiting for all to dry then applying the powder, feel as though I,m winning now as not as many yesterday and what I saw were dead :yahoo:
    Your so right too about how much more expensive it is in pet shops too, the farm sell it at 5,99 a lot cheaper, and I read online about rubbing it into the perches too, which seemed to work :good:
    I was so shocked as I thought you could,nt see them in the day as they hide in crevices, when I removed the nesting box they were in all the grooves this was the worst infested place, am totally baffled how they came so infested as I remove and clean out thoroughly weekly, but think perhaps I did,nt use enough diatom and also did,nt realise just how they hide :scratch:
    The hens are looking a lot better now by the day, they must have been going through hell at night, but the trouble is when you read about mites they say another sign is the hens are reluctant to go in the coop at night and mine weren’t.
    also Allan how often do you apply the powder though, would you do this twice weekly as I was only doing it once a week after the big clean, I do poop scoop each day too :-)
    I must admit I felt like crying when I saw how bad it was, thought I,d have to burn the coop and buy another one :cry:

  14. Allan says:

    With my birds Karen, I change the perches once a week, Each time I plaster the ends that clip on the wire with diatom powder,All the cleaning trays have a thick bed of it under them ,You have to have it in a place where the mite come in contact with it, It adheres to their body and breakers down their protective skin, When I used to have the bantams, I used to dust their feathers with it before they went too roost, You have to keep on top of it or it will take over the coop.Dont ever think that you have them all ,Because they can stay dormant for a couple of months .You don’t have a problem with it in the winter, But with the hot weather we have had,They have been doubling in numbers overnight, :bye:

  15. karenp says:

    Thanks Allan will definitely apply it again to the hens before they go to roost then :good: Do these mites live on the flooring under the coop, the coop has small legs to raise it off the ground I did sprinkle the diatom under the coop because I do have wood bark in the run too, have been sprinkling diatom around the feeding stations too, what horrid critters these are, how do they arrive as something must carry them, I only buy sealed straw and wood chippings am totally baffled by it all :unsure:

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