Red mites, which are difficult to eradicate as they shelter
in cracks and crevices in poultry houses during the day,
are a potential source of salmonella transmission, according
to biosecurity experts at agriculture specialists Kiotechagil.
“While it is well known that mites can transmit diseases
such as fowl cholera, fowl typhoid and the chicken pox virus;
the fact they feed by sucking blood means they can also theoretically
transmit salmonella through contaminated blood,” explained
Kiotechagil’s Mike Rogers.
Mites, both the red mite and the northern fowl mite have
long been regarded as being one of the most common and critical
problems for poultry farmers. They move quickly over a bird’s
skin and feathers and their blood sucking activity can crucially
cause a drop in egg production as well as anaemia and in
the case of severe infestation – death.
While red mites feed on the birds in darkness often for about
1-2 hours each night before retreating to the extremities
of the poultry house, the northern fowl mite breeds continually
on the bird and it is therefore a particular problem for
Mite detection is best achieved by monitoring if any increase
in food consumption is accompanied by a decrease in egg production.
This will be caused by the chickens needing to replace the
lost blood taken by the mites reducing the energy available
for egg laying. Additionally, poultry owners should look
under slats both in nests and in cracks in the house structure
to see if mites are evident as tiny red to blackish dots
- often in clusters. Finally, if infested with the Northern
Fowl mite, the chickens will often start to peck each other
where they see infestation, usually at the base of a bird’s
“Because red mites can live away from birds for up
to six months they are frequently extremely difficult to
get rid of,” says Kiotechagil’s Mike Rogers.
In addition, the largely mild winters of the last few years
has enabled the mites to survive and thrive.”
Recommended treatments to eradicate mites include thorough
cleaning the chicken accommodation and using products such
as MiteX, a natural non chemical insecticide which can be
used in poultry houses and in feed storage areas without
risk to the birds, feed or any workers. The MiteX powder,
which has extremely high oil absorption, is highly effective
at attaching itself to and then lacerating the waxy surface
of the insect as they move through it.
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