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Red Mite.

I've suddenly had an explosion of red mite in my chicken sheds. They seem to have gone from 0 to 60 in 5 seconds.
We've had warm but dampish weather which is what they love and I've been in the trenches fighting them for the last couple of days. I've still got some sheds to do and I'm sick of having to strip my clothes off and having to have a red hot shower to get the little barstewards off me.
I'm using three methods combined to try and keep them at bay but I'm along way from getting on top of them.
I'm using creosote on the perches and any big clusters of them I come across, I've used a garden sprayer with fly killer on the fabric of the sheds and then for good measure I've used diatomus dust in the nest boxes and on any shelves but I'm still getting red mite in my hair when I go into the sheds.
Its not nice. I've got some 'mitekill' to put into my sprayer next but didn't find it that effective last year. Are any of you using any wonder stuff this year?

    These emoticons don't symbolise me thinking, they symbolise me scratching my hair.

Oh Gawd
Best of luck

Have you tried flea bombs? I'm sure they must be available over there.

Y'know I'm an archaeologist ? well, I did a lot of 'living history' at places like the Scottish Crannog Centre.

These places have no problems with insect infestations.
The reason is simple; smoke.

Seriously, smoke kills insects. Fumigates is literally the word.

The inside of buildings of the past became smokey at the roofs, and since the roofs were generally thatch of some kind, insect pests would have been a disaster. Instead the roof spaces filled up with smoke and that discouraged and killed off the insects.

Surely there's a modern equivalent  of something that would burn smokily and kill off the beasties but not harm the hens.

The old hearth herbs that were renowned for clearing disease and infestations that come to mind are Mugwort (I can send you some of this is you want, it's a beautiful billowing white smoke) bog myrtle, juniper or some of the fungus ones like fomes or chaga.

Might sound a bit off the wall, but if things are that bad, I wouldn't discount it.

Yorkshire Geordie

I Googled "red mite eradication" and this seemed a good site:-

It looks to be a rather futile situation and one that's quit difficult to get rid of.
I've started itching and scratching now - I might have got the mite!    
Good luck

I've tried insecticidal candles in the past but when the little beggars aren't eating the chickens, they're tucked away safely in the fabric of the shed and seem to evade the insecticide.

I don't think a candle would do it, tbh.

Smoke, lots of smoke. The mugwort burns and billows out masses of lightly perfumed smoke. So does the myrtle…..and neither really burst into flames that would send off burning embers. Punk wood burns like that too.

One of those portable bbq things, put it on top of a couple of bricks near the doorway (or inside if there's room) and light something smokey.

Insects breath through spiracles along their sides. Fill the hutches with smoke and they'll suffocate. Better yet if it's something that kills their eggs too.

Nowadays we're very used to the whole 'smoke is BAD' idea, but used with care, it's very effective. I know it keeps thatch roofs clear in every period from neolithic to medieval


Thanks for the info. Toddy certainly going to give it a go in the brooder shed once it's empty. I've plenty of myrtle.

Thing is though, this isn't profits for agri-business, is it ?
Happy to post mugwort if anyone wants some. It's name is the clue, it's effective agin the midges and moths. It's a weed along the roadsides here.

I was demonstrating Bronze Age firelighting in Holyrood Park on one of the Scottish Archaeology days. I had a glowing fomes going, and I had just gotten an ember with a bowdrill. I lifted the ember into a 'nest' of dried mugwort, birch bark peelings, and dried grass, to blow it up into flame, and as usual the mugwort billowed out masses of beautiful white smoke.

I suddenly found myself surrounded by bemused tourists and stunned hippies….apparantly it smelled very interesting  

Sweetgrass is another traditional hearth herb for cleansing a place too.



Totally oblivious me, standing there red faced and out of breath, chuffed I'd made fire again with nothing but some bits of stick and a cord I'd made from nettles.
Someone said to me, "Where did you get that ?", and I replied, "Oh it's a common weed, it grows along every road side in Lanarkshire".

It dawned on me later why my colleague was tied up like a pretzel laughing at the looks of awed astonishment.

Anyway, mugwort, totally legal, and lots and lots of lovely smoke


A decade or so ago I had an aviary, it got hit by mites and I was losing birds, I used a product called Dyna-Mite, it worked well and all seemed to be back to normal but I put my hand in a nest pan one morning a week later to check the chicks and all of a sudden my hand was covered with the buggers and I lost that brood and a couple of adults too.  

Only then did I learn that you have to keep spraying the aviary/shed etc for some time as the eggs the mite lay aren't affected by stuff and when you think you have cured the problem they hatch out and re-infect you.

That link is an overseas one, the stuff I got (from a pet shop) was a brown liquid that I mixed myself and just used a small hand sprayer.

Yorkshire Geordie

Good one 12Bore.  
That RED thing mite do it.  

Yorkshire Geordie wrote:
Good one 12Bore.  
That RED thing mite do it.  

Dave C

I use this stuff every week when I clean them out
Put it everywhere then put the saw dust down then put some on top so it gets onto the birds, as you can also apply onto the bird directly
Although I've never had to.

Always keeps on top of all mites and lice  


What sort of price would this be

I also use Diatomaceous Earth (which is what Hemexsan is) and have not had any problems with Red mite, lice, fleas, etc. for years.
I dust the whole shed, nest boxes, perches, floor, straw, etc. about every fortnight.
I also give it in the food with cider vinegar.  
I wonder if the problems you have Bodger is because of the damp atmosphere where you are ?
Perhaps dust the sheds in between mucking out.
You can get food grade DE on Ebay,  £20 for 10 kg.

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