6 things you may not know about red mites

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Your Poultry -

Der­manys­sus gal­li­nae is the most com­mon ec­topar­a­site in poul­try.

Adult mites are tiny, on av­er­age 751 mi­crons long and 461 mi­crons wide when en­gorged – to give you an idea,a, 1000 mi­crons is 1mm – and they y find it easy to hide, mate, de­posit osit their eggs and spread in the tinyy cracks and crevices in a coop.

The life cy­cle of the mite takes about seven days and con­tains five stages: egg, larva, protonymph, deu­tonymph, and adult. The protonymph, deu­tonymph, and adult feed on blood of poul­try and other birds, but also of other an­i­mals, in­clud­ing hu­mans.

Red mites usu­ally move onto the hen for a blood meal when it’s dark, stay­ing on a bird for an hour or two be­fore mov­ing back to their hid­ing spot. Red mites can sur­vive for up to nine months with­out feed­ing, and eggs can re­main vi­able for up to two years.

Mites cause ir­ri­ta­tion, blood loss, and run down the im­mune sys­tem of a hen, which means they can be deadly over time due to anaemia and/or the ef­fect on the bird’s over­all health; they can also carry dis­eases that can kill birds.

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