1. Poor house and furniture design
The more complex the environment, the more opportunity there is for a mite population.
Building design is a significant factor as red mites are known to breed profusely in the dark corners, cracks and crevices of a coop.
UK researchers found old buildings were more likely to host mites. These were more likely to have ideal red mite refuges like walls, feeder and nest box systems with a mix of metal and wooden structures with unsealed joins and junctions.
One simple change was the use of a silicon sealant in the folds and joints of feeders and walls where mites could live, a simple, cheap and potentially effective control measure.
In studies of Swiss poultry systems, hygiene was shown to have a large influence on the occurrence of red mite. The densities of red mite were higher in deep-litter systems than in systems where the scratching (feed) area and dung-storing facilities (like a dung pit or board) were separate. If you are using a deep litter system (which has a lot of benefits) it is important to keep the litter dry and to add a layer of fresh, clean litter on top regularly.
Using plastic in a coop doesn’t stop mites, but it does make it easier to physically remove them, using a water blaster. Nest boxes are a prime spot for infestation, so one option is to use a plastic container as a nest box: it’s cheap, and easy to remove and clean.
Temperatures above 45°C kill red mites so plastic nest boxes, feeders and waterers can also be removed and soaked in hot water.