Thursday, April 8, 2010

Fighting the Scourge of Poultry Mites

I'd never heard of these little bastards until last year when apparently the crows that sneak into the henhouse to steal eggs brought them in. They are TEENSY, did not see them, but suddenly I had HUNDREDS of VERY itchy red bites all over me. I Googled, learned of them, saw that when I went into the henhouse they'd IMMEDIATELY go up my shoes then feet and legs....they instinctively climb UP so I had to put orange oil on my feet prior to getting eggs. But then they infested the mulch pathways and ended up in my BED, making me use TONS of water laundering my bedding. I sprayed my mattress with permethrin I dumpster dived and fixed that. We had a BAD drought last spring and they NEED dry dusty materials to live and breed in. As soon as I watered down the henhouse heavily, and we got a rain for the paths, they virtually vanished. So a few days ago I ran my wonderful shower head sprinkler in the henhouse for 15 minutes to give it a deep soaking, then soaked the quail pen too. I sure hope they are a thing of my past as that was nightmarish. Be aware they can afflict poultry and people in nearly every climate zone, and that wild birds are often the carriers. Yikes I ITCHED SO BAD! Was horrific when I'd feel them crawling on me in my own bed I'd JUST laundered! Putting a couple inches of food grade diatomaceous earth in litter boxes, one for the henhouse, one for the quail pen, allowed the birds to cure themselves by "dust bathing" in it.

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