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Chicken mite may be present in poultry operations. However,unlike the northern fowl mite, it does not live on the bird and can be easily controlled in commercial operations by using the proper insecticide.
The 8-legged, unengorged mites are about 0.8 mm long and 0.4 mm wide. They are white, grayish, black or deep red, depending upon their blood content. Engorged adults are about 1 mm long.
The chicken mite is probably a greater problem in floor nests and on floor-housed birds. During the daytime, the chicken mite lives in secluded areas around poultry houses such as cracks and crevices, roosts, walls, ceilings, and floors. At night, the mite becomes active and crawls onto the bird to take a blood meal.
Their habit of leaving the host after nighttime feeding is diagnostic for this mite species. Chicken mites can be red (following a blood meal) to black and can often be found clustered together in the environment surrounding the birds. Usually you have to inspect your birds at night to find them on the skin. Because they need to find daytime hiding places.
chicken mites are not generally a pest in cage layer operations, but they can be quite problematic in breeder operations or other situations where fowl are maintained on litter or have nest boxes. Chicken mites have a broad host range and are often associated with a number of wild birds in addition to domestic poultry.
Life Cycle: The major difference between these two North Carolina mites is their feeding time. Chicken mites are usually nocturnal; they hide in sheltered areas of the poultry house during the day and feed upon the host at night. Northern fowl mites are found on or nearby their hosts continuously, even during the day.
The life stages of both mites consist of the egg, larva, protonymph, dentonymph, and adult. With the chicken mite, 12 to 24 hours after its first blood meal fertilized females lay batches of three to seven eggs in crevices or under debris in poultry houses. During her lifetime of several months, she lays up to 32 eggs. Incubation lasts 48 to 72 hours. The larva, which does not feed, molts in 1 to 2 days to a protonymph, which takes a blood meal. In a few days, it molts to the dentonymph which does not feed.
This stage molts to the adult stage after 1 or 2 days. Under optimal conditions, a life cycle (egg to egg-laying adult) req uires only 7 to 9 days. However, both feeding nymphs and adults may go several weeks without blood meals, thereby increasing the duration of the life cycle. Chicken mites usually hide in cracks during the day and feed only at night.
Northern fowl mites usually spend the whole life cycle on the host although when large numbers of mites occur, the mites may team on nesting materials and eggs. Northern fowl mites can survive about 3 weeks in the absence of a host, whereas chicken mites may survive several months without feeding.
Infestations: Infestations may go unnoticed unless birds are examined at night. If mites are found on the birds only at night, this indicates that it is the common chicken mite. Chicken mites can also be detected by examining secluded areas around poultry houses. You should look for gray, brown, or red mites. Other signs of chicken mites include black and white deposits of excrement and cast skins.
Heavy infestations of chicken mites cause birds to have pale combs and wattles. Birds also become droopy and weak, making them more susceptible to other parasites and diseases.
Control: For chicken mite control, provide easy to clean roosts and nests with few hiding places. Apply insecticides thoroughly to roosts and cracks in surrounding areas. Repeat applications as necessary. Treatment of poultry also helps. For northern fowl mite control, apply insecticides directly to poultry at 100 to 125 psi for good penetration. Use 1 to 2 gallons of dilute pesticide mixture per 1,000 sq. Ft. of litter.
Scaly Leg Mites
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