Red mite detection and control

Home » News » Red mite detection and control

Red mite detection and control

Following the very long and damp winter the recent rapid transition to warmer temperatures means that there’s currently an explosion of red mites in poultry housing.

What are Red Mites?

Red mites are small parasites which live in crevices in the housing, they emerge after dark to feed on the chickens’ blood, this is when they turn from grey to red. After feeding they return to the housing, where they are hard to detect in small quantities. A bad infestation will severely affect the health of your flock; it can stop them laying, cause anaemia and even kill birds.

How will you know that you have them?

  • Birds may avoid going into the coop at night
  • There could be tiny blood spots on the eggs
  • Your birds may be more irritated with each other than normal, and look pale or anaemic
  • You spot either mites, or their faeces – the latter looks like grey ash-type deposits – along crevices inside the coop

How can you treat them?

The first step is a good preventative programme, which you follow weekly:

  • Clean out the coop, washing if possible with hot soapy water and leave to dry in the sun as the UV light will help to sterilise bacteria and kill mites.
  • Spray all over, inside the coop and between all the panels with Total Mite Ready to Use spray – this is refillable from the larger concentrate bottle which must be diluted 1:10 and will disinfect as well as eradicate mites. Always shake the product before mixing and before each use. Use the Total Mite aerosol to generate a powered blast into any tight nooks.
  • Finish off by powdering thoroughly with Buz Busters Louse Powder, taking care to get it in all the cracks, roosting bar brackets and nest boxes. Then refill with bedding.

If you have an infestation, then repeat the above routine every 3 days until it is under control, then revert to a once weekly clean, and BE OBSERVANT.



It is recommended that a cleaning/treatment protocol is maintained on a regular basis due to the nature of the mite meaning that a thorough clean every two months, with weekly maintenance cleans in between is a good routine to get into, with the benefits seen through a healthier flock.

A regular routine like this will keep the mites at bay and ensure that your flock is parasite-free and healthy.

Some points to be aware of:

  • Red mites can live for months without a blood-feed, even empty coops will need spraying and dusting before being put into storage.
  • Buy housing which is easy to take apart and clean, the newer plastic housing can be jet washed.
  • Total Mite Ready to Use spray and the concentrate both contain a coating agent which will carry on acting against the mites even after it has dried, hence the need for shaking them before use, and before diluting the concentrate.
  • Never use Total Mite Ready to Use spray (or diluted concentrate) directly on the birds – they are for application to housing only.
  • Always ventilate treated areas and allow them to dry fully before returning any birds to the treated area.

If your birds are looking a bit pale from an infestation, then consider adding Vit Boost to their water until they have regained full health.

You can download our pest infestation flow chart to help you diagnose which type of mites you have, click here.