How to build an effective red mite strategy


by Jim Bigmore managing director of hygiene specialists, Hysolv

Jim Bigmore, managing director of Hysolv.

Let’s face it, if there was a magic cure for red mite, they would be a thing of the past. All modern products work to a greater or lesser extent, the trick is to have a red mite strategy, rather than just reacting to circumstances. Here are some ideas about how to approach the red mite issue.

The first step to building a strategy, is to understand the possible intervention points for red mite control:

  1. Before the poultry house is built.
  2. When the poultry house is newly de-stocked and still “warm”.
  3. The empty house.
  4. During the production period.

Avoiding problems into your farm buildings.

The construction of poultry housing will determine whether prevention and/or treatment of red mite is easier, or more difficult. A few hours invested at the construction stage, could save hundreds of hours treating red mite and a great deal of money.

Discuss this with your buildings supplier before placing your order!

Disinfecting a ‘still-warm’ poultry house provides an opportunity to control the red mite population.

Treating the empty “still-warm” poultry house.

There is a short time window when the birds have been removed, but the mite are still present. This is an opportunity to reduce the red mite population.

Benefits:      relatively inexpensive and simple to apply.

Problems:    the uncleaned house reduces the effectiveness of treatment.

Treating the empty house.

The empty house presents an ideal opportunity to remove red mite and red mite eggs, providing they can be treated and are not hidden.

Heating the buildings

Benefits:      No chemicals used. Effective. No resistance build-up. Kills red mites and their eggs.

Problems:    Relatively high cost.

Terminal disinfection with suitable chlorocresol-based products

Benefits:      Effective. Kills red mites and eggs. No resistance build-up.
Low cost as it is a by-product of a standard disinfection programme.

Problems:    Mites and mite eggs must come into contact with the disinfectant, effective spraying is critical to success.

Long-acting acaricide in the empty house, prior to restocking

Benefits:      Simple to apply, relatively low cost.

Problems:    Effective for three months.

Treating the house in the production period

This is the treatment of last resort as it means that the house still has a red mite problem despite the preceding treatment opportunities.

Desiccating the mite using silicates/silicate solutions

Benefit:        Chemical-free. No resistance build-up. Suitable for organic farms. Lower priced.

Problems:    Messy to use. Must be applied regularly throughout the production period.

Chemical treatment of birds to kill mite

Benefit:        Simple to use. Effective.

Problems:    High cost. Mites have to feed on birds to be killed.

Use of glue to restrict movement of mites

Benefits:      Relatively low cost. Can be used on organic farms. No resistance build-up.

Problems:    Should be applied to dust-free surfaces.

There are no easy answers to controlling red mite, says Jim Bigmore.

Your red mite control strategy lies in the best use of the treatments listed above. In my experience the use of disinfection, coupled with a long-acting acaricide has yielded impressive results. Once red mites have re-infested the house, then the choice of product will be decided by the time the bird will remain in production.