(De Geer, 1778)
|Classification and external resources|
|ICD-10||B88.0 (ILDS B88.060)|
The mites are blood feeders and attack resting birds at night. They are generally white or greyish in colour, becoming darker or redder when engorged with blood. After feeding, they hide in cracks and crevices away from daylight, where they mate and lay eggs. The mite progresses through 5 life stages: egg, larva, protonymph, deutonymph and adult. Under favourable conditions this life cycle can be completed within seven days, so populations can grow rapidly - causing anaemia in badly affected flocks of poultry. Young birds are most susceptible. The mites can also affect the health of the birds indirectly, as they may serve as vectors for diseases such as Salmonellosis, avian spirochaetosis and Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae.
Dermansyssus gallinae will also bite some species of mammals, including humans, sometimes causing dermatitis and skin lesions, but it is widely noted that they are incapable of living and reproducing on human hosts (e.g.).
Clinical signs and diagnosis
A presumptive diagnosis can be made in flocks of laying hens, usually based on a history of decreasing egg production, anaemia and mortalities in young or ill birds. Blood spots on eggs indicate infestation within the cloaca of an affected hen. Definitive diagnosis is only achieved following identification of eggs, faeces or the mites themselves
Treatment and prevention
Ectoparasiticides can be used to treat affected poultry. These chemical controls, if used, should be used in rotation to avoid the build up of resistance. Red mites can survive for up to 10 months in an empty hen house. Creosote treatment of wood will kill mites. Prevention of infestation in a human habitation consists of eliminating vectors (pigeons in eaves, infested backyard poultry, etc.). Elimination of an infestation in a human habitation is best achieved through a combination of eliminating potential vectors (nesting pigeons, backyard poultry, etc.); reducing potential hiding places (rugs, clutter); judicious use of pesticides; consistent use of dehumidifiers to maintain a low humidity environment; maintaining a low temperature in the environment; frequent thorough cleaning; minimizing the amount of time spent in the home; and maintaining excellent hygiene and exercise habits. Treatment of infestation may require topical and oral medication such as ivermectin and may require several months to eradicate.
- Chirico J, Eriksson H, Fossum O, Jansson D (June 2003). "The poultry red mite, Dermanyssus gallinae, a potential vector of Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae causing erysipelas in hens". Medical and Veterinary Entomology 17 (2): 232–4. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2915.2003.00428.x. PMID 12823843.
- Bellanger AP, Bories C, Foulet F, Bretagne S, Botterel F (March 2008). "Nosocomial dermatitis caused by Dermanyssus gallinae". Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology 29 (3): 282–3. doi:10.1086/528815. PMID 18205530.
- Akdemir C, Gülcan E, Tanritanir P (2009). "Case report: Dermanyssus gallinae in a patient with pruritus and skin lesions". Türkiye Parazitoloji Dergisi 33 (3): 242–4. PMID 19851974.
- Haag-Wackernagel D, Bircher AJ (2010). "Ectoparasites from feral pigeons affecting humans". Dermatology (Basel) 220 (1): 82–92. doi:10.1159/000266039. PMID 20016127.
- Dermanyssus gallinae, at WikiVet
- Red Mite Page on keeping-chickens.me.uk, Photographs of typical red mite infestations including macro photograph in backyard poultry coops
- Red Mite Section on poultrykeeper.com, Articles and information on Red Mites, including predator mites that can be used to control infestations
- Red Mite infestation in houses Infestation is not limited to chicken coops.
- Red Mite Information on Accidental Smallholder and close up photos for smallholders and backyard chicken keepers.