Red Mites live in cracks and crevices. A wooden house provides almost the perfect environment, especially if it has a felt roof. If you have a red mite infestation, you will obviously want to thoroughly cleanse your house. Most methods of cleaning fail to totally remove the mites, as they involve spraying chemicals and hoping the liquid will penetrate all the places mites live.
In a wooden house, total eradication is virtually impossible, and we have had many reports of people disinfecting their wooden houses repeatedly – eventually giving up and burning the house. So, in a wooden house, cleaning will be most likely to only reduce the population, and will probably need to be repeated on a regular basis.
However, plastic houses from Green Frog Designs have no cracks or crevices and very few joints for the mites to hide in, so conditions for population growth are far from ideal. In fact, even our perches are plastic, unlike those of some of our competitors. Furthermore, since our houses can be easily disassembled, it is a very simple task to thoroughly clean and disinfect them, and the houses can be dry and ready for re-occupation in just a few minutes, even in winter.
Since mites can enter from the wild bird population or from new chickens you might aquire, it is always wise to use a preventative treatment. We advise the use of Diatom (Diatomaceous Earth), which is a powder made from the fossilised remains of microscopically small organisms. The powder absorbs the waxy lipids (fats) from the outer coating of the mite, causing it to dry out and die. We recommend that you sprinkle a little Diatom powder around the house when the bedding is refreshed. This will ensure that any mites that enter the house will be rapidly dealt with before a colony has a chance to grow.
One of our resellers, Bev Nelson from Bev’s Rare Breed Poultry, has actually replaced her entire stock of wooden housing for her exhibition birds and her ‘boarding’ coops with 12 houses from Green Frog Designs. The reason – simply because she was totally fed up with having to deal with outbreaks of Red Mite in her wooden houses.
We recently received this feedback by email from a customer. The text has not been edited in any way. 'DE' is 'Diatomaceouse Earth' (see above):
"I've just discovered red mite in one of my coops, I thought you might like some feedback! They took up residence in the join between nest box and main coop, easily dealt with. Not so easy were the groups under the discs that adjust the ventilation - I took the discs off (and won't be putting them back on since I never use them anyway.) Poultry Shield runs a very satisfying green colour when it meets red mite, so cleaning the coops was really easy - Poultry Shield all over, brush, rinse, then repeat to make sure the Poultry Shield stays clear. I'll do them again in a few days to catch any eggs that might have been missed.
I blame the sudden warm weather for undermining my defences of DE and ant powder. I'm very pleased with how easy the coops were to clean."