This week, I try out a pack of predator mites for red mite control in my hen house.
I have taken delivery of a 25 hen packet of predator mites to test in the fight against red mite. They arrived from the Netherlands in a sealed (thank goodness) flat pack which easily fits through the letterbox. There was an A4 page with comprehensive instructions for using them from Chickenvet.
I will be sharing my findings on this ‘predator mite’ over the coming weeks and will eventually write an article on them for the main site which will be linked to from a comment below this blog post.
I would be interested to hear from anyone else that’s used these to control red mite in poultry houses or errm elsewhere?
The predators are incredibly small, yes, even smaller than a red mite – I have had to use a macro lens to try to get a photo of one on a sheet of paper. You can see from the photo how big they are in comparison to a red mite. The predator is shipped in a substrate material (that looks like potting compost to me) in the sealed bag you see in the photo below and can easily be tipped out onto the infected areas of the coop.
How Predator Mites are used in Chicken Houses.
Before you rush out and buy predator mites, it is worth learning a little bit about these helpful mites. Unlike the red mite, they aren’t as hardy and you don’t want to end up killing them accidentally at £35 per packet.
- They do not tolerate insecticides – If you have treated the coop with chemical products in the last 4 weeks you are likely to kill the predator.
- They do not tolerate water. You cannot wash out the coop once you have introduced the predator.
- Predator mites like it to be warm – 20 degrees C and moderately humid at 60-70% (but not wet!)
- They start to starve after 7 days. This means if you introduce too many, they will eat all of your red mite and then starve before the red mite eggs have had a chance to hatch.
- You need to be around when the predator mites arrive so that you can add them immediately to the chicken coop.
I introduced the mites following this guidance into two small hen houses. The predator is very small and barely visible with the naked eye. I will let you know how they progress in my next post!
Where to buy predator mites.
These predator mites come for St David’s Poultry Team AKA The Chicken Vet. Orders placed during the week are dispatched on the Monday of the next week and should arrive on the Wednesday. The predator mite (unlike the red mite) can only survive for 7 days without a feed so it is important to notify them if they get delayed in the post.
More in a few weeks once I’ve had a chance to evaluate them. Until then,I hope the predators are hungry as there’s red mite in my coop that I want eaten!
I have expanded on this post on the poultrykeeper website in our Red Mite Section here: Predator Mites for Red Mite Control