Do red mites survive over the winter months?

PUBLISHED: 19:30 17 May 2014

I am wondering if red mites can survive in empty coops over the winter months? I had a mite problem last summer, then the fox killed all my hens. I think I want to start again this spring with another small flock

Victoria Roberts says:

Red mite is a very successful parasite and can survive for a year without a meal! Second-hand hen huts are therefore likely to be carrying red mite and, if you had a problem last summer, some of the mites will still be alive in the hut. Before you get your next flock, take the entire hut apart, remove any felt from the roof board and spray it all with Indorex or Acclaim (long-lasting cat flea killer sprays from your vet). Do not renew the roof felt but replace it with clear corrugated Perspex over the board to maintain waterproofing, and the light (which the mites hate) prevents them from hiding in the previous ‘palace’ of theirs under the felt. Wild birds can bring in red mite, so you need to remain alert to the possibility of a re-infestation – checking at dusk with a torch will let you see the little blighters climbing down to the perch ready for their nightly blood-sucking.

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