Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Redmite wipeout.... well hopefully!
#1
I'm battling bad redmite infestations in my two coops, and thought people might find some of my observations useful.

My big brahma coop had a bad infestation, so I cleaned it out, blowtorched all the suspect areas, and treated the same areas (perches, corners, walls next to perches, etc) with Perbio-Choc. A couple of evenings later (at night) I noticed that the OUTSIDE of the coop was crawling with redmite! Including quite a few that had recently fed. There were also still quite a lot inside (though numbers have reduced somewhat since, but still present), in the daytime I could see colonies in crevices on the outside of the coop. I've now also creosoted the outside of the coop (real stuff) and hope that should sort out the outside (lots of dying mites crawled out of the gaps).
The possible learning point is that if you are having trouble consider that the mites will crawl from their colonies outside the coop into the coop to feed, and then back - you may need to treat the outside too.

In the midst of this I was visiting my Dad who has quite advanced dementia, but used to be a university chemistry lecturer. For something to talk about I was explaining I was having problems with redmite and was considering fumigating the coop but was reluctant to use the highly toxic formaldehyde fumigation. He immediately said "have you tried burning sulphur?", and explained it burns to sulphur dioxide gas which is a very effective fumigant. The chemistry bit of his brain is remarkably intact!
Anyway I looked it up and sulphur candles have long been used to fumigate greenhouses, its also used to fumigate fruit etc, and used to be used to fumigate ships!. Some of the "candles" seem to be mixed with wax and some just a tin of sulphur powder with a wick to get it burning. I found it difficult to find someone with stock of them though.
I bought a big tub of sulphur powder from my local feed and horsey goods shop (£10 for 1.5Kg). Cut an aluminium beer can in two (bit more than half) and filled it with 200g of sulphur. Having cleaned out the smaller coop (about 4' cube plus nest boxes), closed the pophole, and keeping the birds away from it, I placed the can of sulphur in a tray with a little water in (as a precaution), the tray on three small stones to let the fumes under it. Lit it with a gas blowtorch (careful as the flame is also nearly invisible, as my dad warned me). I then closed the door and taped up the obvious cracks and ventilation holes. I could soon see wisps of (very pungent) smoke/gas escaping from any small cracks. 4 hours later the smoke had stopped and I opened the coop (standing well back). The smoke/fumes cleared quite quickly and all the sulphur had burnt away. I left it airing for several hours, before hens were let back in though - there was no residual smell. There were dead redmite scattered all over the floor of the coop, it looked like they had emerged from hiding to try to get away from the gas, and the big colony between two wood surfaces of the floor-standing perch were all dead (I'd left then deliberately to see). There was even a much more concentrated patch of dead mites where they had fallen from a drill-hole in a wooden roof-support. There were NO live mites to be found anywhere.
While it was fumigating I also creosoted the outside (doing the taped-up bits later).
Sadly there were a few (very few) live mites under/on the perch that night when I checked in the dark - I think these were probably passengers on the birds during the day. In retrospect I should have treated the perches with Perbio-Choc after fumigation to kill mites migrating off the birds, and/or treat the birds themselves with louse powder or fipronil spray.
I may well repeat the fumigation in a week and treat the perches/birds after. I'll also fumigate the larger coop.

Anyway I was surprised how simple it was to fumigate this way, and the birds seem fine with it. At the very least it has massively reduced the numbers of mites, and could be a useful measure especially for people getting the the point where they are thinking of burning a coop and replacing it! If you try this be careful disposing of the water as it becomes a sulphurous acid solution (use a ceramic or glass tray). The good news is that the same happens to the insides of the mites!
Never forget that life is a finite resource.

Experience is something you gain just after you needed it most.
[-] The following 3 users Like Sutty's post:
  • chickenmum, Squizzers, scotsfran
Reply
#2
That's very interesting, well done Dad!
It never worries me when I get a little lost, all I do is change where I'm going
Reply
#3
That is a very interesting read Sutty! I have just got rid of a wooden hen house cos of the red mite infestation and replaced it with plastic. roll eyes  Dont see why I couldnt fumigate the plastic box if the mite come back. I also treated the hens with Frontline (cat version) - so here's hoping there are a lot fewer mite now!
Reply
#4
Very interesting! How did you dispose of the watrr Sutty?
You've only got one life - live it!
squizzers
Reply
#5
I just put it down the drain, and flushed down with plenty of water. I don't think it's a strong acid (it hadn't done much to the aluminium can), and probably just killed off a few bugs in the drain.
Never forget that life is a finite resource.

Experience is something you gain just after you needed it most.
Reply
#6
(29-07-2016, 10:13 PM)Sutty Wrote: I just put it down the drain, and flushed down with plenty of water. I don't think it's a strong acid (it hadn't done much to the aluminium can), and probably just killed off a few bugs in the drain.

Aluminium pop/beer/cider cans are coated on the inside to help prevent acids burning through. :-)
CHUCKLERS RULE THE ROOST - Dave. Zen Seeker of The Board. rabbit run
Reply
#7
(30-07-2016, 11:42 AM)zenith Wrote:
(29-07-2016, 10:13 PM)Sutty Wrote: I just put it down the drain, and flushed down with plenty of water. I don't think it's a strong acid (it hadn't done much to the aluminium can), and probably just killed off a few bugs in the drain.

Aluminium pop/beer/cider cans are coated on the inside to help prevent acids burning through. :-)

Water was on the outside of the can! (and any coating would have burnt off anyway). The water is really just a solution of the sulphur dioxide, its a weak acid, the gas is very soluble in water, the solution does oxidise slowly in air to sulphuric acid (a strong acid), and the solution will react with metals. I had seen that commercially available versions appear to be in a metal can (probably steel). The stainless steel dish it was in was marked a bit, so I'm using pyrex glass dishes today to fumigate the big coop. I'm sure you could miss out the water as long as the can is on a contained heatproof surface in case it falls over. As this coop is much bigger (and leakier - I didn't build this one) I've used two cans of 200g of sulphur - they are burning as I type.

If anyone is going to try this as well as creosoting the outside do the fumigation 1st (or whilst creosoting) as its impossible to stick tape to a recently creosoted surface!!

It also occurred to me that someone might try this after hosing/washing/jetwashing the inside of a coop - do it with a dry coop so that it doesn't dissolve in lots of water and take a long time to dissipate afterwards or leave residual acid.

I only thought after starting it and sealing up, that I should have left my "cleaning out tools" and the trugs I use for waste bedding inside the coop to sterilize them too.
Never forget that life is a finite resource.

Experience is something you gain just after you needed it most.
[-] The following 1 user Likes Sutty's post:
  • auntsally
Reply
#8
Well there are still some mites around tonight - I do wonder if they are ones that were on the birds during the day. The bedding was absolutely crawling with them after removal so a large density and some likely on the birds. (the wood shavings in the top of the bin had about 20 per square cm when I looked after a few hours!!)
Planning a repeat fumigation during the week - maybe for even longer to give more time to get into crevices.
Apparently in commercial houses a bad infestation may be 200000 to 500000 mites per bird!!!!! Yeuk!!
Never forget that life is a finite resource.

Experience is something you gain just after you needed it most.
Reply
#9
One house now creosoted (real stuff) the other two FicamW'd, all birds Ivermectined. When the creosote has dried out we will move the Shetlands in there and do their house, then move the Favs and Brahmas etc. to do their house...phew...
Today is the First Day of the rest of our lives.
Reply
#10
Hmm only problem is I've got a septic tank! Don't want to kill the bugs in that!

Sorry Sutty did push the quote button but it didn't work on the phone. Only after I'd written the above did I read the rest of the thread! Doh
You've only got one life - live it!
squizzers
Reply
#11
That sounds really great Sutty. All the chemistry makes perfect sense. I'm going to try that in the autumn
If they can be taught to hate, they can be taught to love.
Reply
#12
I've used it since without the water. Just put the tin on a fireproof surface like a slate.
Very few mites in the main coop, I'm sure they must have been on the birds. I'm planning to repeat probably tomorrow to kill them too.
If I was buying a second hand coop I'd definitely treat it this way before using it.
Never forget that life is a finite resource.

Experience is something you gain just after you needed it most.
[-] The following 1 user Likes Sutty's post:
  • Squizzers
Reply
#13
Good to know thanks Sutty.
You've only got one life - live it!
squizzers
Reply
#14
I've just found more red mite today. Even after creosote. I'm off to buy sulphur tomorrow!
If they can be taught to hate, they can be taught to love.
Reply
#15
I killed a lot with the spray, but still a few left so will have to do it again next weekend. It seems its a never ending problem......
It never worries me when I get a little lost, all I do is change where I'm going
Reply


Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)