Red mites

Red mites

What are Red mites? 

Red mites are a common problem which is difficult to manage, both in industrial farms and garden henhouses.

Red mites (scientific name: Dermanyssus gallinae) are 0.5-1 mm in length. The larvae, nymphs and adult females feed on blood, and a blood meal is essential in order to reproduce or change stage (larvae, nymphs, adults).

These parasites are difficult to control as they avoid light and hide in small spaces. They only climb onto animals to feed, and immediately return to their hiding place. These habits make them difficult to eradicate with acaricidal products, and it usually takes several months to notice them, which gives them plenty of time to proliferate.

They can cause numerous problems: lower egg yield, loss of condition and sometimes even death (when in large numbers, they need a lot of blood).

The red mites cycle

How to target red mites?

In the event of red mite infestation, especially if poultry develop symptoms (lower egg yield, fatigue, etc.), see your veterinary surgeon.

In all cases, control of red mites is based on two steps: treat poultry (or step up preventive measures), and sanitize the environment.

Treat poultry

Veterinary medicine suitable for laying hens are currently available, on prescription only. Ask your veterinary surgeon for advice.

Preventive measures consist of two methods:

  • Use insect repellents*: Francodex insect repellent powder is applied directly onto poultry and repels parasites. Francodex insect repellent granules are applied in the environment, mixed with bedding.
  • Use food supplements: Francodex Pou Net contains thyme and tansy, and supports poultry’s natural defences, releasing a fragrance which is repugnant to parasites. This product, suitable for use in organic farming, has been a huge success among numerous breeders, and does not have any impact on egg consumption.

These supplements are not medicinal products. If infestation or symptoms persist, please see a veterinary surgeon.

Lastly, during or after veterinary treatment, use Digestinet to support your poultry’s digestive metabolism, and feed Oligomin mineral supplements.

Treat the environment

Francodex offers different products containing diatomaceous earth**. Diatomaceous earth has a mechanical insecticidal effect. It is made up of fossilized micro-algae, the skeleton of which mainly consists of silica (a mineral resembling small glass crystals). It can be used both internally and externally. Furthermore, its effects last as long as the product is present: once it becomes wet, it is no longer active, but regains its properties once it is dry.

Other control methods are also available (chemical insecticides, biological control with natural predators which target red mites).


*Biocide class PT19: biocides should be used with caution. Read the label and product information before use.

**Biocide class PT18: biocides should be used with caution. Read the label and product information before use.