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Red poultry mite

Key features

Adult female mites are up to 1 mm in length with greatly varied colouration, although a reddish tinge is common. This tinge is due to blood being visible following a meal, when partly digested the colour darkens.

The body has a pear shape and number of bristles are present on the dorsal surface of the main body.

The mouthparts of the poultry mite are prominent, projecting forwards.

The body surface is almost transparent, such that the gut can be seen through the body wall.


The adult female mites lay their eggs after taking a blood meal from the host and the eggs give rise to six-legged larvae which in turn moult to produce eight-legged nymphal stages.

The adult emerges from the final nymphal stage.

The cycle from egg to adult takes around 7 days in ideal conditions.

The adult mites, in common with many other mites, have great survival potential and can exists for up to 6 months without a blood meals.




The poultry mite infests areas where domestic fowl are kept, leaving harbourages only to feed on the birds. Since intensive poultry units often have a huge number of poultry, the significance of an infestation can be severe. When infested, birds show signs of stress, rapidly lose condition and their productivity drops.

These mites can also be a nuisance pest in properties near poultry units, since when the poultry are removed from the area the mites wander, often considerable distances, in search of new hosts.

More typically domestic infestations are from wild birds nests such as those of sparrows, starlings and pigeons. Migration of the mites occurs when nestlings leave the nest or when a nest is abandoned.

When the normal hosts are not available, the mites will attack mammals (including man) and their bites can be painful and irritating. They are unable to breed in association with man alone.


Please call East Lancashire Pest Control on 0800 023 6116