Dermanyssus gallinae

Red mites are the primary mites threatening poultry houses in Europe. These pests can increase rates of anemia, mortality and disease susceptibility while eroding productivity parameters like feed efficiency, egg production, egg quality and weight gain.

In addition to physiological damage, mite parasites are a costly global problem for poultry production. In Europe alone, the approximate total annual cost of red mite infestations totals €360 million, with more than 300 million hens in all production types suffering from infestations.

7-10 days per cycle

The Mite Lifecycle

Aside from the egg, poultry red mites have four life-cycle stages: larvae, protonymph, deutonymph and adult. Larvae hatch with six legs and do not feed. After the first molt, both nymphal stages and adults have eight legs. Protonymphs, deutonymphs and adult females routinely feed on host blood, but males only occasionally feed.1, 2, 3

Once on a host, mites feed for short periods of up to an hour, doing so every two to four days and typically during periods of darkness. Complete development of D. gallinae, from egg to adult through one larval stage and two nymphal stages, typically occurs over two weeks.

mite life cycle
Poultry red mites on a piece of straw at a free-range farm.
life cycle diagram
Based on Sparagano, et. al.3

The life cycle of the poultry red mite, Dermanyssus gallinae.

244,140,625 Problems

If one mite has eight eggs per clutch, in just 12 short weeks you end up with 244,140,625 mites. This little problem can quickly become out of control if not properly handled.

Week 4 eggs/clutch 8 eggs/clutch
Day 0 1 1
Week 1 3 5
Week 2 9 25
Week 3 27 125
Week 4 81 625
Week 5 243 3,125
Week 6 729 15,625
Week 7 2,187 78,125
Week 8 6,561 390,625
Week 9 19,683 1,953,125
Week 10 59,049 9,765,625
Week 11 177,147 48,828,125
Week 12 531,441 244,140,625

1 Chauve C. The poultry red mite Dermanyssus gallinae (De Geer, 1778): current situation and future prospects for control. Vet Parasitol 1998; 79:239-245.

2 Carter E, Gillett-Kaufman JL. Chicken mite (other common names: poultry red mite, roost mite) Dermanyssus gallinae (De Geer) (Arachnida: Acari: Dermanyssidae). Document EENY611, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL. December 2014. (accessed August 2016).

3 Sparagano O.A.E., George D.R., Harrington D.W.J., Giangaspero A. Significance and control of the poultry red mite Dermanyssus gallinae. Annu Rev Entomol 2014; 59:447-466.

A secure house is a clean house.

Many factors contribute to the introduction and spread of poultry
red mites. Through biosecurity and hygiene measures,
red mite infestations can be controlled.