Red mite

Dermanyssus gallinae

The red mite is a blood-sucking mite that affects many birds, especially chickens. Several species can be considered under the term red mite, but the main one is Dermanyssus gallinae . This species is a few millimeters in size as an adult with a variable color depending on the physiological state

(grey, red or black).

Red mite

Life cycle

Egg: is oval and white and measures 0.2 to 0.4 mm. They hatch 48 hours after laying at a temperature of 25°C. These eggs are laid scattered around the hens. They can also be found in quantities as clusters.

Larva: is white and has 3 pairs of legs. It moults into a protonymph in 24 hours at 25°C. The larva is mobile but slow. They're not taking a blood meal yet.

Nymphs: are whitish to greyish and, like the adults, have 4 pairs of legs. Two stages: protonymph and deutonymph. Each stage performs a blood meal. The nymphs are very mobile and spread throughout the habitat of the hens.

Adults: Both males and females feed on blood. The male performs only one blood meal, the females after each spawning. The male is bright red and stays red. Females change from red to dark gray or black depending on their condition. The female lays about 30-35 eggs in her lifetime. From egg to adult, the life cycle can be completed in 7 days at 25 ºC. The population can double in a

short time.


Many bird species suffer from red mite in their habitat. In poultry, the noxious species is mainly Dermanyssus gallinae, which mainly affects chickens.

Although they can affect all chickens, the parasites are mainly found in the layer and rearing sector and not in broilers. This mainly has to do with the period in which a couple is present. This species is characterized by its great resistance to climatic conditions and the absence of food (9 to 12 months) and by its ability to survive in the environment rather than on the host.

After the blood meal, the Dermanyssus leaves gallinaeits host and returns to hide in its habitat. Infection by the parasite is mainly sectoral (equipment, animals, persistence of parasites on site); it is generally accepted that this contamination does not come from individuals of the wild fauna. This shows how difficult it is to eliminate the parasite once it is installed in a building.

Living environment and behavior

The red mite likes to stay in the vicinity of its hosts. They are present in all types of breeding farms, but especially in laying hens. The blood lice hide in the smallest cracks and corners of the material and can form clusters.

Wooden structures and aviaries are generally more difficult to treat because they provide more hiding places for the red mite. They like areas close to their hosts' resting and egg-laying areas (nests, perches, decking). Adults, eggs, larvae and pupae can easily be found in clusters with mite. Red mite is sensitive to light, they tend to hide during the day and move at night and eat for an average of 30 minutes. After the meal, the red mite returns to its environment.

Nuisance/economic damage

Stress and pathogens

Red mites are a nuisance for hens and rearing animals. They take advantage of the hens' periods of inactivity to take their blood meals, causing stress, nervousness, reduced egg laying, anemia and even death. Red mites are also known to transmit many pathogens. Red mite populations on a poultry farm can be considerable

Deterioration of product quality

In addition to causing stress, reduced egg laying and mortality, the presence of red mite infestation can lead to a reduced quality of the eggs. By rolling the eggs on the egg belt, the red lice present on the eggs are crushed. In the case of a heavy infestation, red mites may be present on the eggs during collection, causing inconvenience to the workers.

Buildings and equipment as shelters

Red mite likes to settle in equipment and in the building. They have a very high resistance and can survive for more than a year without food. They slow down their metabolism in periods of vacuum and are therefore less sensitive to treatments. All these conditions make it difficult to control red mite with traditional methods.

It is sometimes impossible to completely eradicate the parasite and, depending on the batch and the period, waves of red mite infestations follow one another. The installation of predators offers particularly interesting perspectives in the long term or in combination with other methods. Red mite are visible to the naked eye in an adult state and the clusters are clearly recognisable

Predatory mites

Androlis and Taurrus


The protocol to combat red mite is effective thanks to the combined use of the products. The preventive use of a protocol adapted to your company makes it easier to prevent and limit red mite infestations.

Androlis & Taurus kit

Androlis Sachet

Androlis Culture bottle

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