Bugs in the chicken coop

YUCK! I’m scratching my head over here trying to figure out what is happening in the hen house. Sunday was a nice warm day here for us and as I was in the middle of mucking out the coop I took a pause and looked at it’s walls. There were little (tiny) crawly bugs everywhere on the walls and ceiling. They were evenly spaced except for a few places where they were more clumped up together.

I got worried we had mites so off Lee and I went to get some food grade diatomaceous earth. The only store where we could find it only carried 50 pound bags, so I am well stocked on that now. I went nuts with it dusting down the coop. Then I got two of the girls and checked around their vent areas and other places as well as I could. I still didn’t find any of these bugs or eggs on them. Later that night, when I went to go lock the hens in for the night, I looked around the walls again. Most of the bugs had disappeared. I don’t know whether this was because it was colder by then or if it was because of the diatomaceous earth.

Today when I went out to do another dusting of diatomaceous earth in the coop I still saw them but not nearly as many. It was also a colder day so I don’t know if that affected the bugs any. So what I am wondering is if I have a mite problem or a spider problem. I can’t seem to find anything that tells me you can find mites during the day time in plain sight on walls and such. The hens are laying just as fine as always. In fact I have more eggs per day then last year. They don’t seem to be adverse to getting into their coop. Those would all be signs of mite infestations. Now they do have some peck marks to their combs but I am attributing that to their 5 days of being stuck in the coop.

Here are two links that talk more about mites in poultry.

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15 Responses to Bugs in the chicken coop

  1. Linda says:

    YUCK!!! are those mites? Or feas or what?

    Linda
    http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

  2. Lynn says:

    Did you get rid of the bugs? They look like spiders to me, but I’m certainly no bug expert. Once, when my chickens were very small, I was sitting in my coop with them, holding them, and I noticed some kind of bug on my hand. I had no idea what it was, but it was small & wiggly. I freaked out & went inside & showered. The next day we cleaned the coop & started sprinkling just a little bit of DE under the bedding when we put down new pine & cedar chips. I’ve never seen anything since, and I’ve looked for bugs often.

  3. lee says:

    We’re wondering if it was a spider outbreak. There’s not much sign of them at all, although the weather has been cooler too. Robin has added DE to the bedding and nesting boxes, and also on all the lips and edges in the coop (window frames, ledges in the ceiling, around the roosts, etc). If they are spiders, then the ones that survive the DE will probably grow up to be chicken feed. No sign of bugs on the birds. Whew!

    • Havana says:

      I think I have the same bugs. I have never seen them before until on of my chickens started sitting on her eggs and they only appear on the eggs that have managed to escape from underneath her. This is her first time sitting and she seems very irritated by the bugs. I don’t know how to get rid of them.
      Unlucky for me the chicken sitting also appears to have these tiny bugs as well :(

  4. Kate says:

    I have been frantically searching the internet today because my 2 year old daughter suddenly had bugs in her very curly hair, and then suddenly going down her neck, the back of her shirt, on on her torso. They transferred to me very quickly.

    At first I thought she had head lice, but after dousing us both in DE and bathing her with Castile soap I did what I always do–hit the internet. I looked at lice and much to my dismay AND relief, the pictures looked nothing like what was crawling in my daughters hair.

    I post, because we had just come from tending the chickens (we are chicken sitting the chickens at our school) and she had stuck her head inside one of the smaller coops to look for eggs. I can’t tell if the picture above is the same kind of spider, but it definitely looks like the size of the bugs crawling in her hair.

    I am relieved to have found your thread!

  5. Mona says:

    Glad, to know we aren’t alone. We have the same crawly bugs when we go to our coop. They crawl all over us (my kids and I have all had them on us).

  6. Jen says:

    I believe that I have the same issue. My daughter noticed them first when she went to get the eggs. I discovered them crawling on the watering can when I went to fill it. I had just done a thorough cleaning and sweeping of the coop, walls etc. And found what I figured to be a spider nest in the window sill area. I swept it out (since I was on a rampage) and then this all started. I figured it must be spiders since i have seen nests elsewhere. But it has been over a week now and they are getting worse. If you look at the walls, they are covered! Inside, the coop, on the nesting boxes and now on the outside of the coop as well. And some of my birds no longer want to be put to bed at night. Egg production has been cut in about half but I can’t seem to find any of the critters on the birds. (Mind you, I am pretty grossed out and likely haven’t analyzed them enough) I am very frustrated, seriously grossed out and always feel creepy crawly myself. yuk. So I suppose I will strip out all the bedding and wash the walls. I am ready to use a mild bleach solution, but I have only read about soap and water. Does anyone object to mild bleach, or should I avoid it all together?

  7. Brian says:

    For those in the future… these are North American Fowl Mites. They are hazardious to chickens as they suck the blood of the chickens. They can not get through the skin of humans so they pose no threat to us. To control them, you can power them with Seven or DE.

  8. Havana says:

    I dont know If I have the same bugs because the bugs are only on the fertile eggs. I was going to maybe put dirt for and sand in her coop. I read that this was one of the solutions online. The bugs I have are about as small as the tip of a sharpened pencil :(

  9. jellyman says:

    i have black bugs at my chicken house to and the are some white ones a little smaller there so itchy i hate them i cant get them out!!!
    AAAAWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Amber says:

    I am having the same problem, too! I lost my best rooster the other night to raccoons because the chickens don’t want to roost in the coop. The walls are covered and every time I go out even to water them, I end up with some on me. They are all over everything in the coop, including my egg baskets. I have 12 hens and only 5 of them are laying now. I feel scroungy and so do my girls. So, DS will clear it up? Anyone know how much to use?

    • robin says:

      You can apply diatomaceous earth as liberally as you want. When we had this outbreak I threw the DE on the ceilings, the walls, on the floors, in all the little cracks and crannies, the roosts, and the nesting boxes. I may have even thrown some around the coop outside where they dust bathe. At night time we caught each chicken and DE them. When you are dusting everything down it is good to make sure the chickens aren’t in the coop so the power in the air wont irritate their lungs. Every time we have dusted the chickens we make sure to do it outside also.

  11. Debra Jones says:

    I live maybe a mile from several chicken houses. My home gets infested with tiny black beetle bugs. Seems like around spring every year. They get in my house. We covered our chimney, we put screens on all an any vent places on the roof. And I still have to clean my floors everyday. They are so bad that we had to stop painting our house last week because of these pest. Guess I just have to deal with it.

  12. ann says:

    I have got these in my chicken house.so do anyone one know what they are I have tried everything but cant get rid of them help please.

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