Lice of pigeons

Which lice and mites can occur on pigeons?

There are different ectoparasites which live on pigeons. Ectoparasites are parasites which live on the outside of pigeons. There are also endoparasites, these are parasites that live on the inside, e.g. in the intestines. The following lice and mites can live on pigeons:

  • Long louse
  • Small louse
  • Shaft mite
  • Scabies mite
  • Blood mite

The lice listed above like to sit on the body of pigeons. The mites of the list above like to sit on the feathers of the lice, which can cause the feathers to drop off. When pigeons have lice and/or mites, this can mean that your pigeons have been infected with underlying illnesses, such as coccidiosis, internal worms and bacterial infections.

How do you recognise lice on pigeons?

Both lice and mites can be harmful to the wellbeing of the pigeons. Not all lice and mites can be detected with the eye. Shaft mites for instance are smaller than 1 millimeter. You can see these mites only through a microscope or when you hold the feather up to the light. Therefore a change in the behavior of the pigeons can be an indication of a lice infestation, although you cannot see the lice. When pigeons have lice and mites they may puff up their feathers, they are agitated and you will notice weight loss.

How do you recognise lice and mites on the pigeon loft?

  • Dark seams and cracks in the pigeon loft
  • Lice running in the dark
  • During the day you will not see any lice
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Life cycle of blood mites of pigeons

The life cycle of blood mites of pigeons is the same as that of other birds and chickens. An adult mite lays approximately 5 to 10 eggs per day. After 2 to 3 days these eggs hatch and within 5 days they grow into adult also lice that lay eggs. You can imagine that a mite problem on pigeons can grow exponentially because of this fast life cycle. Below you can have a look at the life cycle of the lice.

Life cycle of blood mites of pigeons

How do lice and mites get on pigeons?

Lice and mites can be transferred from pigeon to pigeon, but also from other birds. This is the most important route of a mite problem.

Exponential increase

Exponential increase

Because of the life cycle described above an infestation with mites in pigeons can grow exponentially. This means that each mite can reproduce up to tenfold each day. So10 mites will grow into 100 mites in no time.

1 blood mite lays 5-10 eggs per day

1 blood mite lays 5-10 eggs per day

At temperatures above 20° C blood mites produce 8 eggs per day. But they lay eggs even at 5° C. So problems with blood mite on pigeons, chickens and birds can start in the winter months.

55% of the mites sucks blood

55% of the mites sucks blood

55% of a mite infestation consists of adult mites, 35% are eggs and 10% are larvae. 55% of all mites eat blood from the pigeons. The rest is hidden in the loft. Take this into account when treating the infestation. It will take some time before all the eggs have hatched and can be dealt with.

Why is it so difficult to eradicate mites?

When there is a blood mite infestation on the pigeon loft, we panic and want to protect our pigeons and ourselves against these parasites. Therefore we usually buy a chemical insecticides to kill the mites. After use, we see dead mites on the floor, but a few days later, we see that the problem has returned to the old level. How is this possible?

Mites hide during the day

Mites hide during the day

The usual pesticides do not attach themselves to surfaces. As a result, their effectiveness only lasts very briefly. When we use pesticides during the day the blood mites are not on the move and therefore they are not affected. Therefore using pesticides during the day is not very effective.

Blood mites eat once every 10 days

Blood mites eat once every 10 days

Because the 55% of the mites present go to the bird or chicken only once every 6 to 10 days, you will get to maximally 16% when you spray insecticide at night. The rest stays in the hiding place in and is not affected.

Mites protect themselves by creating layers

Mites protect themselves by creating layers

The population in a “blood mite nest” can consist of as many as 10 layers. Even if you manage to reach the places with a spray, you will only affect the outer layer. Everything underneath is protected and will not be reached with spraying.

Finecto+, the solution for mites in pigeons

Years of experience on poultry farms and amateur breeders have shown that chemical control that is 100% effective is virtually impossible. With the natural Finecto+ approach we make the problem manageable in an animal-friendly way. The result is healthier quiet animals and better flying results. By combining the spray and the food supplement, you can reach the lice on the pidgeons and in the nest. If you reach the mature mites and lice with the supplement, they will no longer lay eggs. So after a while, there a no new eggs. No new eggs, means no new lice. So then you can end the lifecycle!