Red Mites and Fleas

Red mites and fleas are nuisances to humans and animals alike; Red Mites are of the arachnid family, while Fleas are insects.

Red Mites

The Red Mite, Dermanyssus Gallinae, is also known as the red poultry mite, chicken mite, or poultry mite. This is an ectoparasite of several bird species as well as poultry. The red mite is usually gray or white and quickly turns dark red as it feeds on blood. This is a blood feeder, meaning it lives on the blood of animal hosts. Some species of mammal are also targets of this arachnid.

When poultry has been infested by the mite, the bite may cause a number of reactions; some include decreased egg production, pain, irritation, a loss of feathers, hyperpigmentation, and scabs. In addition, the red mite is known to cause salmonella and anemia in hens. Red mites attack in the night, hiding in dark cracks and crevasses during the day. Studies have shown they need only seven days to complete their life cycle to adulthood, this includes: egg, larva, protonymph, deutonymph and adult.

The infestation of these nuisances in the home is an annoyance that may be difficult to decimate. Humans are generally unaware of the instance they are attacked; instead, we only witness the results.

Red Mite Picture


Being insects, Fleas (Siphonaptera), like red mites, can infest mammals, birds and humans. Fleas are anatomically suited for piercing the skin with a beak-like mouth and are blood feeders like the mite. As a common adult parasite, it can live up to a year without a host; also, it can reproduce wit life cycle wihin thirty days. Insects can also cause demodectic mange around the face of a dog, check out this article discussing demodectic type mange.

There are several different species of flea; each begins as an egg, progressing to larva, pupa and imago (adult).

Unlike the red mite, a flea’s bite can be felt and is usually signified by a red itchy area where it occurred. An indication that there may be an infestation on a dog or cat is constant scratching. Although scratching does not rid the animal of fleas, it may relieve the irritation.

Flea Powder is a treatment to rid animals of fleas. Another remedy is a monthly tablet placed directly in the pet’s mouth or mixed with its food. With humans, treatment can be frustrating and difficult, beginning with a warm, soapy bath and the washing of bedding and clothing. Furthermore, many cases result to pesticide bombs.

Fleas are usually more active during the night but can be a nuisance at any time of the day. The treatment of fleas can be difficult when they are not feeding. When they are not feeding, they can lie dormant, surviving in places other than on the skin such as carpet, clothing, and furniture.