Red Mites live in the cracks and crevices all around the pigeon loft. They only move on to pigeons for the duration of the evening to suck blood. These mites can easily go undetected during the day.
Hefty infestations can cause anaemia and might even result in the death of squabs. Bloodsucking lice may possibly also transmit pigeon pox as they will feed on more than one pigeon.
To appropriately check for a possible red mite infestation, balls of cotton wool should be positioned into the nesting bowls and onto perches, collected in the morning and then inspected for the common small red mites which have a tendency to hide within the cotton balls.
Depending on the severity of the infestation, red mites can be notoriously difficult to eradicate.
Because they do not live on the birds but around and about the loft, every nook and cranny needs to be treated with pesticide.
The usual process will involve mixing the pesticide with water and spraying (or brushing) the loft with it. Pigeons can usually be left in the loft during the application but be sure to follow the guidelines on your chosen product carefully.
It’s important to note that just treating the loft once is not enough to clear a heavy infestation, you must repeat the process at least every 3-4 weeks to prevent the mites from making a come back. You could continue doing tests periodically after treatment to check for mites using the cotton wool method above.