My Red Mite journey
Where it started
Mite Magic was borne from my own sheer desperation, once I discovered Red Mite could not be controlled. I am a hobby hen keeper, and got some hens on a local allotment in 2010 to keep as pets and provide fresh eggs.
I had no idea whatsoever what Red Mite were in the beginning, their devastating effects or how to control them. My birds were very ill, some sadly died, I was itching constantly and bitten regularly so I began ask people and research. I used every product I could find on the market in England and nothing worked for very long. Despite faithfully scrubbing, cleaning, drying, dusting and fogging, following all the complex instructions, the Red Mites always returned after just a few weeks. I spent many hours in the hut trying to control this problem, doing weekly deep cleans and repeat treatments with various products that promised a total kill (but they didn’t) – Red Mites became a bit of an obsession and were dominating a lot of my time when I wasn’t at work. As an animal lover, it was heart breaking witnessing the suffering of my birds and I couldn't help them.
Red Mites made my small flock of birds very unhappy and unwell. I had several deaths within the flock, Red Mites were everywhere, even my feeders were heavily infested so I plunged these into a freezing garden pond in winter but the mites were still alive and kicking the next morning. I even burned the hut and nest boxes in a desperate attempt to be rid of these awful pests, all to no avail – they were in the new hut within two weeks in abundant numbers. My hens looked desperately ill, were very aggressive to each other, clearly very unhappy and my toolbox was now empty – I had nothing left to try – I was defeated. What few eggs I got were covered with crawling mites, thin shelled, often broken on the shed floor (the birds wouldn't use the nest box) and poor quality. I was at a loss to know what I could do to help my birds.
The idea for Mite Magic came from a TV programme I had seen many years previously – I remembered it well as it related to a phobia I have on a human health issue. The treatment was surprisingly simple and very effective, so I decided a similar approach might work for Red Mite. I knew there was no risk to the birds – the ingredients was widely used by humans, so I thought it was worth a try. I did try it and was amazed at the instant results – I saw hundreds of dead Red Mites in seconds – it worked! Using the first “prototype” was difficult however and far from ideal. I adapted the product, tinkered with and adding in more (human friendly) ingredients which I thought would help, and the effect on the mites was even better. The effect on the hens was dramatic too – the morning after using Mite Magic they were much happier and looked visibly healthier – they had finally enjoyed a good nights peaceful sleep and they were much calmer and far less aggressive, hungry and energetic. The “before and after” Mite Magic effect was as clear as day and night. It really was magic!
As the birds had rested properly through the night and not lost any more blood to the mites, their mood and behaviour towards each other improved overnight. They ate a lot more food then before, trying to recover, my sudden bird death rate ceased, and once the hens had recovered from this awful ordeal delicious eggs were plentiful. I could return to enjoying keeping my beloved birds again and guilt free, I loved the fact they were happier and healthier and my spare time could be spent on enjoying bird keeping again.
After many months of weekly hut inspections the Red Mites did not return, to my amazement. I eventually re-treated my hut after 50 weeks of being Red Mite free – but not because the Red Mite had reappeared, but because of my fear of them returning. There was no way on earth I could risk Red Mite moving back in. I then decided that if this product was on the market then I would have bought it, so other bird keepers would too. So, as they say, Mite Magic was born.
The birds Red Mite nightmare, and mine was over. I created and first used Mite Magic in 2012 and have treated the same hut, perches and nestboxes every year. I treat my hut in July every year and have remained almost Red Mite free ever since (I found a small cluster of Red Mite during a routine perch inspection one day in June and painted immediately).