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Conditions in poultry houses are ideal for the mites and large populations can rapidly develop.

Mites are nocturnal and spend the day resting in cracks and crevices where they cannot be preyed upon by the birds. At night time they will feed on the birds for up to two hours.

Freshly fed mites are bright red, but as the blood is digested they turn darker and eventually become colourless.

Mites can be introduced into poultry units from infestations associated with wild birds, with newly introduced poultry, on equipment, transport or clothing.

When mites infest buildings they can attack people causing painful and irritating bites.

Large infestations can also lead to the problems like, increased feather pecking, reduced egg production, weight loss and anaemia, which can lead to death.