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Friday, 04 January 2008
ImageRed mite cause much disturbance and damage in Canary breeding-cages, and through these insignificant evildoers many a young bird has been scarified, and even in old birds they have been the means of causing diseases, unless stopped by the breeder in time. One talks on the red mite as an insect, but this is, on the whole, wrong; the red mites belong to the class of scorpions and spiders. Between insects and these there exist a marked difference. The insects consists of many-membered parts, in which the head, middle body, and tail can be distinctly seen, while the red mite consist of one continued piece, and the end of the body is only separated from the head by an insignificant incision. The bodies of scorpions and spiders consist of one piece. On the contrary, the bodies of ants, wasps, bees, all insects, flies, butterflies, fleas, green lice, bugs, consist of many members.

On the head of the red mite you find the feeder and taster – the taster on the lower jaw, the feeder on the upper jaw, both are of nearly the same formation, by which the pernicious mites in their peregrinations continually torment the birds and suck their blood. The red mite has eight legs, four on each side; as a rule, the two forward and hind legs are longer than the middle ones. The breathing is not done through the lungs, but through the tracheas, which is placed between the third and fourth pair of legs.

As an outward protection of the body they have a horny skin. The skin is very strong, and cannot be destroyed by ordinary solvents, such as water, alcohol, either. The inside construction of the red mite is very simple. Heart, blood vessels, and lungs do not exist; the digestive organ is simple tube, which runs through the body; movements of the pest itself cause the circulation of the blood. As a rule, the bird-infesting red mite has length of 0.80 millimeter and width of 0.50 millimeter; the female is longer and broader than the male. We find the red mite in all crevices and holes in breeding cage in fact, in every conceivable opening, which affords them protection. They prefer nests in which hens brood, and in which the young birds are. Even the use of wire nests does not prevent these audacious usurpers; here they make themselves comfortable, and carry on their pernicious practice, if the red mite plague is very great you will find these bloodsuckers even in the bottoms of the cages amongst the sand, also behind the wall papers; they torment the birds chiefly during the night time and hide during the day.

We have to look for signs which give warning of their presence, and, finally, to state the means by which to remove this plague. The red mite sucks the blood, and thus takes away material indispensable for the development and preservation of the bird’s body. Young birds must die if they suffer long from the red mite plague, because development is destroyed. Old birds that suffer from it try, by taking greater quantities of food, to replace the loss of blood. The interferes with the ordinary digestive process, and so causes stomach troubles. The red mite plague also causes loss of feathers and rough plumage, for the itching, which is caused by this plague forces the bird to try to remove it by continued pulling at its plumage with the beak. This causes loss of feathers, and the whole plumage looks rough and disordered.

The red mite plague is very often the cause of the embryo in the egg. The hens while breeding are so troubled that they leave their nest so as to escape this torment; naturally the eggs get cold by their long absence, and embryo dies. For the same cause young unfledged birds die, their mothers leave them during the night escape the plague. The poor young birds suffer the full attack, and in a short time are so depleted of blood that the mother is unable to replace the lost vigor by feeding, and the young birds die.

The breeder can easily discern the presence of the red mite. The birds that are troubled with red mite are restless during the night, sitting hens leave their nests so as to escape this torment; feathered young ones are restless, exhibit an unusual desire for food, and show featherless spots on their bodies; unfledged young ones look white and bloodless, and do not open their bill when the hens want to feed them. The brood of the red mite consists of a grey, flour-like dust, and can be seen everywhere the red mite lives. Sometimes the red mites show themselves in the daytime, creeping out the cages, so that is necessary to use all precautions to prevent their presence in the breeding cages. This can be done thoroughly washing the cages with boiling water, with a strong addition of carbolic solution. This successfully destroys means the red mites. Furthermore, every hole or crevice should be closed up, and this is best done by unslacked lime. Openings that cannot be closed by these means should be filled up with insect powder as well as bottoms of the cages and the racks on which they stand. The birds should be induced to bathe freely, and to the bath water should be added essence of quassia.
Good product to use to use against mites are called One Stroke, or Lysolfume, and Seven Dust.

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