In Summary
  • When birds’ nests are abandoned or when domestic birds mix with wild ones, the mites migrate to the former.
  • My experience is that while farmers will report diseases caused in their animals by germs such as bacteria and viruses with a lot of calm, they sound very aggressive when reporting vermin invasion.
  • Mites lead to loss of weight, blood and low egg production.
  • Chicken mites are most vicious when they are white since they are starving. The mites bury themselves deep in a chicken’s feathers to access the skin to feed and also get protection.

My parasitology and bacteriology professors used to insist that we should always treat germs and vermin with respect because when they attack us, they have no malice.

Their sole objective is to thrive, multiply and propagate their species. However, because they also threaten our ability to flourish and propagate our own human species, we must get rid of them using good hygiene, medicines and other chemicals such as insecticides.

My experience is that while farmers will report diseases caused in their animals by germs such as bacteria and viruses with a lot of calm, they sound very aggressive when reporting vermin invasion.

Could it be that is because they are seeing the small noxious creatures such as fleas, ticks and mites but they cannot see germs? I don’t know but that is work for medical sociologists to investigate.

A case of vermin invasion reported to me two weeks ago gave the impression of a person very agitated by the occurrence.

Hello doctor, I am Mariam. Chicken at our school have tiny creatures that are causing havoc to everybody. They are really irritating and annoying especially to the children,” the caller said on phone.

She also informed me she was the environment and hygiene master of the school located in Pangani, Nairobi.

What types of creatures are eating your chicken,” I enquired. Mariam explained there were some small brown, red, black, white and grey creepy things.

Some jumped off the chicken onto people while others just crawled onto clothes and skin.

The crawlers were tiny and almost invisible but their movement and bites were irritating, especially if they hid in the hair, crotch or armpit areas.

Mariam further told me the chicken were losing weight, had dropped egg production and they had some white floury material coming off their skin.

“We can’t stand these creatures anymore and some parents are even threatening to pull out their children from the school,” Mariam concluded.

On arrival at Mariam’s school at 4pm, I noticed the school had about 11 backyard chickens and most of them were patched on the children’s playing equipment, set in what used to be a small car park.

RECLAIM HER ENVIRONMENT

The cars now parked outside the gate.

All the chickens were busy grooming themselves very deeply into the feathers. The chicken close to me had a lot of brown creatures embedded in its head on the comb, wattles and the skin around the face.

Soon, I noticed hundreds of pale white creatures on my black shoes and others crawling up my black trouser like an army of determined invaders.

As I bent to brash off the vermin, Mariam said, “You haven’t seen all of them. Wait until you touch the first chicken.”

I told Miriam the situation was manageable but I had not seen such an intense invasion of chicken mites and fleas on such a small stock of chicken.

There had to be a reason why. I would first begin by treating all the chickens, one at a time, and then explain to her how she would reclaim her environment from the noxious creepy crawlers.

I quickly donned on gloves and a protective laboratory coat and ensured the poultry attendant had also worn protective gear.

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