Forte Fog Fumers
The Fortefog Mini Fumer doing its thing in the hen house.
After yet another resurgence in red mite numbers, it's time to change tactics. No matter how much dytomite we spread in the nest boxes and on the birds themselves, it seems that the mites have such a strong foothold in the shed itself that all they had to do was wait until the anti-parasite powder had worn off and then come teeming back out of the cracks and crannies to start the process all over again.
Fortefog Fumers come in large and small sizes, but given that my hen house is just a four foot by six foot shed, I only really needed a single small one, which are supplied in "twin packs". After all, the large fumers are designed for clearing midges and mosquitoes out of buildings and bothies, and even a single small fumer can clear mites and lice from areas far larger than my little shed.
Taking the lid off the little tub reveals a red ring with a folded chunk of waxy paper inside. This is the fumer's "wick", and it burns quite readily when you put a match to it. Before you set the fumer alight, place it on a piece of metal or slate - the fumer will not become unduly hot during the burning, but it can be that tiny sparks might crackle out, and given that most hen houses have sawdust or straw on their floors, it wouldn't be ideal to introduce an element of flame.
Prepare a quick exit, seal all the windows and the doors and then light the wick. There will be some spitting and crackling, but this will mainly be inside the pot. Stand well back and close the door behind you. The fumer willsmoke for a few minutes, then the smoke will hang around and creep into all the corners where mites and liceare hiding out.
It's too soon to tell whether the fumer did the trick for our red mites, but judging by the nature of the smoke, we'd be very surprised if there were many survivors! Watch this space...