3. For Further Reading

Reference Books on Parasites, Mites, and Dermanyssus gallinae

Sparagano, Olivier, Ed. Control of Poultry Mites (Dermanyssus). Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

This collection of published scientific articles on Dermanyssus gallinae examines the phylogeny and control of the species, including acaricide susceptibility, potential as a disease vector, and preliminary work toward a vaccine. Other topics include the use of essential oils to combat the species, the evolution of pesticide resistance, and genetic variability within the species.

Walter, David and Proctor, Heather. Mites: Ecology, Evolution and Behavior. CABI. 1999.

This mite text describes the full range of these predators and parasites, across sea and land, and in virtually every tissue of living plants and animals. Included at page 238 is a discussion of the tendency for mites to choose some potential hosts over others within a flock or group.

Zimmer, Carl. Parasite Rex. Free Press: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., New York. 2000.

This vivid account of how parasites thrive on Earth includes an explanation of how humans were colonized by new parasites as we expanded our geographic range, and the means by which our immune systems fight parasites.

Specific Topic References

 Host Immunosuppression

Wikel, Stephen K. “Modulation of the Host Immune System by Ectoparasitic Arthropods.” BioScience (1999) 49 (4): 311-320.

This journal article explains how blood-feeding and tissue-dwelling arthropods manipulate host defenses to their advantage. Host immunosuppression improves the host environment for the parasite.

Wikel, Stephen K., and Alarcon-Caldez, Francisco. “Progress Toward Molecular Characterization of Ectoparasite Modulation of Host Immunity.” Veterinary Parasitology, Volume 101, Advances in Molecular Parasitology. 22 November 2001.

The authors explain how advances in understanding the mechanism by which arthropod parasites compromise host immune systems may lead to developments in vaccines.

Host Selection and Mite Distribution within a Flock

Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Pest Recommendations for Poultry, 2000.

This publication intended for farmers includes:

  • Information about mites choosing bird hosts that are sexually mature
  • A discussion of the importance of weekly monitoring.   Choose a representative sampling of birds from a hen house, due to the variability of mite susceptibility among birds. One bird in a house may be infested while others have no mites.

Zoonotic Infestation of Humans by Dermanyssus gallinae

George, David R., Finn, Robert D., Graham, Kirsty M., Mul, Monique F., Maurer, Veronika, Moro, Claire Valiente, and Sparagano, Olivier AE:

“Should the poultry red mite Dermanyssus gallinae be of wider concern for veterinary and medical science?”

Parasites & Vectors 2015, 8:178  doi:10.1186/s13071-015-0768-7

This significant review article is freely available online. It summarizes findings regarding the ability of D. gallinae to switch host species, the increasing numbers of attacks on humans, the diseases carried by D. gallinae, the challenge of host immunosuppression, and difficulties in diagnosis.

Coligros, H., Iglesias-Sancho, M., et al. “Dermanyssus gallinae: an underdiagnosed environmental infestation.” Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, Volume 38, June 2013.

This scientific journal article explores the difficulty of diagnosing an infestation of D. gallinae. The mite may not be seen on an office visit. Doctors should be informed that this infestation is possible even in an urban area. D. gallinae should be considered during diagnosis of skin conditions that do not respond to standard treatment.

 Infestation by Mites Inside the Human Body

Dini, Leigh A., and Frean, John A. “Clinical Significance of Mites in Urine.” Journal of Clinical Microbiology, December 2005, 43(12).

The authors describe a finding of a mite egg in a urine sample referred to the Parasitology Reference Unit of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases. In addition, they survey other journal articles regarding findings of mites and mite eggs in urinary and gastrointestinal waste samples. They reference a study in China where 3.5% of urinary samples and 6.2% of stool samples included environmental mite eggs, larvae or adults.

Rong-Bo Zhang et al. “Diagnosis of intestinal acariasis with avidin-biotin system enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.” World Journal of Gastroenterology 2004 May 1; 10(9): 1369-1371.

This is one of several journal articles from China describing methods for ELISA detection of mites in feces, a more sophisticated method than those traditionally used in China.

Diseases Carried by Dermanyssus gallinae

Moro, C. Valiente, De Luna, C.J., et al., “The Poultry Red Mite (Dermanyssus gallinae): A Potential Vector of Pathogenic Agents.” Experimental and Applied Acarology, Volume 48, Nos. 1-2, 93-104. 2009.

The poultry red mite Dermanyssus gallinae has been involved in the transmission of many pathogens responsible for serious illness in humans and other animals. As listed in the article, these include Encephalitis, Pasteurella, Salmonella, Listeria, and Spirochetes.

(Republished in Sparagano, Ed., Section A of this Reference List.)

See also George, David R., et al.,

“Should the poultry red mite Dermanyssus gallinae be of wider concern for veterinary and medical science?”

Listed in Section C of this reference list.

Pesticide Resistance

Marangi, M.A. Cafiero, et al. “Evaluation of the Poultry Red Mite, Dermanyssus gallinae, Susceptibility to Some Acaricides in Field Populations in Italy.” Experimental and Applied Acarology, Volume 48, Nos. 1-2, 11-18. 2008.

The authors found large differences in effectiveness among commonly used acaricides, with evidence of increasing resistance.

Republished in Sparagano, Ed., Section A of this Reference List.

Finding Additional References

An extensive literature exists on mites and acariasis. Additional articles can readily be found using the science search capability of the United States Government:


9 thoughts on “3. For Further Reading”

  1. Great- that’s about D Gallinae; poultry mites- what about other bird mites like the northern fowl mite? they LIVE on their host! HELP!!!!

    1. Given that our veterinarian found mites on our chicken in the middle of the day (and the lab confirmed all life stages in the sample), I believe chicken mites do stay on the host in the day. Hope this information is useful to you.

      All the best,
      Jane Ishka

    2. I’ve no personal experience with Northern Fowl Mites, but hope that some of the ideas on this site might be of help to you.
      Best of luck to you,
      Jane Ishka

    3. Hello Leslie,

      I suspect D. gallinae live on their host as well as in the “cave” (house, coop, etc.) walls.
      Otherwise how would veterinarians be able to collect samples of D. gallinae from hens brought into their offices in the middle of the day?
      The veterinarian certainly got samples off our chickens during regular office hours.

      I don’t have specific experience with the Northern Fowl Mite, but hope that some of the information here is transferrable. For example, I believe all mites do better in a humid environment — so you may be helped by dehumidifiers (NOT humidifiers!).

      Best of luck to you,

  2. I also have a question, if possible your reply would be most welcome. We suspect we have these horrible little creatures. My partner has an infestation all over her body including the hair and scalp area. This was not directly addressed in your expertise of knowledge. Is this common and will the soap and essential oils work for that area? On a more personal level, she is experiencing an unwelcome advance on and in her vaginal area. Any advice? So many ppl claim that their doctors say they are crazy , we are reluctant to go to a physician and what type of dr should they be? Thank you so much.

    1. Hello,

      The hair and scalp are favorite areas for mites. The old-fashioned remedy is tar shampoo, which is still sold as a dandruff shampoo. It is helpful to keep the hair very short and to wash it frequently. Adding a few drops of essential oils to a bottle of shampoo can be helpful as well.

      One way poultry growers can tell a hen is infested is by blood smudges on her eggs, the result of the passage of the egg squashing mites in the hen’s cloaca. There is no reason mites would respect the privacy of human females when they don’t respect the privacy of hens. Other than trimming hair in the area, I don’t know a good way to discourage mites from that particular part of the body. Please focus on the overall protocols including frequent washing of bed linens with detergent/borax/ammonia, as well as running a dehumidifier (NOT a humidifier) in the bedroom. If you have a bedroom carpet, replace with wood or tile if possible. Your fiancee would do well to swim in a chlorinated pool, every day if possible.

      Best of luck to you both.

    2. Regarding the hair and scalp: Suggest your partner get a short haircut and then use the kind of dandruff shampoo that contains tar. This is an old-time remedy and seems to work fairly well. Nothing I’ve found works really quickly or efficiently, so perseverance is key.

      It is well known that mites are attracted to the cloaca of chickens, and one way farmers know their flocks are infested is the blood smudges on eggs from mites being killed in the cloaca as the egg passes through. So it is no surprise these bugs are attracted to the same area in a human. Suggest trimming the hair in the region and using talc (if the person is not allergic) to keep the area dry.

      Keep at it. Over time, if you persevere, you will kill them more quickly than they can reproduce. Remember to focus on the environment as well as the person as both are affected. Best of luck.

  3. How to dehumidify the car….I use charcoal bags. ContainerStore has them . They are grey bags…closet size and I use 2 of them. They will last one year.To activate or refresh them, place the car in the sun and make sure that these bags are in the sun for two hours. I forgot to take them back to the car and after two days I was getting bitten. It has been very helpful in drying them out. I am installing an Aprilaire dehumidifier in my two bedroom, two bath condo on Friday. It handles removing 95 pints of water over a 24 hour period.The company said that over a short time the walls and contents of the home will dry out so if water is used such as in cooking, showering,etc; the walls will immediately bring it back down to setting. Setting will be 35%-40% humidity. Humidifiers use less electric power than ac so overall you can turn up the ac and leave the humidifier fan and unit running constantly. And you will need to to kill the bird mites over time.Some say it takes several days but of course it varies according to how infested your home is. Hope this helps.

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