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Fowl Tick

Blue Bugs

The fowl tick, Argas persicus, is a parasite of domestic and wild birds worldwide. A. persicus serves as a vector of Borrelia anserina which causes Avian spirochetosis and the rickettsia Aegyptianella pullorum, which causes Aegyptianellosis. The can also cause harm by feeding on their blood regularly, leading to secondary infections, anemia, weakness, and weight loss.

A. persicus are most frequently seen in coops during warm, dry weather. The adults and nymphs will hide off the bird during the day, except for its larvae which remain attached to feed for 2-7 days. The nymphs and adults feed at night, repeatedly usually under the wings, laying up to 500 eggs each time it feeds.

Fowl Tick Vs Red Poultry Mite Vs Bedbug
Fowl tickRed poultry miteBedbug
Adult Appearance   
Size6-9 mm (0.23-0.35 in)1-1.5 mm (0.04-0.06 in)4-12 mm (0.15-0.47 in)
Colorlight reddish-brown to dark brownGray to blackReddish brown
Turns redYesYesYes
WingsNoNoNo
Body typeThin, flat, egg-shapedOvalOval and flat
SpeedSlow movingSlow movingQuick-moving
Visible to the naked eyeYesYesYes
Feeds onBloodBloodBlood
Where they are foundHides near the roosts during the day, and feeds on the birds at night.Hide in crevices and cracks during the day, feed on chickens at nightHide in crevices, cracks, behind floorboards, in walls, and behind wall outlets during the day, feed on chickens at night
TransmissionWildlife, wild birds, rodentsWild birds, rodents, wildlife, dogs, cats, humans, contaminated equipmentContaminated equipment
Where eggs are laidLays 25 to 100 eggs at one time in clumpsLays eggs in cracks and crevicesTiny, microscopic whitish, sticky eggs that adhere to surfaces in secluded areas
Average Life cycle2-3 weeks2 weeks4 weeks
How you can tell Look for them at night on the birds Look around the premises for the presence of bugs
TemperatureWarm weatherWarm weatherTemperate regions
Clinical signsWeight loss, lesions, reduced egg production, anemiaRestlessness at night, dermatitis, anemia, may cause chickens to alter where they roost at night.Excessive feather loss, vent irritation, lesions on breasts and legs, anemia, reduced egg production
ZoonoticNoYesYes
Carry diseasesYesYesYes

Symptoms

Weakness
Weight loss
Depression
Paralysis
Red spots on skin
Decreased egg production

Diagnosis

  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Insect identification

Treatment

Management: Thoroughly clean all parts of the coop with a high pressure sprayer with 0.5 mL/L of abamectin in coops and any cracks or crevices, should be filled in :Montasser et al., 2011

Prevention

Scientific References

Good Overviews