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 Ask Ed > External parasites
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  What should a fancier know about external parasites?

The most common external parasites that pester our birds are feather lice, red mites, pigeon flies, and mosquitoes. Since parasites like these can occur in almost any climate they must be accounted for when planning a loft strategy. Feather lice are the least harmful of all the pests that attack our birds, because the damage they do is primarily associated with the feathers. They can, however, create serious problems within the feathers, often chewing holes into the flights or causing other types of visible damage which can affect a show or racing pigeonís performance.

The common red mite can be a real problem in some lofts if it becomes established. It commonly hides somewhere in the loft during the day and at night comes out from its hiding place to bite and feed on the blood of our birds. Other than being a nuisance and not allowing the flock to rest properly, they can help to spread an assortment of diseases.

The pigeon fly is probably the most dangerous parasite that can attack our birds. It lives most of its life on our pigeons, leaving only to lay its eggs somewhere in the loft. Pigeon flies bite our birds often, and besides causing considerable discomfort, they can be a major source of pigeon malaria.

Mosquitoes would have to be considered the next worst parasite to prey on our pigeons, simply because they are located in almost all climates. Mosquitoes are the most common carrier of the pigeon pox virus.

There are numerous precautions we can take within our lofts to help control external parasites. In the case of lice, pigeon flies, and even mites, we can control their numbers by quarantining new birds, and dipping or dusting our birds with pesticides. By keeping our lofts clean, we can do much in not giving the mites and flies places to hide their eggs.

See the section on external parasites in the Siegelís catalog for products for prevention and control.