D. gallinae is minute sized organisms with a translucent ghostly-white carapace and yellow limbs with sizes below 1/32 of an inch. The antennae are mainly composed of 5 or more segments with a limb's composition being 4-6 segments each. Their bodies become enlarged and obtain a burnished-blood red colored carapace after feeding.
D. Gallinae is certainly shows high rates of Hematophagy and Parasitsm. The most common infestation occurs during night-time oung birds are most susceptible. The mites can also affect the health of the birds indirectly, as they may serve as vectors for diseases such as Salmonellosis, avian spirochaetosis and Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae.
D. gallinae can survive for up to 10 months in an empty hen house, temperatures greater than 45 °C (113 °F) and less than −20 °C (−4 °F), have been found to be lethal.
D. Gallinae will use their powerful legs to attach themselves to a new host (Mainly Poultry birds or mammals) Afterwards, They will use their long chelcirate to penetrate through the skin of the host animal and parasitize them and drain them blood which causes teir bodies to inflate and attain a new blood-red appearance. The mites are capable of digesting and reproducing entirely on human blood, so infestations can be persistent. Due to the nocturnal feeding habits of D. gallinae, infested people may experience itching and notice bites when they wake up in the morning. The severity of symptoms vary, with dermatitis, pruritus and papular urticaria being common.
After laching onto a host and draining them of body fluids, the adult female will conceal itself in cracks and crevices, where she will give birth to several eggs. If the life cycle is carried under favourable conditions of this species, the life cycle could be finished in 7 days. They undergo 4 stages, Larva, Protonymph, Nymphal stage and Adult. Molts will occur each time after feeding.
D. gallinae can live up to 10 months in an empty henhouse, so it is important to clean your henhouses thoroughly. Design henhouses so that you can eliminate hiding spots. Chemicals, if used should be sprayed in rotation to avoid build up. Cresote treatment of wood will also kill these mites, and keep them away from the area for some time.
- Heating the henhouse to temperatures above 55 °C (131 °F).
- Regular washing down of the housing system.
- Treatment of the walls and floors with silica dust or carbolineum prior to introduction of the new hens.