Sevin

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diane vB
Posts: 83
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:50 pm
Location: Jordan,on,canada

I have just been reading on line about getting rid of mites and the use of Sevin. I am relatively new at being a PM landlord(3 years) but knowing about Rachel Carson and her book Silent Spring you would think there will be dire repercussions with the use of an insecticide in their nests, wouldn't you think?
Would you expose your offspring to such toxic material while in their early developmental stages of their life? Think about it!!!!?
Hanover Bill
Posts: 633
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:10 pm
Location: Pennsylvania/Hanover Township
Martin Colony History: 2009 & 10 - 0
2011 & 12 - Visitors
2013 - 2 pr. fledged 9
2014 - 3 pr. fledged 13
2015 - 7 pr. fledged 27
2016 - 15 pr. fledged 72

Hi Diane;

You make a valid point about the use of chemicals in the nest. I suppose it is one of those situations of the "lesser of two evils".

On the advice of people on this Forum I have used Sevin powder under my nests the last couple of years, and have had no problems with mites or other parasites. I also have noticed no ill effects on my Martins or their offspring.

I suppose the key is to use as little as possible, and still get the intended job done effectively. In my case, I use about a quarter to half a teaspoon, spread under the nest twice a season, once before the Martins arrive, and then again when I do my first nest change. This seems to work for me.

Hanover Bill.
2009 & 10 - 0
2011 & 12 - Visitors
2013 - 2 pr. fledged 9
2014 - 3 pr. fledged 13
2015 - 7 pr. fledged 27
2016 - 15 pr. fledged 72
Emil Pampell-Tx
Posts: 6743
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 1:26 pm
Location: Tx, Richmond (SW of Houston)
Martin Colony History: First started in Gretna, La in 1969 with a small homemade house, have had martins ever since at 2 different homes in Texas

This discussion appears quite often, so I will give you an opinion.

First, the PMCA recommends changing nests, and wiping the housing clean. That works when done on schedule. Some mites remain on the birds. If you do not want to use chemicals, then this is recommended.

I have a whole lot of gourds, and its completly impractical to do nest changes on all of them, so I do use Sevin, but use it very sparingly. It kills all the mites, and I did not see a single mite this year in or on any of my 250 gourds.

My BIL raises chickens commercially, has about 20,000 to 30,000 at a time. His company recommends that he use sevin to control the mites. Sevin has been approved for that use. His sevin is about 10 times stronger than the 5% that we use. He has been using it for about 20 years. The government agencies have checked the chicken meat thousands of times and have never found any evidence of contamination from the sevin dust. However, it has not been approved for wild birds because it is impossible to test it on wild birds. So if you don't think that it is safe for purple martins, then maybe it would be wise to recommend that nobody should eat any chicken, turkeys, ducks, etc if it is purchased in a grocery store. I personally think its safe to use it or I definitely would not use it, as I garden organically and do not use any chemicals in our garden.
PMCA Member, 250 gourds, 6 poles, 2traps
diane vB
Posts: 83
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:50 pm
Location: Jordan,on,canada

Thank you Emil and Bill. Very informative about the chickens! I have never done a nest change and only found two babies dead this season in the same nest. YES I did have mites and did not realize till this year that they exist. I was totally grossed out as I got them all over me! Now that I've cleaned out the houses is it advisable to treat with raid and then wash them out or just wash with soap and vinegar like I was going to do? I have not seen this 5% Sevin in Canada but will go to the states to seek it out. I fledged about 25 this year and 11 babies were killed I think by a sparrow but I got him in my sparrow trap! Gone! No more trouble.
Louise Chambers
Site Admin
Posts: 6211
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:07 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX

Rather than spray the houses with Raid or another product, wash them out with soapy water that has a bit of bleach added - 10% bleach, 90% water is the recommended mix for disinfecting bird feeders and cleaning bird houses. Rinse well (a bit of white vinegar in the rinse water will help get rid of soap residue, but probably not necessary) and let air dry before storing.
jr 2
Posts: 749
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:20 pm
Location: ohio,proctorville(just across ohio river from huntington,west virginia)

I use the wood deck cleaner that has bleach that you buy by the gallon in a pump up sprayer;;I spray them rinse out with garden hose;;;jr2
PMCA member; s 2011 2 pair fledged 3; 2012 3 asy pair,4 sy pair,2013 8 asy pair,6 sy pair;2014 19 asy pair,2 sy pair
barry resvick
Posts: 185
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2011 3:07 pm
Location: Alberta/Didsbury
Martin Colony History: 2010 we had just one sy male all summer
2011 we had the same male come back but eventually brought home a female and had five eggs but were infertile
2012 we had our first two chicks but lost them
2013 we fledged six and had two pair
2014 we fledged 13 from four pairs
2015 we fledged 24 from 6 pairs

Hi There
This year i tried something differant instead of sevin and with good results.Iv always heard the marigolds repel all kinds fo insects so i ground some dried petals up with the leaves of a citrinella geranium and used this brew instead and didnt see anything all summer.I removed all nesting material on the twelth day when i checked them and saw nothing. 8)
2010______2 visitors
2011______1asy male 3 visitors
2012______1 pair,possibly2(5 infertile eggs)
2013______2 pair,5infertile eggs,4hatched,0 fledged
2014______3 pair,Fledged 13
diane vB
Posts: 83
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:50 pm
Location: Jordan,on,canada

I will document that for the future and try it, thanks
jr 2
Posts: 749
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:20 pm
Location: ohio,proctorville(just across ohio river from huntington,west virginia)

I planted marigolds in with my pepper and tomato plants this year too try an keep the insects away from them ;;I have heard the same thing;;never though about trying them instead of sevin;;;jr2
PMCA member; s 2011 2 pair fledged 3; 2012 3 asy pair,4 sy pair,2013 8 asy pair,6 sy pair;2014 19 asy pair,2 sy pair
diane vB
Posts: 83
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:50 pm
Location: Jordan,on,canada

It has pyrethrins in it which us used as an insecticide , that's why.
klcretired
Posts: 2174
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2003 3:06 am
Location: Grand Prairie,Tx

During my many Many years as a PM Land Lord I have taken Martin Fledglings for other members of the pmca that live in my area along with My own fledgings to a Rehabber here in Texas...The Very First thing that was done is they were powdered with sevin Dust, I saw this first hand , That along with me adding a teaspoon under the front of each nest I have never ever had a Mite problem, and my Martins are all ok , hope this helps you decide.
Pictures Taken with Canon Rebel XT Digital using a Sigma 50-500 Long Lens.

Wishing everyone a Great Martin Year
Happy Martining for 2020 to everyone,

K.C.

klcretired@tx.rr.com
diane vB
Posts: 83
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:50 pm
Location: Jordan,on,canada

Ok so when do I put it in the nest? When they start to build or when they've layed their eggs or hatched? A lot of the time their nest is mud and there's no getting anything underneath it at the door!
John Miller
Posts: 4779
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2004 9:11 pm
Location: St. Louis, MO

Diane

I use a little less than Missouri bud JL. As I manage scattered public colonies, I try to systematically go through the housing in mid June here, when the babies have mostly hatched, and tap one-fourth to one-half teaspoon max into the sides of nest, or work it under a bit, trying to avoid direct contact with the nest bowl or the birds. I have clumsily gotten it on babies on occasion and found no harm. My goal is not to eliminate all mites, but to keep them from becoming numerous. Martins will tolerate some mites, but when they become numerous in the nest -- so many that thousands are crawling everywhere - the babies may be weakened and jump from the nests to escape before they can fly.

I use 5 percent garden powder sevin. Another Missourian here uses a couple of squirts of the liquid spray on the inside of his gourd lids -- so again, not direct contact. The mites bite the birds and then crawl about through the nest material and over the housing surfaces, perhaps laying eggs, and are killed by contact with the sevin at that time. Have read that the mites crawl outside into the sun to digest their meal -- not sure, but when mites are numerous you may see them on the housing surfaces, perhaps preparing to migrate to a new host nest. I tend to believe the latter as finding new territory and multiplying is pretty much what all creatures try to do.

As a northern landlord, you should learn about blow flies. Sevin won't control blowfly larvae, so nest changes are recommended. Blow flies can kill many nestlings. As nest changes will also keep mites under control, this may be your best option, or a combination.

See these articles from the PMCA about nest changes in general, and all manner of bugs that actually live in the nests. It's a whole universe of things that bite.

http://www.purplemartin.org/update/92nestrep.html

http://www.purplemartin.org/update/Parasites.html
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