Dead young after nest replacement 4 days ago, help!

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DrRachE
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue May 26, 2020 12:06 pm
Location: West Virginia
Martin Colony History: Colony since property purchased in 2005. Slowly added gourds and removed house. Currently have 20 gourds with generally fully or almost full capacity. Have done nest checks for the past few years, began nest replacements in 2020.

This is my first year doing nest changes. I’ve had a colony since 2005, began nest checks 3 or 4 years ago. This year began nest replacements. I purchased pine straw thru the conservation association. I did nest changes with 10 day old young, came back 5 days later to replace younger nests. Yesterday did checks to all and changes on 20 day nests and found several of the nests with dead young, including the ones that had been changed 4 days ago. I did find some large black winged ant like things and some large red ant like things in several nests. Each probably half inch long. Theses are not typical for this area. Blow fly doesn’t seem to be a problem but I’m at a loss on where they came from and what they are. There are not ant paths going up the poles. Please help. Yesterday we lost about 8 young.
Louise Chambers
Site Admin
Posts: 6208
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:07 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX

Are the parents still around? If something happened to them, the nestlings end up starving to death. Can you take a photo of insects in nest and share it?
DrRachE
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue May 26, 2020 12:06 pm
Location: West Virginia
Martin Colony History: Colony since property purchased in 2005. Slowly added gourds and removed house. Currently have 20 gourds with generally fully or almost full capacity. Have done nest checks for the past few years, began nest replacements in 2020.

Yes, the parents are still around and there are still young in several of the affected nests. I tried to check the birds thoroughly to make sure there wasn’t parasites attached and I couldn’t find any. I plan to check the nests again this afternoon and I’ll try to get a picture.
DrRachE
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue May 26, 2020 12:06 pm
Location: West Virginia
Martin Colony History: Colony since property purchased in 2005. Slowly added gourds and removed house. Currently have 20 gourds with generally fully or almost full capacity. Have done nest checks for the past few years, began nest replacements in 2020.

I could not find any of those bugs today. I will check again Wednesday. But I appreciate your help. :o)
SSMartin
Posts: 124
Joined: Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:05 pm
Location: FL

I have had mites kill entire nests. If this is the case they should be really obvious crawling all over the nests. I have never heard of or seen the other insects you described near my martins.
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