What Are Bird Mites?
Bird mites are small parasites that you’ll find wherever you find birds and bird nests in warmer parts of the world. There are a few different species of bird mite, but the most common ones found in North America are called Demanyssus Gallinae (the chicken mite) and Ornithonyssus Sylviarum (the northern fowl mite).
Bird mites live in birds’ nests and feed on the blood of the birds. They can multiply very rapidly but the northern fowl mite won’t survive more than a few weeks without a meal of blood, although the chicken mite has been known to survive for months.
What Do Bird Mites Look Like?
Bird mites are barely visible to the human eye as they’re less than 1mm long. They’re also very mobile.
Bird mites are oval-shaped, have a thin covering of hair and have eight legs. They’re partially transparent until they’ve digested blood when they’ll turn black-red.
Bird Mites On Humans
Bird mites usually feed on the blood of birds. When the bird mites’ source of food disappears, such as when the young birds leave their nests, they’ll move into the house looking for other sources of blood. The bird mites won’t actually live on humans, though they will feed on them by biting them.
Bird Mite Bites
When you’ve been bitten by a bird mite, you’ll experience symptoms such as very bad itching and skin irritation, as well as maybe some swelling and/or redness of the skin. You can also get infections from scratching the bites too much because they itch so much.
It’s the saliva from the bird mites that causes this extreme itching. The itching can last for days after the bite – long after the bird mite has gone – even when you can no longer see any sign of the bite.
You’ll often get bitten at night because your bed is a great breeding ground for bird mites and they become active at night and will bite you while you sleep.
How To Get Rid Of Bird Mites
It can be very hard to get rid of a bird mite infestation in your house. To get rid of them, you must of course first identify them as the cause of your bites.
Then you should try and locate and remove any bird nests from around your house (following all regulations, of course). Look for nests in the chimney, under the eaves, in wall cavities, porches, window ledges, roof spaces, etc. It’s important that you always make sure you wear a mask when you’re removing bird nests.
Then you should make sure you prevent any more bird nests in your house by repairing tiles, fixing holes, blocking cavities, etc. This maintenance should be done on a regular basis.
To get rid of the bird mites, you should treat the affected area with an approved insecticide.
Because bird mites are parasites, they can’t survive without the blood of a host mammal. As they won’t live on humans they can’t complete their lifecycle once birds and nesting have been removed from your house.