Learn all about bird mites. Bird Mites have evolved over millions of years and have a very good sensory system in order to search out potential new hosts. They use a range of internal sensors to direct them towards a new host to feed on.
Bird mites are ovoid in shape, bear eight legs and have short hairs on their bodies. Because they are small and semitransparent, infestations may thrive for some time prior to identification. Bird mite populations are extremely destructive and grow rapidly; eggs hatch in some species after three days and mature into adults within another five.
Bird lice hosts scratch excessively, exhibiting more grooming and preening than is necessary. Feathers infested with bird lice can appear normal, and lice are typically too small to be visible to the naked eye. The color and size of bird lice will vary from species to species.
Bird mites normally hide or burrow during the day and are more active at night, corresponding to their inherent behavior to parasitize nesting birds. Humans bothered by bird mites will notice significantly more activity at night than in the daytime. In the home, bedding material and furniture are an ideal breeding ground for mites that will bite during the night and hide and reproduce deep inside when not active. Mites prefer cottons and fabrics as this can act like an insulating material where eggs can be protected from the environment.
Bird mites, like bed bugs, are largely active at night. However, they can cause problems during the day as well if they are “disturbed. They are more active when the weather is humid or damp. They reproduce rapidly. You might see increased activity every week or so when new mites mature. Bird mite population’s peak in the late spring and summer when bird populations increase.
What is bird mite?
“Bird mites”, “Tropical fowl mites” or “Starling Mites” are the common names used to describe the mite Ornithonyssus bursa from the family of mites Macronyssidae. These mites are often incorrectly called ‘bird lice’, particularly within the pest control industry. Bird mites are most active during spring and early summer. These are small but extremely mobile mite barely visible to the eye with eight legs (except the larva that has 6) oval in shape and with a sparse covering of short hairs. The mite is widely distributed throughout warmer regions of the world. It is a parasite, feeding on the blood of common birds including pigeons, starlings, sparrows, Indian mynahs, poultry, and some wild birds. Bird mites are semi-transparent in colour, which makes them difficult to detect on skin until blood is ingested and then digested; when they may appear reddish to blackish.
Bird mites Pictures
Bird mites bite Symptoms
Bird mite bites have many symptoms some of them are listed below;
- It cause severe irritation including itching, swelling and raised reddish
- Some spots on the skin caused by mites injecting saliva when feeding
- The bite cause discomfort
- Bites from bird mites are not normally associated with the transmission of any infectious diseases
- These may result in secondary infections from scratching
- Bird mites bites are often difficult to diagnose and can be mistaken for the bites of other insects.
- The sensation of crawling bird mites on the skin will irritate some people.
How birds mites look like
Mites are an extremely successful group of insect-like invertebrates. Their success is due in part to their microscopic size and also to their ability to thrive in a wide variety of habitats. Most mites prey on animals, including mammals, birds, and other insects. Mites rarely transmit disease directly but, because they often cause intense itching, their bites can serve as entry points for infection. In addition to the effects of their bites, mites can cause allergies that affect breathing, like asthma, or the skin, like eczema.
Different types of mites have different effects in humans–effects that often resemble other conditions, like contact dermatitis or simple mosquito bites. Bird mites are small eight legged, oval shaped parasites that reside on birds and in their nests and chicks, and feed on the blood of their hosts. They are less than 0.5mm long and semi-transparent, which usually makes them too small to see. After they feed on blood they turn a red to black colour, depending on the species.
Bird mites Treatment
Bird mites bite treatment can be carried as follows;
- Short term (toxic) prevention: apply an insect repellent containing diethyl meta-toluamide (DEET) or 3-methyl-n-diethylbenzamide.
- The irritation associated with bites can be alleviated with an anti-pruritic such as crotamiton (e.g. EURAX) but there is no specific treatment. Severe reactions may have to be treated as for other allergic conditions with antihistamines. Unless steps are taken to control the mite infestation, symptoms resulting from bird mite bite will continue.
- Once the mite has been correctly identified, appropriate steps must be taken to locate and remove the sources of the infestation and prevent its recurrence. All nesting sites should be located and nesting material removed.
- An insecticidal spray can be applied to ensure total eradication of mites, but treatment of rooms without removal of nests in roof cavities will not stop further mites entering and the problem will continue. Broken tiles or timber allowing access to roof cavities should be repaired and all potential entry points to the eaves and roof cavity blocked. Roosting and nesting sites on window ledges should be cleared and made unsuitable for future bird use. A pest control officer may have to be employed to undertake these control measures, especially if large areas are involved.