Bird mites are mostly found where birds (including pigeons, sparrows, starlings, and poultry) reside (where their nests are situated).In the first weeks after the birds have left their nests, these bird mites will go on to infest living homes in their search for a suitable blood meal from humans. Bird mites predominantly occupy warmer regions (including Australia).
Although there are quite a number of species of bird mites out there, the most common species that affect humans is the Starling mite, also known as Ornithonyssus bursa and comes from the Macronyssidae family. Bird mites are tiny creatures and measure less than 1mm in length with eight legs.
They are very mobile creatures and are semi-transparent in color (at least until blood has been ingested they tend to appear reddish or blackish). They are oval in shape and have a sparse over their short hair. This article attempts to establish some facts about bird mites along with how to control an infestation.
How do Bird Mites Survive?
Bird mites feed on blood meals from birds. They survive and thrive fully on nesting areas of birds. Note that although bird mites feed on humans as an alternative source, they cannot survive on human blood in the long run and usually die after three weeks without bird blood to sustain them.
How Do Bird Mites Affect Humans?
Although bird mites enjoy feeding on human blood, they do not live on it as they can’t complete their life cycle feeding on humans. Thus bird mite infestations are usually self-limiting and happen particularly when the birds and their nesting spot have been eradicated. Bird mites do not bite any particular area of the human body and don’t live under the skin.
What Symptoms Can Bird Mite Bites Cause in Humans?
According to reported incidents and several studies, bites caused by bird mites can lead to the following:
- Severe skin irritation including swelling of the affected area, itchy skin, and raised reddish color.
- Spots can appear on the skin (this is caused by bird mites injecting saliva during feeding).
- General discomfort may occur in some cases.
- Secondary infections may develop as a result of scratching the affected region.
- The sensation of moving mites on the skin can cause irritation in some people.
- It is important to establish that bird mite bites are not associated with the transmission of any disease (as is the case with mosquitoes and malaria as well as other pathogen carrying pests). Additionally, bird mite bites are usually tough to spot or diagnose and can easily be mistaken for bites caused by other insects.
How Can Bird Mite Bites be Avoided?
According to experts, the easiest way to avoid or prevent bites caused by bird mite is to apply any insect repellent that contains any or all of the following diethyl-meta-toluamide or 3-methyl-n-diethylbenzamide. An anti-itching lotion can help to reduce the irritation associated with bird mite bites.
How Can You Get Rid of Bird Mite Infestation?
An infestation means the insect has occupied a vast section of your home or surroundings. The below are crucial to stopping an outbreak:
Identifying the Insect
Having proper identification of the pest is a paramount way of determining how to move forward when it comes to controlling and eradicating bird mite infestations. You need to identify their size and appearance. Is the insect less than 1mm in length with eight legs?
Find and Remove All Bird Nests (especially those that are no longer used)
The best approach when it comes to handling an infestation is to locate and take out the bird nests. When removing bird nests, a mask and hand gloves should be used so as to prevent any transfer of bird mites, as well as bacterial infections. To help make this easier for you nests can be found:
- In roof spaces
- In chimneys and around eaves
- In wall cavities
- In home foundations and basements
- Near porches
- On window ledges
Prevention and Eradication
You can start by preventing birds from occupying spaces within your house by repairing all broken tiles and blocking openings within eaves or roof cavities. In order to entirely eradicate bird mites, try to treat the affected area with the required and an approved insecticide. A surface spray or an insecticide powder can work if they meet the criteria. You may have to contact a registered pest controller if the nesting material isn’t accessible or the affected areas are larger than you can handle.
It is necessary to adhere to every state and governmental regulations regarding dealing with an infestation. The reason for this is because certain bird species are protected under the law, and specific actions might be limited. If the affected region is a poultry farm, all nesting materials must be replaced.
Nesting spaces may also require the application of the appropriate pesticides, and the insecticides must be used in line with the state laws and labels, so as to ensure the successful removal of bird mite infestation. Repair creases in walls, ledges, and eaves as this may discourage the further building of nests. These procedures must be taken on a regular to ensure they are effective.
The importance of understanding bird mites and how to control cannot further stressed. However, if you require the best results, it is wise to call for the services of a local and registered pest control professional. Such individual or agency will know how best to deal with mite infestations. They will know the safest, and most effective ways to handle your situation.
Contact Alliance Pest Services today for all your pest and bird problems.