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Getting rid of bird mites

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by The Bug Doctor

Ask any exterminator how to get rid of bird mites and they’ll give you some pretty good advice. “Get rid of the nest and you get rid of the mites.” Well I’m happy to say that this can and does work if you catch it quick enough and you indeed only have one source or nest. While some report bird mites can feed on humans the truth is they’ll only last a few weeks without a bird as a host but they do bite and it is very irritating. The itching and redness can last for weeks and most who are bitten have a feeling of invisible crawling things on them which would drive anybody mad after awhile.

Avian mites are parasites of birds, ANY bird and feed off the host much like a bed bug. They are clear or white in color until they feed where they’ll turn reddish brown. Their numbers can get up in to the tens of thousands with just a small nest of birds as hosts and can literally infest the walls, carpets and any surface. The more nests, the more mites and the more sleepless nights you may have. Mites are most active from sundown to sun up and tend to stay inactive on hot dry days. The mite is very small but with a little magnification you can spot them. They are known to infest bird seed containers and if you look very close you can see the movement of heavily infested seed storage.

How to get rid of mites

As mentioned you should remove any and all nests including those outside. Normally this doesn’t include the one high up in a tree soPicture 213 150x150 Getting rid of bird mites don’t go there but often times we allow a bird to build it’s nest just outside our window or up in a gutter so we can have the pleasure of watching them build and raise their young. This is the most classic way that a home gets infested and since the little buggers are most active at night you could be losing sleep and having reactions all in the name of watching nature at its finest. Other times the nest is not so easily located and places like the attic should be checked. I’ve seen where birds have built on or next to air ducts in the attic and the tiny mites either enter the ducts through a hole or simply find there way down in the home through the drywall cut outs for ceiling lights such as recessed lighting. Removing the nest is again paramount but treating this area can be difficult with all the insulation that provides cover.

Soap and water is probably your best friend to combat bird mites. Borax can be quite effective and can be safely used on many surfaces. Scrubbing the exterior window sill or using a hose end sprayer if it’s up to high will kill many of the mites and what it doesn’t get it should displace rinsing them harmlessly to the ground where they will soon die if they do not find another host. Inside scrubbing should include the general area and make sure to get some mix in the tiny cracks and crevices where you can. Mites hide out in those spots and will live through the ordeal if they are passed up. Steam cleaning the carpets in the same area (room) is also highly recommended.

Picture 39 150x150 Getting rid of bird mitesNow scrubbing drywall or up in the attic is not practical and will cause water staining with to much application. For this type of area or say around your computer desk with all those cords you might want to use a pyrethrum aerosol. CB 80 or 40 aerosols would do nicely and give you instant relief. There is no real residual with these products so re-application may be necessary. Laundering any bedding or curtains helps out greatly and make sure to check any pets bedding in the vicinity as well.

What to do if it’s your bird?

The best way to check for mites in a bird cage is to put a light sheet over and on the floor around the cage for the night. If you have what looks like pepper splattering in the morning you most likely have mites infesting your bird. (you can also use this white sheet in other areas to test for mites) At this point you need to really clean that cage from stem to stern. Birds are very susceptible to insecticidal sprays especially so close and for that reason I would not spray anything. You should at this time check the seed storage bin and throw it away if you have mites in there. You can freeze the seed for a week or so to kill the mites but why chance it? Anything like climb ropes should be discarded and the bird will need a vet to have anything done to it. Continue to use the sheet for monitoring for a week or more afterwards so you can be sure you’ve gotten all of them.

Still have mites?

If after all this you still have the pesky avian mite it is time to call in a pro. It’s not an everyday occurrence for most companies Picture 64 150x150 Getting rid of bird mites(including mine) to get that call and I’ve found more mites that the people didn’t even know they had than I’ve gotten calls for. In most cases it rarely takes more than removing the nest and treating with the flushing aerosol. One call did involve mites in a duct-Not wanting to spray inside the airway we simply cleaned what we could, repaired the duct and taped off the open vent. The tape captured a ton of mites that got blown to it every time the air went on and the problem was solved.

I’ve read horror stories on the web about whole house fumigations as the only answer to help these poor tortured people. Well, I don’t know if you can believe everything you read on your computer screen but could it get that bad? Well, it is possible I guess but I’ve never seen it. I guess you could say, it just mite.


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  • Gina

    We have been dealing with bird mites for almost a week. I found them in a corner area of our bedroom. I did some research on how to help kill them, so we made our way to our local home improvement store to buy Seven 10 powder and other stuff. An employee asked if he could help us find anything, and I explained what we were looking for. He immediately told us he knew what we were going through because he and his wife spent a year, and lots of money, trying to get rid of bird mites. Finally, he said he found out that farmers add Diatomaceous Earth to the food of farm animals. It is a natural ingredient and drys out the mites and they die. He said once they used this (placing in cracks, around windows, base boards, etc…) the mites were dead and gone. The one we bought at our local home improvement store is not 100% natural and does contain 22.31% other ingredients. He said if you contact local farmers you will probably find one that will sell the 100% natural. He thought Tractor Supply might sell the 100% natural, or it would be the same we were buying which is 77.69% Silicon Dioxide from Diatomaceous Earth and 22.31% Other Ingredients. I’m praying this works and I’m hoping we’ve attacked this problem early enough. Not fun at all!!!!!!

  • http://pestcemetery.com The Bug Doctor

    The DE you’re looking for is referred to as Food Grade. A little pricey but you can find it online.

    Good luck

  • Amy

    I think we are dealing with bird mites but we are awaiting confirmation from a state university. We had someone come out and spray the bathroom where they were found, and a nest was removed from the eve above the bathroom window and the whole area sprayed. I’ve had the bathroom locked for almost a week now. I saw them crawling in my son’s hair when we first discovered them and I scrubbed him and he hasn’t complained since and I don’t see any…I don’t see anything crawling on me or my family but I feel like I itch all day. I am completely disgusted!! How do I know if they are truly gone? We live in the country and spend a lot of time outside. How do I tell the difference between a mosquito bite and bird mites. Will I see them on me if they are still around? I feel like I sit and stare at every little dot on my skin waiting for it to move. Our pest control people didn’t seem to be as concerned as the extension agent…so do I need to shower in a bleach solution like the internet says or is it in my head (not literally I hope?) Thanks!

  • http://pestcemetery.com The Bug Doctor

    I wouldn’t be taking any bleach showers that’s for sure. That’s not a safe thing to do. Soap and water is just fine–soap kills them just as well as anything.

    I’m not sure what to say on how to know if they’re gone yet or answer other questions..when you get the positive ID then perhaps you can go further.

  • Nicole Warner

    I found 2 of these tiny brown things under my cat, I was searching her for fleas but found these instead. They were tiny and flat, brown or red, hard to tell, but when I squished them in a piece of paper, they were really easy to squash, unlike a flea, or bed bug and they left a drop of blood. We have a woodpecker nest up in the tree but I feel like it’s too far up, about 15 feet from my bathroom window. It could just be a coincidence, but we started receiving plenty of bites on our toros very soon after the babies left the nest, about 2 weeks ago. Or my cat could have rolled in a dead bird, which I’ve seen her do often and she picked them up. Either way it’s been no fun, With the use of a ton of DE, I have managed to keep them away from the beds at least. Now I only get bitten in the day when I am away from the house, I am thinking they must be in my clothes and/ or car. I just dusted the car and am washing the clothes and bought some cedar bars for my drawers. I am still getting 3-5 bites a day on my torso, either when I’m not at home, or when I’m dressed and walking around the house. I have found a ridiculous amount of conflicting information on the internet and I’m exhausted. My landlady said she would pay for an exterminator if I’m not able to DIY. ANY advice would be appreciated. My daughter and I are moving in 6 weeks and need to have this gone before then. Thanks so much!

    Nicole

  • http://pestcemetery.com The Bug Doctor

    Nichole, the first thing is always to get a positive ID… Try and get some using a white towel or paper in the area where activity is heavy. Place in a vial of alcohol. Or if you have to, use a piece of scotch tape and without crushing it. Then take your sample to a local college with an entomology dept. They’ll most likely be most happy to ID it for you… Or perhaps you can find a local bug company to ID it… Either way, you need to confirm it and then from there you can start with a plan of action…. I say this because it could be any kind of mite, no see um’s or many different things.. Each may require something entirely different from the other.

  • Robin

    We have had a nest of robins in our garage for about a month now (with the eggs and the birds hatching, etc). One of the babies left the nest today and I realized that where the nest was there were thousands of tiny bugs. After looking it up and figuring bird mites my husband and I removed the nest and got rid of everything around it (out of paranoia). We then sprayed the area with bug spray and removed out clothes and washed them on sanitize. Do you think we caught it soon enough? We mostly saw them on what we threw away and didn’t really see others but I’m nervous after hearing horror stories. The birds are all out now.

  • http://pestcemetery.com The Bug Doctor

    Yes there are many horror stories out there.. You’ll just have to be sure to keep checking the immediate area. If no activity is noticed I’d say it’s likely you have caught it.

  • Yusuf Saiedi

    the best way to kill mites is to strangle them with rope. just like in the old days. i just think they are so cruel. i dont know why god made them. this is 311noc knock canada can atta for 31111 japan quake send eye of providence. i haven´t seen my military base since 1995 until i got to bagram and nato hq kabul. nobody uses my services anymore. i dont know why people just hate jesus christ and wellness. i sure needed help after birth and conventional human power is just no good ! this is anti terror officer enduring freedom years 6&7 for bloodbank quarree d day 67 hamburg hochwasser. believe it or not. jesus and help is available. thank god. see my exhibits. it´s all at least category 5 power or seismic 8 jolting. pretty good for any pests on earth.

  • Kristen

    I’ve spent the last week talking about “the tiny bugs on my” deck, but no one seemed to take me seriously. I call my complex and after a few days, the had an exterminator come out and spray, but upon arriving home today I noticed there was no change. I call them again and was told they would have the company come spray again next week. Not good enough for me! I’ve been doing my own research for the past couple days to try and figure out what these bugs are and I am not 99% certain they are bird mites! A family of swallows built a mud nest on the underside of my deck a few weeks ago and the babies have now hatched. As sad as I will be for the nest to be destroyed (and likely the babies) I can’t have these bugs in my apartment! I’ve felt itchy the past couple days (I’m hoping it’s just in my head). I tore apart the apartment, throwing everything into the wash as soon as I figured out (I think what they are). I will be at the complex office first thing in the morning to have them remove the next and get an experienced exterminator here! Praying they take me seriously this time. Do you think we can get these under control after a week? The door to the deck is opened only once daily when I water the plants and I am cautious to wipe the ones I see off my legs and hands before coming inside. This is stressing me out!

  • Ashley

    I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN EXACTLY! My whole family thinks I’m crazy because I have went ballistic complaining and getting pissed off about little bugs crawling on my skin as soon as I walk out of my house. I can see them on my skin! They’re tiny & I can see them crawling on my skin, and even on my phone screen. I immediately figured they were some kind of mights. My parents have bad eyes, and can’t see them like I do so they keep thinking I’m just exaggerating, but it’s gotten worse, and turns out there has been a nest under our porch in the corner that we haven’t disturbed because a bird had layed eggs, but recently the birds had hatched, and it was too many for that tiny nest, and 4 ended up dying, the nest was up so high I personally couldn’t reach it, and plus I’m 9 months pregnant, (not too fond of the feeling of what felt nearly like bed bugs all night on my body when I’m already pretty darn uncomfortable in the first place) The nest is the culprit though. We finally took it down and burned it & power washed the porch, and entire area. It feels alot better now just from doing that think God.. NOW EVERYONE DOESN’T THINK I’M CRAZY! (:

  • Melissa

    Thanks so much for your comments and to the Bug Doctor for your post! There are all kinds of things out there on the Internet, and it’s hard to know what advice is most credible. We’ve known that we had a problem for a couple of weeks now, and got two completely different stories from two different exterminators. Our sample is at a local university, and I’m more confident now that the fogging the exterminator is doing and cleaning that we do will work.

  • Bobby

    i did a pigeon job in Liverpool on sunday with my son-in-law, i try and always do pigeon work on sundays as its quieter to work off ladders and if you have to shoot the birds then there is not so many people around to shout murderer at you , well i asked him to remove the birds nests and clean up all the droppings from the ground and roosting areas while i shot the birds and spiked the appropriate areas, sure enough he was picking the bird mites off himself all the way back home lol…….

  • http://pestcemetery.com The Bug Doctor

    lol– I’ve been call a ‘killer’ a few times when a pigeon would take a nose dive into the streets… Camera crews soon to come afterwards…

  • http://pestcemetery.com The Bug Doctor

    Awesome!! so glad you’re getting it ID’d

  • Nick

    are there any ways to get rid of bird mites quickly? my mom and i cleaned my room for 4 or so days wiping down the walls and everything in my room.. packing up all of my stuff and wiping it down before i put it all in bins.. after the 4 days of cleaning we put down some (probably spelled wrong) diatomaceous earth.. some as in all over my carpet.. which then they crawl through it and die.. we got rid of my air conditioning (where they were going to after we removed the bird nest from under it) .. got rid of all of my bedding.. mattress pad.. and more. and of course rebought them all.. i havent been in my room since the 18th and im going to test out to see if any of them are in my room by sleeping in it for a night.. if they are. im sure theyll bite me.. alot.. which wont bother me of course. but ill repost and let everyone know how it goes.. im an animal person.. but from here on out birds are on my sh*t list….

  • Amanda

    My daughter woke me up last night and said she felt like bugs were crawling all over her. After going to the bathroom she noticed little tiny blackish looking bugs on her clothes and skin. She was sitting on our front porch on a wooden glider for about an hour the same night. We do have a birds nest on the porch, which will be removed when its daylight. She took a shower and the pile of her clothes had little tiny black bugs on them. They were also crawling on the floor. I sprayed her bed with Lysol and smashed all the bugs I could find. Her bedding is washing now btw its 4:00AM! Any helpful feedback would be great! I am calling my exterminator first thing. I also captured some of the little bugs in a bag I can upload a picture if needed.

  • http://pestcemetery.com The Bug Doctor

    I’d give the sample to your pest control company. It could be bird mites or any of 1000 different things that may have been floating around that day. Once you know what it is you can do the right thing–if anything is needed. In the meantime, please be judicious with sprays and the like. It’s easy to go a bit overboard at times like this.

  • http://pestcemetery.com The Bug Doctor

    It sounds like you did a lot all ready. Most times, removing the nest and washing the area with soap and water is enough…perhaps some liquid residual spray in the room affected as well. I guess you’ll know after your night in the room…just don’t give in to ‘feeling’ every little sensation on yourself… it’s human nature so I’m not criticizing, it’s just you’ll be a little hyper sensitive with this in the back of your mind…I think you’ll be fine.

  • Amanda

    Thanks for the reply! My bug guy came yesterday. He said he has never seen that type of mite before! Said he has EXPERIENCE with clover mites, and spider mites. He treated the porch and the house. He also took some of the mites to get sampled. He suspects that bird mites may be the culprit. He also removed all the bird nests and set them on fire. Meanwhile, I’m still doing laundry and I also steamed all of the sitting areas and mattresses because he said he didn’t want to spray the seating or laying areas due to my children being so small. Any other helpful feedback you have to offer would be great! Thanks again. I will reply back when we know for sure what the culprit turns out to be.

  • jen

    what did they “dust” with

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