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Bird Mites: Bites, Symptoms & Treatment

Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

Read this lesson to learn what the bite from a bird mite looks like and what you can do about it. Also learn how you can work towards getting rid of these pests in and around your home.

Bird Mites

Ever been bitten by a flea and wonder why it would have bitten you? Aren't they supposed to be on dogs and cats only? Well, some insects will take what they can get if they can't find their ideal food, even if they can't survive on it. The same goes for bird mites.

Bird mites, as the name suggests, are tiny mites that typically infest birds. Look closely and you'll probably see them close to where birds live. They are tiny little things measuring under 1 mm long. They have eight legs like spiders, are oval-shaped, and can move about quickly and easily. Once they've eaten (they feed on blood), they are reddish in color, but otherwise they are mostly clear.

Bird mites prefer feeding off of birds, but if none are around, they may infect people's homes and bite them instead. This often happens if birds are found nesting in the eaves of a house, but then leave the premises when the chicks are grown. The mites venture into the house looking for a meal.

Bird mites often invade homes wehre bird had been nesting
bird mite bite

Symptoms of Bird Mites

How can you tell if you are a victim of bird mites?

If you have bird mites in your home, you might see tiny red dots walking around your house, on your walls, ceiling, and even your bed.

Bird mite bites are very itchy. You'll see small red spots where the mites have bitten and injected their saliva. These spots may also swell. Bird mites don't care where they crawl, so they may even crawl on you, which is very irritating to some people. Their bites are often mistaken for scabies or lice.

Treating a Bird Mite Bite

To treat the bite, you can apply anti-itch cream to reduce the itchiness of the bite. Scratching the bite may make it worse and prone to a secondary infection.

To avoid getting bitten in the first place, you may choose to apply an insect repellent with DEET (diethyl meta-toluamide) in it. You can also seal your bedding in vinyl covers and wipe them down with borax and water.

Ridding Your Home of Bird Mites

If bird mites are in your home, the biggest task is to actually get them out, otherwise they'll keep feeding on you for food.

First make sure there are no bird nests in your home or close to your home. Look in your chimneys, in or under your roof and wall cavities, on your window ledges, and around your porches. Remove any nests you do find, making sure to wear a mask and gloves. Once you remove the nests, make sure that the birds can't rebuild. Block up cavities if you need to or otherwise obstruct access to the area.

Inside you may need the help of a professional exterminator so they can spray a miticide fumigant all over the house that will kill the bird mites.

Diatomaceous earth is a common alternative for insect pests, as its natural structure actually shreds the exoskeletons of insects. However, it would be difficult to get it into all the necessary areas of your home. Even if you mix it with water and use a spray, it only works once the powder has dried. Diatomaceous earth is a lung irritant so make sure to take precautions.

Lesson Summary

Let's review.

Bird mites are tiny little parasites that normally feed on the blood of birds. They measure under 1 mm long, have eight legs, and are oval-shaped. Normally clear, once they've eaten they turn reddish in color.

If your home has bird mites, then you might see small tiny dots moving around or you may even have small, itchy bites that may also be red or swollen.

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