Bird Mites | What Exactly are They?
What are bird mites? That’s a good question and one many person who have come in contact with the pests would like an answer to. Some of our customers get them confused with dust mites.
These tiny insects, though primarily associated with birds, can also affect humans and the result is generally pretty unpleasant. The first step in combating bird mites is understanding exactly what they are and their habits.
As the name implies, bird mites are a species of mite that feeds on birds. Their primary food source is blood and they will attach themselves to a bird and feed until they are engorged. Mites will target most birds, but they are most commonly associated with starlings, sparrows, pigeons, and chickens.
Mites can be most readily found in and around bird nests, where they feed on featherless hatchlings. They are tiny and clear in color when they are not feeding, which makes them difficult to spot against the skin. As they feed and become full of blood, they become darker in color and easier to spot.
They are potentially harmful to pets.
Though their primary target is birds, these mites can also become a nuisance for humans. This is particularly true when birds build nests on or near a house. Once the nest is abandoned, the mites will move on and start looking for a new food source. Since they are so tiny, it is easy for them to gain entry into a home through the smallest of cracks and crevices and cause an infestation.
Because they feed on blood, these mites will be attracted to any living being in the house, including humans and pets. They don’t cause serious problems, but their bites can cause irritation and itching and result in clumps of tiny red bumps on the skin.
When most people think of mites and allergies, they primarily think of dust mites. While dust mites are the most common cause of allergic reactions in humans, they are far from the only culprit.
Bird mites can be a real issue too and will require some of the same preventative measures that are taken for dust mites, including washing bedding regularly in hot water, using the special dust mite covers on your mattress and pillows and vacuuming and dusting your home thoroughly.
Many of our customers have also found using portable steam cleaners helps to kill the mites and their eggs just like they do for bed bugs.
While cleaning bedding and surfaces will help, the only way to completely stop an infestation is by removing the infested nest. Get rid of the nest and seal up any cracks or crevices in your walls and you should be able to protect your home from bird mites.
Bird mites can be an uncomfortable issue for your whole family, but you can stop them in their tracks if you know what to look for and what action to take. Always be aware of any bird nests on or near your home and take steps to remove them before mites can start to spread. Your family will thank you for it and you’ll all feel much better.
Wishing you the best of health
The Allergy Store
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