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So you’ve just confirmed it. Those little things biting you aren’t bed bugs at all. Those are bird mites, and they’re incredibly uncomfortable and annoying. They can be an incredible nuisance, but they’re not indestructible. In this post, we’ll show you everything you need to know to eliminate this problem. We’ll teach you how to get rid of bird mites.
What are bird mites?
Bird mites or fowl mites are arthropods that belong to the family Macronyssidae. The most common ones are the Ornithonyssus bursa and the Dermanyssus gallinae. They’re minute creatures with eight legs and a segmented body. Their body is generally see-through though it can turn black or dark red when they ingest blood. Bird mites are only 1 mm in size which means we’re barely able to see them without the help of a microscope; however, they can get around with the help of their hosts.
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These mites, just as their name suggests, naturally thrive in places where birds are, more in the warmer regions of the world. They’re often found in pigeons, sparrows and even in chickens. In other parts of the globe, these tiny bloodsuckers are also called “bird lice”.
Bird mites should not be confused with dust mites. These two are very different creatures. Bird mites, will bite humans when they’re displaced from their original hosts, but they rarely stay long. They mostly only do this because they’re driven by blood. Studies and observations have shown them to shorten their stay on humans.
Dust mites, on the other hand, don’t bite at all. They feed on dander and dead skin in all sorts of corners in the house. They’re not bloodsuckers, but they do promote allergies as we can sometimes be allergic to their waste.
What do they do?
Bird mites come into contact with humans mostly when they’re left without their real hosts. When birds leave a nest full of these arthropods, they come looking for blood to feed on. They’d usually enter through roof cavities, unsealed holes, eaves or broken tiles to infiltrate human dwellings.
The problem gets annoying when a few of these mites cause itchy red bumps all over your skin. Though they don’t linger long, they can still cause itching, severe irritation, swelling and overall discomfort, especially for households with pets and children running around.
How to Get Rid of Bird Mites
Do you have bird mites at home? Here are some cheap ways that can help you get rid of them.
- Check your pet. Most of the time, it’s the pet that brings in the parasites. Check your pet bird if it has mites. Consult your veterinarian immediately if you find them on its body.
- Locate and destroy. Look for dead birds, nests and the usual places where the fowls spend their night on. Dispose of the nests. If they still have chicks in them, contact a professional to have them relocated. Clean the bird areas and make sure that no fowl can ever go back there again.
- Trim tree branches. Cut out overhanging tree branches that can serve as natural bridges for these mites to use to get to your house.
- Use orange oil. Orange oil has limonene which is a known insecticide. Mix several drops of the oil with water in a spray bottle. Apply the spray in the most infested places in the house.
- Vacuum. Vacuuming eliminates fleas, spiders and even ants. It’s a truly effective arsenal against many pests. Just vacuum affected areas in your house at least three times a week. Don’t forget to tighten the vacuum’s bag upon disposal to stop the mites from escaping.
- Add essential oils to the wash. Wash everything, and use the highest temperature setting. After that, put in a few drops of an essential oil to the wash to make the beddings bird mite proof. Use lavender, eucalyptus, cedar wood, lemon or peppermint oil.
- Buy insecticides. If all else fails, purchase the right insecticides online or from your local supermarket. Sterifab or Onslaught are specially designed to work against mites. Just exercise caution when you use them. Read the labels carefully.
Learning how to get rid of bird mites isn’t that difficult to do. You have the advantage of knowing that the mites won’t stick around long. So you know they won’t infest forever and cause major distress for a long period of time. Regardless, you still have to do what you can to protect your family from these nasty itchy bites.
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