Bird mites in Omaha are tiny, biting parasites which live and feed on birds. They are tiny, tending to be less than a mm long, oval, have 8 legs, and are semi-transparent until they are digesting blood; then they darken up. There are many kinds of bird mite (also known as bird louse); some are specific to a particular species of bird, and others are not that picky.

Lifestyle

Bird mites live on or near birds. Some live in the nests of birds, others directly on the bird. They do not usually harm the birds on which they live unless is it a particularly heavy infestation or the bird is ill from another cause already; the bird is more likely to harm itself scratching at the bites.

They are most active in spring and early summer. They prefer warm temperatures and like humidity. Living in a dry area doesn’t mean you won’t find them, though, as the birds themselves can be a source of humidity for the mites.

Diet

Bird mites do not only eat the blood of birds. While some do eat blood, others will eat the feathers or skin of their avian hosts. However, the feather and skin eating mites don’t tend to bother humans.

Mites die within 3 weeks if they don’t find any blood to feed on after their bird hosts leave. However, they are adept at finding new hosts. They are able to sense heat and move toward it to see if it is a potential host. Some also sense carbon dioxide, which is breathed out by all living animals and is a good indicator for them that this might be a source of food. Once they make contact, they taste-test the host to see if it is good.

Humans are not a source of edible blood for many bird mite species (though they might be for other kinds of mites) and most bird mites won’t live long trying to feed on humans, but the taste-testing can be itchy and uncomfortable. The discomfort can be caused both by the sense of the mites crawling on the skin and by the saliva they inject when they bite. Some humans are very sensitive to this saliva, even allergic.

Interaction with Humans

Bird mites only tend to come into human habitation when the humans have close contact with a bird (handling poultry, children finding a nest and playing with it), carried in on the fur of a pet, or after wild birds near or on a house have left the nest and suddenly there is no food for the bird mites that live in the nesting materials. You can also accidentally carry mites into your home if you buy a used furnishing that is infested.

Humans are unpleasantly surprised to find a new kind of biting pest in their homes. The type of mite most likely to bother humans is the domestic starling mite.

While there is no documentation of any diseases passing to humans from a bird mite bite, the bites can be itchy red bumps, are vulnerable to infection, and may even bleed or develop pus.

Although most bird mites can’t live on human blood alone, they can hang around for a long time if there are any birds anywhere around a home. If there is a pet, especially a pet bird, wild mites coming in can be a problem for the pet. It can also be very upsetting to have hundreds of tiny bugs crawling around a home.

To get rid of bird mites once you have determined that you have an infestation, first get rid of any bird nests on or around your home. Wear gloves to keep the mites from just climbing onto you. Treat areas that have mites with an appropriate insecticide. For large or difficult to reach infestation, get professional help. You may also want to consider getting professional help to identify the type of mite.

For more information about bird mites, and to talk to providers of experienced, effective pest control, contact Miller Pest & Termite.