In the high stakes game of sucking the living life out of your local poultry population (not to mention creeping the hell out of you), Bird mites take top spot. These ferocious insects not only like to snack on the blood of birds, but also use the nest of birds and other poultry as breeding grounds. Bird mites can cause the well-being of poultry to plummet, and can also have a negative effect on humans nearby. Mites can also cause skin irritation in humans and birds. But, there is an upside to all of this: cut off their food source and the mites can die off in a matter of days. Bird mites inhabit the nests and roosts of birds and poultry, and can also live in houses that have birds as household pets. The life cycle of the bird mite occurs in four stages: egg, larva, nymph, and adult.
You can find them here…
In North America
The two main species found in North America are the Northern Fowl Mite and the D. Gallinae. Commonly found in the tropical parts of the world the Tropical Fowl Mite is another species of bird mites. Bird mites favor humid conditions. Their breeding mostly occurs during springtime or early in the summer. In case these pests infest your home the warm folds of your furniture or bedding material is their ideal breeding site.
Since bird mites prefer humid climates certain states tend to experience more bird mite infestation than others. If you are living in California or Florida you will have more bird mite activity than say Arizona, which is dry and hot. In the case that your home is excessively moist then dehumidifiers and air conditioners can help remove the excess moisture. In essence, no matter where you are in the world bird mites can infest your home.
Recognizing Bird Mites
But what do bird mites look like? They have an ovoid shaped body that is covered with short hairs. They have eight legs, are very small and semi-transparent. As a result, a bird mite infestation may go unseen for quite a while. While in the nymph stage bird mites only have three pairs of legs. In order to pierce through their host’s skin to drink their fill of blood, a bird mite’s mouth is long and sharp. Though these pests are semi-transparent they become reddish or blackish after a hearty meal.
These pests are very small in size. A Northern Fowl Mite in the mature stage is no bigger than half of a millimeter. The D. Gallinae though normally comes in at around .4 millimeter in length. The front legs and mouthpart take up one-third of the total length of the mite, leaving the remaining two-thirds to the main body of the mite. D. Gallinae is lighter than the Northern Fowl mite, making it the harder of the two to see. The nymphs are not as fully developed as the adult mites and are thus also harder to see than the adults and are not readily seen unless magnified under a lens.
An invasion of mites can expand exponentially, and the eggs of some species release their payloads in around three days and reach maturity over the course of the following five days. They also stick to a singular host for their entire lives, but will jump to a new blood sponsor if their primary host expires. Blood is a necessary ingredient for reproduction, and the mites may only last a few days without a meal. Roughly 95% of the bird mite population is comprised of female bird mites.
The hosts of the northern fowl mites get little if any reprieve, though, as they spend most of their lives on their hosts. Bird mites not only attack birds and poultry but have been known to assault field mice, rats, gerbils and other rodents. This is bad news, these rodents can easily access your home and bring their bird mite pests with them. An increase in humidity sometimes correlates with an increase in the bird mite population.
Measures to Prevent or Eradicate Bird Mites
Bird nesting sites should be moved or expelled as a key step in their eradication. Governmental and state regulatory guidelines must always be observed if rare or endangered poultry are involved. When an infected nest is found, nearby nesting sites should also be examined for bird mite infestation.
Treat and examine poultry habitats bi-annually. A detailed analysis should preferably be done in the summer and spring, as these times are ideal for bird mite breeding.
Using Chemicals vs. Using Electrical Tools
A professional pest control specialist will always offer the best results. If mites are observed on a pet, a veterinarian should be consulted for treatment. If an infestation has been observed in a household residence or anywhere on or near your property, the professional counsel that a bird mite specialist can provide will prove invaluable in eradicating them from your life with lasting effect.