Bird Mites or Bed Bugs? We regularly get contacted by customers who think they have bed bugs. However, the cause of the problem is often bird mites not bed bugs.
What Are Bird Mites
Bird mites is the collective name for several types of mite that are parasites of different bird species. They are tiny insects, measuring less than 1mm and are translucent white, unless they have digested a blood meal, in which case they are more of a translucent red / brown colour. Bird mites usually feed on birds, blood, skin, and other organic keratin matter. Bird mites are just visible to the naked eye, but are often not immediately obvious.
Bird mites are usually found in relatively low numbers on birds, in bird nests and in poultry housing, but where conditions are favourable their numbers can increase to thousands. In domestic properties, bird mite activity is usually associated with bird nests that have been vacated. Once birds leave the nest, the mites lose their primary food source. They then start migrating out of the nest to search for other food sources. Due to the location of bird nests in gutters, lofts, and chimneys and roof areas, usually the first food source that mites find is humans asleep in bedrooms. It is this being bitten whilst in bed that people sometimes incorrectly assume is caused by bed bugs, and this is why a thorough survey is required before considering what treatment might be appropriate.
Beyond the usual irritation associated with being bitten, bird mites can pose a public health risk as some species are associated with transmission pathogenic bacteria and of zoonotic disease.
What Can Be Done About Bird Mites In My Home?
The initial course of action is to identify the primary source of mite activity, for example locating a bird nest in the loft. Once this is identified, it is then important to work out whether this can be removed or not, in accordance with legal obligations and bearing in mind that all birds, nests and eggs are protected, subject to certain exceptions.
If removal is permitted, this must be done safely to protect the person removing it and also to prevent further spread of mites.
There is a range of toxic and non-toxic treatments that can then be considered to eradicate all further mite activity. It is important to ensure any treatment is thorough, and we can assist with this.