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Birds Mites

Birds Mites (Perognathus flavescens) Bird mites are very tiny, flattened parasitic arthropods in the order Acari. They belong to two closely related genera in two families; Dermanyssus species in Dermanyssidae, and Ornithonyssus species in Macronyssidae. Bird mites have piercing mouthparts that enable them to take blood meals from their bird hosts. Although the mites will inadvertently bite people, they cannot reproduce without their bird hosts.

Birds Mites

Birds Mites

The bird mites we encounter most often are northern fowl mites, Ornithonyssus sylviarum, and chicken mite, Dermanyssus gallinae. Both these mites feed commonly on chickens and other poultry but they are also common on many song birds. Northern fowl mites are known to survive up to six weeks without a bird blood meal while chicken mites are known to live as long as several months without one.

Ornithonyssus bursa is a small but extremely mobile mite, barely visible to the eye, with eight legs, oval in shape and with a sparse covering of short hairs. The mite is widely distributed throughout warmer regions of the world. It is a parasite, feeding on the blood of common birds including pigeons, starlings, sparrows, Indian mynahs, poultry, and some wild birds. Bird mites are sem transparent in colour, which makes them difficult to detect on skin until blood is ingested and then digested; when they may appear reddish to blackish.

Life Cycle: Most bird mite species can complete development in five to twelve days with optimal temperatures and host presence. This short life cycle makes it is possible for mite populations to attain tens of thousands of mites in bird nests during the rearing of young birds. If the population is too large, the mites will migrate in mass to locate an alternative host.

It is during this migration that mites can and do enter the living quarters of people. Some mites can survive for several months without taking a blood meal; the northern fowl mite, Ornithonyssus sylviarum , for several weeks. However, the mites do not appear to survive for more than several days in the reduced humidity environs typically found in air-conditioned or de-humidified homes.

Damage : Around residences and other structures, mite problems tend to be more sporadic. Bird nests are often located in chimneys and tucked under eaves or window-mounted air conditioners. In the spring, nestling birds may be parasitized by thousands of mites. When the nestlings mature and leave their nest, mites may invade buildings in search of alternate hosts. In some areas of the state, bird mite problems may continue year round because hosts such as pigeons are constantly present. Mites that find their way indoors are easily removed by vacuuming or can be killed with an aerosol insecticide.

Control : The easiest method to control bird mites that have entered your home is to physically remove them with a vacuum cleaner or wipe them up with a moist cloth. Mites are not automatically killed by a vacuum cleaner so freeze the bag to prevent the mites from crawling back out. To prevent further problems with these mites, it is important to eliminate their hosts and any nests.

Birds Mites

Birds Mites

Bird Mites , Remove any dead birds that you find. If nests are empty, remove and dispose of them. If eggs or young are found in nests of federally protected song birds, do not disturb them. If the nesting season is over and only adults remain, you may remove the nest, provided the birds are not harmed. Only pigeons, starlings, and house sparrows are not federally protected; you may remove their nests regardless of the circumstances. To reduce bird mites that may migrate indoors, spray an insecticide effective against mites, such as bifenthrin. Treat outside around windows, doors, and other possible points of entry.

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