Bird mites just like the name suggests feed on bird blood and they nest on the bird nests as breeding places. They can endanger bird health and can irritate humans when they finally find their way into homes and make them as hosts. These tiny parasites love humid conditions and they breed prolifically in spring and early summer.
The bird mites are small and semitransparent making it easy for them to thrive before being identified. They have ovoid shaped bodies and have a total of eight legs. Their bodies are covered with short hairs and they are not selective in settling for bird hosts and can spend their lives on other hosts. When host birds and other hosts die, the mites migrate in their number to new hosts and wandering parasites can bite humans, but they are not known to infest humans on long term.
Bird mites are extremely destructive because they grow rapidly. The females need blood meals to reproduce. They lay eggs and they can take as few as three days to hatch and only five days to mature into adult mites. They seem to breed most in early summer and in spring when the conditions are humid and this would be the time during which most people see them because of their increased populations. This is also the best time to treat infestations. The life span of a bird mite is highly shortened where there is no food, but it also depends on the species. Some cannot go for a few days without their food sources.
Habits and risks
Bird mites are very small and you might need magnification to clearly make out their bodies, but large infestations are not that hard to notice. They seem to be most active from when dusk falls till dawn, but they can also be active at other times especially if you end up disturbing them. They remain more active in humid, dam overcast nights and days and less active in daylight hours. They also do not like sunny, hot dry days and remain less active.
These parasites are attracted to mammals through moisture, CO2 and heat receptors and will become aggressive in biting humans when original food sources are not present like when the bird hosts leave nests or die. Considering how quickly they mature, multiplication is rapid and your home can have an infestation within a very short time making eradication even harder to accomplish effectively.
Restless birds and birds that seem to be over grooming can be an indication of the presence of bird mites. When they attack humans, they cause lots of irritation with bite symptoms, including pinprick like bites, intense itching, lesions, small red bumps and crawling sensation all in different parts of the body. The mites’ saliva is what causes irritation and itching of the skin and a rash could appear.
Prevention and control
Infestations occur in homes where there are bird nests, nesting pigeons on property or where people have pets and other animals that get infested. Farmers rearing chickens need to be extra careful to treat their birds and it is also very important to be keen when obtaining used furniture because if they are infested they could lead to an infestation in your home.
Always seek professional pest control services to effectively eradicate infestations and to get advice for treating animals and pets that are possible hosts.
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