Riley Pest Management
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 FLORIDA TICKS & MITES
A source for information on mites

Bird Mite  Family Dermanyssidae

The panic that can ensue from a suspected bird mite infestation can be overwhelming and intense. I found this to be true when a site that I take care of called me for a bird problem they were having in the ceiling. It was reported that the room the birds were found in had people reporting getting bitten and itching. When I went in there and took down the drop ceiling tile there was a giant nest and I pulled 4 birds out of there. The nest fell in and the room was full of bird mites. They were able to be seen best on the black phone as they scurried. The room and nest was treated and then shut down for a few days. After that time the housekeeper went in and threw away the nesting, bleached the entire room, and all was fine.
I decided to investigate bird mites further on the Internet that night and found a site that gives some alarmist information and frankly the info was not true. My fear was these mites could infest peoples offices and, like fleas, take a blood meal from their human hosts, reproducing and becoming a major problem. The website I found that is in question would have folks fumigate their homes and go through crazy measures to get rid of a problem that is not a human problem but bird problem. The facts are that Bird mites need a bird blood meal to reproduce, not a human blood meal.
Bird mites can bite and be a problem for people, but if you find the bird nest they are coming from, get rid of it, and treat your home as normal, you can get rid of them. They will not multiply into million of mites taking over your entire home.
The fact of the matter is there is no need to panic. Identify the problem and treat. Simple.
For more info that is factual look at this site from Penn State.
http://www.ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/birdmites.htm

Size:

Bird mites are tiny; the size of a pin head or possibly smaller

Color:

Varies, usually dark, but possibly creamy white, depending on the species

Behavior:

A variety of mite species infest different types of birds and other animals. There are more species of mites that are not ectoparasites, but rather are pests of trees and other plants or live freely in the soil. Mites are one of the more difficult arthropods to identify, therefore requiring specimens be sent to a university with a qualified acarologist – an entomologist who studies mites. Knowing the type of mite involved is critical in determining the source of the infestation. (For example, mites occurring from the nests of rats or mice are also possible, though rare, in buildings.) On farms, mites that infest poultry sometimes become a problem in barns or can bite humans who work with the birds. More commonly, in homes and commercial buildings, mites that infest pest birds, such as pigeons and sparrows, may find their way into living spaces of homes. Some cases of mites biting humans in buildings have been reported.

Habitats:

Usually, one or more specimens are discovered wandering on a windowsill, on the floor, or possibly on a desk or table. Generally, such cases result from birds nesting in the attic, walls, or on the outside edge of the building roof. If the birds leave the nest, the mites will wander in search of a new host. Occasionally, however, bird activity within a commercial building (e.g., a church bell tower) that has been allowed to persist will cause an infestation of mites and other bird ectoparasites. They will wander indoors in search of new hosts.     Like all mites, bird mites must remain on or very close to their hosts to survive, so they will be found in association with bird nests located on or within a building.

Control:

When wandering mites have been discovered in a building, the situation is best handled by an experienced professional. Correct identification by an experienced entomologist of the louse involved is key to determining the source of the mites. To control bird mites, the bird activity in or on the building must be eliminated or prevented and all nest materials removed. Areas where nests are located often require treatment to eliminate any wandering mites. Additionally, wall voids and other voids may need to be drilled and treated, depending on the situation.

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