What is a bird mite infestation?
While there are several different species of bird mites, the most frequent species that are known to affect humans is the Ornithonyssus bursa, also known as the bird mite, tropical fowl mite and starling mite. The adult bird mite has a small and oval shaped body with eight legs (larval stage of bird mite has six legs), has a pale body colour and is semitransparent with a sparse covering of short hair. They can also sometimes appear in red or brown colour which depends on the time passed since their last blood meal.
Individual bird mites can be difficult to spot with the naked eye, however, severe infestations will be easily spotted because of the large number of mites, especially near their entry points. Bird mites rely on their bird host for survival and use it as a food source. They cannot use humans and other vertebrates as a source of food and eat only bird’s blood.
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More about Bird Mites
They are typically associated with common bird species such as pigeons, sparrows, starlings and mynahs. They can also be located on birds that are used as pets, wild birds and poultry. The bird mites have a life of five stages and a generation time of seven days counting from the egg stage to an adult stage. Bird mites can survive as long as three months when living on a suitable host but they are unlikely to live more than a few weeks without a host. They are highly mobile but are unable to jump or fly. Bird mites are unable to infest the skin, hair and clothing of humans, furniture, carpets or bedding in homes. Still, they can bite people and cause a prickling feeling that is accompanied with irritation, rashes and itching. The irritation occurs because of an allergic reaction to their saliva. As a result of itching and scratching, the bite locations are prone to various secondary infections.
Bird mites in Australia do not transfer any microorganisms known to be disease carriers. Bird mites are pests simply because they bite humans. Still, the effects of large bird mite population can be significant and the issue can be present for a significant period of time if left untreated.
What are the signs of a bird mite infestation?
The irritation and itching caused by bird mites can be relieved with various anti-itching medications such as crotamiton, however, there is no such treatment that will stop the irritation completely. Large reactions have to be treated with antihistamines, same as with severe allergic reactions. The best way to protect yourself is by making sure there are no birds inside your building. If an infestation happens, you can use insect repellents that will give you temporary protection until you can undertake better bird control measures to treat the birds and bird mite infestation.
Some mites can bite humans, and these bites usually occur around the armpits, ankles, and areas where clothing rubs tightly against the skin. Some mite species can cause very painful bites, and some bites can be unnoticed, but all that bites result in itchy red marks or rashes.
Intense itching and scratching may lead to infection, which can cause a large problem to you. Symptoms will be usually developed within a day and may last as long as a week. Scabies mites may cause persistent, intensely itchy rashes. Reason why that is so is because the pests burrow into the skin to breed and then emerge to feed on flesh. Bites from chiggers and scabies mites can cause more serious problem such as diseases transmitting to humans and livestock.
Mites can also cause disadvantages without biting. People with dust allergies are usually also allergic to dust mites that live in carpets and furniture. Mite carcasses and feces can become airborne and people can inhale it. This will cause stuffy noses, watery eyes, and sneezing of individuals with dust allergies. Additionally, herbivorous mites, like eriophyid and spider mites, can harm crops and cause some economic losses, such as grains and other organic products.
How can you detect a bird mite infestation?
Most mites are invisible to the naked eye, so infestations can be difficult to detect until the pests become a big problem. Usually, homeowners notice mite infestations when allergies feel worse after waking up or if they notice small red welts or rashes on the skin. However, it is important to say that allergy reactions and welts may not necessarily be caused by mites. If your pet excessively itches, maybe it has mites. Sores and red bumps from biting and scratching of the area can be another sign that your pet has mites. Adult mites are often visible, and you can notice them when they move on the surface of infested plants or some product.
How to prevent bird mites?
You can mow your lawn and remove weeds regularly to prevent bringing outdoor mites indoor. You can also keep leaf litter on a fair distance from your house and keep your pets clean. These advices will also help you to reduce the occurrence of mites. If you perform outdoor activities in wooded areas, such as hiking, trail biking, or sightseeing, our advice is that you need to wear clothing that covers most of your skin.
To prevent the occurrence of mites in your home, you must practice regular cleaning. This usually includes dusting surfaces and vacuuming carpets, but give extra attention to the bedrooms, because dust mites commonly live on or near mattresses. Our advice is that you need to wash linens and sheets in hot water every two weeks, and also try to keep the humidity level below 50% in the bedroom. People with particularly severe allergies to dust mites can consider purchasing antimicrobial mattresses, mattress encasements, and pillow covers.
Management And Control Of Bird Mites
Identify the problem and look for signs of a bird mite infestation
First step should be to precisely identify the mites by hiring a qualified pest manager. This is necessary to avoid confusion with other species of mites that are similar in appearance such as rodent mites, mites in stored products or pet mites. Once the pest manager successfully identifies the mite species that is causing the issue, he will need to locate the exact place and source of the mite infestation.
Remove bird's nests to avoid bird mites
All birds need to be controlled and removed. Their nesting material will also have to be removed with extra care. This way, we ensure that no mites are accidentally transferred to other parts of the house or building. Mite infestation will then disappear over time and using chemical products for control will provide you with the quickest relief from mites and their bites. All locations of the birds and their nests need to be treated with a proper insecticide product.
Apply a pest control solution around your home to kill off bird mites
Although the treatment of the living areas in your home might not be needed, your roofs and outside nesting areas should be treated with an insecticide that has a long duration. If you treat your house or facility without removing the birds and or their nesting material will give you only a short time solution to your problem with mites. Areas that birds use for access to your home such as roof voids need to be treated with a proper product and blocked so you can be sure that the problem will not reoccur.
Do you have a problem with bird mites? Need a professional solution to your bird mite problem? Call Masters Pest Control Sydney on 02 8007 4666!
Natural Pest Control for Bird Mite Infestations
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