I visited a customer this week who though they might have bed bugs. After an inspection discovered they were in fact bird mites. What are bird mites I hear you ask? There are several different types of bird mite, all of them are a tiny parasitic arachnids. Bird mites are approximately 1mm in size, so can just about be seen with the naked eye, whereas their eggs and nymphs can only be seen under a powerful magnifying glass or microscope.
Birds are, of course, the preferred food source of bird mites, and they cannot survive longer than three weeks without this. Whilst on the hunt for a new food source, however, they may resort to feeding off mammals, including humans. Female bird mites may bite any part of the body, and these usually appear as swollen/raised red bumps which unfortunately can be hard to distinguish from bed bug bites. These bites do not spread disease or cause illness but are an annoyance and may irritate skin.
If you think you have bird mites in the house, the first step is to get this confirmed by a professional who can then locate the source of the infestation and take the necessary actions to eradicate it. This will typically involve the removal of the birds’ nest causing the problem, and the application of an approved insecticide. Other potentially infested areas will also be given an effective bird mite treatment to eradicate any that have migrated. This process is much more effective than attempting to tackle the problem with home remedies which do not guarantee complete removal of the infestation and do not necessarily get to the root of the problem.