All About Bird Mites

What Are Bird Mites?

Bird mites are microscopic insects which live on or inside birds. They don’t feed themselves, but they help their hosts to survive by providing them with nutrition and protection from predators. They are not harmful to humans. However, if left untreated, they can cause skin irritation and even itching. If these tiny bugs get into your body, they can cause an infection called an infestation.

How Do Birds Get Infested With Bird Mites?

Birds are often exposed to bird droppings, feathers and other debris during normal activities such as feeding and flying around. These materials may contain eggs or larvae of certain species of mites (bird mites). When these small insects land on the skin, they attach themselves to it and begin feeding. Eventually, they grow large enough to become adults and leave the area. Some species of mites will remain attached to the host for years before dying off.

Can You Catch Bird Mites On Your Skin?

Yes! Most types of mites can be found on human skin; however, some species are more likely than others to thrive there. For example, scabies and chiggers are external human mites that cause itchy rashes. These pathogens can be spread from animals to humans. While other types of mites may also latch on to your skin, they do not reproduce or feed there. Instead, they only live on the surface of your skin and can easily be removed by bathing.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Bird Mite Infestation?

Some people are more likely than others to experience symptoms caused by bird mites on their skin. Children and the elderly are at a higher risk of suffering a severe allergic reaction to a bite, making it necessary to seek emergency medical care if they experience symptoms such as difficulty breathing, chest pain, dizziness, low blood pressure, and low blood sugar. In some cases, the bite may cause an infection of the skin. See your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms after a bite.

Can I Prevent A Mite Infestation At My House?

Keeping your home and clothing clean can help prevent an infestation caused by mites. If you have recently traveled to a foreign country, it is important to launder your clothing within two weeks of your return. Otherwise, mites may take up residence on your clothes and then hitchhike into your house on your back. You can also use a vacuum cleaner to remove dust mites and their eggs from your carpeting, furniture, and bedding.

Are There Medicines That Can Kill Mites?

Some over-the-counter creams and lotions can be used to kill mites on the surface of human skin. In some cases, a medicated shampoo can be used to eliminate mites and their eggs in the hair and scalp. If you believe that a mite infestation is causing an allergic reaction on your skin, you should seek medical attention immediately. Your physician may prescribe a treatment to alleviate the symptoms of itching and inflammation, or he may prescribe an antibiotic if the mites have caused an infection.

Sources & references used in this article:

Laboratory observations on three species of bird mites by RK Sikes, RW Chamberlain – The Journal of Parasitology, 1954 – JSTOR

Laboratory rearing methods for three common species of bird mites by RW Chamberlain, RK Sikes – The Journal of parasitology, 1950 – JSTOR

Laboratory Investigations on the Role of Bird Mites in the Transmission of Eastern and Western Equine Encephalitis1 by RW Chamberlain, RK Sikes – The American Journal of Tropical Medicine …, 1955 – ASTMH

Recovery of western equine encephalomyelitis virus from wild bird mites (Liponyssus sylviarum) in Kern County, California. by WC Reeves, WMD Hammon, DP Furman… – Science …, 1947 – cabdirect.org

Human infestation with bird mites in Wollongong by CR Watson – Communicable diseases intelligence …, 2003 – search.informit.com.au

Isolation from wild bird mites (Liponyssus sylviarum) of a virus or mixture of viruses from which St. Louis and western equine encephalitis viruses have been obtained. by WMD Hammon, WC Reeves, R Cunha… – Science …, 1948 – cabdirect.org

The English sparrow as an agent in the dissemination of chicken and bird mites by HE Ewing – The Auk, 1911 – JSTOR