Bird mites (another name for Bird lice) have a yellow coloured body which is less than 1mm in size and 8 legs. The mites’ body changes colour, to dark red or black, once the mite had a feed of the bird’s blood. The common bird mite species that affects people is the Starling mite (Ornithonyssus bursa). The bird mite may live up to 3 months, and die within 3 weeks if there is no food. The bird mites are most active in spring and summer.

he mite breeds on the birds such as: sparrows and pigeons. The birds set up nests in the roofs of houses and continue to stay there until the young leave the nest.
In the bird’s nests, the mite thrives in warm and moist conditions. When the young birds begin to leave their nest, the thousands of mites left behind in the nest, are forced to find food elsewhere. The mite then may travel from the nest in the roof to the living environment through the ceiling, walls and even into the bed. This is how the mite infestation begins.

Once in the living area of the house, the mites bite people in search of food. The mite therefore bites the human skin, and injects saliva which lead to irritation. The skin becomes itchy, swells and has raised pink spots on the skin. When the spots start to appear, it is then that people realise they may have been bitten by a bird mite!

Treatment and Control of Bird Mites

If you are bitten by the bird mite, you may need to apply an insect repellent to prevent further biting. As the bite causes an irritation, an anti-itch cream (eg. eurax) may be applied to relieve the itching.

The living areas of the house should be treated with suitable pesticide. You may need to call a pest control expert to help you with the bird mite infestation.
The bird mite infestations must first be identified and removed. Inspect all areas of the house and attempt to locate the nest. Areas that should be checked include: roof, basement, attic, porch, wall voids, and chimney as well as potential areas near foundation.

Once a nest has been found, it is important to treat all nests with an insecticide. The nest should then be removed. The person removing the nest is at risk of contracting a bacterial disease, psittacosis, as the person is coming in contact with the nest. Gloves and mask are recommended. Without removal of nests will not stop further mites entering and the problem will continue.

All crevices and openings in roof and living areas should be sealed up.

Your pest control professionals will be able to assist you effectively to make your home safe and bird mite free.

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