The insect world is full of diverse creatures. Some of these creatures are helpful, some are neutral and some are pests. And some of them are parasites. Bird mites fall under the parasite category. These insects are blood feeders that feed off of the blood of birds. They will feed off of them from hatching to death, and if in too numerous of population, can shorten a bird’s life. Often, adult birds will abandon a nest if it is over infested with bird mites. But what do bird mites look like? Bird mites are an eight legged arachnid that is about 1/32 of an inch long. That’s about the size of the period at the end of this sentence.
Bird Mites are more closely related to spiders and ticks than regular bugs. These insects are often very active, and on the move. If you can look at them under magnification, they have two body sections that are fused together into one, with eight legs in adulthood, and six in earlier stages of life. They are black with spots of white. Of course if you see them, it is unlikely that you will see this much detail. They simply look like a small piece of pepper that won’t sit still.
Because mites are in the arachnid family, they don’t go through a full metamorphosis like bugs do. They start as an egg and they hatch as a larva. These larva are not the same as the caterpillar type of larva that most people are used to. They are a smaller six legged version of the adult. From here they molt a total of four times, each time moving to the next version of nymph and finally to adult. The first molt results in protonymph, the second as deutonymph, the third as tritonymph and at the final molt, they become reproductive adults. Its at the deutonymph stage that they gain their last pair of legs giving them eight.
Bird mites are blood feeders. They must feed on blood in order to survive. This includes large meals each time they molt and every time they reproduce. These insects can survive on the blood from other species as well, including dogs, cats, rodents and humans. This is where they become problematic for home owners.
WHERE DO THEY COME FROM?
Because, as their name implies, bird mites feed off of bird blood, their source can almost always be traced back to a bird in some shape or form. It’s important to find their source before trying to treat these insects. The first place to start is to see if there are any bird nests in the area. Nests, especially if birds reuse the nest every year, can be harborage places for large populations of bird mites. But as stated before, if these populations become too large, birds will abandon nests. Abandoned nests, or times of the year when birds no longer use these nests are times when bird mites will search for new hosts.
Carcasses of birds can also carry bird mites. Once these parasites have taken everything they can from a dead bird, they will start to search for new sources of food. If you live on a farm and have chickens, bird mites can be a huge problem. Poultry are definitely not immune to these parasites. It’s important to handle live poultry with gloves and protective gear to keep parasites and diseases from transferring to humans.
If you find yourself waking up with strange itches, bites on your skin or bugs in your home, it is important to get a correct diagnosis. Just because it walks like a duck, or quacks like a duck, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a duck. This is where your Tulsa Pest Control company comes in. A trained professional can assess your situation and properly treat according to that diagnosis.
These insects are very tiny. So to help your Tulsa Exterminator, you can do a few things. If possible, get a sample. If you see one on your bed or on you, before you crush it, grab a piece of tape and lightly stick the bug to it. The bug will get stuck and die, and can be examined later. This is not foolproof, though, as the process of picking the bug up with tape can be damaging to the insect. This can possibly make the identification of the insect impossible. Putting out glue boards is another option. These boards can be purchased in most hardware stores, and do the same thing, except that the bugs walk through the glue themselves, removing the possibility of crushing them.
WHAT CAN I DO TO STOP THEM?
In most cases, home remedies do not work. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things that can be done to help. The most important thing is to stop these bugs at their source. If you can find a bird carcass, remove these as soon as possible. Nests are somewhat more problematic. Almost all species of bird and bird nest are protected under the Migratory Bird Act. This means that in almost all cases, it is illegal to remove or destroy nests made by birds. If you find that a nest is the source of your bird mite issue, it’s important to get a professional to help.
Your Oklahoma Exterminator can spray exterior sprays to keep these bugs out. Sealing any entries can also help. If you have a chicken or poultry farm, then spraying your poultry coup and area with the appropriate pesticide is important. In extreme cases, veterinarians can prescribe lotions and medicines to eliminate mites and other parasites that are attacking your poultry. As in any pest maintenance program, using multiple methods of treatment is the best and most effective solution.
CALLING A PROFESSIONAL
If you find your home or business infested with bird mites, you will most likely need to get some help from a professional. Here in Oklahoma, that can be a little tricky. Most Oklahoma Pest Control companies are licensed by the state to apply pesticides, but not to deal with birds. Most wildlife management professionals are licensed to deal with birds, but not to apply pesticides. Here at TermMax Pest Control, we are rated for both. This makes us uniquely qualified to deal with your issue. Contact us today for a free estimate. We are here to help!