Anyone who is typically around pigeons, pet birds, chickens or other domestic fowl or even who lives in an area where one or more bird nests may be present is at risk of being bitten by bird mites. Since this includes virtually everyone, it is important to know the facts about this creature in order to properly identify and treat bites.
Bird mites are so small they are usually not visible to the naked and untrained eye. While they cannot be readily seen, they can certainly be felt. A bite from this arthropod causes extreme itching along with a creepy crawly sensation that is particularly annoying. These symptoms will be accompanied by small, red bumps on the skin. Lesions may appear, especially after prolonged scratching, that will prove to be long in healing.
Some may have heard the term “bird lice” used in reference to what are actually bird mites. They are more prominently active during the spring and early summer seasons, and may not be readily visible due to their mostly transparent nature. When the mites are feeding, they will take on a reddish black color as the blood they are extracting from their host is digested.
The preferred hosts for the bird mites are common types of birds. These birds may nest within roofs, eaves, window ledges or other areas on various homes and buildings. Adult birds and their nestlings are the main targets for these arthropods; feeding on their blood until the birds leave the nest. Bird mites can live for up to three weeks without a bird host, but will begin to search for a new meal opportunity immediately. Because of the close proximity of the nest to a home or business, mites often find their way inside. While they will bite humans, they are not able to survive on human blood. Their bite, however, causes great irritation to the human skin as saliva is injected into the skin as an anticoagulant. Some people have more of a reaction than others, which can include severe itching, irritation and a red rash. Secondary infections can arise as a bacterium enters the broken skin from scratching.
Bites from bird mites can be hard to distinguish from those of other arthropods. A medical professional should be consulted, as a prescription for an antihistamine or an anti-puritic will generally be prescribed which will alleviate itching from the existing bites. Steps must be taken as soon as possible to determine where the infestation of bird mites is concentrated and then remove them with an insecticidal spray.
Anyone who is plagued with a rash and itchy bumps may be the victim of the bites of bird mites, and should seek medical attention to determine its cause and begin treatment.