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Can Bird Mites Live On Humans?

Bird Mites on Humans becomes possible in a few of different ways. When a Bird Host moves on or dies, the parasitic Bird Mites then need to search out a new host to feed on. If the Bird/nest was within close proximity of a home then the Bird Mites may enter in search for a new host here. Bird Mites can also be exchanged to Humans from Birds when they are handled. A common example of this would be a poultry keeper tending chickens – they may pick up Bird Mites (in this instance probably Red Poultry Mites) by simply handling the bird. Another example could be children coming across a bird/nest while out playing and picking up Bird Mites while inspecting the nest/bird. Although Bird Mites will not live on Humans and will drop off after biting/feeding, they can hide in clothing/bags when not active, making it easy to travel with them by mistake and moving them to other areas.

Bird Mites have evolved over millions of years and have a very good sensory system in order to search out potential new hosts. They use a range of internal sensors to direct them towards a new host to feed on. Firstly, they use heat sensors to detect where there are potential sources of body heat, and secondly they use carbon dioxide sensors to search out hosts by their breath, as all living animals will be producing carbon dioxide each time they exhale as long as they are alive.

If a Bird Mite comes across a Human, it will bite the Human to ‘test’ to see if it’s a suitable host. Sometimes the Bird Mite will extract blood from the human but most of the time the Bird Mite will simply quickly bite before realising that the Human is no good for survival. To sum this up Birds Mites CANNOT live and survive on Humans, but they can hang around for some time, especially when there are still birds/nest around in close proximity to the home.

Bird Mites on Human Hand

Bird Mites swarming over Human hand

Bird Mites are not associated with the spread of any disease to Humans by biting or otherwise coming into contact with them. No cases have ever been discovered to prove this statement to be false.

Bird Mites can present various movement sensations to the person affected. As they crawl over the skin to find an appropriate feeding area, they can create a tickling/crawling/itching sensation which can be highly irritating to the person involved. A popular way of removing a Bird Mite found crawling/feeding on an area of skin is to either squash it (this can sometime be difficult do the the Bird Mites being so flat-bodied) or to catch it by pressing a strip of sticky tape onto the affected area and pulling the Bird Mite off.

Bites

With regard to Bird Mites on Humans, the time in which Bird Mites may bite Humans depends on the type of Bird Mite. Red Poultry Mites are considered Nocturnal and hide during the days and come out to feed at night, so an infestation of Red Poultry Mites will usually result in the Human being bitten while asleep. Fowl Mites on the other hand are not considered nocturnal and will bite at any time of the day.

Bird Mites have no preference when it comes to which part of the human body they bite. Generally they will bite whichever part of the body that is easiest to access and escape from after trying to feed. Hands, feet, chest and neck are commonly bitten areas. As Bird Mites are attracted to carbon dioxide, bites can sometimes be found around the nose and mouth where carbon dioxide concentration levels are highest.

In order to feed undetected, Bird Mites inject a special saliva that contains a numbing agent into the skin before feeding – to some people this saliva can be highly irritating to the skin. It is this saliva that causes bites to appear and itch in most people, and not the bite itself. Reactions to bites varies widely amongst people – some people react badly and have highly visible and itchy bites whereas some people will not react at all, and will not even realise that they are being bitten.

In terms of what Bird Mite bites look like – as above, there are no specific patterns, it all depends on how the person’s skin reacts to a bite. Some bites will appears as small red itchy lumps, whereas others may blister, become pus-filled or bleed depending on the severity of the reaction. Please remember that Bird Mite bites are harmless and no disease can be transmitted from a Bird Mite bite, although secondary infections can occur if a bite is scratched and the skin is opened, potentially allowing other diseases to enter. See below for steps that can be taken to treat a bite and to prevent secondary infections from happening. Pictures of Bird Mite bites can be found here.

Psychological Impact of Bird Mites on Humans

Psychologically, Bird Mites living on you and the thought of being surrounded and bitten by them (especially when sleeping and defenceless), can be highly distressing to the affected person. Having a large infestation in a room/house can feel very overwhelming and can cause a person to worry about having to make different sleeping arrangements or having to tell friends and family about their issue. This can sometimes cause embarrassment to the person and makes them wonder if it will make other people act differently around them.

The person affect may also feel as though they can no longer interact with others in the fear that they may pass Bird Mites onto an innocent person. Being able to share the current situation with others can also be difficult. Although the events going on can feel awful and stressful, trying to to explain this to others can be difficult as they may never have experienced such an issue before and don’t understand how stressful this time can be for the affected individual.

Sleep deprivation can become an issue where Bird Mites are affecting a person for long periods of time – the worry of having these parasites within sleeping areas can prevent quality of sleep and induce stress relating to lack of sleep. Try this page for tips on how to sleep better during a Bird Mite infestation.

Finally, a large infestation can become a financial burden where sometimes thousands of dollars will need to be spent on qualified pest control experts to spray and fumigate homes. DIY treatment costs can also mount up depending on what methods are undertaken. Our DIY Bird Mite Treatment Guide goes through some popular treatment methods while recommending the best inexpensive products to try and trying to keep the costs of ridding an infestation as low as possible.


Bird Mites in the House

Waking up in the middle of the night only to find dozen, hundreds or maybe in thousands of little black specks running about can be a horrifying experience. Getting Bird Mites in the house can be easier than you think, and sometimes it just can’t be helped. No matter where you live, there will always likely be some sort of nearby outdoor influence that will increase the chances of you forcibly opening your doors to some unwelcome squatters.

How It Happens

There are actually quite a few ways in which Bird Mites can, over relativity short periods of time become unintended additions to your home life. On this page I’ve listed the most common ways in which Bird Mites can end up inside your home. The biggest tip I can give if you are worried about this happening in the future is to be vigilant. Read the advice below and remember that knowledge is power.

Bird Mites in the house commonly travel from the garden

  • Wild Birds

Of course the most obvious of the list. Even without nesting nearby – frequent visits from wild birds around the perimeters of your home will, of course, increase the chances of one of these birds carrying some sort of parasite/mite.

Although Bird Mites are very good at anchoring onto a Birds body/feathers, there will of course be times when they will fall off, be thrown off be a violent wing flap or be dragged off by leaves/branches that a bird may decide to fly through. It only takes a couple of Bird Mites to fall off a host to quite rapidly start a new generation close to your home.

Obviously a few birds flying and waddling around is nothing to worry about, and it would be worrying if there wasn’t a flock of birds flying somewhere close to most areas of civilisation – but just be extra cautious if the nearby areas attract uncommonly large bird populations – especially popular Bird Mite-harbouring species such as Sparrows, Pigeons, Starlings and Chickens.

  • Nearby Nests

Birds Nest

Birds Nests Commonly Harbour Thousands of Bird Mites

Definitely the biggest culprit where huge Bird Mite populations are concerned. Bird Mites are quite happy and content crawling about on/around a group of healthy nesting birds, but this becomes a problem when the birds fall ill, when they flock the nest or when the rapid reproduction of Bird Mites causes the population to become so large that the group of nesting birds can no longer provide enough nutrients for every mite.

If any of the above three conditions are met, there will be absolutely no choice but for the Bird Mites to leave the nest and go hunting for their next blood meal. Unfortunately for us – a warm, humid, sheltered environment with plenty of hiding places and carbon dioxide-exhaling humans makes a house an ideal location for Bird Mites to set up shop and try their chances at chasing a new meal.

TIP

Never let a group of birds set up nest attached, or extremely close to your house. This is a disaster waiting to happen. Large nests can contain enormous Bird Mite populations, and if the birds disappear or die, guess where their first stop will likely be?

Always check wall cavities and roofing for hidden nests and if found, clear them as soon as possible (if your local laws allow – some states/countries have strict laws against destroying certain bird species’ nests, so please check this first).  Getting rid of the nest is normally the best step to getting rid of mites.

Video showing Bird Mites accessing home via air vent

  • Pets/Animals

Your pet dogs and cats chasing that parasite-ridden bird around the garden is likely to lead to only one result. As those mites are shaken off or rubbed up against the lovely soft welcoming fur of your pet of choice, they are going to jump at the chance of burrowing into the fur and trying the pet for their next meal. Obviously after this the inevitable is probably going to happen and the cat/dog/ferret/squirrel is going to go charging into the house, bumping into everything in it’s path and shaking the mites off into your lovely warm furry carpet (perfect for a Bird Mites first destination in the house).

TIP

Keep your pets clean, check them regularly for parasites and try as best as possible to keep areas in which your pets play outside free of nests and areas in which birds are likely to enjoy (water baths and feeding posts etc.)

  • People

Like a cat or a dog, a child’s first reaction when they see a nest or an injured bird is to run up and investigate – maybe giving the bird a little stroke and cuddle. This couldn’t make it any easier for a team of Bird Mites to latch onto their new host.

TIP

Be careful when walking/sitting/working near large bird populations and nests, and check yourself over for any parasites before re-entering your home to minimize the possibility of bringing any Bird Mites in the house. Educate children on the dangers of handling wild birds/animals.

  • Second-Hand Furniture/Items

Potential Bird Mites in Old Couch

Be very careful when finding a nice looking sofa or bed/mattress dumped on the side of the road and thinking it’ll be perfect for your newly renovated lounge/bedroom. You have know idea what sort of environment this type of furniture has come from, and why it’s being chucked away. Not only could it have been chucked away from another home currently infested with Bird Mites, it could also potentially be harbouring dozens of other types of parasites or bugs (beds bugs/cockroaches/scabies to name a few). Another home getting rid of mites shouldn’t have to be the reason for you being passed the problem.

TIP

Make sure you know what type of place the furniture has come from – ask questions if you know the previous owner. Check carefully for signs of infestation (hiding parasites, eggs, excrement, tiny holes etc.)

Where They Hide

Bird Mites in the house can remain hidden for a substantial amount of time before the home-owner discovers their presence due to how great they are at hiding, and due to the huge amount of hiding places the average house presents to the Bird Mites. Due to the extremely flat profile of their bodies, Bird Mites can fit into amazingly small spaces – they have been known to disappear through the tiny spaces between the seams of mattress cases into the centre of the cushioning.

Bird Mites always prefer to hide as close to their meals as possible to limit the amount of time and distance it takes to get their next feed. Bird Mites love warm and humid environments and are generally nocturnal. Red Mites are much more likely to be hidden until the very depths of night, but Fowl Mites are generally more active during daylight hours and can commonly be seen crawling outside of their hiding places throughout the day.

Places to check if you suspect an infestation include anywhere dark and out of reach. Places include: Behind skirting boards, at the back of cupboards/wardrobes, under floorboards, between cracks in walls/plasterboard, under mattresses, in bed frames/spring boxes. Getting rid of more hiding places in the home will result in getting rid of mites as fast as possible.

Suspect you have Bird Mites in the house?

If you suspect that you have Bird Mites in the house the best thing you can do is attempt to find positive Bird Mite evidence to confirm an infestation. It is extremely difficult to differentiate between most mite species, especially common house mites such as Bird, Rodent and Clover Mites, so it may be best to call a pest control specialist/entomologist to confirm the species. You can apply common sense to the situation to narrow down the likelihood of the Mite species you are dealing with. For example: If you’ve had birds roosting in your roof cavity that have recently flocked, and you’ve suddenly had an appearance of mites in an upstairs room, then these are more than likely going to be Bird Mites and not another type.

More about catching Bird Mites can be found on this page, and more about getting rid of Bird Mites and DIY treatment methods are also available on the respective pages.


 


What Are Bird Mites

What Are Bird Mites?

Bird Mites are a family of ectoparasites that feed off blood from a selection of bird species. There are three types of Bird Mite in the family: The Northern Fowl Mite (Ornithonyssus Sylviarum), the Red Poultry Mite/Chicken Mite (Dermanyssus Gallinae) and the Tropical Fowl Mite (Ornithonyssus Bursa). Mites are closely related to spiders and ticks and can found widely around the world, particularly in warmer regions/climates.
Picture of what Bird Mites look like

Bird Mites require a bird host specifically in order to live and reproduce. They are small, often compared to the size of a full-stop (like the one at the end of this sentence), but the Northern Fowl Mite can grow slightly larger. They can range in colour from semi-transparent(unfed/nymphs), to dark/brown, and red depending on species and the last time they took a blood meal (fed). Although many bird species can become hosts to Bird Mites – Sparrows, Pigeons, Starlings and Poultry (namely Chickens) are the most common host species.

All Bird Mites oval in shape, eight-legged, hairy under a microscope and very flat, allowing them to crawl and hide in the smallest of spaces, including cracks in the walls and within mattress seams. Although more active at night (especially Red Poultry Mites) they can be found at any time of day, especially when hungry. Bird Mites cannot jump or fly, but are able to crawl fast when agitated.

Bird Mites feed by initially injecting saliva, which acts as numbing agent, into skin to avoid detection, before proceeding to extract blood in order to prime themselves for further reproduction. On Humans, the saliva that is injected can become severely irritating, leading to swelling and (sometimes intense) itching. Everybody reacts differently to bites – some people show no physical reaction to a bite.

Bird Mites can be potentially destructive, especially towards birds due to their ability to grow in numbers extremely quickly. Due to their very short life cycles, under the correct conditions and with enough bird hosts to thrive on, Bird Mite numbers are able to explode from 10’s to 10,000’s in a matter of weeks. Bird Mite infestations can be detrimental to bird health – in large enough numbers on a single bird, they are able to cause irritation, paleness, feather-loss, weight-loss, anaemia, a reduction in egg laying, and even death through blood-loss.

Bird Mite living off of a bird host

Types of Bird Mites

Northern Fowl Mites (Ornithonyssus Sylviarum)

Bird Mite - Chicken MiteAlthough only reaching a maximum size of around 1mm, the Northern Fowl Mite is the largest of the Bird Mite family. When possible, Northern Fowl Mites spend their entire lives on a bird host, only leaving a host when their food source runs out, mainly either due to the bird dying, or the Bird Mite population growing so large on the host that effective feeding can no longer be sustained.

Although generally more active at night, Northern Fowl Mites can be active throughout the day and become particularly aggressive when searching out their next blood meal. Northern Fowl Mites can live for up to 3-4 weeks off of a bird host, and if no bird house is available, they will test other animals (including humans) by biting them, but they cannot live without a bird host and will eventual die out if a new bird host cannot be found.

On birds (especially with mites on chickens), Northern Fowl Mites typically assemble on the vent, tail, back and legs of female birds, and their patterns become more varied on male birds. Due to spending their entire lives on the bird host, the hosts feathers frequently become matted and soiled from dried blood, eggs, molted skin casts and mite excrement.

Red Poultry Mites (Dermanyssus Gallinae)

Mite Mite - Red MiteAt around 0.6mm fully grown, Red Poultry Mites (also known as Chicken Mites) can be very hard to spot unless present in large numbers and/or moving on a contrasting background. Unlike the Northern Fowl Mite, Red Poultry Mites spend less of their time living directly on a bird host and instead they hide in tiny cracks and crevices during the day and come out to feed at night. These nocturnal habits, coupled with their small size, makes Red Poultry Mites particularly difficult to detect. Red Bird Mites are able to live without a bird host for up to 8-9 months, making them particularly difficult to eradicate due to their changes of finding a new nearby bird host in the 8-9 months being high.

In appearance, when unfed, Red Poultry Mites are generally a dark/grey color, but hence the name they become bright red after feeding, turning a slightly darker shade of red as their blood meal digests.

Although difficult to spot, infestations in birds (especially mites on chickens) can be suspected and investigated when the birds seem to become reluctant to go into their normal sleeping places/huts at night. Suspicions can be confirmed by thoroughly checking a birds sleeping-place during darkness with a torch, as the Red Poultry Mite should be at it’s most active during this time. Mites on chickens is probably one of the most common infestations that bird keepers will come across.

Tropical Fowl Mites (Ornithonyssus Bursa)

Tropical Bird MiteTropical Fowl Mites bare a striking resemblance to the Northern Fowl Mite in both appearance and behaviour, with the only differences being 1. A more subtle and even taper of the posterior end of the dorsal plate on the Tropical Fowl Mite, compared to the more acute tapering on the Northern Fowl Mite, and 2. There are three pairs of bristles/hairs on the sternal plate on Tropical Fowl Mites, and only two on the Northern Fowl Mite.

Bird Mites Life Cycle

All species of Bird Mite follow the same life cycle. There are four stages to the life cycle: Egg, Larva, Nymph and Adult.

Once the egg is initially laid on the bird host, it will normally hatch within 1-2 days (this can be dependant on the surrounding humidity and temperature). Bird Mite Larva cannot bite, but only stay in this state for around 8 hours, until they molt into the Nymph stage, at which point they develop a mouthpiece capable of piercing the skin of a host. After taking a blood meal, Nymphs mature into adult Bird Mites in roughly 4-7 days. Once an adult has taken a blood meal, they are able to lay eggs within two days. Female Bird Mites lay 2-5 eggs on average after each blood meal, and the whole life-cycle from egg to adult is around 7 days.

Are They Dangerous?

As mentioned above, Bird Mites on chickens and other birds can be detrimental to the health, and occasionally deadly to the host. If mites on chickens/other birds is suspected, the infestation will need to be controlled as soon as possible to prevent any ill-health effects.

When looking for a new host when their own have left or died, Bird Mites could well (and commonly do) occupy human dwellings in search of a blood meal. Bird Mites will ‘test’ humans by biting them to see if they are suitable as new hosts (which they are not), and this may cause an irritable bite mark to appear shortly afterwards, but apart from biting, Bird Mites are in no other way dangerous to humans and have not been found to pass on any disease, or otherwise cause any other physical harm to Humans. The worst Bird Mite symptoms when it comes to Humans is the psychological ones.

Depending on the person affected, Bird Mites (especially in larger numbers and within the home) can cause varying amounts of emotional and psychological stress from their presence and nocturnal movements. Although no harm will come to the person – knowing that something is potentially
crawling around in your bed as you sleep can be a terrifying thought for many.

Myths

  • I have Bird Mites and they jump onto me and fly away after feeding…
    Bird Mites CANNOT jump or fly. If you have found an insect that jumps or flies then it is not a Bird Mite.
  • The Bird Mites I have are living on me and have adapted to feeding on my blood and no longer need a Bird host to survive…
    Bird Mites CANNOT live on the blood of humans, or any other mammal (pets) for that matter. This is why they are called BIRD Mites – they need the nutrition that is provided to them specifically within the blood of birds in order to survive. They will try to feed on other animals but will fail and will eventually move on/die. Red Fowl Mites can live for a considerable amount of time without a Bird host (up to 9 months) which leads people to believe that they are in fact living off humans, when in fact they are slowly starving.
  • I have had a Bird Mite infestation for years and there are 100% no birds living in/on/around my house…
    If you are still having Bird Mite problems after 9 months then it’s likely that you either don’t have Bird Mites (misidentification) or there are still some birds hiding away somewhere. Birds are able to nest in the smallest of spaces so you must look very carefully to ensure that all possible nesting/roosting areas are made unavailable.
  • I have Bird Mites crawling/burrowing underneath my skin…
    These are not Bird Mites. The mouthpieces on Bird Mites are not designed to allow such ‘burrowing’ into the skin – nor has this behaviour from Bird Mites ever been reported/recorded. If you have suspected parasites burrowing into your skin then it may be worth investigating Scabies. Please also look into a condition called Morgellons for further potential explanations.

How to get rid of Bird Mites

How to get rid of Bird Mites all depends on each individual circumstance – a very large infestation is going to more difficult than a smaller problem – but remember that even a very big problem can be overcome with a bit of effort and time. Please head over to the how to get rid of Bird Mites page for further information on irradiating your infestation problem.

Look-a-Likes

Rodent Mites (Rat Mites)

Like Bird Mites, Rodent Mites also only live on a single range of hosts – Rats and Mice. Very similar in behaviour to Bird Mites, Rodent Mites live on their hosts and leave when their hosts die in search of food, sometimes moving into homes/human dwellings. Depending on species, Rat Mites can survive for between 10 days and 6 weeks without a Rodent host

Physically Bird Mites and Rodent Mites are very similar and can be very difficult to differentiate. Getting a positive ID of which mite you have will normally require the assistance of a specialist in the area of insect identification (Entomologist).

Obviously, common sense can prevail when deciding whether a Bird Mite infestation or a Rodent Mite Infestation is present. If the mites present are infesting a bedroom next to a window with a birds nest outside, then the culprit is likely to be a Bird Mite, whereas if the mites are contained to a lower room/basement where Rodents have been seen to occupy, then the infestation is likely to be caused by Rodent Mites.

Bed Bugs

A common misidentification of the Bird Mite is made when the Bed Bug is involved. Both creatures are very flat-bodied, can be roughly the same color, and both are only able to crawl. Both can live in the home and present infestations.

The main differences between the two are the sizes and the behaviour. Whereas Bird Mites remain small and are only 1mm fully grown, Bed Bugs are able to grow to the size of an apple seed. You are likely to come across Bed Bugs of a few different sizes if you discover a large infestation, but Bird Mites will usually all be found at roughly the same size (non-adult Bird Mites are very difficult to see with the naked eye). Bird Mites have 8 legs whereas Bed Bugs have 6. If you are able to catch an creature (more information about catching and identifying here) then a good magnifying glass or microscope should be able to distinguish between 6 and 8 legs.

Bed Bugs are also notoriously difficult to see in the daytime as they hide up and only come out at the darkest of night. Bird Mites (particularly Fowl Mites) are not as nocturnal and can commonly be found crawling on hard surfaces, bedding or walls in the daytime – something that is very rare with Bed Bug (unless the infestation has become very large.

Please note that there are also such insects called ‘Bird Bugs‘ and ‘Bat Bugs‘ which are close relatives to the common Bed Bug – these bugs lives on various Bird and Bat Species and can also enter the home when Bird and Bat Hosts leave a nest or die. These contain the same physical and behavioural attributes as the common Bed Bug, except they cannot survive on Humans. The only way they can normally be differentiated from a common Bed Bug is by an expert studying the hair patterns on each species.

Note

There are many hundreds of insects that can make their way into a home and potentially cause an infestation – if you are unsure of an insect that you have found and are concerned, please seek the help of a professional Entomologist.

How to get rid of Bird Mites? Click here for further information.


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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 17 comments
Sue - July 20, 2016

July 29,2016
I have been bitten nightly by something since Dec 2015. I have numerous red, itchy bites on me… mainly torso front and back. They last a few days and then stop itching and disappear w no scarring. I had a biopsy that showed a possible arthropod bites. My husband does NOT get bitten – or if he does is not adversely affected.
We have been inspected for bed bugs by 2 exterminators and a K-9 bed bug sniffing dog ! NO BED BUGS DEFINITELY
I heard a mouse in the attic the other nite and call my exterminator in. Knowing about
my ” bites” he put down some glue boards.
I was cleaning my gerbils’ cage and saw a tiny spec of a thing moving around.
I immediately took the gerbils to a vet (never to return here!)
The exterminator came today and sprayed. On the glue boards we saw under magnification brownish bugs w some red/ orange marks on them.
I’ ve read all of your research. We have numerous bird feeders outside-20 ft from house. Get mice at times AND saw a raccoon at one feeder last week. What do you think??
We live in southeastern PA

Reply
SLEEPLESS IN PANAMA - December 6, 2016

I can´t believe, not even in my Veterinarian studies have I ever developed so much knowledge about mites.

I have to say… I have been a victim of these Bird Mites as well. In my story it all started one day when I was sitting on my sofa, doing some homework for my MBA, I felt something like a tiny spider crawling on my arms, I looked at it, and for the first time noticed it. I tried to kill it, although I realized that pressing on them wasn´t doing the trick. I moved to my second couch and felt the same tingly feeling, saw them on my cellphone and this imediately caught my attention. I thought this was a termite infestation, since I saw them originally when I was reading a book.

I started searching the house looking for this little tiny specks, when I realized all around the entrance of my main room door, there they were. Have to say, so you can understand this door is right beside the window of my living room, behind the window is a small deck that has the air conditioner compressor, in which I had seen my cat Lulu going crazy while gazing at some pigeons.

Since a couple of months ago, I had a friend of mine install this same door, I thought immediately, termites!!!! I called him up, and he came the next day to check things out. When he took of the door to have a further inspection, I realized it was not the door. I took a step back, and looked at that area, and I immediately knew…. the pigeons.

I thought honestly, they were pigeon fleas, and immediately packed everything with my fiance and cat, and left to a hotel, while I bombed my apartment with some cypermethrin foggers. Not only these, I called in some so called ¨professional pest control¨, thinking that I was going to ended right there. Right the next day, after we bombed the apartment with the fogger, came in the ¨pro¨and checked the apartment and I showed him the small black pecks that had gotten completely smothered in the mix of all. He looked at it and he said you have bed bugs, pulled up my bed sheets and found nothing there. Either way, trusting in his experience I let him bombard my apartment with more cypermethrin and two days later appeared to realize, nothing had worked. In the mean time I had used it all, permethrins shampoos for my hair, vinegar, olive oil(thinking I could drown the ¨fleas¨), eucaliptus oil, every night my curly lucious hair was been washed and immediately soaked in any type of ¨natural¨remedy or even with non natural.

I decided to start looking for more info, since in the hotel I seemed to have it all control, except on my hair. My clothe sealed in plastic bags, everything I touched or used on my hair, was being thrown in hot boiling water. Suddenly I came across one of these blogs about bird mites, and everything started to make sense.

I´m still, fighting of course, have 1 week since noticing them, and suffering, and I´ve had enough!!! I still have a routine of throwing eucaliptus oil on hair and body after I shower, I pretty much bath in it, and I top it off with some deep woods insecticide repellent. I´m getting a new dryer installed tomorrow, and I´ve just found a place in a different province that sells the 100% food grade diatomaceous earth, hurray!!!! So thrilled about that, hence it seems to be what works. Still funny fact, my fiance has not been experiencing the infestation as I have, he barely feels 1 or 2 crawling on his arm every now and then. While I on the other hand feel them jumping and crawling on my hair. I have still yet to find how to get them off of me, while I wait for my package of diatomaceous earth.

Had to admit, this is my second time out of the apartment, cause after the first fumigation we came back, and while he was cleaning the window shield that is near the compressor of my air conditioner, I felt surrounded by thousands. Me, a strong 29 year old women, panicked, and even cried out of the frustration. Never felt so miserable at fighting something I could not even see in the majority of the time I felt attacked.

PANIC ATTACK, to say the least, but after reading this article, I have HOPE!!!
HOPE, that they will leave my body, or if not I´ll cover my entire hair in Diatomaceous Earth. Not glad to see that others have the same problem, cause honestly would not wish this to no one, but at least the comfort to know, I know what I´m actually battling. Amazing to know, how many of my fellow vet partners, have no clue about these tiny animals and how to stop them. We think Pyrethrins will make them stop, well no, this little insects are much capable to overcome all of the normal insecticides that kill everything else.

If anyone has a better idea, as to how to take them off of me, I WILL APPRECIATE IT SO MUCH!!! Can´t seem to get them off. Hope my story can help anyone else, thinking they´re having a nervous breakdown. NO YOU ARE NOT!!! AND YES THIS INSECTS DO HAVE PREFERENCE, SO IT COULD BE YOU ARE THE ONLY IN YOUR HOUSE THAT IS AFFECTED BY THEM.

Reply
    Sharon - March 15, 2017

    Hi there
    Though this site does have some great info, it has some incorrect info too.
    In 1959, it was found that some bird mites do consume human blood. But it WS still believed that they could not reproduce on humans or human blood.
    Turns out they can.
    In 2009-2010, it was discovered that bird mites can and do reproduce after living off of and ingesting human blood!
    Sadly so much info that people are given is old outdated info.
    Pest spraying co dontvknow about these mites, and the problems they can cause.
    Neither do doctors. Yes, your pets can get infested with these mites too.
    Bird mites carry a whole host of disease and bacteria that can make both you and your pets very very sick.
    Bird mites.
    They can carry spirochetes bartonellas sporo schenkii. Thats just a few.
    They can also cause encephalitis. Birds nest are absolutely filthy. They can have any type of bacteria in them.
    Bacteria from sick or dead animals bird come into contact with.
    There is a great book called
    THE YEAR OF THE MITE.
    I found it on amazon when looking for the magic cure to kill these buggers. Its an easy read and very informative.
    In the back of thebbook there is a scientific timeline of
    Understanding mites and human infestation.
    Its is CURRENT NOT THIS OUTDATED INFO, THAT DOCTORS ARE TELLING THEIR PATIENTS, RIGHT BEFORE THEY TELL THEM THEY ARE DILLUSIONAL.
    SUFFERING from birdvmite infestation is very frustrating and isolating.
    This book has current info yoiu can show to your family members and doctors that don’t believe you.
    I highly reccomend this book.
    The name of the Dr that did this study is Dr Olivier sparangano….
    He is a veterinarian that specializes in the study of mites.
    Regular Drs are not trained in this.
    What little bit they are is antiquated info.
    Good luck everyone.

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Marcy Arnaud - March 11, 2017

being a bird rescue person I’ve been attacked by red bird mites maybe a dozen times over the years. The first time by a sparrow. My dermatologist prescribed Permithrin cream 5% because I believe I was hosting them. You apply it from neck to toes…leave on overnight…then shower up to 13 (see package) hours later. I treat the bird first and the cage, by the way. Then wash in hot water all bed clothes and other clothes…and spray mite spray all over bed, mattress, rug, crevices, etc.

I actually do the washing before I shower off the Permithrin so I am protected while handling. Am actually being eaten alive right now so will be spraying the bird tomorrow…then after 3 hours…bathing it in epsom salts warm water. Then washing cage & spraying cage. Then repeating this all in 10 days on myself and the bird. Why? Because the Permithrin (and mite spray) will kill live mites but not their eggs. So the eggs will hatch and here ya go again.

I suspect it was a juvenile big bird that had been hit by a car that I got in last May. She is quarantined in another room away from all my exotic (non-wild) birds. At first I thought it was fleas biting me. All on my torso and back. Some single bites but many are two to four bites in a straight line. I can’t ever bomb as I have many other birds to care for…exotic not wild which would be harmed.

My adult son has not been affected at all. I know other bird rescue friends who handle many wild birds….they see the mites running up their arm and just brush them casually off. Never bitten.

Here’s the cherry on the whipped cream…A rat got into my apt. and another person’s apt. in our bldg…..came in thru the wall heater bottom vent….because there are gaping holes in the subterranean garage roof and laundry room that the owner never filled. That was scary! Never saw the rat until we finally killed it like a month later in some special baited traps. Just knew it was here cuz saw droppings. Now am wondering if the bites are from rat mites…that I just learned even existed in reading this article. Oh great. And more weird..the day the rat died…was the same day I was called out to in the neighborhood to rescue the big injured wild bird.

If any questions…I am on Facebook.

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Sharon - March 27, 2017

Hi there panama. Are u still fighting these mites?? Have u made any head way. I see all the post on this site r pretty old. So just wondering how u all r doing.
Here’s some thing new.
In 2009 it was found that bird mites do consume human blood. Happily and willingly.
Also in 2010 it was found that they can and do live on humans AND can reproduce even tho they r consuming human blood.
This is a huge problem and drs r telling people they r crazy.
There is also often times a fungus that is involved in this nightmare.
I have more info to share.
Don’t worry I’m not selling anything but I’ve been studying nonstop since my house in Arizona became infested.
Reply back if your still struggling or if you found a cure.
I hope you did😀
Take care

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    Jennifer - May 15, 2017

    Can you please contact me? I am experiencing this for the first time and am very lost as to what to do

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    Alena - July 18, 2017

    Can you please give more info?

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    Nicole - October 5, 2017

    What kind of fungi? Been dealing for a year +, have been saying to Drs I think it’s a fungus / bacteria. Have been on 2 rounds of ivermectin and currently out of my home for almost 4 months. Had house tented with vikane @10x did not work!! Hired new pest co and hopefully we will get the all clear to re-enter soon.

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    Noel Taylor - November 27, 2017

    Would very much like whatever more information you have. I’ve been struggling for 5 years now and must put an end to this infestation living in me, and in my apartment. All information will be appreciated! Who found out in 2010 that mites can live in humans? Would be helpful to share with medical people will be seeing about this.
    Thank you.

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Paula - April 26, 2017

Hello Sharon!
Could you get in touch with me, please?

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Izzy - May 1, 2017

Hey there,
I, too, am dealing with a bird mite infestation. I realised when they started biting me. They do nothing to my husband. I had the same problem 2 years ago from the birds nest on my balcony. We cleared away some of the junk along with the nest and sprayed the balcony and my bedroom with Chrysamed Insecticide and it worked like magic, first go. We could see them crawling all over the place.
This time, however, it is not working. I have only seen 5 or something, on my body and phone, 1 on a pillow. I sprayed the nest, balcony, door, my side of the bed, washed all the sheets and pillows but they still bit me when we slept in the bedroom. This time I sprayed a whole bottle in the room, all the corners and on the mattress, under the bed. Have not gone in the room for 2 nights, planning to stay out a few more and keep on going in and spraying some more. The bird is gone but the nest is still there. I haven’t been able to reach it. Let’s see how it goes down this time!!

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David - August 29, 2017

We’ve been dealing with a bird mite infestation for about 7 weeks now. We picked them up at a vacation rental where there were nests outside the window.

It is clear that there is some outdated information out there. This is a link to a paper that outlines the need for more empirical research, but also shows that bird mites can live and reproduce only from human blood meals. In the laboratory it has not been shown that they can draw blood through human skin, but there are verified field examples of that happening.

https://www.biomedcentral.com/track/pdf/10.1186/s13071-015-0768-7?site=parasitesandvectors.biomedcentral.com

Unsure of what we were dealing with, we ruled out bedbugs with an accredited canine, lice, fleas, mosquitos, and scabies with topical prescription medication. This leaves mites, most likely bird mites. This is especially peculiar since we live in an apartment, with no visible bird or vermin nests.

There are two major strains of bird mites. The Fowl Mite (Ornzthonyssus sylviarum and bursa) travels on the host, the Poultry Mite (Dermanyssus gallinae) does not. Our mites travel on our bodies, hair and clothing. This means they are likely Fowl Mites.

The symptoms are: crawling “cob web” feelings, and mild to intense stinging bites, affecting anywhere on the entire body, including head. Very small or nonexistent visible bites. Symptoms present at all times of the day and night. For the most part, no bugs visible to the naked eye. (although we did capture a mite sized bug yesterday – which is out for identification)

As noted, bird mites tend to pick one host. That is our case: me. My significant other will feel them crawling from time to time, but usually does not get bitten.

Although we have not eradicated them entirely, we have substantially reduced the problem recently. I’m hopeful that over time we will lick it entirely.

Here is what we did.

First line of defense is 91% isopropyl alcohol in a spay bottle applied liberally to body when symptoms present. This kills mites on contact and is non-toxic when used topically. It stops the crawling and biting cold. Alcohol can be drying, so we mix in a little tee tree oil as well. Alcohol penetrates right through clothing fabric, so if symptoms present under clothing, we spray liberally right on the surface until it penetrates to the skin. Alcohol dries quickly, with no residue. For obvious reasons, care needs to be taken with highly flammable alcohol, as well as precautions for contact with the eyes.

Next we created a safe space in the bedroom by sealing box spring and mattress with mite proof covers, and pulling bed away from the wall. Intercept traps were put under each of the four legs of the bed. Heat above 135 degrees F kills mites and eggs. So we put all bedding, pillows, etc in dryer on high heat for at least 30 min. Alcohol spay can be used to kill any lingering mites on the body once in bed. We have had to do this protocol several times, but when we do, we can sleep through the night unaffected, even though we are still dealing with the overall problem.

Next we used Steri-Fab insecticide on all upholstered furniture, as well as any areas in the home where we seem to “pick up” the symptoms. In addition we have put most all fabric items through the dryer on high. I also use the alcohol spay liberally on all surfaces, nooks and crannies. Bird mites go from hatching to adult in about 7 days, so we have been doing the Steri-Fab on a 5 day cycle for the upholstered furniture.

Although we have not ruled out that the mites are reproducing on human blood meals from us, my guess is that we brought back a population of egg laying adult mites, and that some are still lingering around. I base that on the fact that we have substantially reduced, but not eliminated the problem. We also can’t see what’s biting us, so its likely that at this point we are mostly dealing with the very tiny nymphs.

That’s the rundown on what we’ve done so far – hope it can help anyone else out there dealing with this very frustrating problem!

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Audrey Kelley - February 22, 2018

Please don’t tell me that mites don’t live on humans. I have been their unwitting host for 9 months. They first invaded my shoulders and legs, leaving ugly sores and scars. Now they are living in my MOUTH. Every time I brush and rinse, my sink is peppered with them. I am 90 and caring for my 93 year old husband with Alzheimer’s. I am totally unable to follow all the advice I read, but am using Epsom Salts and TeaTree Oil in the tub, KleenGreen and Vick’s on my body and Diatomaceous Earth wherever I can sprinkle it. I lived through World War 2 in England and a few other nightmares……but this is worse than all of them put together.

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Ahope - March 1, 2018

David thanks for the link to recent research suggesting mites can take human hosts. Its certainly my experience. I have exactly the same symptoms you described. I picked it up in Scotland 16 years ago. I suspect many have this and either don’t speak out or have very mild symptoms. UK doctors will label you delusional at the drop of a hat. It is very hard. I have only seen mite twice in all that time but I sure have felt them. I have tried most things now. I find when i move I am free for a time, gradually returns I presume the numbers build. Have you read solved your problem. I had some success with safe use of insecticides at least for a time. Have often been torn as to whether it is a diet allergy and have coeliac. Am prone to fungal issues wondering if that is related. It’s soul destroying, I hope still to beat it, or maybe it is diet, only thing is when it developed overnight in a new flat all those years ago, my flat mate said he has a bite from somewhere (unprompted). Now that’s some powerful delusion. Barts hospital in London has a psycho dermatology dept. Possibly some people they are treating have been misdiagnosed.

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Kathleen powell - April 25, 2018

Pls help me, i have tried all of the things that have been advised. What is the latest news, help out there?

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chris - June 11, 2018

Excellent and comprehensive page. Very helpful. Will direct future queries from customers to your site. Thanks!

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Rachel Osborne - June 27, 2018

I’ve been attacked last three weeks and I’m broken. I couldn’t do this for years. I’m only one being bitten…thankful my son isn’t. We are in hotel tonight and tomorrow we leave 90% of our possessions to move. Its so tiring. Not sure how they came to me but I’ve been close to suicide and I’m pretty strong. Praying I don’t transfer to new place. I’m buying large zip locks for stuffed animals and only taking the bare essentials.

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