My Bird Mites Story
June 2015 and I was driving home from a restaurant with my girlfriend when a newspaper she was reading had a small article on Bed Bugs. “I thought Bed Bugs were microscopic” she asked me – I knew they weren’t has had researched them a little while previously and knew they could be seen with the naked eye. We both squirmed at the thought for a couple of seconds and shifted conversation to another random topic.
Later that exact evening (very creepy) I was sitting in bed on my laptop and felt a little itch on my arm… There was a tiny bug crawling around in the hairs so I naturally just flicked it off and carried on. No more than about a minute later there were two other little black specks crawling about across my laptop screen. I probably wouldn’t have even noticed these at any other time but I think my creepy-crawly senses were heightened after our Bed Bug chat earlier on in the day. I thought to myself “They surely can’t be Bed Bugs can they? I’m going to have a little check around just to make sure I can’t find any more”. I get off my bed, pull back the bedding, push my face close to the bedsheets for a closer inspection and to my horror there were hundreds of little black bugs crawling around everywhere. All over the bedding, bedsheets, and the worst place of all – my pillow.
My initial rhetorical question was how long had these been crawling around in my bedroom for there to be so many on my bed? And more worryingly, how long had I been sleeping in a bed covered with (currently unidentified) little black bugs?
“Oh God I’ve got Bed Bugs” I said to myself – I’d already instantly resigned myself to the fact that my bedroom was crawling with Bed Bugs. Needless to say I slept downstairs that night.
The next day after a less-than perfect sleep I spent hours on end researching Bed Bugs and a host of other insects that these little black things could be, but I’d always end up at square-one, telling myself I’m living with with I thought were the worst creature of all – Bed Bugs. When I wasn’t on the internet squatting up on information, I was in my bedroom squashing bugs. On closers inspection the bugs weren’t only on my bed but were crawling up the walls, over my clothes-drawers and crawling out of the bed-side table.
My bug-squashing weapon of choice was the handle-end of a spoon. After experimenting with various objects, these little things were so small and thin that every time I tried to kill them with most other things, they would just slip under whatever weapon I had, especially when crawling on soft materials like bedding. My most successful method was to press the spoon handle down as hard as I could and drag it across the bugs, unfortunately leaving a streak of browny-red goo across whatever the bug was crawling on.
That evening I was out at a friend’s house – so happy that I wasn’t at home being crawled all over. That little time-out didn’t last long enough though, and within a blink of an eye I went from relief that I was out of the house to being back in my bedroom worrying about going to bed. I thought if they are in my bedroom then they are probably also in other rooms of the house.
I stayed awake as long as I possibly could, but as 2am approached I knew I had to try and get some sleep. I killed all of the bugs I could find on the bed and wrapped myself up in socks, joggers and a hooded top (with the hood up plus the draw-strings pulled tight enough to choke me) and lay in the centre my mattress with all bedding stripped off. “It’s the middle of the night, once I’ve settled down they’re going to climb up onto the bed and start crawling all over me trying to feed” I kept thinking to myself – I didn’t get a single second of sleep that night. I stayed motionless on the mattress until about 04:00 until I couldn’t take it any more. I got out of bed and back on the laptop for more researching.
It got to about 11am and I thought enough is enough, I can’t keep carrying on like this. I scanned the local phone directory and called a pest control expert. He was too busy to come round that day but after convincing him to come round for a very quick look around to at least just try and get a positive ID on the insects, he agreed.
By this point I had done enough research to allow myself to believe that there’s a chance that these things possibly aren’t Bed Bugs – they appear to be too small and are all the same size – Bed Bugs appear to vary in size and can reach the size of apple pips – these things are all the same size and look like little specks of pepper. Plus after watching various Bed Bug videos, they seem to be a lot faster than these little things, and are not supposed to be visible in the day apart when huge infestations are concerned (which worried me slightly). The little bugs in my rooms weren’t very shy and appeared on my bed all times of the day. Even when I had squashed the ones I could see on my bed, within another couple of minutes a few more would appear – I had no idea where these were coming from.
No later than 30 minutes after my phone call with the pest man had ended, he was at my door – such a relief. I had asked me to catch one for him on the phone, so I spent a while struggling to direct a couple of live insects into an old contact lens case.
As soon as he took one look these bugs under a magnifying glass he said in a very confident tone “Yeah these aren’t Bed Bugs, they’re far too small and have eight legs, they’re probably mites”.
After spending a couple of minutes looking around the room he asks “Do you get any birds outside your window very often?” – then it all made sense. Throughout the Spring I’ve had many early wakeup calls due to a nest of roosting birds in the wall cavity between my bedroom and the outside, chirping and rustling during sunrise/sunset. This had recently stopped so I assume the Birds had left the nest in the previous week or so. “That’ll be it” the man says. “These birds can carry a whole host of bugs and parasites and it seem like they were carrying Bird Mites that have made their way into your bedroom looking for food since the birds have left the nest. They are probably getting through either the cracks in your old wooden window, through the light sockets or through the loft-hatch that’s in your room”.
“Bird Mites? Do they bite you?” I ask the man – “They can bite to test you as a food source but they’re not interested in your blood, they only likes birds” he replies. “When the birds leave, after a few weeks the Bird Mites will leave also” he adds.
“You have no idea how relieved I am”. After a few minutes of thanking the man for easing my worries, he left the house, and didn’t even want any money – result! I instantly taped up every single opening in my bedroom with heavy-duty tape – even the window. If I was to start clearing these things out, I first wanted to make sure that I wasn’t getting new ones coming in constantly.
Straight onto my laptop for a quick search about Bird Mites to see what I’m dealing with exactly – my heart sank. Lots of websites and search results explained how horrifying these little things are, and some blog users were even explaining how they’d rather have Bed Bugs” “Great!” I thought. I couldn’t believe that I thought I’d gotten off lightly when in fact I’m in even more of a mess.
Later that day I thought “Right, I need to get to work”. I took all of my clothes from my room (and I have a lot) – all of my bedding and everything else remotely fabric and washed and tumble-dried ALL of it. Once everything was tumble-dried at a high heat I double-bagged it all and put it downstairs in the spare room. This took nearly all day and I ruined a couple of nice jumpers in the tumble dryer as a result.
I removed every other movable object from my room and put everything in the bath and sink, and proceeded to drown everything in the hottest water possible for about 30 minutes. I had read that Bed Bugs and Bed Bug eggs can’t survive in prolonged temperatures of 70 Celsius+ and so therefore assumed that Bird Mites at any stage in their life cycle won’t be able to either, and I seemed to be right – I saw lots of floating black specks but none of them appeared to survive either the tumble-dryer or the bath. I was getting somewhere.
I also found the hole that the birds were using to get into the wall cavity. I climbed a ladder on the outside of my house, poked in a tree-branch to ensure there were no birds left in the cavity and proceeded to nail a plank of wood over the hole (unsightly but I was going to try anything). Please note, I made a mistake here, I should have had a professional clear the cavity of any remaining Bird Mites as there were clearly going to be some still crawling around the nest area – but I didn’t do this as I just wanted the hole boarded up as soon as possible. I advise that if you find yourself in my situation, then please get the source of infestation properly cleaned up by a professional.
Over the next couple of days I continued to make sure I: Hoovered every single day – sometimes twice a day, clean the walls with bleach/warm water & warm water/soap regularly, killed every live Bird Mite I could find and used a few other tactics that I had either read about or had thought up myself.
Within 2/3 days the Bird Mite population in my room appeared to have reduced dramatically, and within a week I was only finding a couple a day at most – some days I was finding zero. What also helped greatly was being able to get a (relatively) good night sleep most nights by using several methods I had thought up which would keep near-enough 100% of Bird Mites off my bed as I slept.
Now over the next several weeks I was still finding the odd Bird Mite, so it wasn’t totally plain-sailing – but I would take one/two little bugs in my room at any given time over an entire infestation like I was suffering from in the early days any-day. And just like the pest control expert said – after a several weeks the Bird Mites had vanished. I think the biggest help throughout this whole thing was the taping up of any cracks or openings in the room – this had an amazing affect on the Bird Mite population on the inside.
The main lesson I learned during this period was to not always expect the worst. Some of the Bird Mite stories I was reading on the internet were truly horrifying. I’m still not sure how many of these stories that some particular sites are displaying are actually true, or whether they are actually even written about Bird Mites and not some other unidentified insect/parasite. I’m 100% sure that some of these sites are just out there to scare readers
Don’t worry about the worst outcome and just worry about carrying on like normal as best as possible. As said in the facts section above – Bird Mites can’t live on Humans and will eventually disperse – it’s just your job to try and disperse them as soon as possible.
With some persistence and hard work I was able to get rid of these creatures in a relatively short time-frame once the source of the problem was identified and a plan on how to eliminate the pests was established.
If you would like to see some of the products/methods that I used/recommend in order to eliminate these Bird Mites in such a quick time-frame then please go to my Bird Mites Treatment page – hopefully you can pick up some tips and successfully eliminate your problem on your own as quickly as possible.
If you would like to contact me about my story, or have any questions, please visit my about page for contact details.
Thanks for listening.