Bird Mites

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What are bird mites?

Bird mites are naturally found where birds (such as pigeons, starlings, sparrows and poultry) and their nests are located.

However, in the first few weeks after birds leave their nests, bird mites may infest homes in search of a blood-meal from humans. Bites from bird mites can cause severe irritation.

Bird mites are found in the warmer regions of the world, including Australia.

There are several species of bird mite but the most common species affecting humans is the domestic Starling mite, Ornithonyssus bursa from the family Macronyssidae.

Bird mites are:

• small (<1mm long) mites with 8 legs

• very mobile

• semi-transparent in colour until blood has been digested when they appear reddish to blackish

• oval in shape with a sparse covering of short hair

Where are bird mites found?

Bird mites are generally associated with moist or humid conditions and are most active during spring and early summer.

Bird mites are naturally found where birds (such as pigeons, starlings, sparrows and poultry) and their nests are located.

Humans can be exposed to bird mites when young birds leave their nests and the mite is left without a suitable host to feed from.

They may move into living spaces in houses, climbing on walls, ceilings and bedding in search of a blood meal.

How do bird mites survive?

Bird mites:

• feed on the blood of birds

• survive and thrive in bird nesting material

• increase their numbers rapidly

• they generally die within 3 weeks if without a blood meal from a bird host.

Information above taken from Public Health fact sheet from Government of South Australia SA Health on bird mites treatment and prevention.  Click image below for full article
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