Everything To Know About Bird Mites, Bird Mite Bites, and How They Affect Humans and Birds Differently

Bird mites are pests that are similar in nature to ticks and spiders. In fact, they are in the same scientific family. These parasites feed on the blood of their host, which are typically birds, but they will also bite humans.

Bird mites do not need humans to survive, and most people will often overlook them if they can see them at all.

These teeny tiny parasitic pests host on birds and are commonly called “chicken mites.”

They are rarely found in houses, so when someone sees bird mites in a house, they are often confused with bed bugs et al.

Thankfully, bird mites are not the same as bed bugs. Bed bugs need human blood to live, whereas bird mites don’t. They must have bird blood.

These tiny pests are only about 1 mm in length – that’s just under half the size of the head of a pin.

These parasites have an oval-shaped body that is flat and covered in microscopic hairs. The males have as many as eight legs when they enter adulthood.

What Do Mite Bites Look Like

Mite bites on birds look different than those on humans. Likewise, the treatment used for treating birds is also different than the treatment used for humans.

Bite Marks On Humans

Biting mites may leave small, red dots on your skin that itch, become painful, or cause your skin to feel warm after a bite has occurred.

Additionally, you may feel like your skin is crawling. Thankfully, there are things that you can do to alleviate the pain and itchiness of a mite bite, more on that below.

Bite Marks On Birds

Typically, mites cause itchiness just like they do with humans. However, there are other signs of a mite infestation that birds display.

Birds will excessively preen or clean their feathers. They will also be restless, easily agitated, ruffle their feathers often, and have skin irritation. Occasionally feather damage may be seen, too.

There are three common types of bird mites to look out for. They are:

  1. Air Sac Mites
  2. Skin And Feather Mites
  3. Scaly Face Mites

In general, it typically does not matter which type of mite your bird has come into contact with.

Once the infestation gets removed, the next thing to do is to look at the bird’s dietary needs. Many birds are able to fend off mites so long as their immune systems are healthy.

To promote a healthy immune system in your pet bird, you should make sure they have access to fresh food and water daily.

Additionally, you should make sure that their diet fits their needs. Not all birds need birdseed to eat. Some need insects, while others may need nuts, berries, or fruit.

Treatment Options For Humans

First, you should clean the area with a gentle, non-scented soap. Next, you can apply a small layer of anti-itch cream such as cortisone cream.

If this does not help or you develop an infection, you should visit your doctor. They may prescribe you a topical antibiotic to heal the infection.

If you came in contact with the mites outside of your home, there is no need for any environmental treatment.

However, if you came into contact with the mites in your home or workplace, see below for how to treat the environment.

Treatment Options For Birds

The bird and the habitat must both be treated. If only one or the other is treated, the mites will resurface and continue to cause the same problems.

To treat the bird itself, you may find an over the counter spray or wash helpful in getting the bird mites off of the bird. There are also nutrients that can be added to a pet bird’s water to help build the bird’s immune system and deter mites.

To treat the local environment, follow the same steps mentioned below. These steps are the same for if you are trying to rid your farm, home, or bird’s cage.

As mentioned above, help to support your bird’s immune system so that they are less likely to be affected by bird mites in the future.

How Do you Know If You Have Bird Mites

One way to determine if you have a bird mite bite is to check for a mite infestation.

If you have a bird mite infestation, then you are at a higher risk of getting bitten by a mite.

If you have an unusually large number of red spots that you believe are mite bites, you should seek advice from a medical professional.

Bird Mite Habitat and Diet Information

A bird mite infestation typically occurs near places where birds live. These include places where there are multiple bird nests, such as zoos, aviaries, farms, pet stores, in your home, et al. Like most mites, the bird mite prefers warmer, humid climates.

As previously noted, bird mites need to feed on the blood of birds. Young birds are at the highest risk of harm from a bird mite infestation.

How Do You Get Rid of Bird Mites

In order to get rid of a bird mite infestation, you must first locate the bird mite nests. They are often found where birds live and nest.

If you choose to try to eliminate a bird mite infestation on your own, you should complete the following steps:

  • Locate the nest
  • Remove the mite nest
  • Spray the area with an approved insecticide (it is important to know that there are laws that protect certain bird species and habitats.

    If you are in one of these areas, you should check with your local wildlife resource to ensure you are able to spray insecticide and determine which insecticide is acceptable)
  • Repair the area; make sure there are no cracks around the enclosure
  • Replace any bedding material

If you are not looking to eliminate a bird mite infestation on your own, then you should call a pest control service.

There are many pest control companies that use approved insecticides and a removal process to get rid of a bird mite infestation.

Are Bird Mites Dangerous

While bites from mites might be painful, red, and itchy, they are not considered to be dangerous bites. If you suspect that you have mite bites, you might want to seek medical attention if you think you may have an infection.

In very rare cases, a bacterial infection may occur due to the scratching and itching that the bites cause.

FAQs About Bird Mites

1. What Are Other Names For Bird Mites?

Bird mites are also known as chicken mites. Their scientific name is mite ornithonyssus. It’s important to know that mite ornithonyssus are not the only species of mites.

2. How Long Do Bird Mites Live?

The average life cycle of a bird mite is approximately seven days or one week. Other species of mites can live for up to two months.

3. When Are Bird Mites Active?

Bird mites are most active in the spring and early summer. This is because that these seasons have warmer, more humid weather, which the mite prefers.

4. How Big Are Bird Mites?

A bird mite, like other mites, are very small, around 1 mm in length. Most people won’t even know if they’ve come in contact with a bird’s mite, or mites, because they are so tiny.

5. What Are Other Types Of Mites?

Other types of mites include dust, clover, rodent, and spider mites. Chiggers and scabies are also types of mites.

6. What Color Are Bird Mites?

Interestingly enough, bird mites change color. Prior to feeding on a host, bird mites look translucent, white, or gray.

When they are actively feasting on their host, they change from a light color to dark red. The deepness of the red color depends on how long they’ve been feeding. After they are done eating and begin to digest their food, they turn dark brown or black.

Julian Goldie - Owner of ChiperBirds.com

Julian Goldie

I'm a bird enthusiast and creator of Chipper Birds, a blog sharing my experience caring for birds. I've traveled the world bird watching and I'm committed to helping others with bird care. Contact me at [email protected] for assistance.