Bird Mites

Dermanyssus gallinae; Ornithonyssus sylviarum

Bird Mite

Bird mite (Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org)

Bird Mite

Chicken mite after feeding (Furado, Wikimedia Commons)

Bird Mite

Northern fowl mite (Wikimedia Commons)

Identification

  • very tiny; about the size of a period on a typed page
  • black, yellow or white; appear bright red after feeding

Nesting Habits

Dermanyssus gallinae (chicken mite):

  • nests of birds
  • hide in small, protected areas when they are not feeding

Ornithonyssus sylviarum (northern fowl mite):

  • ¬†all life stages on host, but adults may be found in areas around the host

Diet

  • blood meals from hosts, including chickens, pigeons, sparrows, doves and starlings
  • will feed on humans in absence of primary host
  • feed mostly at night

Significance

  • can migrate from bird nests or poultry houses (in- and outdoors) or rodents onto structures and crawl onto people and bite, causing skin irritation or itching
  • spread by people, equipment and birds from infested areas
  • can survive up to a month off a host

IPM Recommendations

  • Remove bird nest using the inverted bag technique and clean the surface that came into contact with the nest
  • Seal cracks and crevices where mites may hide and enter.
  • In infested homes, hot wash and hot dry bedding and clothing left on floors.
  • Take measures to control rodents and wild birds (see Vertebrate Pests).
  • Use appropriately labeled dust-formulated insecticides, such as silica aerogel, as crack and crevice treatments.