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Need knowledgeable person about bird mites! Help!

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  1. theymitebegiants

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Wed Aug 11 2010 0:45:57
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    I have had a PCO come out and identify bird mites in my apartment. He fumigated and used chemicals that have IGRs as well as used Sterifab. I cleaned, cleaned and cleaned. Washed on hot dried, etc. They kept biting me, and no matter how thorough I was, living out of bags etc, eventually I'd still feel them on me throughout the day. My roommate feels nothing, but I have a positive ID. Anyway it has gotten to the point that I have evacuated my apartment to get some sleep. I know my do nothing landlords who I complained to about this will probably not get rid of the pigeons nesting in the eaves of the apartment. I am considering moving out. My question is- if I put things in storage- will these mites eventually die without a host? If so, how long will it take? There are so many differing opinions and not many legitimate sources on the internet. I have read that they die within a few days, weeks, months and of course that they can last 6 months without food. Just trying to figure the best strategy while I am couch surfing. Thank you in advance for any help. I find people on this forum very rational and fact based and the stuff out there on bird mite sites and forum are so varied in opinions! I apologize in advanced that I am using this forum but have few reliable sources to turn to!

  2. PANewBugger

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Wed Aug 11 2010 18:41:02
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    Ugh - mites are horrible! We are dealing with rat mites (thankfully, we don't have rodents in our place...my husband brought the rat mites home from his office, which has a rodent problem). I agree that there are not many resources online about bird and rat mites. From what I read, I think they are somewhat similar, but I get the impression that bird mites are a bit tougher to eliminate.

    We went to a dermatologist because of all our bites, and we were told that mites cannot live on human skin and without a proper host, they will eventually die off. So, in our situation, we don't have the host (rodents) in our place and have left for 3 weeks so that the mites that are in our place will start to die off. I could be completely wrong about this, but I think that until you eliminate the source (the pigeons), the problem will never really go away. Can the PCO call your landlord to discuss what needs to take place in order to eliminate the bird mites?

    To reduce the number of bites, you can spray yourself with Off or something similar. Also, I read that mites sometimes target one person - they send out pheromones to each other, basically telling fellow mites to bite that one poor person. In our situation, it was me - my husband wasn't getting bitten like I was at home.

    For laundry, I found using Borax made a huge difference - if I don't use it, after a hot wash and then dry, I'll still get bitten after putting on something that was just cleaned.

    Our PCO sprayed a flea treatment on our floors - helps with mites in your carpet. He also said that 91% isopropyl alcohol is a contact killer for mites so I would spray it on areas where we were getting bitten. I would notice that immediately after, the bites would stop.

    Before the rat mites, we were dealing with a mild bed bug problem so we already had everything cleaned and secured in plastic bags. I believe that if you have your items cleaned and securely sealed, any mites that may have made it through the cleaning will die in a few weeks.

    Hopefully, someone with more expertise will chime in to give you the info you need. Good luck!!!

  3. DeedleBeetle

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Wed Aug 11 2010 23:54:49
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    i had bird mites and i found that cleaning each morning with ammonia worked great. In a couple of months or so they were all gone. i wiped down the affected area (it was my office area) with a sponge with ammonia in it and i mopped the floor in that area with ammonia also. It really does work, but you have to do it every day...full strength..open your windows and be careful not to inhale it too much.

  4. tisIsaidthefly

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Aug 12 2010 2:58:58
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    Think about this please. You don't get bird mites from birds nesting or hanging out near your building or on your building. You know why? Because bird mites are everywhere including in
    the air you breathe. Birds fly (hello?) and when they flap their wings, everything goes flying
    off them including their dander and their mites. So, what am I saying? If you really believe
    you've been infested with bird mites, it is more than likely because your immune system isn't
    working well. Again, think about it. Birds are absolutely everywhere and they all have mites.
    We have mites too. Dogs have them and squirrels have them, people have them, they are just
    everywhere.

  5. DeedleBeetle

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Aug 12 2010 4:27:32
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    i had a pidgeon nest immediately outside my office window and i discovered the bird mites immediately inside the window area after the baby birds were not in the nest. I got rid of the nest and treated the area with ammonia and got rid of the mites. i never saw or was bothered by them before the nest and i have not seen or been bothered by them since the nest was destroyed and throw away.

    i don't think bird mites are just floating in the air everywhere. but i'm no scientist so i really can't say for sure. Perhaps one of our entomologists would chime in?

  6. loubugs

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Aug 12 2010 6:35:44
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    tisIsaidthefly,
    Sorry, your're quite misinformed about mites in general.

    Think about this please. You don't get bird mites from birds nesting or hanging out near your building or on your building. You know why? Because bird mites are everywhere including in the air you breathe. Birds fly (hello?) and when they flap their wings, everything goes flying off them including their dander and their mites. So, what am I saying? If you really believe you've been infested with bird mites, it is more than likely because your immune system isn't working well. Again, think about it. Birds are absolutely everywhere and they all have mites. We have mites too. Dogs have them and squirrels have them, people have them, they are just everywhere.

    There are certain websites out there that totally misinform people about bird mites and it's mainly to alarm them. Certain parasitic mites evolved to live on their host or to live on the nest area and go on their hosts only to feed. They evolved body modifications to hold onto the host, especially those hosts that fly, so they actually stay on during flight and not fall off. Mites shed their skins as they grow and it's possible that shed skins and also dead mites or parts thereof become airborne from a flying host or just blown into the air by wind or when the bird lands or takes off. Bird mites, the ones that live in the nest or on the skin of the bird, will become pests in our homes at times when developing birds or adults leave the nest and the normal host is no longer there. These particular mites are common on pigeons, starlings, English sparrows (by the way, this is actually a finch, not a sparrow and also these 3 species are introduced pests in the US). The most common bird to nest under or on window air conditioner units is the pigeon. It is host to a few mite species that leave the nest and crawl into the AC units and into the home when birds are no longer there. These externally feeding mites do not do well on people, but prefer their normal bird hosts. They feed on us because the normal host is no longer around, but that population will die off without the bird host. In the meantime, the mites will bite and take blood from the people who live in the home until the nests are removed and the mites controlled. There are other mite species on birds, but they are specially adapted to live in the skin or within feather shafts and these don't leave the bird and are not something to worry about. The bird mite websites treat all species the same, don't understand about all their biologies and would have you believe that all mite species can infest you. For example, one mite species cannot be free-living, extremely parasitically tied to a host, live in many ecologically diverse situations, and feed on many materials including blood.

    Professional consulting entomologist/arachnologist in all matters dealing with insects and arachnids.
  7. loubugs

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Aug 12 2010 6:51:33
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    A follow up to my previous post.

    Think about this please. You don't get bird mites from birds nesting or hanging out near your building or on your building. You know why? Because bird mites are everywhere including in
    the air you breathe. Birds fly (hello?) and when they flap their wings, everything goes flying
    off them including their dander and their mites. So, what am I saying? If you really believe
    you've been infested with bird mites, it is more than likely because your immune system isn't
    working well. Again, think about it. Birds are absolutely everywhere and they all have mites.
    We have mites too. Dogs have them and squirrels have them, people have them, they are just
    everywhere.

    The mites that you say are on birds, dogs, squirrels, and people are not one species, but different species that are really tuned to live on their normal hosts. They are not switching hosts like switching clothes every day. There are parasitic mites that live in skin, ducts in the skin, in hair follicles. Actually many are benign, such as those that live in sebaceous glands in our skin or in hair follicles, but these are not mange mites that do result in skin lesions and cause itching. There are different species of mange mites that can be transferred to us, will cause lesions, but really don't do well and also will finally die off. There is also a mange mite species that is specific to humans and there are different results and characteristics of infestations by this mite.
    The important thing in experiencing bites is to find out if bites are really bites or some reaction that you interpret as bites because of the quick, sharp pain. A quick sharp pain is often associated with a quick bite from an insect or mite or sting from an insect. Yes, there could be an immune response reaction but not a bite or sting at all. There can be crawling sensations and nothing is actually crawling.

  8. theymitebegiants

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Aug 12 2010 7:57:41
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    Thanks everyone for the replies. I am going to apologize in advanced for the long post...

    I do experience quick sharp pains, a quick bite I guess? I also experience actual bites I believe due to the bumps left behind? I also know that they are crawling on me, because I pick them off of me. Sometimes they are white (pre-feeding), and sometimes they are black (post feeding). I have seen ones smaller and larger (different stages). I cleaned with bleach, I've used windex, I've vaccuumed, I've steamed vacuumed, I've done all my laundry on high heat using borax... I won't even go into the techniques I've used to keep them off of me (most of which from alarmest websites). What has helped keep them from biting me (they still crawl on me) more than any other of the solutions suggested has been using insect repellent with DEET, which is probably not great for me.

    After the PCO fumigated and did the follow up visit, he said they would just keep coming back as long as the birds and nests were there. In any case, I am in a bind, because my landlord will most likely not pay to do what the PCO said is needed: clearing the nests, nailing up the areas in which the birds build the nests, cleaning the bird feces, and putting up spikes.

    Thus, I am trying to stay away from my home and staying with a friend. Even using all sorts of precautions , i have still brought some with me. Luckily my friend has not felt anything. I do similar routines here. I am going to the doctor this weekend to see about my immune system, or if they just bite me because of some other sort of reason...

    I know that it sounds like there are many different types of bird mites and depending on which one, will factor how long they live off of the bird. I live in Brooklyn, so I was wondering if it is more likely that I have a certain type of mite (like hopefully the Northern Fowl Mite) over another (the dreaded chicken mite). In which case, they would die off soon.

    I am contemplating moving... and my roommate will most likely move with me if I do. I am guessing she will not want to put all of her stuff in storage for a while even if I do, as she is still living in the apartment. Thus, putting my stuff in storage probably won't make sense after all, because she'll probably bring infested stuff with her, since I have seen them all over the apartment.

    So now I am thinking about either moving, and then getting a pco treatment (ugh more $$) once I get a new apartment, or maybe do all those crazy cleaning routines again in the new apartment. I am seriously contemplating moving because even if my landlord does anything, I know he won't do things properly, and we will run in to the same problem again. Even if I paid for all that needed to be done (I've already paid for the first PCO visit) in the end it might be cheaper to move because other unrelated household issues i've poured money into.

    So new questions:

    If I move, what is the best way to deal with them pre/post move?

    Is it more likely that I have the type of mite that is easier to get rid of (are certain types of mites more common on pigeons in nyc)? Or is there no way to tell?

    Thank you again for your answers!!!! As you can see, similar to those of you with bedbugs, this has taken over my life!

  9. theymitebegiants

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Aug 12 2010 8:01:15
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    Oh, also, I am going to see if the doctor thinks a prescription for ivermectin makes sense since I have to go back to my apartment eventually to deal with my stuff... and will have to stay in the continually infested place at some point. Any advice on this would be helpful too- is this just a bad idea? Don't know how strong that drug is...

  10. PANewBugger

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Aug 12 2010 8:26:00
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    I think Ivermectin is used for conditions like scabies (I THINK that's from a different kind of mite)? When you see your doctor, you should ask if it's appropriate for your situation. To keep them off you when you go back to your place, we were advised to spray ourselves with Off, and we found some that is deet free which we used. Worked perfectly.

  11. loubugs

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Fri Aug 13 2010 6:24:58
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    "After the PCO fumigated and did the follow up visit, he said they would just keep coming back as long as the birds and nests were there. In any case, I am in a bind, because my landlord will most likely not pay to do what the PCO said is needed: clearing the nests, nailing up the areas in which the birds build the nests, cleaning the bird feces, and putting up spikes."
    Technically he didn't fumigate. The nests should be cleaned up, cleared out and nesting areas remodeled so there will be no nesting. Landlord should have this done.

  12. loubugs

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Fri Aug 13 2010 6:25:58
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    You can send the mites to me or drop them off for identification.

  13. DeedleBeetle

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Fri Aug 13 2010 7:23:10
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    Is it just me, or could everyone just sit around and listen to Lou talk about bugs/insects and stuff like that all day long???

  14. knitty

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Wed Aug 25 2010 11:06:51
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    thymitebegiants, I think we've got the same problem as you. my husband just started getting the creepy crawlies at night and can feel stings/bites all over him but can't see the creatures, which we're assuming are mites of some kind. horrible horrible. I don't get bit for the most part.

    two weeks ago PCO came with a dog and told us we had bed bugs. recently I suggested that we have mites, and they said the chemicals they use to treat bed bugs (we've had two treatments) shoudl kill everything.

    old timers out there:

    -are there special chemicals just for mites?
    -would a packtite kill mites? (I've read conflicting information about lethal temps for mites.)
    -should I sprinkle diatomaceous earth along the baseboards in my bedroom?
    -where in brooklyn can one get DE?

    -also, how can I get evidence of these mites? so far they've been invisible. last night I put tape on the spots where my husband felt bites. would they be visible under the microscope? I'm also going to try glue traps.

    -who could help identify mites? can a dermatologist find anything from skin scrapings?

    we don't have birds, nests, pets, rodents. we got this problem while abroad, but until moving back recently the bites were small and not very itchy, maybe a few in a week. we've been doing the ziplock/laundering/vacuuming thing every day. guess we have to step it up a notch!

    theymitebegiants, what's been working for you? putting bounce on the sheets worked for a few days, but it made my husband start wheezing so we stopped that.

  15. knitty

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    Wed Aug 25 2010 11:08:36
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    one more: would a regular allerzip bedbug encasement be sufficient, or do I need to switch to vinyl?

  16. theymitebegiants

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Aug 26 2010 16:11:45
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  17. theymitebegiants

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    Thu Aug 26 2010 16:14:00
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    Sample I sent Lou turned out to be nothing! But I took that sample while I was evacuated still, and off of my clothing. So two separate people from the pest control company identified bird mites by sight, but no confirmation by entomologist under a microscope. To complicate matters, I should add that we had a mouse problem (at least until the day I evacuated 2 1/2 weeks ago), so it could be mouse mites too!

    Then a friend kept asking me if I wasn't sure that I had scabies. So then I started to worry that maybe it was scabies this whole time, and I have now infected my friends who let me crash at their homes. Went to the doctor to get a skin scraping, which came back inconclusive/negative. None of my bites were in typical scabies spots or patterns. They were in random spots on arms, legs and shoulder.

    I am back home right now and windows haven't been open in weeks to keep out bird mites (if that's what they even are). We haven't seen any mice.... and I just did a round of permethrin last night. The doc says he can't definitively say I don't have scabies, so I am treating just in case, plus whatever mites they are the permethrin would kill any on my body. I am definitely less itchy today, but time will tell...

    Knitty, I am trying different things... I think borax helps with the laundry, but now I am trying an enzyme cleaner + borax. I bought one called Biokleen to add to my laundry and a Laundry Pre-treat enzyme cleaner in a spray bottle. When I bought my Allerzip on Amazon, I didn't realize it came with a terry cloth cover. This is probably a great mattress pad for bedbugs, but I am guessing for mites it isn't great cause they can embed themselves in the cotton, and it isn't realistic for me to wash everyday on hot because they recommend drying on medium (as to to melt the plastic) but then that doesn't get the cotton terry covering hot enough to kill mites so i've used the enzyme spray everyday on the mattress pad until I come up with a better solution. I don't have absolute proof on it's effectiveness on mites, but I saw a spider that I sprayed with it, and man did that thing just sort of disintegrate under the spray! I figure it would probably just effective on the mites and pretty non-hazardous for humans!

    Still trying to figure out whether to move (since my landlords are somewhat insane) or somehow miraculously get them to deal with the birds and keep all the windows closed till then!

    All I can say Knitty, is please make sure they aren't scabies before you consider evacuating, because then you can compound the problem. Even though I don't know if I have them, I'm racked with guilt at the possibility that is something I have possibly spread unknowingly to others!

    Whether it's scabies, bird mites, mouse mites or something else, I have to stop reading all those other sites where people keep saying they had these problems for years- they make my head spin! Trying to stay rational become difficult on little sleep!

  18. knitty

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Fri Aug 27 2010 13:27:57
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    theymitebegiants, thanks for sharing. my allerzip cover isn't terrycloth -- perhaps you can return yours for the non-terrycloth kind? this week I've started using borax with the laundry. husband got a couple bites the last two nights, but nothing like the whole-body stings/bites he got over the weekend.

    I don't know what's biting us, but they don't seem to be bed bugs, and now it seems less likely that they're bird mites. two PCOs pointed out to me that 1) bird mites don't travel with you, and 2) bird mites die in low humidity climates. before I moved back from abroad, I was in a very dry climate and we had the a/c on for months -- and we still got a few bites regularly.

    no idea what's biting. no idea how to gather evidence--we're living in a bare apartment with a bunch of ziplock bags, a new bed, and a few pieces of plastic furniture! but I know that we did manage to bring them back to the US with us.

  19. bed-bugscouk

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    Fri Aug 27 2010 13:37:22
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    Hi,

    Sorry for not posting earlier but I hate birdmites and in fact refuse to work on them when I do find them which is thankfully rare in the UK.

    One of the reasons why I will not work on them is that unlike bedbugs they go from a few to what appears to be thousands in a short space of time.

    The correct and only way to deal with the problem is to identify and remove the source from the start of the project. This usually means proof to prevent roosting but can also require removing the nest, nesting area and any remaining carcasses.

    You then treat from the original congregation point (conected with the birds) back through the property via the ingress point following the path of travel through to the area where they are affecting you.

    Unlike bedbugs they tend to hang out on the ceiling wall junctions and have a nasty habit of dropping off when they sense C02.

    I have documented some of my findings here:

    http://www.bed-bugs.co.uk/birdmites.html

    In short start from the outside and deal with the source of the problem before you treat inside. If your PCO does not follow that logic get another who actually knows what they are doing.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

    In accordance with the AUP and FTC (legal requirements) I openly disclose my vested interest in Passive Monitors as the inventor and patent holder. Since 2009 they have become an integral part in how we resolve bedbug infestations in domestic and commercial settings. The patent numbers are GB2463953 and GB2470307.
  20. theymitebegiants

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Fri Aug 27 2010 14:31:28
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    David,

    Any idea once the nests and pigeons, carcasses are cleared, when it would be ok to open windows again?

  21. mitegetnosleep

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    Tue Aug 31 2010 20:36:42
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    I am beginning to lose my mind, but my husband thinks I am crazy anyway. I had been itching like crazy, with stabbing pin pricks. Nothing is happening to him.

    At first I thought it was bed bugs, but after a careful search and none of the typical signs, I researched further and have come to believe it might be bird mites. I found particles like sand on my skin, some white, some black. They never seem to be moving at this point, unless I have already killed them. I have bites, but mostly insane crawling sensations and at night I feel like something is in my nose and ears.

    I had bagged everything and washed, when I thought it was bed bugs. I haven't had more than a couple of hours of sleep in a few days, and now I dread the idea of going to sleep.

    If there are mites, would you see them move? I don't see anything but these grain particles. I am so disheartened by everything that I've read on the internet, it seems like no one EVER gets rid of them. I wish I could hear a success story. I am so depressed.

    Does any of this sound like mites?

  22. tisIsaidthefly

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    Wed Sep 1 2010 0:01:04
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    Dear old timer - I don't think you understand what I mean. First of all, yes, I KNOW - there are tons and tons of all kinds of different mites, most of them host specific meaning that get on mostly one animal because that's the one they're suited for. However, for different reasons,
    they sometimes appear to migrate to a different species and get on a person for instance instead of a bird or dog or squirrel or
    whatever is appropriate for that type of mite. What I am thinking (again, I'm not an expert and this is just my own concept) is that there have always
    been and always will be mites of all kinds including bird mites and I don't see how it's even possible to avoid them. I do suspect strongly that it's got
    more to do with a person's immune system or else maybe they're on a type of medication which alters the physical composition of their body chemistry and MAYBE under those circumstances,
    mites that don't ordinarily get on a person will. I am especially concerned about all this use of insecticides which can make someone pretty sick if they're exposed to too much of it. It's your immune system which holds most of the parasites and mites at bay. When something effects your immune system, it leaves your defenses down. This insecticide is POISON People need to stop forgetting that.

  23. theymitebegiants

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    Wed Sep 1 2010 14:16:13
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    I had been itching like crazy, with stabbing pin pricks. Nothing is happening to him.
    At first I thought it was bed bugs, but after a careful search and none of the typical signs, I researched further and have come to believe it might be bird mites. I found particles like sand on my skin, some white, some black. They never seem to be moving at this point, unless I have already killed them. I have bites, but mostly insane crawling sensations and at night I feel like something is in my nose and ears.

    These are my exact symptoms. Please if anyone knows what this is, let us both know!

  24. mitegetnosleep

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    Fri Sep 3 2010 7:31:38
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    theymitebegiants - 1 day ago  » 

    I had been itching like crazy, with stabbing pin pricks. Nothing is happening to him.
    At first I thought it was bed bugs, but after a careful search and none of the typical signs, I researched further and have come to believe it might be bird mites. I found particles like sand on my skin, some white, some black. They never seem to be moving at this point, unless I have already killed them. I have bites, but mostly insane crawling sensations and at night I feel like something is in my nose and ears.

    These are my exact symptoms. Please if anyone knows what this is, let us both know!

    Although I am still trying to get these things out of my environment. I wanted to let you know a way to help with some of the sensations. I noticed that I still get painful bites while in bed, but this has helped the strange feelings during the day: Get a spray bottle. Put 91 % Isopropyl alcohol in it. In the shower, spray down body, spray hair and scalp, if you get sensations frequently there (rinse hair). Leave the rest on body, or respray. Scrub yourself down. Clean shower. Remember to do the bottom of your feet. After this, put on some nice oil. If you don't have any, use EVV olive oil, or vaseline, cover body. Since I have been doing this I have found less specks on myself. Like I said I am still working on the environment, but this helps.

  25. mitegetnosleep

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    Fri Sep 3 2010 7:35:29
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    loubugs - 3 weeks ago  » 
    You can send the mites to me or drop them off for identification.

    I don't know if you still come to the forum. How can you collect samples. We never see them anywhere, except for specks on body, which don't appear to move.

  26. rockywhitt@gmail.com

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    Wed Feb 2 2011 11:18:21
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    Hi, just wanted to say I got rid of the bird mites in the winter 100% once it was cold. When they were in the house it was an absolute nightmare and you almost feel like there's no hope but the thing is once they're gone for a few weeks it seems like a surreal experience that took place a lifetime ago so I'd like to encourage people who have gotten rid of them to post too and give a bit of hope on the people who are still infested.

  27. Rosalie

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Tue Apr 5 2011 11:22:57
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    I found this old topic and I'm pretty sure the bugs in my house are some kind of bird mites. They are infesting the area closest to my balcony window. I have a pigeon nesting on my balcony, which I'm getting removed.

    The adults are black and easy to see, the younger ones are almost transparent and tiny. I can only see the small ones when they walk across my laptop screen.
    When they're on my skin, I can feel them crawling on me and it drives me crazy. As far as I can tell, only the bigger black ones bite. The bites are very itchy.

    Can anyone tell me what will happen once the pigeon + nest is gone? Can the mites continue to live in my appartment, feeding off my blood instead of the pigeons?

    I have washed my bedclothes on the highest temperature and I'm gradually doing that with my clothes too. I hoover every day. I shower twice a day but I still feel some of them crawling on me. I crush every adult mite I see, but I'm at a loss about what to do with the young ones and the eggs. I don't even know what the eggs look like

    So far I haven't used chemicals because I don't know which ones are effective. Any advice is much appreciated.

  28. bed-bugscouk

    oldtimer
    Joined: Apr '07
    Posts: 9,927

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Tue Apr 5 2011 11:40:40
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    Hi,

    The correct procedure is to identify what the primary nesting location is, remove it and treat back from there into the property until the issue is resolved.

    If you are looking for information to confirm them as bird mites I wrote about them a few years ago here:

    http://www.bed-bugs.co.uk/birdmites.html

    Hope.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

  29. Rosalie

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    Joined: Apr '11
    Posts: 2

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Tue Apr 5 2011 14:48:48
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    Thank you David, this confirms my suspicions. The young are translucent indeed and the size comparison between adult and young is exactly the same as in the image.
    I will post an update once the nest is gone.


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