Bird mites are tiny parasites, almost imperceptible to the naked eye, due to their tiny size. A bird mite will typically only grow up to 1 millimeter in length. They are an arthropod who belong to two different species families usually found on the North American continent, the Dermanyssus and the Ornithonyssus. However, there are over 45,000 known species of bird mites. The term bird mite is often used in a generic fashion to describe all species. Bird mites are exceedingly mobile, transparent in appearance and oval shaped.
Bird mites are most commonly encountered by residents of the world's warmer regions. These mites are usually found wherever birds live, and there are nests present.
About Bird Mites
The life span of a bird mite is almost entirely dependent on their ability to find a host. Without receiving blood sustenance from a bird host, they will perish within three weeks. Even in a case the mite attaches itself to a host; the life span is short, lasting roughly 7 days. During those 7 days, however, they can spawn a population of thousands.
Due to their diminutive size, bird mites go undetected and have few predators. There are predator mites that periodically attack the bird mites. The vast majority of bird mite deaths occur naturally, because of their short life span. Scientists have found that certain species can live up to 8 or 9 months, even without finding a host, so they do not always die on their own.
Adult mites can flourish if they are allowed to mate unchecked and if the bird mites can find a pack in which to live in, they can survive much longer than their expected life span.
Bird mites are also somewhat susceptible to sudden drops into colder temperatures, but this is mitigated by their adaptability.
Bird mites have several different roosting areas, relative to habitat
Bird mites are found in different areas, depending on the season. They thrive during the spring and summer seasons and are most comfortable where there is a high concentration of moisture and humidity.
Most commonly, bird mites make their home where birds' nests are located, for example, pigeons and chickens are both popular birds for the mites to attach themselves to. They can also attach themselves to humans, although this is not preferred for the bird mites. The human body does not contain what they need to keep themselves alive.
Once they've made their way into the nesting of the birds, their next step is to migrate into living spaces, especially if they are unable to find a bird host to attach themselves to for a meal. At this point, infestations in the bedrooms, walls and ceilings of the home are to be expected.
Much of bird mites' activity takes place in the nighttime hours. They attack when their subjects are in a sleeping or sedentary state. A nocturnal being, they will lay in wait during the day and will commonly not strike while their target is on the move. Bird mites rely on their strong senses for heat and tend to congregate in areas with high CO2 levels. Bird mites also have a strong sense for areas with high levels of moisture. They register their peak levels of activity where humidity is over 70 percent.
But, unfortunately for those afflicted with the presence of mites, there is not much rhyme or reason to their habitation practices. The mites' preference for warmer temperatures has been documented, but they possess the ability to survive in cold temperatures for long periods of time. They are very adaptable to their surroundings, owing to their DNA, which is changeable. This makes them harder to control, as there is no one way to eradicate the mites.
In addition to the nests and home, trees are very much at risk for bird mite infestations. If they cannot find suitable hosts in nests, they move on to the tree itself.
Adult and adolescent bird mites are both capable of feeding and their colors change upon feeding. The mites are a color similar to off white before feeding and become dark red after. When a proper host is discovered, the mites will then alert each other, and what starts as a small infestation becomes even larger.
Bird Mite Reproduction & Hibernation
Bird mites' mating habits are unorthodox, and interestingly, their population is almost entirely female. In order for them to reproduce, they require blood in their system. This is why it is pivotal for the bird mites to attach themselves to a blood donor. If they cannot find a bird, family pets and even rodents become susceptible. They will attach themselves to your person and make their way into your home.
After reproducing, bird mites have five different growth stages. They begin as an egg, becoming a larva. Upon reaching the larva stage, protonymph and deutonymph stages follow, leading to adulthood.
While the mites have the unique ability to adjust their DNA to tolerate winter temperatures, the winter is their typical hibernation season. Bird mites tend to shut down during the colder seasons and perk up once the weather heats back up.
Controlling Bird Mites
If you're a homeowner and you believe your home and the surrounding areas have become infested, be sure to follow up on this suspicion and call your local bird mite removal company. Take this measure, so that you can rest easy with the peace of mind your home is bird mite free.
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