- What are bird mites?
- What do bird lice do to humans and pets?
- How do I know if I have bird lice?
- How to manage bird lice bites?
- How to prevent bird mite outbreaks?
- Roof void cleaning
- Bird mite outbreaks in businesses
- How do I get rid of bird lice?
- Professional bird mite elimination
- Why choose Allstate?
Learn about their characteristics and habits.
Besides keeping you and your pets awake scratching itchy red bites, they’re difficult to see, and hide away in your linen and furniture during the day. Since they multiply quickly, it doesn’t take long for a small problem to turn into a major outbreak.
Bird mites are usually brought to your home by host birds, which may be pet birds or pest birds living in or on your roof. Once the host bird dies or moves on, the next target for bird lice is you!
If you’re worried about bird mites, we’ve prepared this guide to help you to learn more about identifying bird mites, the problems they cause, and how to prevent and control an outbreak.
What are bird mites?
Can humans get bird lice?
Bird lice prefer bird blood, but when their bird host dies or moves location they will make their way down into the home and feed on pets and humans instead.
While pet and human blood keeps bird lice alive, it prevents them from reproducing and so they will usually die out within about three weeks of losing access to their bird hosts.
What do bird lice and their bites look like?
Bird lice are very difficult to see – they are less than 1mm with a flat oval body. They are white/translucent coloured before feeding, red/brown immediately after feeding, then black after digesting their meal.
Unlike scabies mites, bird mites don’t burrow into your skin, instead leaving symptoms similar to the bites of fleas and bed bugs. The usually cause small red bumps and itching, which can sometimes be quite severe.
When should I be worried about bird lice?
Like birds, bird lice favour warm conditions and are most active during spring and summer.
Problems caused by bird mites
Their bites trigger allergies
Bird mite bites trigger allergies in people and pets (including pet birds), due to chemicals in their saliva which are secreted during a bite. These allergies can be quite nasty and even require treatment.
Bird lice are most active at night, so an infestation will keep you awake experiencing a crawling sensation and scratching itchy bites.
They easily hide in bedding and furniture during the day
Bird lice have adapted to avoid treatment and protect their eggs, by hiding out of site. This prolongs the treatment process and makes it more difficult to exterminate them.
They reproduce quickly
Female bird mites usually lay a few dozen eggs over their lifetime. These eggs hatch in a matter of days, so it doesn’t take long for an outbreak to happen.
How bird mites get in your home
They are more likely to migrate to inside the home if pest birds or their nests are nearby. They crawl through roof spaces, cracks or cavities in walls, gaps around windows and door frames. They can also be introduced through pet birds or other small pets (including rodents) purchased from a pet store.
Once inside your home, bird mites lay their eggs everywhere. Be sure to your carpet and furniture, as cotton and fabric provide good insulation for eggs.
Our bird lice control team is ready to help
How do I know if I have bird lice?
However, the following signs are a good indicator that the problem on your hands is a bird mite one:
Associated pest bird outbreak
Check for nearby pest birds, especially pigeons, and their nests. Make sure to check:
- Tour roof, chimney, eaves, window ledges
- Underneath solar panels
- Inside your roof space
- In basements, foundations or on porches
Bites on pet birds
If you have pet birds, check them for bites, which can appear as crusty, scaly, swollen skin or a rash.
Changes to pet bird behaviour
Watch for signs of infestation in birds, such as restlessness, frequently picking at their feathers and skin, making unusual sounds, or developing sinus issues and coughing or sneezing. Chickens lay poorer quality eggs and hatch fewer chicks.
Bites on people
When looking for a new host, bird lice ‘test bite’ humans, injecting saliva which triggers a skin reaction. This causes very itchy, swollen red spots on the skin, which can become an allergic rash if you are bitten multiple times, or they are frequently scratched. Bird mite bites are most likely to occur at night, and may also cause a crawling sensation on your skin.
If you’re worried about a bird lice infestation, reach out to us for an inspection.
How to treat bird lice bites
Use insect repellent to prevent getting bitten
Choose brands that contain diethyl meta-toluamide (DEET) or 3-methyl-n-diethylbenzamide.
Rinse and gently scrub your skin with water and soap
This will remove crawling bird mites and disinfect the bites.
Apply soothing anti-itch products
Reduce the temptation to itch by applying over the counter creams, lotions and serums.
If your pet or bird is bitten, take it to the vet for treatment
Your pet may need oral medicine, spray, bath products or grooming.
How to prevent bird mite outbreaks
Regularly maintain bird cages
Thoroughly clean and wash your bird cage/s, and frequently change bedding and litter.
Maintain a clean home
This is especially if you have pets or birds. Make sure to vacuum carpets daily, wash and change bed linen and clothing regularly, change pet litter and wash their bedding.
Check over new pets and birds before bringing them inside your home
If you’re unsure, take them to the vet first.
Regular building maintenance
The best way to protect yourself from bird lice is to eliminate pest birds and their nests by:
- Inspecting for possible entry points and sealing them, particularly around the roof, eaves, check for gaps or loose tiles
- Keeping chimneys covered when not in use
- Ensuring vent covers are secured
- Cleaning and maintaining your solar panels: learn more about Allstate’s solar panel maintenance service here
- Read our blog for more advice about eradicating pest birds
Roof void cleaning
That’s why Allstate, we offer a roof void cleaning service to remove any debris (and subsequent insects) left behind by pest birds. That way, you won’t have to worry about bird mites stopping you from getting the good night’s sleep that you deserve! Learn more about roof void cleaning here.
Bird mite outbreaks in businesses
Over time, bird mites become a major distraction to your day-to-day operations, tarnish the reputation of your business, and can lead to significant fines for breaching health and safety regulations. To top it off, you may need to purchase new carpets, furnishing and linen if there is a severe outbreak.
Hospitals, medical centres and aged care facilities
These places are frequented by people who are already experiencing health issues, so a bird mite infestation will disrupt and further complicate treatment and care programs.
Read more about pest control for aged care here.
Hotels, hostels and accommodation facilities
Guests often cut their stay short if they’re unhappy with the hygiene standards, and are much more likely to leave negative reviews if they realise there is a bird lice outbreak.
Read more about pest control for accommodation facilities here.
How do I get rid of bird mites – will they go away on their own?
Kill them with insecticide surface spray or powder
You can get DIY insecticides from a hardware store. However they must contain pyrethrin to be effective against the mites.
Sprinkle diatomaceous earth in infested areas
Sprinkling diatomaceous earth around areas where bird lice roam can get rid of them by disrupting their waterproof outer lining
Destroy and replace heavily infested items
Anything heavily infested with bird mites should be removed and destroyed. This includes carpets, rugs, furniture, linen, clothing and bedding. Always wear protective clothing and gloves when handling your affected belongings.
Get professional pest control
Some Adelaide bird mite problems are best handled by the professionals. This includes instances when:
- The infestation is heavy
- There is a large affected area
- Bird nests are located in hard to reach places
- The nests have been abandoned – these are best handled by our technicians to limit the spread of bird mites
How to get rid of a heavy infestation
1. Pre-treatment inspection
We will conduct a thorough assessment of the roof, entry points, all possible nesting places, and inside the building, to come up with a plan to treat the outbreak.
2. Bird nest location and removal
Before getting rid of the mites, it’s important we remove any bird nests, which are the underlying cause of the problem.
We apply insecticide powder and surface spray to all affected areas. All products we use are safe for people and pets, and approved by the Australian Veterinary Medicines and Pesticides Authority.
4. Follow-up treatment
Bird mite eggs are often well hidden and take a few days to hatch, so more severe outbreaks need to be treated in more than one visit. In our follow-up treatment we will review the situation and replenish the treatment as needed.
We will send you the details on how we treated the outbreak. This also serves as a handy reference for you to keep in the case of any future issues.
Need urgent bird mite control?
Our expert team is ready to help you now
Why choose Allstate?
Reach out to us 24/7, from any suburb in Adelaide
Use our chat box on the bottom right of this page.
Prompt, reliable service and emergency response
We won’t leave you feeling stuck – our team responds quickly to urgent cases.
We have a 100% money back guarantee
Because we want you to be satisfied with our bird lice removal treatments in your home or business.
We offer interest-free payment plans
Don’t let tight finances prevent you from getting on top of an outbreak.
We offer targeted, effective solutions with follow ups
We’ll thoroughly assess and inspect your outbreak to come up with an immediate and long term treatment plan.
Our treatments are non-toxic
We only use products that are child, pet and environmentally safe.
We work around your schedule
This will minimise disruption to your home and business.