HELP! Bird mites

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  • #5151
    verachuckdave
    Participant
    • Topics started 23
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    Okay. . .After a very successful round one with 5 bluebird fledglings and 7 TRES fledglings, I was very excited to see Mama and Papa Blue building a new nest. The TRES are still hanging around as well and approaching their house, so I’m not sure what they’re up to. I understand that they usually only have one brood a year, but two are possible.

    Anyway, this morning I was very excited to see Mama Blue leaving the birdhouse and Papa Blue watching from a nearby fence. I immediately grabbed my mechanic’s mirror and went to see if she laid an egg. Low and behold, there is one beautiful blue egg in the nest. I was thrilled and went to the garage to get my sparrow spooker. I brought it in the house, spruced it up with new ribbons and went to the birdhouse. While I was walking to the birdhouse, I kept getting a weird sensation like walking through a cobweb or a hair across my face. It was extremely annoying and would not stop. I went into the house and wiped my face off with a paper towel. I went back out to the birdhouse, climbed up on a step stool and began installing the sparrow spooker. The weird cobweb sensation would not go away. I felt like I had fleas. I glanced at my wrist and there were thousands of nearly microscopic bugs crawling all over me!

    I ran into the house, threw my clothes into the washer, and jumped into the shower! Are these bird mites?!! Right now I am afraid to approach my birdhouses? Has anyone had this problem. I don’t know what to do?

    Susan
    Pennsylvania

    #5156
    Sassy
    Participant
    • Topics started 54
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    Susan:
    My guess would be that it is not bird mites but something that might have hatched in this warmer weather we are getting and you ran into a swarm of some sort of gnats. I bet now if you went out they would all be gone. This is just my opinion on the matter.
    Connie (PA)

    #5157
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
    Participant
    • Topics started 107
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    Susan, I would think bird mites would be inside the box in & under the nest. However, I really don’t know if a nest alone gets mites or if they just get on the babies themselves. I do know what bird mites are, since one nest of TRES that perished I believe was because of mites, because when we went to clean out the box the mites got all over us. UGH! But not really sure about this.

    #5158
    dlibby
    Participant
    • Topics started 12
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    • Total Posts 40

    I’ve seen bird mites in my eastern phoebes nest before and they have fallen all over our bikes which happened to be under there nest. They were small but not microscopic and there were a lot of them. But looking into your house with a mirror,I wouldn’t think you would of had time to collect that many but it is possible. Depends on how much time and how much contact you had with the house. Rubbing up against or what ever.I would go back and look real close at the bird house in question and really stare closely at the outside and even the pole. These things crawl around in circles a lot so you should still have time to investigate. Also was the old nest removed or did she build right over the last one. That’s why it’s for the best to remove old nest because of all the lice and mites. Hope you figure it out. dlibby

    #5159
    dogsandbirds
    Moderator
    • Topics started 5
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    • Total Posts 660

    The only good thing here is that feather mites don’t hang around on people. Yeah, it’s not fun and it does make you want to jump in the shower. If you had gotten mites on you when you checked for the egg, I think you would have noticed them on you before you got to the garage to get the spooker. They don’t fly so many what Connie suggested is the case.

    dlibby’s question is a good one. Is the old nest still in there? If not, it’s a little strange for a single bird (the female) to be harboring so many mites.

    Gin
    Atlanta, GA

    #5163
    verachuckdave
    Participant
    • Topics started 23
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    Thanks to all for the insight and advice. Both the TRES house and the bluebird house were cleaned out after fledging. I wore rubber gloves and scooped the nests into a plastic bag and disposed of them. The bluebirds built a new nest in the cleaned out house. The TRES house remains empty. I can’t possibly express how small these bugs are. It would be impossible to see them on the side of the birdhouse. It amazing that I even spotted them on my skin. I was only able to see them because I was in very bright sunlight.

    I did go back to the birdhouse and installed the sparrow spooker, but I was careful not to rest my forearm or hand against the house. I’m just going to have to be careful around the houses. Those mites are creepy little buggers!

    Susan
    Pennsylvania

    #5174
    dogsandbirds
    Moderator
    • Topics started 5
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    You could try a putting a little diatomaceous earth under the nest. That might help with the mites. You can read about it here: https://richsoil.com/diatomaceous-earth.jsp

    Gin
    Atlanta, GA

    #5182
    verachuckdave
    Participant
    • Topics started 23
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    I’m a little afraid of getting that up close and personal with the nest after what happened yesterday. In the article about diatomaceous earth, it said that any moisture (even morning dew) renders it ineffective. However, if I get the courage to face the mites, is it okay to do this now while the mother bird is laying eggs? She laid her first egg yesterday.

    Susan
    Pennsylvania

    #5198
    dogsandbirds
    Moderator
    • Topics started 5
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    Yes, you can apply it now. There shouldn’t be any moisture in the box if it is well built.

    Mites won’t hurt you. Yeah, they are disgusting but harmless to humans. I have had them on me and I wasn’t happy either. Be tough!

    Gin
    Atlanta, GA

    #5203
    verachuckdave
    Participant
    • Topics started 23
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    Okay. You’ve convinced me. I will try to get the DE and treat the box under the nest tomorrow. There are two eggs in there, is that alright? P.S. — I have a swimming pool, so I know the difference between pool DE and food DE. I WON’T get the pool kind. :-}

    Susan
    Pennsylvania

    #5224
    tamsea
    Moderator
    • Topics started 26
    • Replies 699
    • Total Posts 725

    I deal with mites on a regular basis. I recommend a little Sevin. 5%. There’s been some concern recently about DE and baby birds according to the PMCA. So they aren’t recommending using it. They don’t officially recommend using Sevin either but unofficially they are. I bet that’s what happened. They could have quickly crawled on your little mechanics mirror and up your arm. I’ve had them on me many many times. Just put on those gloves. Tape the edges down and then put Vaseline on your arm at the base of the glove. That stops them from traveling up. For some reason I always forget and brush back a piece of hair and then they climb on my face. Gross!! Just use a spatula, lift the nest up and put a 1/4 tsp under the nest. And then scrub those gloved hands before you remove them to kill the mites that are on them.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by tamsea.

    Tammy

    #5242
    verachuckdave
    Participant
    • Topics started 23
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    • Total Posts 207

    Thanks, Tammy. I appreciate all of the tips. I have been constructing my wren guard today (I have never used one in the past, but with all of the horror stories on the forum, I decided it was time), so I didn’t get out to get the DE anyway. I will get the Sevin and try that.

    Susan
    Pennsylvania

    #5246
    tamsea
    Moderator
    • Topics started 26
    • Replies 699
    • Total Posts 725

    Use whatever you feel yoi want to use. I don’t want to negate anyones experience here with D? Some people swear by it but there’s been some concern with the Purple Martin Conservation Association about the teeny babies inhaling the DE and it really messing them up. There’s suppose to be an article on it but I haven’t seen it yet so I’m not sure if it exists or not. SOmeone told me they would try to find it. If I get it I’ll share it with others here. So I was just giving you another option.

    Tammy

    #5263
    verachuckdave
    Participant
    • Topics started 23
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    • Total Posts 207

    I put a 1/4 tsp of Sevin 5% under the bird’s nest last evening. This morning, I went out to attach the wren guard. Boy, those mites are still relentless. How long will it take the Sevin to work?

    Susan
    Pennsylvania

    #5296
    tamsea
    Moderator
    • Topics started 26
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    Check in ththe morning. They should be gone. If not you might have to take the bluebirds out and put new nesting material in the box with some Sevin underneath and then put it back in.

    Tammy

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