June 24, 2020 at 4:17 pm #8454
The tree swallows fledged yday and late day I wandered up to the box and it was swarming with thousands of bird mites. I’ve never seen any mites before when the swallows left. I had saved Renee’s tip about putting sevin under the nest, which of course, I failed to do. During box checks I saw no signs of them. I know this isn’t a bluebird question, but looking for advice about what to do at this stage. Do I just wait a few weeks before touching the box? I had wanted to remove the sparrow spooker but they were even on that! It’s like an Alfred Hitchcock movie!
I am certain the swallows have left & did drift some Sevin dust over the exterior areas last night at dusk. It rained about an hour later, which is why I felt ok doing that. One thing’s for sure: I’ll never not add dust under the nest again!June 24, 2020 at 6:27 pm #8455blue diamondsParticipant
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My tres swallows fledged last week. Both boxes had mights also. The second box was worse than the 1st. I didn’t realize it until I pulled the nest out and they were crawling up my arms….yuck! I wrapped the nest in a plastic bag and tossed it in the trash, hosed out the boxes……then poured a bleach/water mix in and on them…..rinsed again with hose water. All is well, but I felt crawly for days! I had a TRES nest once before and mites were not a problem.
Judy- MichiganJune 24, 2020 at 7:03 pm #8458
Judy, I reached out to touch the latch yday and bunches swarmed my hand. It just felt so awful. Like you, felt creepy crawly! Thanks for the advice. I’m wondering now if the weather played a part in this bloom of bugs. The high heat (upper 90s here) + dryness. That makes the mites multiply in the garden. It was just gross. Thank you for the tips! Breaking out the bleach!June 25, 2020 at 9:28 am #8462Carol – Mid-Mo.Participant
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Well, girls, this is part of our learning experience – not a pleasant one. I, too, had this happen one year I had TRES nest. I just opened up the box and all babies were dead (had a bad odor). When I pulled out the nest there were mites all over my arms, as did my hubby. Yuk! The previous year was the 1st time had TRES nest and they all fledged okay and did not have this mite problem). I read somewhere when they have a failure they do do not return to same area. Julie, use the bleach tip for the box, rinse well and let it dry. Sevin powder or low-level (o.03% – 0.1%) of Pyrethrin under the nest (I do not use any of these things) is suggested, or even do a nest change. There is a whole chapter on TRES on the http://www.sialis.org website (under TRES/problems). Weather probably has something to do with the mite problem.June 25, 2020 at 4:17 pm #8466ReneeinWinslowParticipant
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Spray your hands and arms with OFF before messing with a box with mites. Put on rubber gloves too if there are nestlings still in the box.
Use an old spatula to lift up the nesting material, then spread a thin layer of Sevin Dust on the box floor and gentle push the nest back down.
When The New Wears Off The Old Shines Through.June 25, 2020 at 8:25 pm #8468
Thank you for all the great tips, fellow bird lovers!! I had read about these mites on Sialis site last year, but was thankful I had not experienced them. I read on a purple martin thread that one guy sprays all of his martin boxes before they arrive with a low level of sevin liquid. Renee, your method seems more do-able to me. I feel bad for that last nestling–it was probably severely attacked after the others left! I’ll check the box this weekend and see what’s in there. Hopefully no (dead) babies remain. Thanks for the Off! tip, Renee!! Hadn’t thought of that.
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