Hedgehog Mites: Treatment And How To Get Rid Of Them
Hedgehog Mites: Treatment And How To Get Rid Of Them
- 1 Hedgehog Mites: Treatment And How To Get Rid Of Them
- 2 Where Do They Come From?
- 3 Signs Of Hedgehog Mites
- 4 Treatment Options
- 5 Ways To Prevent Mites In The Future
- 6 Wrapping Up
- 7 How To Deal With The Tiny, Itch-Inducing Bird Mite
- 8 Monitor the health of your community here
- 9 More Articles
- 10 What Do Mite Bites Look Like
- 11 Harvest Mites
- 12 Scabies Mites
- 13 Dust Mites
- 14 Itch Mites
- 15 Rodent and Bird Mites
- 16 The Year of the Mite
- 17 All About Dealing With Mites & Infestations
- 18 Frequently Asked Questions
- 19 How Mites Choose a Host and Why They Chose You.
- 20 If she/he has mites, why can’t you see them? Why don’t we have specimens?
- 21 65 thoughts on “ Frequently Asked Questions ”
Hedgehog mites can be a huge pain for both you and your pet. They cause a great deal of discomfort to your hedgie and require you to spend extra time treating them.
And they’re fairly common too. While it’s not a guarantee that your hedgehog will get mites at some point, the chance is a lot higher than a lot of owners realize.
Because of this, they’re underprepared when their poor hedgie actually gets them. This leads to unnecessary suffering and slow treatment for something that could have been taken care of quickly.
That’s why we put together this resource to help you better understand hedgehog mites and how to get rid of them. While they are something to take seriously, the course of action for treatment is actually pretty simple.
By the time you’re done reading this, you’ll be completely prepared for a case of mites and can quickly take care of your hedgie!
Where Do They Come From?
Hedgehog mites usually come from infested objects or other animals. These little critters are great at jumping from one place to the next, and can easily find their way to your hedgehog.
One of the most common sources of mites is from infested bedding or cage accessories (such as lining). This often happens at the pet store where they’re purchased since there are many other animals in the vicinity that could have mites.
If you have other pets in your house they’re also potential carriers of mites. Even if you don’t let them near your hedgehog it’s incredibly easy for mites to make their way over. This can come from towels, carpet, you name it. Mites are incredibly resilient and are not to be underestimated!
Quick Note: Hedgehog mites can lay dormant for a while until your hedgehog has a low enough immune system for them to spread. This is another great reason why striving for the very best in the health of your pet should be the goal!
Signs Of Hedgehog Mites
There are a number of different signs and symptoms of hedgehog mites that you should look out for. Fortunately, these should be fairly obvious as long as you’re taking good care of your hedgie and interacting with them on a regular basis.
Itchy And Dry skin
You might notice your hedgehog doing a fair bit of itching if they have mites. This should stand out to you because excessive itching is not normal. While they do itch from time to time, the difference should be fairly easy to identify.
The reason for this is that mites can get into the skin and cause a significant amount of irritation. This creates an itch that your hedgehog wants to get rid of (understandably). If they have mites they might try to gnaw at their skin as well.
You’ll also be able to notice a difference in their skin if you examine them. There will likely be a noticeable amount of flakes and redness.
Quick Tip: This is why it’s so important to pay attention to your hedgehogs. A quick inspection to make sure everything is alright will make it way easier to notice when something is wrong!
If you notice that your hedgehog is starting to lose a significant amount of their spines, it could be due to mites.
This is not to be confused with quilling, which is a normal process that all hedgehogs go through. This will happen a couple of times in their lives and will be a more evenly distributed and gradual exchange of quills.
If your hedgehog has mites, this will present quite differently.
You’ll typically see concentrated patches where their spines have fallen out. This will often happen on their backs (but not all the time).
This is a big red flag and isn’t something you can ignore.
Mites can cause a great deal of discomfort to your hedgehog. Because of this, you might find that they’re in a grumpier mood than usual.
They might try to nip or bite you if you touch a tender spot, or seem a little less energetic and ready to play. While these signs can also be the cause of another issue, it means something’s up.
Part of owning a pet hedgehog is maying attention to their behavior so you can keep them happy and healthy. Keep an eye on their moods and you can stop mites before they become a serious problem!
Mites On Other Animals
If another pet in your house (or a pet they play with) has had mites recently you should take any of the signs above very seriously. It’s incredibly easy for mites to make their way from one animal to another, and hedgehogs are no exception.
Hedgehog mite treatment is actually pretty simple. The most important thing is to look out for signs of mites and take action fast.
The most popular form of hedgehog mite treatment right now is using a product called Revolution. This is technically a product that was designed for cats to help free them of things like fleas, ticks, and worms.
However, it works great as a hedgehog mite treatment option too!
In order to get your hands on it, you’ll need to get a prescription from the vet, but it’s definitely worth the trip. You simply apply a couple of drops on the back of your hedgehog and all of their mites should be killed within 24 hours.
Revolution is also good at preventing future outbreaks for 30 days after the initial application. This will give you time to swap bedding and clean anything else in their cage.
Other Things You Can Do
Note: To be clear, these should not be done in place of Revolution or consulting your vet. This section simply covers some extra things you can do to make your hedgehog a little bit more comfortable if they have mites.
Depending on the severity of the infestation, your hedgehog might have a lot of lingering discomfort and irritation. Because of this, you can give them a nice bath to make them feel a little better.
It’s important to wait at least two hours after applying Revolution before doing this. After that point, it will be absorbed and fully effective for the next 30 days.
An oatmeal bath or bath with an Aveeno wash is a great way to reduce some of the itching and make them comfortable. This will also lead to them scratching a bit less, making it easier for the skin to heal.
- 33-fluid ounce bottle of gentle cleansing Aveeno baby wash and shampoo with natural oat extract
- The rich lathering wash & shampoo formula rinses clean & leaves behind a light, fresh fragrance
- The formula is tear-free, soap-free, hypoallergenic, paraben-free, and phthalate-free
- Rinses clean without drying
Don’t Forget To Wash Their Stuff!
If your hedgehog has mites you’ll need to wash everything in their habitat to be safe. This includes scrubbing down their cage, toys, wheel, and any other hard surface.
Tip: Use these cleaning wipes. They work great and don’t contain any products that are harmful to your hedgehog (like Lysol)
- Extra thick scrubbing dot wipes remove stubborn caked on cage debris
- Plant derived enzymatic odor control eliminates tough cage odors
- Convenience of a wipe with a best selling formula
- Made in USA
Also, swap out their bedding and wash any liners and towels that you’re using. This entire process won’t take that long and will make sure the mites don’t come back.
Ways To Prevent Mites In The Future
Preventing hedgehog mites is not that difficult. It’s really a matter of being consistent and making a habit of some very simple things.
First, washing your hands after you play with other animals can go a long way in preventing mites from making the journey to your hedgehog. It doesn’t matter what animal it is, always give your hands a good scrub before handling your hedgie.
This also applies if you visit a pet store as well. Pet stores are notorious for having dormant mites, so don’t forget!
It’s also a good idea to freeze any standard food or bedding your purchase for 24 hours before using it. Mites won’t be able to survive the low temperatures. A lot of people don’t do this, but it’s a great method that will give you peace of mind.
Last but not least, don’t skip baths! Giving your hedgehog a regular bath is one of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent them from getting mites. You should obviously be doing this anyway for general health and hygiene, but mite prevention is just another benefit.
It’s a good idea to throw in a couple of drops of olive oil with the bath as well. This is a cheap hack that is good for their skin and makes it even harder for mites to spread on your hedgehog.
Hedgehog mites are not fun for anyone. They’re uncomfortable for your poor little hedgie and they can be frustrating to deal with as an owner.
Luckily if you know what to do, getting rid of them is rather simple.
Even better, practice smart prevention habits to stop hedgehog mites from becoming a problem in the first place. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
How To Deal With The Tiny, Itch-Inducing Bird Mite
There’s a lot of misinformation about bird mites, which can be frustrating but are easily managed.
Bird mites would top a list of regularly misunderstood pests. For people who are unfamiliar with these creatures, they are tiny arachnids that suck the blood of the birds nesting in backyards. But under the right conditions, these same mites can wander indoors and inadvertently bite humans.
Without previous knowledge or experience with bird mites, the first inclination upon discovering them may be to do a quick Google search to learn more. Unfortunately, the internet is rife with misinformation about these creatures.
In the age of fake news, here’s another gentle reminder to assess the credibility of online sources. Search results may yield websites full of misleading, downright wrong, and in some cases, dangerous management recommendations about bird mites. University of Wisconsin-Madison Insect Diagnostic Laboratory clients have required consolation on multiple occasions because they’ve read about bird mites online — where they were led to believe that the mites will be infesting themselves, their homes and vehicles indefinitely.
At less than one millimeter long, bird mites are very small. However, they can be seen with the naked eye, and their nearly constant movement helps give them away. Perhaps the best description of their appearance is walking flakes of pepper.
Under magnification, bird mites have a somewhat tick-like appearance with eight legs and long, prominent mouthparts. The mites are often whitish in color with some black spots on the body that can turn darker after feeding.
Each year, 10-20 bird mite cases typically turn up during the spring and summer months at the lab. These mites can be quite common, but simply aren’t encountered unless a bird builds a nest very close at hand: under a back deck, on a patio light fixture, in a gutter or a damaged soffit area or in a shrub just outside a bedroom window.
True to their name, bird mites are parasites that feed on the blood of birds. These mites are often most noticeable when young birds have just left the nest and the mites wander desperately looking for a blood meal.
Bird mites have a brief time to live without an avian host, but they can make their way indoors where they can crawl on and errantly attempt to bite humans and pets. While the mites can be an itchy tingly nuisance, they are unable to survive on humans or in homes for any significant length of time. Scientific literature suggests that when parted from their avian hosts, common bird mites may be able to survive a matter of weeks only under the most ideal of conditions. In most cases, conditions for these mites away from birds are so hostile and dry that survival is limited to a few days at best, especially in a modern home with air conditioning.
As with many pest control situations, eliminating the source of the problem often brings about rapid results, and bird mites aren’t any different. If these pests are found, removal of a bird nest once the birds have left is the single most crucial step. Like flipping a switch, mite activity typically drops off rapidly within a day or two of the nest being removed.
As for the indoors, desiccation is probably the biggest threat to bird mites, so running an air conditioner and/or dehumidifier may help hasten their demise. Vacuuming, using sticky tape or wiping up mites with a damp soapy cloth can all help eliminate any additional stragglers that made it inside. Pest control professionals typically also apply to residual insecticide product to nearby areas to help control any residual mites.
Feeling itchy yet? Don’t worry, bird mites are an annoying but simply solved nuisance.
University of Wisconsin-Extension entomologist PJ Liesch is director of the UW-Madison Insect Diagnostic Lab, where he blogs about Wisconsin insects and can be found @WiBugGuy on Twitter.
Monitor the health of your community here
What Do Mite Bites Look Like
In their later stages of life, harvest mites only affect insects. However, in their larval stage they bite humans or other mammals. Harvest mite larvae are called “chiggers.” Probably the mite that most commonly affects humans, a chigger’s bite is painless as it is happening. It is not until later that the effects can been noticed. After the microscopic creature finishes feeding, it falls from the host and leaves in its wake a red swelling with a hard, white center 1. This welt comes with intense itching that is not terribly painful to scratch 1. Beware, though, because this may lead to too much scratching and a broken bite may allow further infection to invade. Welts generally have delayed onset, meaning they don’t form immediately upon exposure, and they may be accompanied by a mild fever.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Scabies mites fit into several groups, each of which prefers a specific species for feeding. Some choose humans to serve as hosts. They live their entire lives (about two weeks) in their host, who may not notice them for up to a month, depending on previous exposure. Scabies mites actually burrow into the skin, where they lay eggs. The discomfort scabies causes tends to be particularly intense at night, so patients sometimes suffer from lack of sleep. Redness and itching are the first signs but this may develop into a rash that includes small welts at the base of hairs. These may develop on most of the body, including the thighs, calves, armpits, and wrists.
Dust mites don’t actually bite humans but they do have distressing effects. They generally feed on flakes of dead skin so they live in places like upholstered furniture and mattresses. They and their feces may become airborne, triggering allergic reactions in humans. These reactions include respiratory effects, like asthma attacks, and dermatological symptoms, most often a red, itchy rash. Dust mites do best in humid environments, so consistently low humidity in the home can keep dust mites at bay.
Itch mites generally prefer insects to humans, but people who are in frequent contact with hay, grass, and seeds may be bitten 1. The bite itself isn’t felt but will cause the later (about 12 hours) onset of a small red swelling with a pimple-like elevation at the center 1. Itch mite bites are particularly painful when scratched. They usually bite unprotected areas like the face and arms. For the most part, humans are relatively safe from itch mites but, with an itch mite population boom, the mites will take any host they can get 1. They cannot, however, live on humans nor can they survive indoors, so they are not a huge threat.
Rodent and Bird Mites
As their name suggests, rodent and bird mites prefer rodents (mice or rats, depending on the specific type) and birds (including chickens and pigeons) to people. However, if these mites find themselves without a host, they are willing to bite humans. Rodent and bird mites are blood-suckers, and leave inflammation and redness around the bite. As with other mite reactions, intense itching usually accompanies exposure 1.
In their later stages of life, harvest mites only affect insects. It is not until later that the effects can been noticed. Some choose humans to serve as hosts. They generally feed on flakes of dead skin so they live in places like upholstered furniture and mattresses. Itch mites generally prefer insects to humans, but people who are in frequent contact with hay, grass, and seeds may be bitten. They cannot, however, live on humans nor can they survive indoors, so they are not a huge threat. Rodent and bird mites are blood-suckers, and leave inflammation and redness around the bite.
The Year of the Mite
All About Dealing With Mites & Infestations
Frequently Asked Questions
How Mites Choose a Host and Why They Chose You.
Having a family member or friend with parasitic mites can be confusing. The affected person claims to be infested, yet the mites are not visible and there are often no physical signs. Here are some questions and answers that may help.
If she/he has mites, why can’t you see them? Why don’t we have specimens?
Bird mites are notoriously hard to catch. They are the size of the point of a pin, translucent, and quick moving. The glue traps used for mites don’t have pheromones, like moth traps do, so they don’t attract mites. Mites respond strongly to pheromones, so it would be a big improvement if mite traps were baited with pheromones.
Researchers working with scavenger face mites (which we all have) developed a way of capturing mite DNA from human skin using strong glue. Then they sequence the DNA to find the species. If this method starts being used for parasitic mites, it will become easier to help people with bird mites.
If my family member has mites, why are there no bite marks?
When a mite ingests living blood, the blood mounts an immune response from inside the mite’s gut. When any parasite ingests blood, it leaves behind proteins in the host. Mites have evolved to leave behind a protein that suppresses the immune system of the host, so the mite won’t be attacked by its food. One effect of immunosuppression is that bite marks are less pronounced (or nonexistent) when a host has been bitten by mites for months.
If one family member has mites, why don’t other people in the family have them?
Agricultural bulletins advise farmers who think their flock may have mites to take several chickens to the veterinarian. This is because there is a big variation in the level of infestation of different individuals. The tendency to choose just one chicken is adaptive for mites, who cluster on one bird in a flock and bleed it to the point where it is a stationary meal.
There is no reason mites infesting a human family would behave differently than they do when they choose a favorite chicken.
My doctor/pesticide professional/farm club teacher says chicken mites don’t bite people, and/or can’t reproduce on human blood. Is that true?
An article published in a 1958 science journal documented finding human blood cells in mite intestines. The only way those cells got there is for “bird mites” to feed on human blood. It is surprising that misinformation about mites has persisted for decades.
Leading mite experts acknowledge that what we call “bird mites” can reproduce when they feed on human blood. These mites can adapt to a variety of species.
Our house has already been treated for mites. Why does my family member still claim to get bitten?
Farmers know how hard it is to get rid of mites in a chicken coop. Sometimes the only way is to burn it to the ground, and then treat the dirt where the coop stood. Treatment isn’t easy in a human home, either.
Mites rapidly evolve resistance to pesticides. In addition, mites can hide inside books, wood paneling, etc., during pest treatment. Pest control professionals realize there is no test to prove that a building no longer has mites. As a result, a pest control company typically will refuse to represent in writing that the mites in a treated building are gone. The most accurate way to check the effectiveness of pest control efforts is to treat a home and then see if a susceptible person is still bitten.
How do you get rid of mites and how long does it take?
The key to getting rid of mites is to kill them faster than they can reproduce. And because the host and the environment are co-infested, both must be addressed at the same time.
Killing mites involves:
- Frequent and thorough cleaning of the body and the dwelling
- Use of pyrethrins and other pesticides on the dwelling
Lowering mites’ reproductive rate involves:
- Using growth hormones on the dwelling that prevent sexual maturation of mites
- Eliminating mite hiding places (carpeting in home and car; clutter; long hair on the body)
- Maintaining a cool, dry environment (use of dehumidifiers in all rooms is recommended)
Every situation is different and there is no exact timeline. Having family support for the work involved can speed up the process.
Is there a diagnostic test for mites? How about a treatment?
Research is being conducted on a nucleic acid test that would indicate a current infestation, but the test is still in development.
As for a treatment: researchers are developing a poultry vaccine that would boost the ability of the bird’s immune system to combat parasitic mites. It would be possible to develop a similar vaccine for humans.
When chicken mites are diagnosed in a coop, the coop and the chickens are treated at the same time. Some doctors prescribe Ivermectin to people with chicken mites. Just as with chickens and chicken coop, ivermectin treatment of a person should be coordinated with treating the family home.
Mites are supposed to be ectoparasites that live outside the body. My family member claims mites bite her/him inside her/his nose and ears. How is that possible?
We call bird mites ectoparasites. But mites are attracted to warmth and moisture. And there is no dividing line stopping a mite from crawling into a body cavity.
Are mite infestations becoming more common?
There are several reasons why mite infestations may be increasingly common.
- Mites reproduce rapidly and are evolving resistance to pesticides.
- The popularity of backyard poultry raised by non-farmers who lack pest management skills may lead to more mites (and bed bugs) in our cities and towns.
- Global warming could also make it easier for these heat-loving organisms to spread.
What can our family do to help?
Keep an open mind. Your family member cannot prove she/he has mites, and you cannot prove she/he does not have mites. If your loved one does have an infestation, saying the person has a psychological problem will add to the heavy burden of getting rid of these vermin. Imagine being in their shoes.
Your family member may get lucky and capture a specimen tomorrow. Or they may never have that good fortune. Either way, this is a person you love and respect. Trust them to let you know the kind of help they need.
65 thoughts on “ Frequently Asked Questions ”
Instead of spending all of the energy and money changing the external environment, how about changing the host’s (us) internal environment enough that the mites don’t see you as an opportune hose…
Because these parasitic mites co-infest the host and the environment, a coordinated approach that works with both the host environment and the external environment seems most effective. If you have ideas about improving the host side of the equation, I’d be interested in hearing them.
Hello all. I don’t think I have(had?) the dreaded ‘red mite’, but either the tropical or northern fowl from nesting pigeons on an AC unit (I’m resident in The Bahamas). I’ve been on the rampage against the critters from the end of August – disposed of quite a few items, followed the cleaning, laundry, bin, trash routine and even moved, though I didn’t try a PCO in the new place, nor was I in a position to get rid of my car (shampooed and tried to treat it daily however). My skin, at least, has taken a beating for sure. I still get the random crawling sensation and tiny little bumps that could be bites. How long does it take before you know you’ve hit ‘normal’ again? I have really good hours/days and sometimes I’m just a wreck. I feel like I will simply never know, especially as upon inspection of every black speck, I see no movement but I’m still feeling something.
Definitely looking forward to the publication of the book!
Hello DW — Sorry to hear of the challenges you are facing.
Unfortunately there is no guaranteed time frame, and there are many complicating factors, including the climate where you live (low temp and low humidity are best), how much stuff you own, whether you have rugs/curtains, how many people are affected, etc.
The simpler you can make your life, the better.
And if the time between bites is lengthening, that’s a good sign.
Check out the Protocols on here, keep throwing away everything you can, and best of luck!
Hi.I am scared. We hav 2 people that came to stay with us.they are infested from Feb this year…they lost everything..cut hair short.sold their car.and home and lived in a tent…will we get it.
I can understand your concern, but am not sure from what you wrote whether the two people came to stay with you before or after they became infested.
If they came to stay with you while they and their belongings had parasitic mites, then there is a possibility they could have left some mites behind. In that case, you might want to take some steps such as frequent cleaning and vacuuming.
The protocols on this website could be handy if you begin to experience symptoms – doesn’t sound like you have symptoms at this point.
Best of luck,
I have read your book and other relevant literature and wonder why it is recommended that one washes clothes with hot water if the mites are resistant to extreme temperatures. Would warm water not work just as well?
And thank you for asking an excellent question!
It is very true that mites can survive a wide temperature range. In my family, we found this out the hard way when we tried structural pasteurization as a way to kill parasitic mites in our house. It just didn’t work. Rather grim chapter about that in my book.
So, as you say, why use hot water to do laundry? Especially when it is so hard on clothes.
The problem here, as in so many matters relating to ending an infestation, is that there are almost no controlled experiments. Since this public health challenge officially doesn’t exist, there is almost no real controlled research. We are all just trying stuff until the mites die. Even after killing mine off, it is still hard to know which combination of the zillions of things I tried really did the trick.
All I can tell you is, it seemed like laundry washed in hot water had fewer mites. But I was changing a lot of things at any given time. So I really don’t know what did what.
Sorry for such a pathetic answer, but it is what it is.
If I were in your shoes, I’d use hot water.
Best of luck and please keep in touch.
I found that adding salt in my washing machine drawer had great results. Salt kills them instantly. I would also recommend spraying down furniture and fabrics with salt water. You need to first dilute the salt well in warm water or it will clog up the spray nozzle. The most powerful method I have found for control is MMS – the bath protocol. Using 45 drops of MMS activated with 45 drops of citric acid in the bath, twice a day. Numbers have decreased significantly but I have not yet eridated them altogether. My face has been scarred and this year long ordeal has been torture. Not made easier by my GP who implied that I am either delusional, or that this is an allergy and I need to take anti-histamines. I am now on my way to see an ayruvedic practitioner. It makes sense that as I got these in India, an Indian doctor will have better answers than an ignorant GP.
I have been infested for over a year. They have spread to my entire bodyan I can nnot get a Dr. to take this serious an do tests. How can I get help?
A year is a long time to battle this. You must be exhausted. So sorry for your trouble, and for the lack of help you are receiving. Please write back and let me know roughly where you are located, in case I or others on this site know of resources local to you. In some cases, there are knowledgeable pest control operators and/or local entomologists who can help. The difficult reality is, however, that for most folks with parasitic mites, we must solve the problem largely on our own. Please look at the protocols on this site and start with the least time consuming and least toxic options, such as running dehumidifiers in your home. You might also check out the Skin Mites Support Group on Facebook. There are many folks on there sharing ideas — but again, please use your best judgement and begin with the safest strategies.
Please write again and let me know how you are doing.
All the best,
I just found your website and we are currently living through this nightmare hell! I really wish I would’ve found this 7 months ago. 7 month of chasing our tails and from the beginning I kept trying to tell my family and medical doctors that I thought it was bird mites but all they thought I was some crazy whacked out drug addict. Even took several test along the way just to prove to them that I wasn’t! They even tried to commit me to the psych ward! I was in total hell! I finally took matters into my own hands and by trial and error we thought we had it under control. That was until the cold came. We are currently in the process of removing all our insulation in our attics and home and replacing EVERYTHING. We have nearly thrown everything away also!
We had three sparrows that were dead in our yard that came back positive for West Nile Virus. We found three abandon nest around our house, one in the attic, one in a light, and one between a wall in the house that we didn’t even know there was no inside wall. The people who owned the home before us remodeled the bathroom, instead of removing the window and putting insulation and sheet rock they just put a plastic shower shell. That is where we started feeling the worst when this started! We were loosing our minds, we ripped our entire house to the frame! Our neighbor didn’t care for his property, he had overgrowth as tall as his house, we found rotten old furniture under the overgrowth that was harboring mosquitoes like crazy. Those mosquitoes are West Nile carrying mosquitoes we found out from our local heath department. Which the birds than got sick and when they died the nest were abandoned and what happens! MITES! They come looking for food! I can’t imagine we are the only ones having issues
I’m waiting for a local Veterinarian to get back to me because she had made a statement that stuck in the back of my head and I think we could bring awareness to this! There is definitely not enough information out there on this nor education. And the medical field is way lacking on help! So thank you for this website and I can’t wait to start your book tonight!
Very sorry to hear of all the challenges you and your family have been facing with ectoparasites. The combination of dealing with mites, and coping with professionals who are anything but helpful, is so very difficult. Bravo to you for believing in yourself and your experience. It sounds like you have done a lot of good work to control your infestation. I hope the protocols and other information on this site are helpful, and glad to hear you’re reading the book – hope it will help as well with eradicating this scourge from your household.
You didn’t mention your location, but please consider using dehumidifiers, especially if you are in an area with high humidity. Mites are less successful at surviving and mating when their exterior surfaces are dried out. And dehumidifiers are very little work, as well as non-toxic — two big advantages.
In your dealings with professionals, you may find it helpful to share an article by David George et al. that is mentioned elsewhere on this website:
The authors ask the question, “Should the Poultry Mite Dermanyssus gallinae be of wider concern for veterinary and medical science?” and answer with a resounding yes. Because this article is written by a group of entomologists who are expert in acarology (the study of mites), it carries more weight with other professionals than reports of infestation by affected lay people.
In a larger sense, the solution to this dilemma will involve breaking through the denial of professionals and enlisting their assistance in developing effective diagnostics and treatment. This kind of change is on the horizon, but we are not there yet. In the meantime, each person and family affected by mites must educate ourselves and become our own scientists.
Wishing you all the best in your continued efforts. Stay strong, remain connected, and keep fighting. Please write again and let me know how it goes.
We live in Milan, IL. The area is called Big Island (Rock Island County if you want to Google to see where it is). The Mississippi River, Rock River, and Hennipen Canal come together basically in my back yard. With the backwaters and floodwaters you can imagine the amount of bugs we get! This year was the worst year for mosquitoes in all the years we have lived out here.
We do currently run dehumidifiers. We thought we had the issue under control until the cold came, what we didn’t know was they needed another host and somewhere we had or have one. We have found signs of mice so we have set traps and pretty much have thrown everything we own away. I had an expert come in Friday, waiting to hear what his samples consist of.
One thing I can’t seem to find answers for us we have a sand point well. Can this stuff get into our well or septic system? We have had the water tested but we are going to have another water test done since our local health Dept did the first want, we want to see what a third party results are compared to the health dept, we are also going to have an air quality and soil sample done just as precautionaries.. I thought I saw somewhere in your site or FB page about septic: do you have any experience in this area?
I don’t know if it’s a mind over matter thing but I feel like they get in the food I have in the house too. I’ve thrown entire meals away because I would see pieces of food “walk” away and I couldn’t bring myself to feed that stuff to my family.. I have a cast iron pan that I use everyday, it was my grandmothers and its old. Somedays I feel like they are in there too.
I really think my family and I are on the right path with the right people. I finally shared my experience on FB and the response was incredible. I have several friends who now have read your book and they so much want to help bring this to light in our area.
Thank you again!
Hello Melissa, it sounds like you and your family are having a really tough time of it. Unfortunately many of the challenges you’re experiencing are quite different from what my family went through — and as a result, you may have quite different organisms than we had, and the advice on this website may not be that helpful. For example, the arthropods we had did much better in hot weather, and it sounds like yours do better in cold.
Your best bet is probably to find an exterminator in your area with an entomologist onsite, who can identify any organisms the company captures. You may also have some kind of county or state Vector Department, but you’ll need to look online to see about that.
wishing you all the best, and if you are able to identify your species (could be more than one), please let me know.
If you happen to get this three times I’m sorry, I’ve wrote it out and it has said it posted but it has been a few days and has not shown up.
We live in Milan, IL, if you Google Map Big Island, Milan, IL Rock Island County you will see that Mississippi River, Rock River, and Hennepin Canal come together basically in my back yard! So we have LOTS of bugs and critters that come around. We constantly run dehumidifiers and they barely keep up some days but they seem to be helping.
Since my last post we have learned so much more! We found that they will find another host and they did, mice in the attics. We have two attics in our house and both have burrowing tunnels and signs of mice. We are starting to see a light at the end of this but we still have a ways to go and still a lot of work to do. Last night was the first night I had decent sleep and today was the first day I felt like they weren’t in my hair after I showered. So we must be making progress.
We also did a timeline leading up to this, we do believe that we have had this infestation for years and never knew it. Almost three years ago my boyfriend broke out in welts and, every one of the welts was like it was in the hair follicle , he is a machinist by trade and a hobbyist gardener so who knows what he gets into being outside all the time. Doctor told him it was Poison Ivy and I told him to find a new doctor, because Poison Ivy doesn’t do that. He got a second opinion and they said it could be from the oils from the machines at work. It was not long after our dog mysteriously couldn’t walk one day that I started having the problems not long after that. My boyfriend would’ve just went on with life and wore long sleeve shirts had I not gotten this stuff but I’m not one to just live with this. I refuse to live the rest of my life miserable and feel like I always have bugs on me. So it’s going to be a process to fully rid of this but we are no where near done with getting rid of them nor learning about them.
I thought I read somewhere that you had bought a house with a septic. We have a shallow sand point well and septic system. We can’t seem to find anything about mites Do you have any information? I don’t know much about parasites but I’ve read several places that mold spores and mites could go together, maybe once the spores are stirred up it can stir the mites up. We have a reservoir tank with a plastic bladder in it for our well, I’m afraid that it could have mold or mites in it. We have had our water tested but the county health dept did it and they are the same people who refuse to return our phone calls and emails. We are going to have a third party test it a second time just as a security precaution.
I’m meeting with a local veterinarian on Saturday who has sent our case on to people who are boarded in Public Health and have backgrounds in zoonotic diseases. I’m hoping for a breakthrough from this hell because the medical field in my area needs some serious education on zoonotic diseases. One would think since we have the Mississippi River running right here by and all of nasty things that exist in it we would have medical doctors where who do that kind of research or know about this stuff! Since I’m not a animal I did have to not give my cat his prevention medication this month so she could do testing on him and the poor guy is showing signs of something. I’m pretty excited to hear what she has to say and what she finds. Hoping between her and the expert from Friday we can bring this full circle, receive medical attention, and then educate our community!
One last thing, when you went through this did you ever feel like they were in your food? Like strange things would happen? I find the strangest stuff in my oven and under my stove. I can put hamburger in my cast iron on low and come back to a line of grease on the stove from the opposite side of the stove. I’m going to be honest I haven’t been able to fully get through your book because not only am I trying to rid this every waking moment, I work full time, and I have two children. I don’t have enough hours in the day to do all that and fight mites it seems like!
Hello Again Melissa,
Very sorry to have taken so long to respond to both your emails.
I hope that by now you’ve gotten an identification of the species involved and some relief through a pest control service.
Again, their behavior is quite different than we experienced, and since I’m not an entomologist, I’m not able to advise about this.
Will say that in regard to septic tanks: My understanding is not all types of cleaning fluid can be used, which will require some careful planning about what to use.
Please let me know how it goes.
All the best,
I am just now infested, less than 3 weeks. Throwing everything out. Do you know of anyone infesting the workplace? I am considering quiting my job so as to not put them at further risk. I do bodywork.
Great that you recognize the issue so soon after being infested. If you hit it hard and hit it early, you minimize the chances both of longterm impact for you, and of transmitting the problem in the workplace.
I had a significant infestation and kept working. As far as I know, the extent of transmission at work was two colleagues being bitten once each. This even though my office was carpeted. I did use a dehumidifier in the office and vacuumed my room every day.
However, your situation is somewhat different because you do bodywork. Unfortunately this is one of many areas that needs to be studied and has not received adequate study, because there is so much denial about the existence of this problem.
So unfortunately I can’t advise you. You can certainly lower the risk of transmission by rigorous protocols. You will need to use your judgment, including monitoring people you work with for signs of a problem.
Please let me know how you decide to handle this, and how it goes.
Should clarify. Just exposed less than 3 weeks. Just started to be bitten this week.
OK, same comments apply as per response to your earlier message.
Hi Jane, I have been infested going on five years. I have tried everything–I live in a wood-floored apt. and sleep on a table. I clean everyday, spray my floors and surfaces, alternating with an IGR and spinosad. I tried spending a few months changing locations everyday and wearing new clothes. I shaved my head, got rid of everything I own, changed my diet, quit my job (now working from home). Every 12 hours I put a different topical on my body, and most mornings I will get at least 20 to come to the surface. Sometimes, I spend an hour and wipe off a hundred. I have a BS in biology, and I have good eyesight (I can see the mites). Within the first year, my body developed some kind of resistance to the bites, and now I don’t feel any bug bites–not even other species, like mosquito. I just see the bumps. And they go away really fast. Anyway, I’d like to contribute my story. I would give anything for an immunization. I contracted these in WY. I had a mice infestation, and a few months after I got rid of those, I was attacked by these mites. I’ve never sent the specimen to be identified so I’m not sure what species I’ve got. I guess I was in denial. I don’t know that it really matters though–these have evolved to live off me and on me. I just bought your book. Your book is the first day of hope I’ve had in years. Are you still conducting research? Is there someone who is? I would gladly be an experiment for treatments!
Hello Darlena, very sorry to hear of your years of difficulty with infestation. And must comment that you are the first person with a biology background I’ve heard from on this site. It sounds like you figured out a lot of the same strategies I used, but unfortunately you haven’t had as good luck getting rid of them. I hope the book has at least a few additional ideas that might be helpful — and the protocols are on this website too.
I have not done anything that could be characterized as formal research. Like so many people with parasitic mites, I tried a bunch of possible solutions and some worked better than others. However, there are researchers in Europe who have become interested in the problem. I hope we will soon see work on a PCR based diagnostic, among other initiatives.
With your interest in research, I suggest you contact Dr. Olivier Sparagano in the UK. His email is: [email protected]
Olivier convenes a group of entomologists who are exploring the subject of human infestation by parasitic mites.
And if you’d like to read more, a great place to start is Dr. David George’s review article in Parasite & Vector:
Please keep in touch. I believe we are entering a new era of dealing with this problem, and those of us with a science background who have been affected can become a real resource in that change.
All best wishes,
I have been dealing with bird mites for 7 years. I naively brought an abandoned bird nest into my house because I love nature. A few weeks later I was getting bites all over and woke up with them crawling all over me and out of my ears and nose. I can’t see them and have tried everything: moved twice, retired from my job, got rid of my car, etc. Main thing to understand is that they are on and in you, as well as the environment. Went to 8 different doctors who basically said I was delusional. I discovered the bird mite website which helped me understand what i was dealing with. After using many chemical pesticides that did not work, decided to go all natural with Kleen green, vinegar, alcohol, and various herbal blends as washes. I am having some success with a combo of witch hazel (not the bottled kind but a homemade decoction from the bark and leaves), wormwood, neem and mugwort. Now, the crawling and bites are down, but they are still infesting me. Progress is very slow. I did get skin samples with tape and sent them to UC Davis entomology dept. and they confirmed the existence of the bird mites but said they could not have infested/colonized me! The medical/scientific community knows nothing about this and will not go against the standard response of “delusional parasitosis” or Morgellon’s disease. I have some Ivermectin pills but am afraid to take them as I am unsure of the correct dosage without a doctor’s oversight. I take regular hot saunas and that has helped a lot. These critters are survivalists and I expect it will take at least another year before I can get rid of them, if ever. I am now 71 and just hoping I can survive them. I too have a degree in biology, and have studied herbalism.
Thanks for your site and info.
Bravo for the steps you have taken to contain (and hopefully soon eliminate) your infestation.
It is great that you got species confirmation from UC Davis. As you probably know, in California the strongest miticides can’t legally be used absent a mite species ID.
And yet that pushback about human infestation. I suggest you send your contact at UC Davis a copy of David George’s article in Parasites & Vectors, “Should the poultry red mite Dermanyssus gallinae be of wider concern for veterinary and medical science?”
Written by a group of entomologists, it raises the question to which we know the answer is a resounding, yes.
I hope you’ll find some helpful additions to your regimen in the protocols on this site. In particular, running dehumidifiers and desiccating the damned things is an easy and non-toxic approach. Please consider your car as a fomite as well, and take a look at Jeeps or a Honda Element (two alternatives without upholstery or carpeting).
You are smart to be careful about Ivermectin, which is a low dose of a pesticide. If you wanted, you could likely find dosage info on the FDA website or from other sources. But other approaches to skin care, like frequent swimming in a chlorinated pool, may have less risk.
Wishing you quick progress to a complete recovery. Please let me know how it goes.
All the best,
I got your book, and have just read part of it so far, but our similarities are amazing. At first, I contacted pest company who sprayed miticides, which did not work. I remember reading about mite sufferers and thinking “it can’t get that bad” then it did. I fled my house after the first month of bites when they were just everywhere and I could feel them land on me the moment I walked in the door. I stayed at my daughter’s house the first night and in the middle of the night they were all over me, which is when I realized they were in and on me as well as in the house. Then I stayed in hotels for a week, and rented an apt. near my demanding job as director of arts nonprofit. My office was infested, I set off bombs there and in my house and car but that did nothing but make them mad. I used stuff like RID weekly, showered at least three X day…had to get up in the night to shower them off. Within a month, the apt. was infested badly. Meanwhile, I got a hazmat suit to go into my house to retrieve things I needed and set off bug bombs. After not living there for 6 weeks, they calmed down a bit, so I went back there on weekends, keeping the apt. for 6 month lease and juggling which place was more infested. I finally retired from the job two years into this ordeal, and got the house ready to sell, and left town (I’m in Seattle) for a trip to California spas. Used everything I could find to try to get rid of them…permethrin, antibiotics (really screwed me up), borax solutions, Ozone emitters, h2o2, a million things. Moved again and junked car, bought used car, which of course was quickly infested. Discovered saunas four years ago, and joined health club and now swim 3x week for an hour each time, then 1/2 hour sauna (170-190 degrees). Also decided to go all natural at that point since pesticides did not work, so using herbs, tinctures, essential oils, etc. Herbal parasite cleanses helped with internal stuff.
This month is my 7 year anniversary with the mites. The numbers are way down, but they are still in and on me. The bites/sores I have are actually mite nests. If I scratch them or try to dig out the stuff in them, mites attack my face, mainly head to my nose and ears. I saw in one of your sources that those with immunosuppressed skin issues are more susceptible. I have psoriasis, and my skin grows crusty over the bites. In fact, when this first happened I went to my long time dermatologist who told me it was just more aggressive psoriasis and it was impossible for me to have mites. The contact at UC Davis was 3 years ago; I was just so glad to have confirmation that the mites existed!
Few people believe me, and the worst part of this is the TABOO nature of it. I have been trying to write about this aspect, and applaud your outspoken take on it. It is so easy to almost believe you are insane when you go through this, especially for an Irish-used to be Catholic girl. I am trying to live my life while I deal with it. It is a waiting game, with mite numbers going down slowly. It is much better than it was, but still awful and some of the horrors are really hard to write about…mites oozing out of my pores, clicking sounds they make in the middle of the night, the new moon and full moon frenzies, etc. Thanks so much for your book and resources, and for listening! Can’t wait to read about how you got rid of them…
I’m so sorry to hear of your very long battle with infestation. I hope some of the protocols in the book or this website might help you to get rid of the bug completely.
Yes it is amazing how many similarities there are between stories: the incredulity about how bad the experience can get, the difficulty obtaining help from professionals, the need to take treatment into one’s own hands, the many experiments on one’s own skin, the challenges communicating with unaffected persons. I suspect that much of this will change once people with parasitic mites start getting DNA evidence of infestation — the professional denial will likely shift when more data is available (unless the experts are too invested in non-fact-based hypotheses).
You have taught yourself a lot, and it’s paying off over time. May you soon find full resolution.
Please keep in touch and let me know how it goes.
All best wishes,
I hope by now you are getting some relief from your infestation, and I hope the mite protocols here and in the book were helpful.
Keep up the good work! It does get better.
Thanks for your kind words, and please let me know how it goes.
Finished your book, which left me hopeful. I am envious that you were able to get rid of them! I do remember a time in the first year or so, before they really dug in, (literally), when that may have been possible. At that time I had a long ferry commute to work and felt really trapped by the whole thing. I did use a dehumidifier in my house then, but did not notice much change because there were so many of them…I figure I have dealt with billions of them over the years. Anyway, I got the dehumidifier out from storage and have been using it regularly and it seems to be working!! The other new thing I am doing is adding cayenne pepper to the herbal wash with neem, witch hazel bark, quassia, wormwood, mugwort and essential oils, and maybe that is helping too. After so long, I am amazed that something is working. I have heard that the “seven year itch” really did come from scabies/mite lore, so this may be my lucky year. Thanks so much for all of your research and for speaking out about this curse.
Just ordered your book and can’t wait to read it.. I been going through this mite infestation for about 6 months. now. I have to say its better than it was but we still have them. I’m the only one in the house it seems to bother. We are having all the insulation removed in our attic, fogged and walls dusted . I hope and pray it helps. I have my clothes in Ziploc bags. I have done most of all the things you have done. The strange thing is my bedroom seems to be ok. We never wear dirty clothes in there only straight from shower. I use eucalyptus oil in diffuser every night. Its the only place I can rest. I can’t sit on my living room furniture and we already threw one away. We bought this house little over a year ago. It had bird nest on the front porch and we also found dead mice in insulation under the floor. What can you do about the mites that has buried in your furniture and clothes. I have threw away almost all clothes, bedding and furniture. I’m constantly looking at stuff under microscope. Any advise sure would help. Thank you just for listening. Sheila
Very sorry to hear of your problems with infestation. Glad you are getting some relief with the Eucalyptus oil. It is one of several oils that have been shown to be toxic to mites. I hope that some of the other ideas in the book protocols are useful as you fight the infestation.
By the way, I’ve read in a mite textbook that parasitic mites do often choose a favorite host from the group where they are living. Chicken farmers are advised to take more than one chicken to the veterinarian when they suspect an infestation, because some are likely much more infested than others. People seem to be the same way.
The more you throw out the better, and of course if you have any animal vectors still in your house (such as rodents), they need to be eliminated.
Best of luck to you and your family. Please let me know how it goes.
Is it possible for an infestation to occur after one bird (Starling) was stuck in our dryer vent/dryer hose for a little overy a day? We had someone get the bird out, but did not know if it had mites on it or not. Can the mites have been shaken off into our dryer and if so, would they be able to thrive or reproduce even if the bird is gone? We did not see any mites so far, but I’m still being cautious and not doing any laundry at the moment. Can a single bird within our home cause an infestation? And how long would it take for the mites to seek a new host? We are staying cautious and sleeping on bottom floor (laundry is upstairs). So far there are no symptoms, but I’m afraid it may be too soon to tell. It’s only been a few days since the bird was removed. Any insight is greatly appreciated. Thank you.
This is the first time I’ve heard from someone who does not have (and has not experienced) a mite infestation. I wonder how you heard about bird mites?
We all know that prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that is very true when it comes to parasitic mites. I’d suggest you clean the inside of your dryer very thoroughly, and also clean your laundry room thoroughly. Did you have the vent/hose replaced when the bird was removed? If not, you’ll need to clean that thoroughly as well.
For extra assurance, you could run a dehumidifier in your laundry room.
After you’ve thoroughly cleaned your laundry room, it wouldn’t hurt to vacuum the upstairs as well.
And you won’t see mites… they are really tiny.
Best of luck to you and your family,
I’ve been dealing with these mites for two years. Long story that I won’t go into. I was just on prednisone for a bulging disc, and didn’t get bitten or feel crawled on the whole time. I wish I knew of something natural that would make me that unpalatable to them.
Hello Deborah, your story is intriguing. It makes me wonder what a controlled study would show, about people who have parasitic mites and then go on steroids. Unfortunately there are few to zero controlled studies, and so people with mites carry on sharing anecdotal experience and hoping for the best. Yes, it would be marvelous if something natural repelled or killed parasitic mites. The closest we seem to have is essential oils, for which there is published data, at least for Dermanyssus gallinae (see Olivier Sparagano’s book). Best of luck to you, Jane.
Since I wrote I have found something that helps a lot, which is a dehumidifier. We initially put it in the garage. All my things from the office I worked in when I started getting the bites are in there. After a couple of weeks I was able to help my husband in the garage for over an hour without feeling anything on me.
We then moved it to our bedroom. Not great for my skin, etc., and it makes the room warmer, but I had almost complete relief.
We then moved it to the middle of the house and opened all the closets to dry out as many of the little demons as possible. Now, for the most part, they only attack when I’m sitting on the patio.
I absolutely do not believe that they need birds to reproduce. I left the office that was infested over a year ago, and these things are still living.
Of course, I believed all the info that said they can’t last for more than 3 weeks without eating (I hadn’t found your book yet), and, a month after starting my new job, brought some of the things from my old office to my new office, and there are mites living there now. Oddly enough, the ones in the office are red, and the ones at home are black. I’m very nearsighted, so I can see them up close if I wipe them off with white toilet paper.
This all started when they cleaned the air ducts in my old building. There was probably a bird’s nest in the ducts. Life has been very stressful since then (April 2015), and since I have MS, that’s not good.
I am taking antibiotics this week for a sinus infection, and the bugs love me!
So a dehumidifier is worth trying, especially for anyone who can’t sleep due to biting. Hopefully they can’t evolve to survive being dried out.
Hello Deborah, very sorry to hear of your problems with mites. One of the advantages of dehumidifiers is their relative safety compared with other ways of fighting mites. Unfortunately they are usually not enough by themselves, but a great place to start. Very glad you are able to fight them, and hoping other suggestions in the protocols on this website will be helpful as well.
Best of luck, and take care,
I am a kidney dialysis patient with a catheter. I have informed the center. Can’t find info on internet! I think it’s bird mites! Help.
I am very sorry to hear of your troubles with mites at a vulnerable time in your life. Please read the protocols on this website and think about what parts you can use in your situation. Also, try printing out Dr. David George’s article in Parasites & Vectors and sharing with the professionals you are dealing with. Hoping you will find some sympathetic, listening professionals.
Best of luck and do let me know how it goes, and here is the link: https://parasitesandvectors.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13071-015-0768-7
I’m too upset to even write my whole experience. I startedcrying just reading your info. Really overwhelming for meto actually talk about it. I have been dealing with this for some months but my therapist said that I was imagining it and someone online on a website about bug infestation or whatever you call it. Someone commented “you people better stop taking meth.” I’m just really overwhelmed we don’t have any money to buy things to treat. I read somewhere to use Dawn dish soap, Lysol spray, alcohol and water spray, coconut oil, black walnut oil, tea tree oil, any kind of products with Citrus or alcohol or acid type things as far as on your body because they supposed to be attracted to sweet is what they said and they said that some people are more attracted to them because of their hormones cuz I’m the only one who’s complaining. If you have any advice please help me. This last week I was literally up for 4 days because I couldn’t sleep. I have some mental health issues that I’m trying to deal with just by themselves and this is not good for my illness. I am single mom with 2 teen boys and 4 grown kids and no one understands
This is a very difficult situation and unfortunately many in the therapeutic profession confuse actual mite infestation with delusional parasitosis. There is little or no literature for them to learn about PTSD and mites, and lots of professional literature about delusional parasitosis.
What ends up happening, at least up to now, is that many folks with mites figure out strategies to get rid of them. Again, there is not a lot of literature on the subject or well tested protocols. What is out there, including on this website, is anecdotal information from people who have gotten rid of them.
And, let’s face it, if it were a psychological condition, dehumidifiers and scrubbing the floors with ammonia would not cure it.
So I have a couple suggestions for you.
First, figure out what helps you bring down the numbers and does not cause you harm. Don’t put a lot of toxic stuff on your skin. Check the protocols on this site and start with the safest things.
Second, don’t expect people to believe you. There is not a good diagnostic yet, and until there is, you have little to go by except your own sensations and nobody but you feels those.
Third, remember that, as it says in a mite textbook I own, mites pick out a favorite host in a flock or family. Your experience is going to be different than the experience of the other people in your house.
Fourth, take good care of yourself. Get out into the world, go swimming in a chlorinated pool, think about other things as much as you can.
You are not alone. Other people have gone through this and come out the other side, and you can too.
Please write again and let me know how you are doing.
Take good care,
We have had an infestation off and on for several years. For some reason (maybe the incredible amount of rain we’ve had over the past 5 months) they are back worse then ever. My question for you is around how readily people can become infested by visiting our house. We no longer allow people to stay the night, but do you think just having people come over for dinner or a quick visit is putting them at serious risk? Also I’m supposed to go visit my Mom in a few weeks and am debating whether I need to stay in a hotel vs. just trying to wash and clean all of the items that I will be bringing down with me (yes, including myself). The idea of spreading this to others is absolutely horrifying, but I don’t want to be completely isolated/trapped in this infested house either.
We also live in the Bay Area (SF), are there names of any specific pest control companies with mite expertise that you’ve worked with that you could recommend?
Thank you for dedication to educating people about this previously unspeakable situation.
Sorry to hear of your recurring problems with parasitic mites. I hope you are running dehumidifiers in your home to dry out the excess moisture from all the rain. You can also get a tub of desiccant at Home Depot to keep in the back of your car to dry it out.
How readily other people become infested on visiting your home depends on the level of infestation in your home as well as the susceptibility of each visitor to parasitic mites. In the same way that some people are more likely than others to be bitten by mosquitoes at the same picnic, some people are more likely than others to be bitten by parasitic mites. It may also be adaptive for the mites, in an evolutionary sense, for this reason: Studies have shown that ectoparasites leave behind proteins that inhibit the immune response against the ectoparasite. If mites repeatedly bite the same person in a flock (or family), then the favorite host becomes less and less likely to mount an immune response while living blood is being digested in the mite’s gut. Hence the appeal of biting one favorite and signaling to other mites through pheromones, “The party’s over here!” But how mites choose the favorite in the first place is based on the kairomones secreted by the potential host. So without knowing how your friends will smell to mites, it’s hard to predict their fate in your home. Best to disclose and let them assess the risk for themselves.
Whether you have friends over or not, you must get out. Spend as little time at home as you can, unless you’re cleaning and throwing things out. Get out in the sunlight. Go swim in a chlorinated or salt water pool. Remind yourself how good life can be, and will be even more when you are rid of these bastards.
I got my referral for a PCO from an entomologist who is associated with that bug museum next to Lake Merritt. He told me it is important to use a PCO with an entomologist on staff. Here in California, PCOs cannot use specific miticides absent a species identification, but they can use pesticides that kill spiders if they find even one spider in your house. Those are pretty good. I would also talk with them about whether they yet have a way to identify parasitic mite DNA in the home. When that becomes standard, it will be a big leap from this absurd business of hoping a mite will crawl across an unbaited glue trap.
Thanks for your kind words, and please let me know how it goes.
Hello, just a quick question.
I’m effected by these mites and the only one in the family who is.
If I moved out of the house, threw away all my clothing but keep 2 sets of clothing do you think that would make a difference?
I do appreciate your reply.
That sounds like a really tough decision for you and your family.
Getting away from an infested environment and limiting how much you own can both be helpful. But I can’t advise you about moving out. That is a big decision you and your family need to talk through, and seek advice about from people you know and trust.
Best of luck in this very difficult situation.
We (my husband and I) are pretty new to this experience and live in the south of the UK. Our infestation started when mites entered the house very close to a recently vacated starling’s nest. We identified the beasts (which were on the window sill) fairly easily, they may well be Ornithonyssus Sylviarum. Our lives have been turned completely upside down in just three weeks and if I hadn’t come across your blog/website/book page we’d have been left more terrified and clueless.
We’ve already adopted some strict protocols (the bathing/showering regime, throwing out soft furnishings, buying more dehumidifiers, new high filtration vacuum cleaner) and have attempted to find ways of not being bitten. At the moment I use far more Diethyl Tolmide (deet) all over my body than is good for me, but everything about this frightens me a great deal. We bought some cedar wood oil from the USA and sprayed it on our bodies but it’s really designed for household use. We’ve had the house heat treated and two doses of a broad spectrum spray known as Ficam applied, but as we have a lot of clutter, I don’t think the application was good enough. Our doctors have never heard of bird mites, let alone human infestations. We’ve been referred to the dept of infectious diseases, so not holding out much hope. Friends try to tell us that these creatures can’t live on or parasitise humans ( according to various “reputable” University reports) but we’re aware that they can.
Given the rather short time span, the bright red marks and bites are fewer now.
Could this be a sign that they’ve suppressed our reactions already? Could they have become internal at this stage? Are they still there, even? In the first week, my husband ended up with about twenty or so bites near the urethra, causing great distress. We’ve had stinging sensations in our tongues and crawling sensations in our ears, genitals, and all over. Some of the chemical / herbal stuff/ medication isn’t licensed in the UK, so it’s very frustrating to read where people have had success with such things. Getting Ivermectin won’t ever be possible unless we get it online, but how would you know it was genuine or safe?
We feel very stuck and can’t see a way out of this very new hell. I will be ordering your book as the e copy won’t download! Just one more thing.. how would you ever know you were clear of the mites if they’d become “internal”?
I know I have asked far too much and that you’re a busy person, but thanks for reading this.
Sending love and support to fellow mitees.
Hello LP, very sorry to hear of your troubles, which really do sound like mites.
Two entomologists who have been very helpful to people with mites are, like you, in the UK. Dr. Olivier Sparagano edited the only collection of scholarly articles on Dermanyssus gallinae, the red poultry mite. And Dr. David George is a lead author of an article about the medical impact of mites which I recommend everyone take with them on doctor visits: https://parasitesandvectors.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13071-015-0768-7
This article may also be useful in conversations with friends who still believe outdated information.
You may find that either Dr. Sparagano or Dr. George is near you, and they are both very helpful with information and resources.
It sounds like you are doing many good things that will help bring your infestation under control. I’d really encourage you to read up on the Japanese 5S system and clear out any belongings you don’t absolutely need. The more you own, the more fomites you own (isn’t that a great word? It means an object that can transmit an infection).
Wishing you and your family all the best, and please let me know how it goes.
My name is Andrew. I live in Fremont, California. It is not very hot here even in the summer. It is actually quite warm, but not hot here, if you compare the weather to places like Arizona here in the United States, in which the weather is very hot and dry in the summer. I am new to this site and have not read your book. From what I have heard from comments on this site, the book is really interesting and helpful for people dealing with mites. Anyways, I have been having an ongoing issue in the past 4-5 months with some type of invisible bug biting me. It is a recurring issue, as I have been bitten last spring as well, around February to May. I cannot see the bugs, and I suspect it comes from my pet budgerigar, which is a type of parakeet. I think it would be more appropriate to call the “bug” a “parasite” or “bird mite” because it sucks my blood and presumably, my bird’s blood as well. Since the bird mite sucks blood, I would not call it a “feather mite.” I would just call them “bird mites” in general. My family members say they are not affected by the parasitic bites, and I believe them. I do think the bird mites(which is what I am assuming the creatures are called) favor certain hosts over others. So, they do have favorite hosts in which they draw blood from. I am just wondering if there is any remedy for this problem. I plan to bring my budgie to an avian vet in a nearby city to get him checked up. The avian vet office is located in Castro Valley. It is called Boulevard Pet Hospital. There are many avian vet offices I could visit, but I chose this one because it is the most local. I might have to be checked up as well. As suggested by a veterinary receptionist I called on the phone, I should be checked up by a dermatologist and my budgie should be checked up as well. The bird mite issue I and my budgie are having, I believe, stems from my budgie’s body as well as his cage. It seems like the more time I spend around my budgie and his cage, the more I feel I am being bitten by these bird mites. I clean up my bird’s cage tray(this tray is a portable tray that can be inserted into the bird cage to catch bird droppings, seeds, etc.) with a 50% vinegar and 50% water solution in a spray bottle. I clean the bird cage with this solution as well. I clean the cage tray daily, and I line it with newspaper once I am done cleaning it. I also clean the bird cage once every week. I wash it with water from the shower head and I dry the cage with a couple paper towels and then I spray the cage with a mite and lice spray afterwards. The mite and lice spray is nontoxic and safe to use on the bird cage. I put my budgie in my bedroom while I am cleaning the cage in the bathroom. I keep my bedroom safe so that my budgie will not get hurt while he is in there. He usually sits on my laptop screen and perches there. This seems to help and I do feel relief after I clean the cage tray with this solution. I basically spray the tray with this solution and I wipe it off afterwards. I also sweep around the bird cage and the room in which the cage is located. My family and I keep the budgie in the living room, but it seems like the bird mites have spread beyond just the living room. I even mop the living room floor as well and this helps as well. I was researching the web and contacting local and statewide vets and I found the type of bird mite I was looking for. That bird mite is called the tropical fowl mite. The reason why I am assuming these mites are the cause of my and my budgie’s discomfort is because the website I researched says these mites invade the home accidentally by crawling through gaps in window sills, open doors, air vents, etc. I remembered earlier this year we left a window in the living room open overnight. I am assuming the mites invaded our house through the window sill. After all, they are extremely tiny and can get through very tight spaces. The only problem is even though I have identified them, the identification is not official because I cannot see these creatures and have not gotten my bird checked up by a vet or myself checked up by a dermatologist. This issue is a pressing concern and I lose an entire night’s sleep because of this. I sleep during the day, at about 6 AM to compensate for the lack of a good night’s rest on the weekends. On the weekdays, when I have school, I barely get any sleep at all. I sleep for like 1 hour in the morning and I have to wake up because of all the cleaning I have done for the bird cage and living room overnight. I am really stressed out. I can’t even study properly with all the bird mites biting me. I am not sure if my classmates and other students at school are being affected as well. I hope that my classmates and other students are not being affected. They probably are not being affected, because I noticed in the past week, I have been increasingly bitten less. I attribute the reduction in mite bites to all the cleaning I did for the bird cage and living room. I also mist our budgie with plain water from a spray bottle. I do not add any chemicals to the water in the spray bottle at all. I keep at least 2 or 3 spray bottles. One contains plain water, another contains vinegar and water and the third contains dish detergent and water. I did not notice this in weeks past, but I realize I am getting more and more tired each day. I know there are lots of people who are in the same situation as me and I am glad for that. I just want to reach out and share my story. Hopefully, this bird mite problem will go away soon. I really want to focus on school. I like taking care of my budgie, but sometimes these bird mites get in the way. I have trouble discussing this issue with my parents and siblings. When I tell my parents that I am having this issue and it is connected to my bird being a host for the bird mites, they dismiss it as my imagination. Like you have mentioned in this article, it is hard to prove that the bird mites are real for the host, and it is hard for non-hosts to dismiss them as fake/hallucinations. My sister and brother mostly believe me when I tell them about the bird mites, but my parents think differently. My parents do not think the bird mites are real and think they will disappear over time. Knowing that bird mites breed at such a rapid rate is greatly alarming and disturbing. For some reason, no matter how much effort I put into cleaning up the bird mites, they seem to be reproducing at a much more quicker rate. I want a holistic solution soon. First, what I will do is take my bird to the vet soon, as well as get myself checked up. I would greatly appreciate any suggestions or advice, if possible. Thank you very much. Have a great day.
If you are dealing with bird mites, they may be infesting your bird, you, and also your environment. For example, when you put your bird in your bedroom while you clean the cage, mites could spread from the bird to your room. Then they will find you when you go back into your room. If your bird is a host, your bird will need to be treated.
Yes you should be seen by a dermatologist and your bird should be seen by a knowledgeable veterinarian. If you call the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis, they should be able to recommend a knowledgeable veterinarian near you. You could also benefit from following the protocols on this website.
You are absolutely right that mites are capable of rapid reproduction and increasing numbers. When the environment is cool and dry, this inhibits their reproduction. When the environment is easy to clean (floors not drapes, blinds not curtains, etc.), this helps too.
If you read up on mites, you will see that it is well known mites choose a favorite host from a group or family. For this reason, conversations within families become challenging.
As better diagnostics are developed, this situation will change, but we are not there yet.
Best of luck with your mite fight, and do let me know how it goes.
Take good care of yourself.
I had a bird nest in my AC unit (wall unit, so partially in my apartment and partially outside).
My boyfriend saw some mites on the kitchen table which is below the AC. He saw them crawling out of the AC unit. He immediately packed up our cat and got out of there. My landlord was not able to spray until 2 days later, and did not remove the nest until 6 days later.
I have not yet returned to my apartment. I have been continuously spraying chemicals and cleaning every surface imaginable.
Is it possible that being without a host for over a week could kill them, combined with all of the chemicals?
Would they have spread throughout my entire apartment in that amount of time?
Very sorry to hear of these troubles you are having. It is tough to see mites, but if you can capture what you are seeing, you may be able to have it identified at a veterinary school or by a Pest Control Operator with an entomologist on staff. It is possible that what you are seeing is a different kind of arthropod, and it would be very helpful to get an identification. You don’t mention anyone being bitten, and it is possible that what you saw is not a bug that affects people.
It is great that you had the nest removed, as eliminating the source is the essential first step. On this website are protocols that should be helpful, that involve keeping your apartment dry and cool as well as cleaning surfaces and eliminating objects you don’t need (assuming you have something that will spread – again, identification would be very helpful).
Many arthropods can last a long time without feeding, and how quickly they spread depends on what they are, as well as what your apartment is like. For example, bugs spread more readily in carpeting than on floors that can easily be cleaned.
Please check out the protocols on this site, and please obtain an identification if you can.
Best of luck, and may you not get bitten.
Do bird mites burrow in humans.
It depends on the type of mite and on what you mean by burrowing.
However, several species of mites are known to inhabit human hair follicles and pores.
And many people who have had parasitic mites report them going into ears and other body openings.
Hope this helps and best of luck!
Hello to All.
As i sit here reading your Stories i don’t feel lonely anymore, we have been dealing with this for 40 years now! Yes 40 years since 1977.I am buying your book Jane maybe there is something i can still learn.Prayers always help cause no one else seems to be able to help.
God bless you all and lets hope someone out there can find a way to get rid of these Demons ( thats what i call them )
I was so sorry to read that you have been dealing with an infestation since the 1970s. What a terribly long time to have this affliction!
I imagine that when your problem with mites began, folks with this problem were pretty isolated. The internet has given people the ability to find each other, share information and begin to organize. It has given us access to those professionals who are more open minded about mite infestation of humans.
I hope that the protocols on this website and in the Year of the Mite book are useful to you. And I am confident that we are moving into an era when improved tools of experimental science and more open attitudes among scientists will enable better diagnostics and treatments to occur.
Wishing you all the best, now and in the future.
Question on mite eggs. But first let me thank you for your excellent book. My copy is now at least 30% under-lined! We also live in the SF East Bay area & are having a hell of a time with mites since April of this year (we had roof rats as well as a crawl space bird nest). Our kitties have them too, :-(. We’ve been reading to learn about the issue (many thanks for the lead to the UK research papers, excellent & so helpful!), cleaning til the cows come home, throwing things out, etc etc.
In all of your work & research, would you happen to know if mite eggs can be killed in the laundry? I realized the other day that if the eggs are sturdy enough to survive a 140 degree wash with ammonia/borax/detergent followed by an 80 minute dryer cycle at, say, 135-150 degrees, then our ‘clean’ clothing can be ticking time-bombs. In this case, to be safe, would it make sense to wash that clothing again 7-10 days later (assuming the eggs have had a chance to hatch)? Or perhaps wash what you’re about to wear/sleep on right before use? It’s frustrating but it seems we all need to become experts in the life cycle of this little beast. Thanks so much for sharing your experience & knowledge with the rest of us.
Hello Kate, glad to hear you are finding the book useful! And, yes, both Olivier Sparagano and David George in the UK are writing good and useful papers on the subject. Olivier in particular is working to encourage more research as well as educating more professionals about the human impacts of parasitic mites.
Regarding your specific question: I believe from experience that the eggs are vey hard to kill. As with so many other questions, the lack of acknowledgement of the problem means there is no organized research yet regarding this issue. I suspect, though, that every time you wash laundry you kill a goodly percentage of them. The trick is to kill them more quickly than they can hatch and reproduce, so that over time you asymptotically approach zero. And that may require multiple wash/dry cycles over time. Presumably you are washing your linens every day?
I’ve gotten things out of storage years after the infestation was over, and found that they generated some itching a week or so later — so presumably the survivors were in the egg stage and hatched once food was available. One must admire their tenacity — but admiration is easier once they are completely gone.
It sounds like you are on your way to getting rid of them. Good luck, and let me know how it goes.
I do not have scabbies. I live in Georgia. I had a biopsy done because when I first encountered these things my apartment complex would treat for bugs (I think they were treating them as if they were fleas) and they kept coming back. They tried to say I was crazy and eventually they refused to treat the apt anymore. The pest control guy working for them said he couldn’t in good conscience keep spraying because even sunlight coming through the window and hitting the carpet was hazardous to me health. I bought a dyson vacuum cleaner and had the carpets professionally cleaned w/ microban technology. Everything I’ve done only helps for a little while and then they come back. The biopsy didn’t show anything living inside / on me. It showed an allergic reaction due to the bites. I’ve gone into anaphylactic shock. This could legitimately kill me.
Very sorry to hear of your troubles with mites. I do hope you are able to get rid of your carpeting, as mites seem to be able to hide out in or under carpeting almost regardless of treatment used (although a Dyson is a great tool to limit them). It is unfortunately quite common for professionals not to believe a person who says they have parasitic mites, in part because there is no good diagnostic (and of course, no impetus to develop a diagnostic for a condition professionals are so sure is not real). So each of us is put in the difficult position of self-diagnosis and then helping ourselves to get rid of them — not an easy task even for a young, able-bodied person.
I hope you will look at the protocols on this website and choose the suggestions that work best in your situation. If you have low energy, then using an air conditioner and dehumidifier to keep your dwelling cool and dry are steps that don’t require a lot of effort and will have benefits.
Wishing you all the best,
Hi, I just came across this site but I’ve been dealing with some type of mites for about 2.5 years. The first place they attacked was my feet. After trying various things to relieve the itching and what appeared to be a bumpy rash, I found some info on a natural health website that helped me diagnose mites as the problem. I determined that they were lurking in the elasticized fabric and silicone corn protectors that I was wearing on two toes of each foot, and not washing or replacing frequently enough. (I subsequently switched to silicone-only toe covers, which do not seem to harbor mites.) You will not be surprised to hear that my (former) dermatologist said I could not possibly have mites. She prescribed a corticosteroid ointment to relieve the inflammation. But … I believe part of her brain was allowing for the possibility of mites, because she told me that I should apply the ointment very generously, and then wrap my feet in plastic wrap. I had read that this approach suffocates mites. Sure enough, a few minutes after I had swaddled my ointment-covered feet with plastic wrap, my feet started burning, which I interpreted as thousands of mites going into fight-or-flight mode. It still took a long time for my feet to heal, though. There were a few spots that had developed sores from all the mites, including between my toes, and I think I developed secondary fungal infections from the moisture, but after a few months my feet were back to normal.
All was well for several months after that until they found my face. Since this post is a bit long already, I’ll report on that separately.
Very sorry to hear of your troubles with mites, and glad you found some relief for your feet.
The article below may be of some interest for your dermatologist:
Hope the protocols on this site and in the back of my book, The Year of the Mite, can help you combat the facial infestation. If I were infested now, I’d probably buy one of those circular electric facial brushes they sell at pharmacies and treat my face every day. Don’t think those were on the market back when I had mites.
All best wishes,
Last year I had a spot on my face that wouldn’t heal and I asked my general practitioner to scrap or biopsy it because not healing is odd for me. Plus it lingered on and on. It would open a bit then start healing, then a few weeks later again…. in cycles. She told me STOP PICKING YOUR PIMPLES ! I don’t but who doesn’t scratch an itch? Then another here and there…. more antbiotic cream from Dr…. stop picking….. blah blah. My mother was in the hospital losing her battle with cancer and I had no time to argue! After my mother passed I cared for my paralyzed Aunt with cerebral palsy until she passed less than a yr later taking us to June 2017. Now I am spending more time at my house with my 2 parrots, 3 dogs, and cat … and now I notice I am getting a few more spots and lines under my skin. I am looking rather unhealthy and then BOOM….. JULY 12 I have a mass outbreak and sores all over where the bumps and trails are! I of course thought scabies and run to the emergency room for help! This is not only disgusting but it hurts feeling the pins and crawling under the skin! I say scabies they say rash and stop picking. I requested a dermatologist and my General practitioner spoke with him saying I have been stressed lately and asks if it is possible to get scabies on the face. So by the time I get to the appointment he had a closed mind and said it is stress related and wouldn’t listen to me! He said I am scratching and pretty much self mutilating and I need to go to mental health!! What a crock of poop! My vitamin D is low, white count elevated… showing signs of inflammation and fighting infection on blood work and NOBODY IS LISTENING! Now I took my animals to the vet and we eliminated the flea possibility…. now we are working on identification IF I CAN FIND ONE THAT HASNT BURROWED TO LAY EGGS! It is like a ghost chase…. you know they are there but it is hell proving it! I had to start self treating with ivermectin or I would go insane and dealing with Drs may have me end up in mental health at this rate! I am trying to break the cycle and decrease the numbers but I have no identification to know if I am being affective. Plus nobody in the medical field believe there is a mite that would infect dogs,cats,birds,and human. It may not be as probable or common but it is possible especially if the human has been severely stressed compromising their immune system. A car accident, 2 plates heal and arm, mother dying from cancer, and aunt dying of a broken heart losing my mother…. all in 2.5 yrs. I think it may have started with my birds because my Goffins Cockatoo started losing her feathers around the same time my dog jumped in bed hugging me about an hour before the first signs of that first “rash”! Also around that time there was a rat in my attic and my cat was always up there hunting it! Must have got him because I haven’t seen him since! So no ID but many possibilities! Oh I forgot to mention that in my delirium I tested my vents and my AC for stachybotris (black mold) and got a positive result so that is another irritant but it is being handled. I am definitely getting your book! I need to listen to it and feel like I am not losing my mind and this IS REALLY HAPPENING then get a grasp and handle it systematically until I reach ZERO in population! *fingers crossed* So do you have any suggestions as to what mite it might be? LoL
Debbie from Louisiana
Very sorry to hear of all the challenges you have been dealing with. So much, and in such a short time.
With all the animals in your life, both pets and pests, it is not all that surprising mites have come into your life too. And the warm, humid climate where you live is going to encourage mites to thrive and reproduce.
I have no idea what kind of infestation you have, and unfortunately there are not good diagnostics or traps for them. As a result, many doctors have a hard time believing folks who have an infestation. And because doctors have become convinced people don’t get parasitic mites, they don’t do much research… kind of a Catch-22. However there are some European researchers working on this problem. You might want to print out a copy of this article and share with your doctor… but I can’t guarantee a big change of heart from your doctor:
So the bottom line is, it’s going to be up to you to take the lead in solving your problem. Please take a look at the protocols on this website for a start. And do let me know how it goes.
With all best wishes,
2 years of this awful suffering. I have tried everything under the sun. why am I still food to whatever these things are?
I don’t see anything. But I feel the crawling and pin prick bites. When this initially started I broke out with borrelia type rashes on my skin. Shaving my head and bathing everyday in sulfur soap, sometimes even diluted peroxide bleach. I changed my diet and take supplement that provide relief butbrue problelm dosent go away. I have to constantly clean and wash clothes in hot water mixing vinegar and pinesol in my detergent for any relief. I cant sit anywhere without feeling things crawiling into my butt my ear and nose. What the hell?
As soon as I think I’m in the clear and I pick up some receipt or piece of paper the cycle starts again. Why do doctors so blatantly disregarding people with this issue?
And why are you selling a book instead of posting the info online to help people.
I dread touching books with this condition.
Sorry to hear of your troubles with mites.
The protocols from the book are on this website, for free, which is the point of this website.
If you decide you want the book, it is available electronically as well as on paper.
Best of luck with your infestation, and hope the protocols help.