State University Extension
Home Maintenance And Repair - 01500564
Bird & Mammal Mites
and mammal mites are often encountered as household invaders during the
late spring and summer months. Mites (order Acarina) can be
distinguished from their insect relatives by the two body regions
(cephalothorax and abdomen), sucking mouthparts, lack of antennae, and
four pairs of legs (as adults). The mite life cycle generally consists
of an egg stage, a larval stage, one or more nymphal stages, and an
adult stage. The entire life cycle requires 1 to 6 weeks (2-3 on the
average) for completion.
Bird Mites; the chicken mite and the northern fowl mite are both
ectoparasites of poultry and other domestic fowl, as well as many
species of wild birds. These mites are commonly found in buildings
where bird nests are located around the eaves or in attics. The life
cycle is very short, and if conditions are favorable, complete
development may occur in 7 days.
Mammal Mites: several species of mites associated with mammals may be
found in homes. These include the house mouse mite, the rodent mite and
the rat mites. All of these mites are associated with wild or domestic
rodent populations. The life cycle of these mites generally requires 17
to 23 days. If these mites are found they almost certainly indicate the
presence of a rodent infestation in or around the building.
Other mites found in the home, in addition to the bird and mammal
mites, include the house dust mites, clover mites, grain mites and
roach mites. Because of the varied habits of the mites found in
buildings, it is important to have any mite pest accurately identified.
Integrated Bird & Mammal Mite
Although the normal host animals of biting mites are birds and rodents,
they will bite humans. This occurs most frequently in the late spring
and summer when mite populations are high and when young birds and
rodents begin to leave their nests. The hungry mites wander away from
these nests in search of food and may be found climbing about on walls,
ceilings and bedding. The bites of these mites cause itching, swelling
and raised, reddish spots on the skin.
Although standard insect repellents containing diethyl meta-toluamide
(deet) will prevent these mites from biting, longterm, continuous use
of these products is not recommended.
Effective control of bird and mammal mites is achieved by:
(1) locating and removing bird or rodent nests;
(2) treating infested areas with an appropriate pesticide.
The first step is to locate all bird and/or rodent nests. Search for
nests around eaves, in attics, in chimneys, in wall voids, in
basements, and around porches and foundations. After locating any
nests, but BEFORE removing them, treat with chlorpyrifos. Now, remove
any nests and dispose of them (away from the building!). Immediately
after doing so, thoroughly treat the infested area. Additional spot
treatments in areas where mites are seen wandering (like baseboards)
may be helpful. Be sure to initiate any structural changes or sanitary
measures needed to prevent re-infestation by birds or mammals.
For a complete listing of suggested control options for all home, yard
and garden insect pests contact your local Extension Service, found
under local government in the phone book.
Read and follow instructions on the pesticide label. Heed all warnings.
Check with your physician if you have any concerns regarding your
by Tom Ellis, M.S., Department of Entomology
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status. Issued in furtherance of MSU Extension work, acts of May 8 and
June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Thomas G. Coon, Director, MSU Extension, East Lansing,MI 48824. This
information is for educational purposes only. Reference to commercial
products or trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or
bias against those not mentioned.
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