Mites are tiny arachnid pests that often infest homes where they bite humans in order to feed on blood. Bites inflicted by mites can cause rashes, allergic reactions and local itchiness. Experts state that between 45,000 and 48,200 mite species have been documented worldwide, but only 250 species are known for causing medical conditions in humans. Mites generally feed on a variety of wild animals, but in human dwellings, mites do not seem to mind feeding on human blood. The most common mite pests include demodex mites, house mites, and chiggers.
Another group of mites known as “bird mites” feed on the blood of birds, just as their name suggests, and they are abundant within bird nests. It is not uncommon for bird mites to migrate indoors from bird nests located on the ledges and window sills of homes. Once indoors, Bird mites attempt to feed on human hosts, and the pests are too small in size to be readily noticed. This is why people often notice itchy bites on their bodies before they realize that their home is infested with bird mites. Unfortunately, bird mite infestations are not uncommon, and they can occur in a variety of indoor conditions. For example, a public school in Hamilton temporarily closed due to a bird mite infestation back in 2015.
According to Lawrence Swartz, chairman of the Hamilton-Wenham Regional School Committee, the Winthrop School closed for a day in order to have pest control professionals eradicate a bird mite infestation in the building. The bird mites were noticed two days prior to the school’s closing, but it was not until the day before that school officials learned that the mite pests had originated from bird nests found in the soffits of the school’s roof. Swartz claimed that no students were bitten by the pests, but parents were still urged to put their childrens’ clothing, shoes and backpacks through the hot wash and dryer cycles in order to kill any mites that may hitchhike into homes. Bird mite infestations can only be eradicated by licensed pest control professionals.
Have you ever sustained mite bites?