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Pest NameDescription 
Bird mitesBird mitesNorthern fowl mites and chicken mites are blood-sucking parasites of domestic poultry and wild birds throughout much of the United States. Both species can become a pest in the home when starlings, pigeons, sparrows, or other wild birds nest in the eaves, attic, chimney, etc. The mites typically feed only on birds, but when disturbed or when their bird hosts die or vacate a structure, the mites will migrate to any available food source, including humans. Bites usually occur at night and result in small, irritating, itchy or painful pimple-like bumps. Adult mites are around 1 mm long (1/25th of an inch). Color varies from translucent whitish to red (recently fed) to grayish-brown (blood meal is partially digested). Adult mites have 8 legs, two body parts (tiny head and larger body), and are roughly oval in shape with a rounded rear end. Northern fowl mites typically spend most of their life on the host bird, only leaving when the host dies or when populations become so high they must find another host. They may also be found in nests or on eggs. This species tends to be more active in cooler temperatures, around 65-68 degrees F. Unlike Northern fowl mites, chicken mites feed on their hosts mainly at night, then leave the host to spend the rest of their time in sheltered areas such as nests or cracks and crevices near roosting sites. Chicken mites, also known as red mites, prefer warmer temperatures than Northern fowl mites and tend to be more numerous in warmer weather. Under good conditions, both species mature from egg to reproductive adult in as little as 7 days, allowing populations to build very quickly. Northern fowl mite adults may survive up to 3 weeks off their host birds, but chicken mites may survive up to 8 months without a host. Poultry and their housing, roosts, and bedding materials are often infested. On chickens, mites tend to congregate on feathers near the vent and on the back. High numbers of mites on poultry can cause a reduction in egg production, anemia due to blood loss, and even death, particularly of young chicks. Bird mites are not known to transmit disease to humans, but may transmit diseases between birds.