Combating Bird-Related Mite Infestations: A Guide for Hawaii Homeowners
I’d like to share with you some of the challenges that homeowners face in Hawaii, particularly in dealing with bird problems. We’re not just talking about the mess they can leave behind, but also the potential health hazards they pose to our families and homes.
In Hawaii, we’re accustomed to coexisting with a variety of bird species, some of which can become uninvited guests in our attics. These birds can break into our homes and build nests, which can lead to mite infestations that can spread throughout the house. Some common culprits in Hawaii include Myna birds, Red-vented Bulbuls, and Zebra Doves.
The Myna bird, native to India and Southeast Asia, was introduced to Hawaii in the late 1800s to help control pest populations. However, these opportunistic birds have adapted well to the urban environment, often nesting in the attics of homes. Red-vented Bulbuls, native to Asia, were brought to Hawaii as cage birds and have since established wild populations. These birds are known to build nests in roofs, causing damage to insulation and wood. Zebra Doves, with their distinctive black-and-white striped pattern, are another species that can cause trouble for homeowners. While these birds prefer to nest in trees, they occasionally venture into our homes in search of shelter.
One unique issue in Hawaii is the presence of feral chickens. As the writer of this article, I personally have a wild chicken in my backyard (we named her Lily) which would constantly cluck and shake out her wings for some odd reason, constantly. Later we noticed mites in our house crawling on our phones and biting our legs. As it turned out, Lily was the source of our mite problem (this is the reason why she would shake off constantly). This highlights the importance of keeping a close eye on any birds that may be living close to your home.
Mites are tiny arthropods that can infest birds, and when birds find their way into our homes, they bring these mites along with them. Once established, mite infestations can spread rapidly, causing discomfort and potential health issues for homeowners. Bird mites bite humans, leading to itchy, red welts that can become infected if not treated properly. Moreover, their presence can trigger allergies in sensitive individuals, exacerbating existing respiratory issues. You’re probably already scratching yourself even thinking about this. I know the feeling.
So, what can you do to protect your home and family from bird-related mite infestations? Here are a few tips to help you out:
- Inspect your home for any openings that birds can use to enter your attic or other spaces. Seal off these entry points with wire mesh or other appropriate materials.
- Regularly clean gutters and vents to remove any debris that may provide nesting material for birds.
- Install bird spikes or other deterrents on ledges, windowsills, or rooflines to discourage birds from perching and nesting on your property.
- If you suspect a bird infestation, contact a professional pest control service to safely and effectively remove the birds and their nests from your home.
- Keep a close eye on your surroundings, especially if you have chickens or other birds on your property. Regular inspections can help you identify potential issues before they escalate into major problems.