What is a bird mite?

One of the most prevalent types of mites you may find crawling in your bed, is the bird mite. Don’t be deceived by its’ name to think that bird mites only infest birds. Yes, they are prevalent on birds, but they will also attack rodents and humans. This page will fill you in on some of the basics about bird mites.

Bird Mite Life Cycle

The Life cycle of a bird mite consists of four stages. A bird mite goes from an egg to larva to nymph and finally progresses to a mature adult. Believe it or not the whole process can usually be completed in just 7 days. The female mites, which make up roughly 95% of the species require a blood meal to produce eggs and start the cycle all over again. Because mites age to maturity so quickly, an infestation of only a few mites is capable of staggering growth in a very short period of time.

What does a bird mite look like?


That is what a bird mite looks like to other bird mites…

…this is how a bird mite looks to you!


Photo Credit: University of Wisconsin Dept. of Entymology You see those tiny specks in the picture, the ones that look like little flakes of pepper. Those are the mites. Now imagine those tiny specks all over your bed, hiding under the covers, digging in the mattress fibers. Now that you have an idea of just how small bird mites you have an idea of how difficult they are to control. As you can see from the picture above a mature mite has eight legs; whereas, an immature nymph has six legs. The following chart will give you a rough idea of the anatomy of a bird mite.


Common Bird Mites

The most common species of bird mites are the chicken mite (red poultry mite), the northern fowl mite and the tropical fowl mite. While not an exhausted listed the following information should answer a lot of your questions about the bird mites you are most likely to encounter in your home. Northern Fowl Mite or Tropical Fowl Mite
  • Northern fowl mites range in color from red to red-brown to yellow

  • Bodies tend to grow darker after a blood meal

  • At maturity they are no more than half a millimeter in length

  • At immature stage the Northern Fowl Mite is much smaller, and cannot be seen with the naked eye

  • Known to infest sparrows, pigeons, starlings, and other common wild birds

  • Can live several weeks without find a hosting
The Chicken Mite or Red Poultry Mite
  • The chicken mite is generally opaque or clear, until it feasts on some blood in which case it turns red.

  • Usually no more than .4 millimeters in length, appear even smaller than that as a third of that length is made up of the front legs and mouth parts.

  • Studies have found that the chicken mite can live up to nine months without a host.
Call today at 1-800-986-1006 for help with a mite infestation. You’re also welcome to complete the form below and a caring Hearts Pest Management representative will contact you shortly.
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