Thursday, August 13, 2009

LISTEN UP BIRD LOVERS

That infinitesimal creature was not impresses with my gigantic size and crawled steadily up my leg. I snared him in a Kleenex but my 70 year old eyes could not make it out. I was doing good to see him crawling. ( .) was what I was dealing with.

I got a magnifying glass and tried to see what he was. "Green" CFL light bulbs may help the environment, but the really don't throw that much light. A night club atmosphere is Ok unless you really need to see something, so I took him out in the sunshine for a better look.

Because I had just spent so much time on the computer trying to identify, understand and treat bugs , I recognized him immediately. I was pleased that he was so easily identified as there are a lot of creatures out there and I am no entomologist. I had to observer him on the move on the Kleenex for he had a single-mindedness that was impressive. Move forward, stop for nothing.

I tried to mush him but he didn't mush, he just kept crawling. Mushing harder and harder dazed him but did not stop him. Finally crushing him with the metal edge of the magnifying glass did the trick but I lost him as a specimen should an exterminator need one. He went from a speck with legs to just an unrecognizable splat.

He resembled a seed tick but you never see one seed tick, they travel in crowds. Of course, you never see one bird mite either. I was able to find a picture of what he looked like. I think it was a bird mite. This site can show you the different creatures. I'll let you go there or not as you wish as opposed to posting a picture and ruining your day.

This Phoebe that had nested under my porch roof, adjacent to my house roof, may have been the culprit. But then so could have been the house finch, or the starlings that were seasonal nesters on my house. The Phoebe was the last to leave. I had waited a week after they had fledged before removing the nest. They had only a short crawl to reach my attic through the ventilation gaps in search of a new host.

Back to the computer I went. I was again regaled with horror stories that made me want to bring out the pan of grease. Of course by mentioning the pan of grease so often may net me a jail sentence in the future should I by accident and advanced age, leave a pan on the stove and burn my house down. I will really have to be VERY careful cooking.

The endless stories of bird mites on the computer were drastically conflicting. Some rational minds insisted that the mites can not reproduce on the blood of a human while others tell stories of months and months of battling the little darlings with expensive treatments, agonizing itching, with near mental and financial collapse.

I have never seen the first sign of being bitten "inside" my home. There were no small drops of blood on the sheets, furniture or any traces of waste, I am almost convinced that I did not have an attack of mites originally so I am sticking to the chigger theory on the 50 bites. I did see that bird mite on my leg, but he was the only evidence I saw which was 10 days after the original assault. I have not been "bitten" since that first night.

Did I still have skin crawling? You bet ! The mind is a wonderful thing. Funny though when I am busy with something, nothing crawls. Just in case, I have gone from average housekeeper to OCD (obsessive, compulsive, disorder) cleaner.

The recommended non-toxic products are anything with an orange, lavender or peppermint odor which are supposed to repel the mites. My floors, furniture and walls reek of Orange. I bathe twice a day in lavender salts. My house smells clean but VERY strong, as do I.

Temporarily, I am not inviting company nor am I allowing my self to be company just in case there might be a hitchhiker on me. Overly cautious maybe, but that is the plan for now. Thank goodness for computers and phones or I would be kind of lonely. This is something I really don't want to share.

However, a lesson was learned here. I may have just picked the single little fellow up out doors but I don't want to risk the Internet horror stories. I love birds and all wildlife but my open house policy for nesting creatures is over.

"Move on little feathered friends, go find a tree. The bird rooming house is closed." I understand feeding on porches, even nesting in trees that overhang your home can cause the bugs to seek you out when the baby birds leave home.

I am sure most of you know this about birds and mites all ready. As usual, I am late to the table, but if you didn't know,as I didn't, hopefully my experience will save you a similar story. Sorry folks, hope this didn't get you itching again. The power of suggestion is awesome. Phantom itching is just as annoying as the real thing except it doesn't leave a mark.

Pretty sure the bottom line was that I had a bout with chiggers then found one lonely bird mite which I may have picked up outside, totally over reacted and let my imagination, with the help of Internet horror stories, take over. At least now I am fairly knowledgeable about mites and have a REALLY clean house. Over thinking is a dangerous thing.

Regardless, from now on my bird watching will be done via binoculars and long walks in tall weeds is forbidden with out first spraying legs and taking a serious shower when finished. Oh yea, vinegar is on my shopping list.

You can put away your back scratchers now. May your summer be itch free. I expect the rest of mine to be so.

15 comments :

  1. Could it have been a tick? Deer ticks can be about the size of a period.
    Well at least you got rid of it but I'm still a littly itchy!
    Sunny :)

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  2. I never had bugs in my house, even with an indoor/outdoor dog, until I quit "bombing" the house for fleas.

    When the so-called safe flea deterrent drugs for dogs became popular, I quit bombing. (I consider we are poisoning our dogs instead of our selves--nothing is completely safe...)

    Now I have to call the bug bombers to control spiders, ants, and whatever else find a way into my house. This year I bought some stuff at Wal-Mart that has worked well.

    I am also due to call the rug/uphostery cleaner for deep cleaning my upholstery for dust mites, etc. I have all new carpet which should not yet need cleaning.

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  3. I've had one horrible experience with an infestation of bird mites in one room of my mother's home, the details of which I will not expound upon. It's a good thing you just had one -- that you know of. :)

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  4. Ah Crap, Patti. I've never even thought of bird mites. I have tons of birds feeding on my deck every single day. I've never seen any 'bugs' inside the house (except those pesky gnats) ---but we may have some that I'm unaware of. Scary!!! I'll try to be more careful.

    Hopefully though, your bites WERE chiggers since there are lots of chiggers out there this summer. Hopefully you won't have anymore trouble with the bird mites.

    I love my birds and don't want to move them farther away from the house.

    Keep us posted.
    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  5. be sure to catch my upcoming Nocturnal Visitations--no buggy connections. It is a draft I've had stored nearly 3 months for a slider day. I think it is scheduled for Saturday.

    You have to read between the lines for it to funny, as I had to ...hmmm censor my thoughts for public reading. :~)

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  6. I have never thought of bird mites, but that make sense. It always seemed so charmed to have a bird nest in the porch eaves, but I guess that's not such a good idea. I hope you have no more creepy-crawly visitors.

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  7. I feel the sudden need for some OFF! LOL! I'm glad you are critter free!

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  8. Sunny,
    I would love for it to have been a tick for they only come one at a time unless they are seed ticks but I am afraid it was a BM.

    Nitwit,
    It is just so hard to co-exhist with crawlies isn't it? They are so darn greedy and they keep us poor and annoyed.

    Pat, I can only imagine the horror you went through. The site for bird mites is filled with horrific stories.
    One mite sounds impossible for they do come in groups. I can only hope I picked him up outside.

    Betsy,
    I love the little feathered creatures my self but will make sure we keep a distance in the future. Go to birdmites.com if you want to be really scared.

    Nitwit,
    I would have checked you out anyway but now you have peaked my interest. Don't you just love scheduling posts? Lets me sleep in.

    robin,
    Yeah, I just loved being up close and personal with my birds and their babies but not with their hitch hikers. You and roger ought to keep an eye out for nests around the eves when you check out properties. I understand they are a nightmare to get rid of.

    Cheffie mom,
    Know the feeling. Phantom itch is pretty fierce. Pretty sure all is well now. Thanks.

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  9. Sometimes I find looking thimgs up on The Internet caises me MORE worry than not...! It sounds like there was a certain amount of that with you, my dear....But as you said, the benefits are a very clean house and an even cleaner you! LOL!

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  10. OOLOH,
    You are so right. There is some scary stuff on the Internet which only made my itching worse. Pretty sure all is well now and really clean. Chaulking it up to experience.

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  11. You undoubtedly got that mite outdoors, so don't worry about giving them to anyone else. The link is yucky. My dad got scabies after my mom died (and he wasn't such a good house cleaner or bed changer) and it was hell getting rid of them!

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  12. I had a rooster once that had mites, but a couple easy treatments of permethrin and they were gone. So far, so good with the laying hens and our current resident rooster.

    I never ran into anything terrible while checking baby bluebirds either.

    I grew up with geese, chickens, ducks. Never had an issue that I recall.

    Our biggest issue up here... Fleas. I hate fleas, and I don't often use the word hate, but these I hate. Plenty of ticks of varying sizes too.

    Let's not become an orange/lavender/peppermint scented shut-in. Shall we? ;)

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  13. Can't relate sorry...don't have ticks here. Bird mites? Maybe. Spiders? yes. Lots of spiders but harmless. We supposedly have a brown recluse {sp?} that when bits the venom eats away at the flesh. The urban legend is they come back night after night while one sleeps to feast again on the exact same spot. I would live in paradise if it wasn’t for all those liberals:))

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  14. FBF
    Thanks Barry and I swear, I will not become a strange smelling recluse--maybe.
    I know you have to be so careful with a Greyhound and flea prevention. They are so sensitive. Thank goodness your dog found you. I got my first greyhound because someone had dipped their pet and darn near killed him. The owner wanted to put him down but the vet had another idea, fixed him up after a long recovery and gave him to me.
    The vets office renamed him Sooner. Every time they passed his cage they would shake their heads and say "Sooner or later he will die."
    I suppose now days the preventions are safe for these ultra sensitive creatures.
    At least with winter, your fleas go away, in Florida they were year round.
    Good luck with your battle. Those buggers are relentless.

    Grayquill,
    Aw, poor fellow, you landed in a nest of liberals here also. Don't worry, it is not catching, unfortunately.
    I knew a person who was bitten by a brown recluse and it took almost a year to get better. They are nasty little fellows and can leave an awful scar. Be careful.

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  15. kenju,
    My step mom did the same when my Dad died. Guess they kind of lost the will to be spotless in their grief.
    Thinking you are right for I have had no more bites.
    My handiman just left and he is going to clean out and plug up all nesting places for me next week. Then I will feel better.

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