Parrots are beautiful, intelligent creatures that can become beloved members of the family. Unfortunately, they also have their fair share of pests to deal with. One such pest is the bird mite which can be found on parrots in many states across America and worldwide.
If left untreated, these mites can cause serious harm to your bird and even be fatal, so all owners need to know how to get rid of them before they do any damage!
In this blog post, we’ll go over what bird mites are, where you find them on your parrot, how to know if your bird has been infected by them, and finally, different methods for getting rid of these pesky critters!
What Are Bird Mites, and How Do Parrots Catch Them?
Bird mites are tiny insects that live off of birds. They can be found on your parrot in many different places, including their wings, legs, toes, and eye sockets.
They are about the size of a dot and are generally hard to see with the naked eye.
Bird mites are most commonly found on parrots that have fallen prey to wild birds. The parasites feed off your bird while it sleeps at night, getting all the nutrients they need. If these mites become too numerous for your parrot to handle, they will leave and find a new host to feed off of.
These mites can cause harm with just their saliva, so you must get rid of them as quickly as possible before they spread to other birds. They can also cause your parrot to get sick with a bacteria or virus that they carry.
Are Bird Mites Dangerous to Humans?
The answer to that question is probably not! Bird mites only feed on birds. They remain there for the duration of their feeding and mating, after which they die off.
Because parrots are often out-and-about with their owners, a stray bird mite might wander onto your clothing or person if you spend time around your parrot while it’s infected. These mites are very small, so they are not likely to bite you or crawl inside your body!
If they do get on your clothing, give it a good wash and dry before letting anyone else wearing that piece of clothing use it again!
What Are the Signs of a Mite Infestation?
1. Reddening eyes and a crusty nose
The Bird Mite will begin living on the beak of your parrot. This may cause the beak to appear red and swollen, but it will also create a crusty layer on top. If they reach the eyes, they may bite around your bird’s eye socket, causing redness and pain.
2. Scratching and bald spots
The Bird Mite makes tiny holes in your parrot’s skin, causing them to bleed out while leaving a very hard scab that can be hard to remove. This is one of the main ways you’ll know these critters have infected your parrot. Your parrot will preen itself excessively, trying to remove the unwanted guests from its body. That behavior could lead to them going bald in certain parts of their body!
3. Your Bird Has Diarrhea
Another symptom of a mite infection is if you notice that your parrot has developed diarrhea. This happens whenever the bird mites move from place to place, eating up more and more of the nutrients in your bird’s body until it becomes malnourished. Keep an eye on your parrot’s weight, and make sure it’s not dropping too quickly.
4. Respiratory Issues
If you notice excessive breathing, wheezing, or gasping for air, this could be another sign of mites on your bird’s body.
This happens when the bird mites block your bird’s breathing by hitching a ride in its lungs. Scary!
How to Treat Mite Infestations?
Once you’ve identified the problem and have a diagnosis, it’s time to make the decision on how to treat your parrot’s mite problem!
There are two ways that you can go about treating your bird with bird mites. You can use either natural remedies or synthetic drugs.
Generally speaking, using all-natural products is always safer because they do not contain harmful chemicals and toxins that could cause your parrot further complications. The best part is that you can try using the remedies on this list to cure your parrot’s mite problem without taking it to a vet to get professional help!
Use Baking Soda
One of the most common remedies for mite infestations is to soak your parrot in a bathtub full of warm water mixed with baking soda. Add just enough baking soda until you see it fizzing, and don’t forget to cover your bird’s head as well, or else it might drown!
Leave your bird in the bathtub with the baking soda fizzing for 20 minutes, and then rinse it off. Repeat this process every day until all traces of mites are gone. Some people like to add vinegar into the mix for extra power against the mites.
Tea Tree Oil
Another effective remedy to rid mites from your parrot is by using tea tree oil! Mix one drop of tea tree oil with two tablespoons of olive oil. Then slowly rub the mixture on your parrot’s skin and leave it for 20 minutes before rinsing it off.
Garlic is another effective natural remedy to remove mites from your pet bird’s body! Simply chop up five cloves of garlic, then add it in a bowl to 2 tbsp of olive oil. Let it sit for two days, and then mix the mixture with one tbsp of vinegar.
Apply this mixture to your parrot’s wings and body and leave it on for at least 20 minutes before rinsing off the mixture with warm water!
Repeat this process every day afterward until all traces of mites are removed from your bird’s body. Don’t forget to clean the cage while you’re at it with a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water!
Another effective natural way to cure mite infestation on a Parrot is by adding more Vitamin A to its diet.
You can give your Parrot Vitamin A by adding rich Vitamin A foods such as Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, and Peas.
Repeat this process every day for a week to completely rid your bird of the parasites!
If you cannot find natural remedies or want a more immediate effect, then synthetic medication is the way to go! This will help clear bird mites from your bird’s body in less than seven days.
You can find this medication at your local pet store under the name of Ivermectin. Ivermectin works by paralyzing the mites and then killing them.
Always remember to consult your vet before using synthetic medications on your parrot!
When Should You Visit a Vet?
If you’re not able to get your Parrot’s bird mites under control using a natural or synthetic medication, then it’s time to visit a veterinarian. Not all cases of mite infestation are the same!
Some birds might have more severe cases than others, and that is why it’s important to keep an eye on your bird’s condition as you go about treating it for bird mites.
When your parrot’s skin starts losing weight, or if the droppings start to take a different shape altogether, it might be time to talk with your vet! He or she will know exactly what your bird needs to be cured of mite infestation.
Preventive action is the most effective way to treat cases of mite infestation, especially if you have multiple birds in your Parrot family! All or most of these preventive methods require a lot of effort on your part, but it will be worth it if the result is healthy and happy birds!
Change The Paper in Your Parrot’s Cage Every Day or Once a Week
Mites love dirty environments, and they breed very quickly in dirty cages. Make sure you change the paper in your bird’s cage every day or at least once a week.
This will help prevent the mites from spreading, especially if there are multiple birds in your house or family! If you’ve tried changing the paper without success, then it might be time to wash down the inside of your cage with warm water and soap.
Remember To Wash Your Parrot and Its Cage Once a Week or Every Two Weeks
If you have a non-porous cage, then it might be okay for you to wash your parrot and its cage every two or three months. However, if your bird’s cage is made of metal or plastic, then you should wash it once a week!
This will help remove dirt that can attract mites into your home, and it will help your parrot’s feathers stay cleaner.
Limit Outside Exposure
If you’re not able to prevent exposure completely, then limit your parrot’s time outdoors! Make sure the cage is placed in a shaded area that doesn’t get a lot of sunlight.
Without contact to the outside hosts, your bird is much less likely to catch mites.
Make Sure You Vacuum Every Day
Mites thrive in messy environments. If you don’t have enough time to clean your house every day, then try vacuuming it once a week. This will remove all the dust and dirt that mites love so much, and a few other unwanted guests like bugs and larvae.
There are many different approaches you can take when it comes to treating mite infestation. However, none of them are as effective as prevention! If you’re not able to prevent bird mites from spreading, then contact your vet immediately! Make sure your parrot’s cage is clean and dry at all times, and make sure there aren’t any mites in the environment either.
If you find yourself in the unfortunate predicament where prevention wasn’t enough, then you’ll need to use the methods above in combination with those of your vet. Hopefully, this article on getting rid of bird mites helped you understand this nasty issue. We also have tons of reading material on other matters, so feel free to look around the blog!
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Featured Image Credit by Frank Taillez, Shutterstock