Last Updated on June 18, 2022 by Ali Shahid
It is common for lovebirds to get mites. If you find mites in lovebirds, there is a need for immediate treatment. Several mites can infect your bird as well as humans, as well.
Mites are parasitic insects that feed on the blood of birds, live and thrive in nests and cages, and reproduce rapidly. If you want to make sure the infestation does not come back in the future, you can take steps to prevent it from happening again.
Types of Mites in Lovebirds
These bloodsuckers are nocturnal parasites that feed on blood. These parasites can reach a length of 1mm and are difficult to detect with the naked eye.
However, they are highly irritating and cause lovebirds to feel restless and itchy. There is a tendency for red mites to gather at the head and vent of the bird.
These mites do not always reside on the birds instead, they can be found hiding in the cracks of the cage, nest boxes, furniture, carpets, and wooden surfaces. They typically lay their eggs in these places as well.
Skin and Feather Mites
A feather mite and a skin mite are much rarer than other types of mites. Pet birds tend to scratch at themselves with their feet and beaks more than they do during normal preening. There might be irritated or chewed feathers on the bird, as well as irritated skin.
In severe infestations, some mites can carry so much blood that it can cause anemia. Red mites, for instance, can move from the host bird to other hiding places such as perches, bedding, and corners of the cage to reproduce.
During events like these, birds are usually restless, scratch at night, and are exhausted in the morning. Birds that live outside or are exposed to poultry and wild birds are more likely to develop skin and feather mites.
When your pet bird is awake, you can look around hidden crevices in its environment to detect bird mites. You may also find them gathering on the vent feathers of your bird.
Scaly Leg Mites
Parrots such as lovebirds, budgies, and canaries are commonly infected with scaly leg mites. These mites can also be more problematic for young birds.
This mite is also responsible for the scaly appearance of their faces. Parrots with scaly leg mites will lose feathers, develop skin infections, and have their beaks distorted due to their deformities.
Some may also suffer from intense itching due to the mites. The mites are not only found on parrots but can also be found burrowing inside wooden toys or perches.
Air Sac Mites
Mites within the bird’s bodies may seem like an odd concept to consider, but the complex airspace layouts in birds’ bodies make them prime habitats for parasites. Smaller birds with “passerine” flight patterns often have air sacs and/or tracheal mite infestations.
The larger parrot species are less likely to have them. If your pet bird has these mites, you might hear a clicking or wheezing when he or she is breathing and your pet bird might exhibit other respiratory symptoms.
Birds might sneeze or cough or open their mouths. In case of secondary bacterial infection, there might be mild nasal discharge. An infested lovebird can suffocate because of its narrow respiratory passages.
It may cause them to lose weight, refuse food, and display general signs of sickness and lethargy due to the effect on their breathing. When an infected bird joins a group of birds, the mites can be transmitted between the birds.
Because these mites are hidden within the pet bird’s body, you will be able to detect them by observing their respiratory symptoms.
Symptoms of Mites in Lovebirds
Check any crusty-looking areas on Lovebird
Often, ants burrow into the skin around your bird’s eyes and beak, causing damage. These burrowing face mites cause an infestation around your bird’s eyes and beak.
The mites are barely visible in the early stages of an infestation and will not affect your bird’s overall health. However, there is a possibility that you may find crusty plaques on its beak in some cases.
Mites continue to burrow into the white deposits, which grow thicker and crustier with each burrowing session.
There may be deep holes or tunnels on the face of your bird, as the mites will dig pathways or tunnels under the skin, creating the illusion of deep burrows. The bird’s beak and eyes will eventually become crusty, filled with deep tunnels and covered in cavernous areas.
Check legs for scaly skin
Scaly leg mites are mites that occasionally attack the legs of your bird during winter. You will find that these mites burrow into the skin of your bird’s legs and lay eggs inside of it.
In turn, your bird’s legs can become very dry, rough, and scaly, as well as showing white deposits which may become crusty. Upon contact with these mites, your bird’s skin will become swollen and scaly, or he will develop rashes.
Check Restlessness and Excessive
Preening Mite bites may cause agitation or restlessness during the night because mites prefer to feed at night. As the mites continue to burrow, your bird may appear restless or scratch continuously in his cage.
You may also notice that your bird excessively grooms or preens himself, hoping to get rid of the mites. However, this is not effective.
Check for any signs of abnormal breathing
Symptoms like coughing, sneezing, or difficulty breathing can also be caused by mites in the trachea, air sacs, bronchi, or sinuses of your bird.
You may also see your bird gasping for air with open-mouth breathing. Any breathing difficulty or open mouth should be watched in his cage.
Check Feather loss
Feathers may be absent from your bird, or you may find piles of feathers in his cage indicating feather damage. To remove the mites from the skin of your bird, you may notice excessive preening or cleaning.
How To Identify Mites on A Lovebirds
The lovebirds must be regularly checked for mites if you wish to keep them healthy. Here are some tips on identifying them.
- By using a flashlight at night, you can check your bird’s skin. A mite is unlikely to be found when you see tiny, moving dots in your bird’s skin.
- It is a good idea to cover the cage at night with a white sheet and then check for red spots in the morning.
- You can trap mites by putting the sticky tape in nesting boxes and on the bottoms of bird cages.
It is still possible to determine whether your lovebird is infected by mites or you need to address another underlying health condition through the above steps, despite not treating mites.
How To Treat Mites in Lovebirds
You will need to treat both your bird and the environment after you have identified that your bird has mites. It is better to use dish soap instead of water to wash the bird’s cage. Once the cage is dry, spray it with pyrethrin to eliminate any insects.
It is possible to wash your bird with a mild soap made of glycerin, or you can use a special shampoo designed for parrots. Scalex can be applied to your bird, or your hands can be sprayed with Scalex and rubbed gently into the feathers and skin of your bird.
You can enjoy this activity with most birds, which is a fun way to bond with your pet. In addition to the many products available on the market that are sold for mite treatment, some natural alternatives may be equally effective.
Symptoms can be relieved with most homemade remedies, but they do not completely eradicate mites You can use vinegar to soothe your bird’s itchy skin. As a mite repellent, mix it with salt water in a spray bottle.
As a strong bird mite spray, you can mix white vinegar with peppermint essential oil. A bird’s vet can give it an Ivermectin-based medicine if the infestation is severe.
This type of treatment must be administered by a veterinarian because the dosage must be customized to your bird. Drinking water is usually used to administer the medicine. Blood-sucking mites can be treated with this method.
In addition to treating internally, your veterinarian can prescribe you this treatment externally as well as show you how to take it.
How To Prevent Lovebirds Mites
To prevent your bird from being infested again, you need to clean your home after dealing with the mite problem. Preventing recurrence is another effective method. Take the following steps:
You should begin by cleaning and sanitizing the cage of your parrot as soon as possible. To kill all the mites, you will need to be thorough since they hide in the smallest gaps.
Alternatively, diatomaceous earth can be sprinkled over the cage to kill any remaining mites that may still be present. Use a sanitizing solution that is safe for parrots to use to disinfect the cage after brushing it out after an hour or two.
Discard all dried blood traces found on the cage. Any nesting boxes inside the cage should be cleaned inside and out. All wooden perches and accessories should be destroyed and then replaced in order to ensure that there are no more mites on the perches.
Clean every crack and gap in your home, finding any mite hiding places. Another option is to sprinkle diatomaceous earth on the floor before vacuuming. Remove newly hatched nymphs and eggs daily with your vacuum every 14 days.
Mites can hide in upholstered as well as wooden furniture, as previously mentioned. Therefore, you will need to clean any furniture on which mites might hide, in order to keep them away from the house.
Use an insecticide that is safe for birds to spray on couches, chairs, and other furniture that may have mites, and make sure you pay attention to cracks and gaps.
Ali Shahid is a veterinarian by profession and an animal lover. He loves to give expert opinions about different animals. He has worked in top organization of birds like Bigbird Feed and Poultry Research institute. He loves birds, especially parrots and has great experience in different parrot farms.