Let me set up my story as dramatically as I can. The year was 2017, the month was June. I can almost remember this fateful week like it was last week or last month (I can’t remember which). Our sales manager Chris left for the weekend, which left me to tackle all of the service requests that come into Barrier. That week I did 1 bedbug estimate per day, a total of 2 Cockroach estimates, and quite a few bids to control everyday pests such as spiders, ants, wasps, or earwigs. What surprised me was not one, but two inspections for some mites that I had never dealt with before—bird mites. After that eventful week in June 2017, I became a world renowned expert on bird mites. People now travel for miles to hear me pontificate on the effect that bird mites have on bird populations. Ok let’s pump the brakes on the previous 2 sentences here…I did learn a few things about them during that week though. While discussing the issues with customer #1 before the inspection, I assumed it was a Clover mite or a Springtail issue. Both Clover mites and Springtails will infest in winter and spring near window sills, sinks, countertops and tubs with a particular interest in South and West facing rooms. Usually you will see a few, maybe up to 200 in these areas.
When I got to Inspection #1 in Southeast Boise, one look in the kitchen and I knew it wasn’t Clover mites or Springtails. There were thousands in the kitchen! These tiny little mites covered the countertops, microwave, the cabinets, the fridge, and sink. You had to get really close up to see that they were on every surface. Probably the most shocking thing was when I placed my finger down on a surface near the mites, they immediately began to climb my finger. So I then tried to squish the bugs on my finger and they didn’t die easily. I then tried to wash them off in the mite infested sink by lifting a mite infested handle. It was interesting to me but the homeowner was traumatized by her experience. After a little bit of detective work, I discovered that a bird had gotten into the microwave vent and made a temporary nest there. The bird thought that it would be a good idea to bring some tiny friends as well. When the bird left, thousands of bird mites were left without a blood host. Yes, you heard that right. Bird mites suck the blood of birds like little tiny vampires. Does this sound like a good script idea for a Netflix special? Probably not. It mostly sounds gross. Back to my story…the bird mites in search of a new blood host naturally entered the home from the microwave vent by the thousands. The poor homeowners had completely given up their kitchen to the mites so Barrier Pest Control was needed to be able to make her kitchen useable again. Her first reaction was to light a match and start over but I told her in my best Clint Eastwood voice to,”Put the matches away. We got this!” I did however hastily make an appointment for service the next day. It took two treatments to take care of this problem. We made sure to be careful to safely treat in their kitchen. The mites were controlled and Homeowner #1 could go back to her kitchen. A heartwarming story in anyone’s book.
Inspection #2 wasn’t in a home, it was in a fifth wheel trailer. A pest invasion in an RV, fifth-wheel or travel trailer is the last thing you want to discover as you’re getting ready for a trip! After a quick inspection we discovered bird mites again. This time they arrived with a bird nest right above the fifth wheel attachment. This story will sound familiar. When the bird left the nest, the mites came inside. It’s probably time to explain that bird mites will actually attempt to bite humans. After leaving inspection #1, I discovered that I brought a few with me and they made my arms itchy and irritated for a few days. Bird mites cannot complete a life-cycle and will usually die within 5 days without a host. However, knowing that doesn’t stop you from getting the heebie jeebies!
The week ended with the score: Barrier 2, Bird mites 0. If you’re the kind of person that reads the last chapter to pass a book report, let me sum the week up for you: Bird mites = Bad, Barrier = Good. Send Barrier Pest Control a message or give us a call at 208-463-4533 if you would like protection from pests in the Boise area.