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Thread: Help! Little spider-looking bugs in my birds cage!

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    Help! Little spider-looking bugs in my birds cage!

    Hello, we have a white-faced pearl cockatiel, and when my hubby was cleaning her cage earlier, he seen some little whitish bugs that looked like tiny little spiders. I don't have any idea what they are, hubby thinks they are bird mites, but everywhere I've read, it says that bird mites are so small that you can't see them. If anyone can let me know what they are, if they are dangerous to my bird, if they could spread to the rest of my house or to us or our kids, and how to get rid of them, I would really really appreciate it. Ever since I seen them, I've felt like I have something crawling all over me. Hubby says it's just my imagination...and it probably is...but I would still like to know what they are and if they can spread before I will feel at ease. Thank you for any help!

    ~Maria~

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    Re: Help! Little spider-looking bugs in my birds cage!

    Yes, you can see mites.
    Here is some info I copied for you from Wikipedia. It addresses all birds, particularly poultry, but it's good information about the mites:
    The mites are blood feeders and attack resting birds at night. They are generally white or greyish in colour, becoming darker or redder when engorged with blood. After feeding, they hide in cracks and crevices away from daylight, where they mate and lay eggs. The mite progresses through 5 life stages: egg, larva, protonymph, deutonymph and adult. Under favourable conditions this life cycle can be completed within seven days, so populations can grow rapidly - causing anaemia in badly affected flocks of poultry. Young birds are most susceptible. The mites can also affect the health of the birds indirectly, as they may serve as vectors for diseases such as Salmonellosis, avian spirochaetosis and Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae.[1]

    Dermansyssus gallinae can also feed on some species of mammals, including humans,[2][3][4] - causing dermatitis and skin lesions. However the mite needs an avian host to reproduce.

    Clinical signs and diagnosis

    The mites normally feed around the breast and legs of hens, causing pain, irritation, and a decrease in egg production. Pustules, scabs, hyperpigmentation and feather loss may develop.

    If they are present in large numbers, D. gallinae can cause anaemia in hens which presents as pallor of the comb and wattle.

    A presumptive diagnosis can be made in flocks of laying hens, usually based on a history of decreasing egg production, anaemia and mortalities in young or ill birds. Definitive diagnosis is only achieved following identification of eggs, faeces or the mites themselves

    I got this from a site specifically dealing with mites and addresses pet birds:

    The best way to check for mites in a bird cage is to put a light sheet over and on the floor around the cage for the night. If you have what looks like pepper splattering in the morning you most likely have mites infesting your bird. (you can also use this white sheet in other areas to test for mites) At this point you need to really clean that cage from stem to stern. Birds are very susceptible to insecticidal sprays especially so close and for that reason I would not spray anything. You should at this time check the seed storage bin and throw it away if you have mites in there. You can freeze the seed for a week or so to kill the mites but why chance it? Anything like climb ropes should be discarded and the bird will need a vet to have anything done to it. Continue to use the sheet for monitoring for a week or more afterwards so you can be sure you’ve gotten all of them.
    Still have mites?

    If after all this you still have the pesky avian mite it is time to call in a pro. It’s not an everyday occurrence for most companies Picture 64 150x150 Getting rid of bird mites(including mine) to get that call and I’ve found more mites that the people didn’t even know they had than I’ve gotten calls for. In most cases it rarely takes more than removing the nest and treating with the flushing aerosol. One call did involve mites in a duct-Not wanting to spray inside the airway we simply cleaned what we could, repaired the duct and taped off the open vent. The tape captured a ton of mites that got blown to it every time the air went on and the problem was solved.

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    Re: Help! Little spider-looking bugs in my birds cage!

    Here's an image of spider mites next to a dime, to give you an idea of how visible they are


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    Re: Help! Little spider-looking bugs in my birds cage!

    Well this one...we only seen one but I assumed there was more...was a good bit bigger then those in the picture. It was probably the size of the ear on the dime..maybe even a little bit bigger. I'm starting to think that maybe it was just a baby spider or something. It looked JUST like a spider, but was small and white, almost clear actually. I'm still going to check for mites just to make sure she doesn't have any. We had a thing on her cage that was supposed to protect from mites and stuff, but it expired. Gonna go get a new one Monday when the pet shop opens. It probably wont get rid of the mites if we already have them, but once I do get rid of them, hopefully it will protect from them coming back. Thank you for all your help, I really appreciate it!

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    Re: Help! Little spider-looking bugs in my birds cage!

    If it was the size of the ear, then you're probably right, it most likely is a baby spider. Just vacuum the corners of your walls and floors. The best way to get rid of actual spiders is by vacuuming. Check for webs on the ceiling. Vacuum them if you find them. Glad you don't have spider mites!!

    Oh, and please don't use those mite protectors you hang on the cage. They're deadly. They contain paradichlorobenzine - same thing as mothballs. I saw customers come in with very sick birds from this stuff. One man's cockatiel went into siezures from mite protectors. Try sleeping with mothballs under your pillow! You'll get sick pretty fast, and birds are much more sensitive than we are.

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    Re: Help! Little spider-looking bugs in my birds cage!

    I don't use the mite protectors either. I use a spray bottle called Scalex, in the bottom of the cage floor only, and only when I clean the cage. I spray just a very small amount of this on a paper towel and wipe it across the cage floor. I never spray in on or near my birds. You should be able to find this or something similar at a pet shop. This one is called "mite and lice spray for birds". I also have problems with spiders that get into my bird cages on occasion. And both of my fids are very smart when they see them in their cage. They start flying around their cages. Sometimes this will happen in the middle of the night. They wake me up with this behavior, I will go and check the cages, and sure enough, I will find a spider.

    Thanks for the great information you have provided to us, Pat! And I hope my additional info will be of help too!

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    Re: Help! Little spider-looking bugs in my birds cage!

    Hey Ellen, yes your info is great. I know about Scalex (was manager in live animal dept of pet store). It's a great product and far better than those hanging things. It has pyrethrins in it, which I know for sure is safe. I have used pyrethrins even around my desert tortoises who are extremely sensitive to chemicals.

    But, Scalex will not kill spiders. The only way you can kill a spider with insecticide is to spray it directly. Residual will not affect spiders because of the way they walk on their toes. Their bodies do not touch what they're walking on.

    To eliminate spiders, thoroughly vacuum the areas around your cages, walls, ceilings, floors - especially the edges and corners. And, vacuum your window casings thoroughly. Also, you need to go outside and vacuum the exterior of the house - especially the eaves. That should help cut down on the spider population and give your birds some rest until other spiders migrate toward your home.

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    Re: Help! Little spider-looking bugs in my birds cage!

    Check the bird at night with a flash light. Alot of mite species are nocturnal and will only come out at night. If it was that big, i doubt it's a mite

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    Re: Help! Little spider-looking bugs in my birds cage!

    Yes that is nice idea Mask. Thanks for the nice advice.

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    Re: Help! Little spider-looking bugs in my birds cage!

    My bird 's too. And it's very helpful for me. Thanks for share !
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