If you have a bird nest attached to or anywhere near your house you want to read this. This is my PSA for the month.
One day, about 8 or 9 years ago, when Lovey was 2 or 3 years old, she began to get little red bumps on her skin. One here, one there and they were itchy.
On Day 2, there were a few more bumps and I worried it was chicken pox. It was the weekend and her regular pediatrician was closed so I took her to the after hours clinic at the local hospital. They determined it wasn't chicken pox and since we had 2 dogs at the time, the next assumption was that the dogs had fleas and they were bothering Lovey. But why was she the only one with itchy bumps? No answer.
So on Day 3, I took both dogs to the vet and had them checked for fleas. None. But we put them on a high dose of flea killer anyway just to cover that base.
Day 4, Lovey was still itchy with more red bumps. I striped her bed, vacuumed her mattress and washed every piece of clothing in her room. I also vacuumed the rest of the house like crazy and striped the other beds as well.
Day 5, more bumps. Then I saw it. While putting clothes away in her room I saw a teeny tiny moving black speck on her dresser. Then I saw another. What the...?? I began to slowly scan her room and I saw a few more of those speckish bugs on one of her walls. They weren't ants, they are much smaller than that. If I didn't know better I would have assumed fleas, but we had already covered that. Lice? Do lice roam around the room? I didn't think so.
I killed the few that I saw and throughout that day I scanned her room many times killing a few specks each time. They seemed to always be on the same wall and the dresser near that wall, which also was the wall that Lovey's bed was against. Lovey did not sleep in her room that night.
Day 6, I went out and bought a heavy duty bug spray and sprayed the window panes in her room from the inside (she was on the 2nd floor) and the moldings at the top and bottom of her walls. And continued to kill specks throughout the day. It was also right around this day that I discovered a few bumps on my skin as well. Awesome.
Day 7, my mom calls, says she's been researching on-line trying to figure out what the specks are and "Is there a bird nest anywhere on or near the house"? Yes, there is. It was tucked in a corner of the house where the house and garage came together. Which happened to be right outside Lovey's room. The specks in her room were bird mites, aka bird fleas.
Bird mites live on the baby birds in the nest and when the nest is abandoned, the bird mites are desperate to find another host. So in our case, they found there way into Lovey's room and found their host. Makes me sick to even write that. My daughter was the host to a pack of bird fleas.
I immediately called a handy-man friend and he came over that day and removed the bird nest which required removing a piece of siding because part of the nest was in between the siding and the house, right outside Lovey's room. After removing the nest he sprayed the outside of the house with a heavy duty bug fogger. I also called pest control and they exterminated the inside of the house. Steam cleaners arrived to steam clean Lovey's mattress and mine too, since she had been sleeping with me for a few days.
I washed every piece of clothing, every sheet, every towel in the house probably 5 times. I vacuumed everything over and over. And although I was told I could "bag" her stuffed animals and the mites would eventually die and fall off of them (barf), I decided to throw them all away.
We were quickly free of bird mites, but the paranoia lasted for awhile. I was a crazy lady with the vacuum and the washing machine. And I was itchy, with that crawling skin feeling, for weeks.
So, if you have a nest anywhere near your home, keep an eye on it and AS SOON as it is empty, dispose of it. I don't think you need to worry while the birds are still in it. I would hate to see someone hurt the baby birds while they are still in the nest. It is my understanding that the mites only wander after the birds are gone. Be careful with the disposal though, you don't want to touch the nest because the mites can quickly use you as their next victim. Use a shovel or something else to remove it and bag it. Then dispose of it far, far away from your house.
Now is the time to go outside and investigate, because trust me and my host child, you do not want these nasty things coming after you.