Skip to main content

Do these 5 things to get rid of bird mites

Here are the steps you need to take to get rid of bird mites

Bird mites can plague even the most careful owners. Unfortunately, they cause itchiness and heartache for both you and your pet. While you can do a few things to cut down on the likelihood of your avian getting this pest, sometimes it's unavoidable and you'll need to tackle them efficiently yet delicately. We're not gonna lie: It is tricky. But don't worry, here's how to get rid of bird mites on pet birds naturally.




45 minutes

What You Need

  • Cleaning supplies

  • Bird shampoo

  • Bird mite spray

  • Essential oil

Parakeets preen each other on a perch
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Try to prevent bird mites from setting in

Luckily, mites don't spontaneously generate on your bird — they have to be brought in from outside. Sadly, this bug can live three weeks without their food — bird blood — and so can survive in the home for longer than you would expect. Mites have a few typical ways of getting inside your house: through you, a pet, or a wild bird.

First, you and your animals can bring in mites if you come into contact with a source that houses them. For example, if you set up a playdate with a bird friend or spend a weekend on a farm gathering chicken eggs. While mites don't want to eat you, they will travel with you. Alternatively, sometimes wild birds contaminate the house if they nest close by, like in a chimney. Periodically check your space for nesting or deceased birdies and find a way to safely relocate or dispose of them. You'll want to reduce contact with all of these to keep the likelihood of catching mites to a minimum.

A sick parrot sits on a branch
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Take on bird mites quickly and effectively

If you know a mite problem has already set in, it's time to tackle this thoroughly. Keep in mind, parakeet mites come in three forms: face mites, feather mites, and air sac mites. All require slightly different treatment, which can be diagnosed by a professional. Mites can lead to much bigger problems if left unchecked, so you want to manage this as soon as you figure out that they've set in.

Step 1: Scrub everything down.

This means both your animal and his habitat. A good intensive cleaning can help get rid of the infestation because it means these bugs have nowhere to hide. Disassemble your bird’s cage for a deep clean and vacuum, wipe, and mop surrounding areas.

Step 2: Bathe your bird.

When giving your bird a bath, gently remove any bugs you see (they look like tiny ticks). Don’t use a commercial bird shampoo unless your vet approves it.

Step 3: Use bird mite spray.

After a deep clean, you should spray if at all possible. Many commercially available repellents take on the mites naturally, specifically with household supplies like vinegar or a flower extract. You want to treat both the cage and your bird, which will somewhat depend on which type of mite you ended up getting.

Step 4: Soothe your animal’s skin.

A good cleaning will go a long way toward easing the itchy feeling of bites, but you don’t have to stop there. Find a natural remedy, such as essential oil, to ease the scratch that the bugs have caused your birds. Apply these to your pet carefully, trying them on his back first and spreading to the neck and wings if your bird seems to enjoy the relief.

Step 5: Follow up with his vet.

If you haven’t dealt with mites before, you want to check in with your bird vet before trying any of these solutions. She will review options with you and find the best solution, depending on your specific bird species, age, and health. Even if you successfully eradicate them without help, you’ll need to confirm with the vet that no lasting issues remain.

Limiting contact with birds, especially chickens and other poultry, will certainly reduce the need for emergency mite eradication. Stay vigilant in cleaning your animal’s cage and in checking him periodically for any signs of illness, mites included. Birds often show sickness in a personality change. If your little warbler suddenly stops singing, whisk him off to the doc for a once-over. The good news is if you manage to get the bugs out and your little birdie mite-free, he’ll be just fine.

Editors' Recommendations

Rebekkah Adams
Rebekkah’s been a writer and editor for more than 10 years, both in print and digital. In addition to writing about pets…
Best reptile pets: These are the 5 most affectionate reptiles you can welcome into your home
These friendly reptiles will make great additions to your family
Basking Chinese water dragon

When you picture an adorable pet, you probably don't visualize an iguana. Reptiles aren't generally considered the cutest of animals, but that doesn't mean you can't find a cuddly one. Whether you're looking for a new buddy for yourself or for your lizard-obsessed kid, there's a reptilian beast out there that will work great in your home. With proper socialization, these guys can learn to be handled daily, some even by children. If you want a new pet that enjoys human company, consider one of these most affectionate slitherers — they're the best reptile pets for handling.
Are reptiles high maintenance?
Not necessarily. One of the things that makes reptiles tricky is how foreign some of their needs are. Parrots, dogs, and humans often have similar requirements for food, exercise, warmth, and water. Since we're all warm-blooded omnivores (for the most part), it feels natural to care for many of the animals we welcome into our homes.

Reptiles are totally different. You'll have to think carefully about heating lamps, cool spots, gut loading, moisture levels, and skin shedding. So you only want to go down this path if you feel ready. That being said, with the right mindset, many lizards, snakes, and turtles make solid beginner pets (a few species don't and we suggest holding off on those until you turn pro).

Read more
Check these 3 things immediately if you have fish swimming at the top of the tank
Here's what might be causing fish to swim on the top of their home
Fish swim around in a tank with a bubbler

Before you set up your first tank, you likely didn't realize how much work went into maintaining the perfect ecosystem. In nature, we have the checks and balances of evolution to guide the delicate balance, but in an aquarium, it's just you. Learning how to clean, feed, and decorate takes time and research but will certainly benefit you — and your swimmers — in the end. Since fish can't tell you what they feel or even bark to let you know they need something, you'll discover other cues that tell you something's up. If you find your fish swimming at the top of the tank, take action right away. Here's what to do when your fish spend too much time at the surface.
What does it mean when your fish swim to the top?
Usually, your fish go to the surface when they're not getting enough oxygen. Unlike you, fish use their gills to breathe the air that's already in the water. However, in some circumstances, there's not enough oxygen in the tank for all the fish to breathe easily. To combat this, they swim up to the surface, where there is oxygen-rich water. You may notice some gasping or other signs that they're not well while they are up there. 

How do you oxygenate a fish tank?
The basic solution is to keep your tank oxygen rich and also low in CO2. You can do this by moving the water a bit more with an air pump or fan, which exposes the liquid to the air and helps get it ready for easy breathing. Be careful not to negatively impact other factors like temperature (more on that in a bit). Whatever you decide, make sure you have a long-term solution in place or the fish will go right back to the top again.

Read more
What you need to know about sugar gliders before you get an exotic pet
Follow these steps to set your sugar glider up for success
Sugar glider clings to their owner's thumb

Choosing a small pet involves almost as much deliberation as selecting a breed of dog. While there are a lot of factors to take into account, a sugar glider might turn out to be the perfect fit with their curious personality, attachment to your family, and fondness for pockets.

Like any exotic pet, gliders require expert care plus some dedicated research to choose the right breeder or pet store. But with the right prep, your new mammal will fit in perfectly and bond with the whole family. Keep reading to find out if sugar gliders are good pets.
What are sugar gliders?
Unlike most little pets, sugar gliders aren't rodents but marsupials. This gives you a few distinct advantages, as they behave differently from hamsters, guinea pigs, or gerbils. For starters, these are highly social creatures and they will bond with every member of the family and even other pets in the house. Because gliders don't smell like the animals your cats and dogs like to chase — rats, gophers, and bunnies, to name a few — many bigger pets can get along with your new friend. You'll need to introduce them carefully, but they can form lifelong attachments to each other.

Read more