How to Eradicate Parasitic Mites

In 2009, we were a typical Lesbian family raising chickens in our backyard.  That summer we got four new baby chicks and raised them in our family room until they were big enough to mix with our backyard hens.

In most cities it is illegal to keep chickens in, or even near, a human habitation. With good reason:  Chickens can carry a variety of ectoparasites, from bedbugs to several kinds of parasitic mites.  These mites are so tiny that to try to see one is like trying to see a piece of cellophane tape the size of the point of a pin.

By Halloween the house was so infested that I had to move out.  Eliminating these parasites took huge amounts of time, energy and money.  We received conflicting advice from many professionals and the stress on our family was enormous.  All this even though, as a biologist, I had the advantage of being able to read scientific journals from all over the world on those long, mite-bitten nights.

I put up this website to share the protocols I developed (the protocols explain how to eradicate mites) and to answer questions from people with mites.  It turned out that our family’s story was all too common, played out in cities around the world.  It could start with kids bringing home a bird’s nest, or pigeons nesting under an apartment balcony, or with backyard poultry.  Rich and poor, gay and straight, families with parasitic mites experience stress, difficulty getting help, and a sense of isolation.  It is an honor and a joy to help others overcome this scourge.

Five years later I’ve published The Year of the Mite, a book that captures the particulars of our family’s history as a way to let others know they are not alone.  The book also discusses the biology of mites and how evolution has shaped their behavior, as a basis for problem solving how to get rid of them.  The protocols that helped eliminate our mites are in the book too.

If you are a person with mites, or a professional wanting to help, you can find the Year of The Mite on Amazon (paperback and Kindle), Apple iBooks,and Barnes & Noble (paperback and Nook).  Excerpts from the book and the protocols (that explain how to how to eradicate mites) are on this web, simply follow the links.  It will take all of us sharing information to help those still affected by parasitic mites to deal with, and overcome them.

Best wishes to all.

Jane Ishka

94 thoughts on “How to Eradicate Parasitic Mites

  1. Jane, I am an acarologist that works with macronyssid mites – the probably culprit in the text here. It’s coincidental, but just yesterday, I was working through a large collection of microscope slides of a mite found in bird nests. There were many specimens collected from “human,” “house,” “window sill,” etc. So, this scenario, where these mites leave the abandoned bird nest and end up feeding on human blood is not as rare as I had thought. However, they do not infest the human, but simply bite them, suck a little blood, and leave again. Your situation sounds different. Do you know about the condition known as “delusory parasitosis?” It is a very common psychological affliction causing great suffering and frustration. Have you tried to send the mites to a specialist for identification?

    • Hello Don,
      Our mites were identified as Dermanyssus gallinae by the parasitology lab at the UC Davis Veterinary School. All five life stages were found on a hen from our yard — so, no, they did not leave the birds after biting. As an acarologist, you’ll probably be interested in a recent article by a group of entomologists that appeared in the journal Parasites and Vectors on the subject of under diagnosis of mite infestation in humans.
      http://www.parasitesandvectors.com/content/8/1/178
      And, yes, when mites are present and undiagnosed, there is an unfortunate tendency to assign a misdiagnosis of delusional parasitosis. See also this fascinating account of a near-miss in diagnosis (in this case of a non-mite species):
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16533215
      Why call it “pseudo-delusional syndrome” instead of “actual infestation?” Just baffling.
      Please take a look around this site, and much more to come when the book “The Year of the Mite” is published.
      Best wishes,
      Jane

      • Hello Cyndi,

        Very sorry to hear of your problems with mites. And, yes, it is quite possible for mites that started on rats to migrate to chickens and humans. There is evidence now that certain species of mites are able to shift hosts fairly readily.

        Elsewhere on this site is a set of protocols for mite eradication. I hope you find the protocols useful. Unfortunately, time frame is tough to predict, and even tougher with multiple locations and hosts. It will be helpful if you and your sister maintain the same protocol. And you did not mention what kind of dog you have, but the longer fur, the more difficult to kill off the arthropods. You might consider getting a car without carpeting like a Honda Element, given how much time you and your dog apparently spend in the car.

        Dehumidify, simplify (as in throw away most of what you own), and clean a lot.

        Do you have a specimen? If so, you can take it to the UC Davis Veterinary School when you are in town and get an identification. This will enable your pest control operator to use a wider range of (really nasty) chemicals.

        Wishing you the best with this rotten situation.
        Take care,
        Jane

    • Don–

      Mite sufferer here with now two families suffering from the rodent mite ornithonyssus bacoti. We have suffered for six months now, and also have a mite identified under the scope. The problem is ‘professionals’ are not admitting there’s a problem with host switching. You need to stop automatically diagnosing it as delusional parasitosis.

      Come to our house–I can tell you for a fact if you spend a short period in my car, our house or anything that contains fabric, you will get attacked by them. They reproduce rapidly. We’ve tried every chemical and pest control company known to man. I traveled five hundred miles away to escape to my significant other’s house. They traveled easily with me in the car and in my clothes. I gave them to my boyfriend easily, who didn’t believe in them. Now the family has them here with crawling+biting and I’m surprised they haven’t killed me yet. But it’s reality. My parents still have not gotten them out of their house. We are struggling to get them out of our cars here and computer chairs ( fabric).

      So, if you professionals would actually like to study the problem, rather than pretend to be psychiatrists, we’d greatly appreciate it. We are normal people suffering from a problem that isn’t being recognized. This is easily ten times worse than a bed bug infestation because of their ability to generate rapid populations in short periods, trust us. And obviously they are living just fine off us. I obtained a sample from my upper arm the other day. If you want it, I’ll send it no problem, even though ours are identified. So, in short, please step up to the plate, and recognize this issue. It’s pretty muched ruined our lives so far. These things spread easily to car and work. environments, home. etc. And because they are more active at night, good luck with sleep.

      Jane, I sent you a message on Facebook by the way, I had some questions about the mites as we’re trying a new treatment, that we pray works this time, and I had some questions.

      Thanks,

      Nat

      • Nat what is the protocol you tried, and did it work?
        I´m a Veterinarian, and was also being treated like a psycho.. until a month after all the crazy agony I found the stupid mites and was able to identify them with an acarologist as Ornythonyssu bursa, or in other words Tropical Fowl mite. But not even with the two samples I gave him he was able to accept they are living on me!!! I´m so worried not only for myself, I´ve accidentally infected my mom, while she was trying to help me. It breaks my heart how she´s drastically lost so much weight. As I am a vet, and speak a couple of languages, I´ve been in communication with people from different countries, unfortunately none with humidity as high as here. It´s 80% rh and we are in summer time, imagine when winter comes, it just rains all day every day.
        They do reproduce on me and bite me as much as they can, I try not being home, for as long as I can. My boyfriend has only felt like ¨small ants crawling him¨ but has never felt bites. I PRAY FOR THE LORD TO HELP US OUT!!! I hope to find an answer to be able to help others that I´m sure for doctors ¨that only know what they read can stop telling oh.. you have a dermatitis or delusional parasitosis. Know I´m not delusional, I´m very smart!!! And these mites are extraordinary creatures difficult to get rid off!!! I PRAY FOR ALL OF US!!! If I find a solution I will come and post, till then.

    • I paid good money to be told this by the dermatologist over a year ago ( havent been back. What seems to be common clinical understanding amidst prifessionals is sadly disconnected to the scenario of reality. I suspect much of the professional material was derived from clinicians’desire to bring some encouragement to the afflicted by false reassurances that the parasites themselves are uninformed of. So here I am mo ths later, receiving my understanding from the parasites themseves.Slept with hair tued up last night, thismorning as I was drinking coffee propped in bed ( w/ company of husband and 2 dogs) connected my index finger with the mite running across my collar bone – now it is in a ziplock baggie with nowhere to go be ause I dont want to hassel myself with the half truths/untruths I have heard from veterinarians/dermatologists alike…..It is in my head because this has sent me “round the bend”
      Nancy B ( an otherwise relatively intelligent and coherent human being)

  2. Hi Jane. I am a fairly recent resident of Northern California; I’ve been here going on seven years. I had been a chicken owner for over 20 years in the state of Utah. I never had any problems with any kind of infestations until I moved to Mendocino county. I moved into a rental home that also, before my occupancy, acquired a rat infestation due to poor maintenance. I have finally gotten that under control. At this time, I have gotten rid of all my chickens due to a mite infestation, which I believe was started with the rat problem. I had tried everything from diatamecious earth to lice and mites sprays. I finally gave up and got rid of the birds, but now my house and yard are infested. I also have several neighbors with chickens. I have had a pest control company spray the yard and trees as well as bomb the interior of the house. They are experienced with bird mite infestation issues and I believe they have treated it with the appropriate types of pesticides, which I hate to use, but I’m at a loss. The expense is unbelievable. I also spend a lot of time at my sisters house in Suisun City, CA and I think that the mites have migrated to her new home via my dog. Can you give me any ideas on what you recommend for eradication and expected time frame if the regime is followed diligently? How can I avoid reinfestation of my home and pets? Any help would be greatly appreciated. I do construction in Davis, CA from time to time and would appreciate any references for information and/or treatment that you may be able to provide.

    • Hello Cyndi,

      Very sorry to hear of your problems with mites. And, yes, it is quite possible for mites that started on rats to migrate to chickens and humans. There is evidence now that certain species of mites are able to shift hosts fairly readily.

      Elsewhere on this site is a set of protocols for mite eradication. I hope you find the protocols useful. Unfortunately, time frame is tough to predict, and even tougher with multiple locations and hosts. It will be helpful if you and your sister maintain the same protocol. And you did not mention what kind of dog you have, but the longer fur, the more difficult to kill off the arthropods. You might consider getting a car without carpeting like a Honda Element, given how much time you and your dog apparently spend in the car.

      Dehumidify, simplify (as in throw away most of what you own), and clean a lot.

      Do you have a specimen? If so, you can take it to the UC Davis Veterinary School when you are in town and get an identification. This will enable your pest control operator to use a wider range of (really nasty) chemicals.

      Wishing you the best with this rotten situation.
      Take care,
      Jane

  3. We have what I believe to be a bird/rodent mite issue. Only myself and my daughter and maybe the one dog is effected. My husband is not and my family and him are calling me crazy. I started getting bites and itching in mid August. We then found a large empty birds nest taking up our whole sofet and into the attic. I found a couple mites under the micrscope and sent one off for Id but the slide broke in transit. I’m a veterinary professional and im being blown off. It’s very frustrating. Now I can feel them in my ears etc. We live on twenty acres, rodents get in as well. I just bought an ozone machine to try bc Noone will tent without a positive Id. I have taken them to work and my moms house. Of course no one iseffected there so once again they blow me off. This is so scary bc I can only see them under a micrscope and keep trying to use tape to get one offmy skin for proof, but I cant!!! I look at the tape and now can’t find one. I’m not sure if they don’t come off with the tape or if they do but then get off the tape. This IS so frustrating
    Also we have a lot of mold so I thought maybe soringtails are also in the environment.
    Any advice would be great. I can’t ckean everything in this large house. My three year old reinfects everything. Do you know anything about ozone treatment?
    I would walk away and never look back but my car and work are infected and my husband doesn’t even believe me.

    • Sorry to hear of your troubles, Nichelle. One of the many challenges of a mite infestation is the tendency of parasitic mites to choose particular hosts within a group. The advantage for an ectoparasite of repeated exposure of one host is that the parasites are able to leave behind enough immunosuppressant protein to make the host more hospitable. The disadvantages for the “favorite” host include the difficulty of explaining to others that your experience and theirs are not the same.

      • So does this mean that eventually they could also start bothering my husband? Or would they have done that by now.
        The problem is even when I found these mite samples they were so small I didn’t even see a spec on the tape! I only saw them under the scope so it’s very hard to get a sample. Any ideas?
        I’ve tried taping my arm when I feel crawling etc and either it gets off the tape or it doesn’t come off. I’m not sure what to think bc I’ll take it to work and look and find nothing except skin cells.

        • The article is about the ability of mites to change species of hosts.
          Thus what we think of as chicken mites (Dermanyssus gallon) actually can live and reproduce on the blood of other organisms.

          The question of whether they will choose more than one favorite host from within a flock (or family) of the same species is a different matter.
          There is a survival advantage for mites and other cave ectoparasites to choose one favorite within a flock — IF they leave behind an immunosuppressant protein when they feed. In general, one particular host animal has many mites and others in the same flock have few.

          The problem from our point of view is that it can be tough to convince others in the same family that your experience with the same parasite is so different from theirs.

          All the best,
          J.

  4. Do you have any ideas for treating young children. My daughter is bad like me. We have been fighting this for 4 months. Treating ourselves and environment. It is getting a little better.My daughter and I itch from head to toe but my son does not. He was itchy in his scalp but after many different treatments he is not. He does get bites every once in awhile. My husband is fine. It seems like it is exactly what you were talking about with other people on here. Do you need to treat internally with medicine?

    • Hello Christine,
      I am very sorry to hear of your family’s difficulties with mites.
      Unfortunately your experience is not unique. Because mites tend to choose particular individuals as hosts, different people in a family can have very different experiences, and this can lead to misunderstandings between family members. I hope you and your husband are able to bridge the gap in your experience and communicate well.
      I haven’t seen any statistics about this, but anecdotally it does seem like more women than men are affected.
      You sound well informed and are likely reading many sources and finding good resources for treatment. However treating a young child requires particular caution.
      Have you been able to capture a specimen and have it identified? If so, your pediatrician or a pediatric dermatologist may be able to help.
      It is always best to use the least toxic treatments, but with young children at home it is even more essential. Cleaning your environment, throwing away the things you don’t need, getting rid of carpeting and drapes, replacing your carpeted car with a Jeep or a Honda Element, running dehumidifiers and air conditioners — these are all relatively safe approaches. If you engage a pesticide operator, you’ll want to observe carefully all the safety precautions they give you. Structural pasteurization is a non-toxic alternative to pesticides in the environment, although my family did not find it effective.
      As for taking medicine, the difference between the effective dose and the toxic dose for Ivermectin may not be all that large (especially for a child), and this is definitely a conversation to have with a well qualified physician. Again, when my family treated with Ivermectin, it was not that effective — which may be because we had not yet fully treated the environment.
      Good luck to you. It is tough to be patient with parasitic mites. But keep in mind the non-toxic alternatives will decrease the numbers over time.
      All the best,
      Jane

  5. Im 54 have a weak immune system spent a while i hospital have been getting sensations of skin crawling for several months then i started to find tiny miniscule almost like black eggs hard but squish when pressed hard between the thumb nails and you hear them crack although theyre just like tiny black particles i am being driven insane because my doctor cant understand how i still have anything after using permethrin 5% w/w cream on numerous ocassions .
    Now i have thrown a bed out moved rooms washed all my clothes & bedding on boiling wash applied permethrin the night before showered the next day then noticed lots of black particles in the clean bed along with them coming out of the duvet after a wash theyre so small but look like microscopic eggs but then i feel these things going up my nose at night and in my ears but a lot around the rectum in fact i have images of these disgusting parasites burrowing into my bum hole it is making me crawl and now i have started to get inflamed eye lids and before i noticed them more at night but now they are itching me in the day but they cannot be seen unless theyre on a white sheet or they are bigger like the ones that go to my rectum. the base of my spine the tail end keeps going numb and i wonder if this is the parasites or just a coincidence ? i have red sores tiny at base of hair line on neck and on legs and just recently i have started to get swelling in my right calf muscle and think it is connected to these parasites but all our doctors here in Liverpool UK have not got any idea what is attacking me , i bleached my duvet in boiling water toady hung it out to dry then within seconds all these tiny black speckles started to come out to the surface ? i am baffled as is everyone else as to what is attcking me & i am now on the verge of a nervous breakdown as i dont think people understand what effect this is having on my health i feel like they have made their way into my bowels as they open of a morning like i have an upset stomach really fast soft fecaes just shoots out its freaking me out and it feels like theyre living up my nose perminently now please if you feel you can genuinely name these things or point me in the right direction i will be forever endebted to you please email me and make my miserable life a better one.
    Kind Regards
    William King
    Crosby
    Liverpool United Kingdom .
    [email protected]

    • Hello William,
      So sorry to hear of your very tough times with infestation. Many of us on this site have been through it and can empathize.
      The specific symptoms you describe are somewhat different than mine, and you likely would benefit from the assistance of an entomologist to help you identify the species you are dealing with. Given that the eggs are visible and make an audible sound when you crack them, it may not be mites at all but perhaps a different arthropod. An informed pest control specialist might be able to assist with an ID as well. If you have a local school of veterinary medicine, they are often able to help identify. The good news is, it sounds like you are able to capture specimens. I’d suggest you keep a vial of isopropyl handy and place eggs and later stages in the vial as you catch them.
      It sounds like you are dealing with a cave parasite, that co-infests you and your environment. If that is the case, you may need to use protocols on yourself and your home environment simultaneously. Please take a look at the protocols on this website, which are also available in the back of my book, The Year of the Mite, on Amazon. You will want to create conditions that make it tough for them to reproduce (including keeping your home cool and dry) at the same time as you kill them off (by cleaning your person and your home in specific ways). And once you have a species identified, pest control can be very helpful.
      Best of luck, and keep in touch. This is a rotten experience, but it can be overcome with information, determination, and hard work.
      Regards,
      Jane

      • Hi jane, I was wondering, I have thrown 3/4 of my clothe and getting rid of my sofa and other furnisher, have been using an ozone generator to see if that helps, as well with two dehumidifiers that run all day everyday, and cleaning with creolin. Have you ever heard of creolin, is made out of the destillation of wood, for some reason have read this helps so decided to give it a try. Currently have Kleen Green which I had add it to my washing process and to spray on myself when I start feeling them swirmming. It does seem the numbers have gone down a little bit, since the initial crazyness. But was wondering, the apartment we´re living in is bought. My first actual apartment, I don´t know if I should try moving out and leaving all or just going with nothing but my laptop and a few outfits wo work with. Do you think if we don´t move we wont be able to get rid of them? and then the other question. If I when I move I´m not able to eliminate them from the apartment, then I´m suppose to sell it, with these horrible creatures around?
        Would love to hear your input.

        • Hello FIMT,
          All the things I used to get rid of the infestation are in my protocols, so I can’t really comment on the things you mention in your note such as creolin and ozone. However it’s great that you are finding things that seem to be effective for you.
          The ethical question you raise is an important one. In some states, it is legally required to disclose an infestation that occurred within a certain time period of a real estate sale. If you are not in a location like that, you will need to consult your conscience (and perhaps a real estate attorney) to determine your best course. I don’t think any of us would like to think we are responsible for others (adults and possibly children) having to deal with this scourge.
          I do think it is possible to get rid of mites in an apartment, if you get rid of curtains and draperies, get rid of your carpeted car, follow good protocols, and are not reinfested by vectors in the building (such as birds nesting under a balcony or rats in an attic).
          Wishing you all the best,
          Jane

  6. Hi Jane,
    I read your book, which so accurately described exactly what I’ve been going through the past few months. It made me feel less alone, but was also discouraging in how long it took you to rid yourself of them after moving out of your home. I do not know if I have chicken mites. I haven’t been able to capture a bug, and my infestation seemed to start when someone came to stay with us. The person, however, did not experience symptoms herself. I’m about to move out of my home, which is very challenging as I have a number of other health problems—lyme disease, as well as a severe photosensitivity from antibiotics. I was wondering if I could contact you directly through email, or even by phone to ask for advice? My time on the computer is very limited due to my photosensitivity.
    Thank you so much for your efforts in informing others about our suffering!
    Take care,
    Mimi

    • Hello Mimi,
      I am very sorry to hear of your difficulties with mites. Unfortunately they can be hard to catch, and the kinds of traps currently in use are not ideal.
      Yes it can take quite a while to get rid of them using the techniques currently available. Hope you are finding some of the suggestions in the protocols on this site to be useful.
      It can happen that one person is much less affected by mites than another, and it sounds like the person who visited you might have brought along an infested item. It is also possible that mites came to your home some other way, around the time of that visit, such as via an infested rodent in a crawl space in your home.
      I am sorry to hear you also have Lyme Disease. I have heard of other instances where someone who already has Lyme Disease develops a mite infestation.
      Moving out of your home can be helpful, especially if you move into a place that does not have drapes or carpets.
      Please take good care and let me know how you are doing! I hope the protocols on this site are helpful.
      Best regards,
      Jane

  7. Hi Jane,

    Thanks so much for your reply. By the way, I wanted to mention parts of your book made me smile, even though I’m so miserable tright now. About always feeling cold, having leg cramps from too much isopropyl alcohol, and staring resentfully at people who take being mite-free for granted. Definitely resonated with me.

    I had some other questions.
    Are these mites somewhat unusual in that they infest the house, but also live on us, like scabies, lice, and demodex mites? It seems most information out there is on non-mobile things that live on you, and mobile things that bite you and drop off. This feels like some combination of the two. Do they live on us? Do they have a life cycle on us? Why do some nest in my clothes or house, but some live on me? Or are they nesting somewhere in the house, and just come bite me and evade my cleaning via pores and cracks in my skin? I feel like they go up my nose and leave a grainy sensation going down to my throat. Do those live in me? I’m sorry if you’ve posted this info elsewhere. It’s difficult for me to search the forums because of my photosensitivity.

    Also, how veneficial did you find Ivermectin to be?. Have you heard of any herbal anti-parasitics that are helpful besides garlic? Pharmaceuticals make my photosensitivity worse.

    Lastly, I’m planning on having my house heated. Have you heard of people having sucess with this. I know you didn’t because of your basement, but have others, if they did the whole house? Or are the mites able to hide from the heat, or leave the house and come back after it’s been treated?

    Thanks so much,
    Mimi

    • Hello Mimi,

      I’m glad you enjoyed the book. There is something so absurd about the whole situation, we must laugh about it once in a while, as horrible as it is.

      In answer to your first question, yes, the ones I had clearly infested both the host and the environment, and it sounds like yours do as well. The conventional wisdom is that D. gallinae are only on the host to feed at night, but when I took the chicken in to the vet, all life stages were captured on the bird in the middle of the day — everything from egg through adult. So it seems evident that some live their lives on the host. On the other hand, they were also clearly in the environment. For example, I was bitten more often in bed than when sleeping on the dining room table. Similarly, the rate at which I was bitten in the car decreased markedly after replacing my ordinary carpeted car with a Honda Element (no rugs, plastic seats). I can’t speak for your situation, but mine clearly co-infested the home/car and the favorite host.

      Like you, I had the experience of sensations in my throat and nose. I also had them in my ears and in private parts. All that went away when the infestation ended. Humans consider mites to be ectoparasites, but regrettably mites don’t respect those boundaries. All the things you’re presumably doing to get rid of your infestation (cleaning, dehumidifying, throwing away belongings you don’t need) will help with your throat and nose as well.

      When I used Ivermectin, there were still a lot of mites in my environment. There was no species ID yet, and in California, that means pest control operators can’t treat with the most effective miticides. I got some temporary relief, but presumably Ivermectin would be more effective if it were used simultaneously with full-on pesticide treatment of the home. If only the home is treated, or only the person, mites can just hide out and spread again. Also please be aware that Ivermectin is essentially a low dose of pesticide, and talk about potential side effects with your doctor before deciding whether to use it.

      As for structural pasteurization (house heating), my experience was not positive but I can’t say how yours would be. Mites can survive relatively high heat and are small enough to fit way into cracks at the height of heating. I imagine they can escape heat more easily than the larger bedbugs for which this treatment is often used. You may have better luck, and if so, please let me know.

      Wishing you all the best in this very difficult situation. And two more things: Please consider asking to join the Skin Mite Support Group on Facebook, convened by Nat Willingham. Also, please think about reviewing the mite book on Amazon. The more folks who review, the more likely Amazon is to recommend the book to folks who might benefit.

      Take care and keep in touch,
      Jane

  8. Hi Jane,
    I am a ‘survivor’ of a mite infestation in 2012 (birds nest on the house). We left that house (with very few belongings – the rest were incinerated) after three PCO treatments failed. After we left, they drilled into the walls of the house and treated inside those; the house was then empty for 5 months over a cold winter and now there are people living there again, so I can only presume that they eventually did get rid of the infestation.
    Recently, I witnessed house martins attempting to get into our current home just prior to the nesting seasons. This freaked me out so I did some research into bird scaring to see if I could scare them away. This research resulted in my making some ‘bunting’ from garden twine, onto which I tied CDs and small plastic bags (sandwich bags) which would fill with air and rustle. The CDs give off prisms of light from the sun, which birds apparently find distressing. I then hung my ‘bunting’ across the back of the house as close to the roof as I could get. Within 24 hours the birds were giving our place a wide berth; a couple of house martins also abandoned the nest they’d already made in our next door neighbour’s house.
    I am so thrilled with the success of my home made bunting that I will be doing it every year from now on (probably for the months of May/June/July) to try to ensure birds don’t even think about nesting on our property. I have found other materials on Amazon that I’ll add to next year’s bunting – holographic foil ribbon, and some scaring rods (plastic).
    I hope this helps others. And to those going through an infestation right now, I say keep going. The things which I believe helped me most were regular swimming in chlorinated water, dehumidifying the house, using sulphur and neem preparations on my skin, using coconut oil on my skin, and cleaning the environment as thoroughly as possible. I washed all clothes on a high temperature with ammonia and borax in the washing machine; I ironed the clothes with a DRY iron, and stored them in plastic bags when not being worn. I only wore things once before washing again. It took roughly 9 months to be free of them, but now I’m three years on with no reinfestation or further problems.

    • Hello Kitty,

      Many thanks for sharing your success story! It is great to hear from folks who have overcome this challenge. And thank you also for sharing ways to repel potential bird mite vectors. It is great you were able to prevent a new round of infestation without harming the birds.

      Those of us who have had mites and come out the other side can never again, I believe, take for granted what most people think of as “ordinary” life. Possession of our own skin is something to be grateful for, each and every day.

      Again, thank you for these prevention techniques and for sharing your story. May you continue to enjoy the luxury of freedom from parasitic mites!
      All the best,
      Jane

    • Kitty, did you throw away all of your stuff? I´m wondering if I need to throw away all my clothe, or endure the challenge, and just wash them all.

  9. Hi Jane,
    This is month 3 of our situation. Started out fine. Birds broke into our bathroom vent, destroyed the vent tubing, and built the “grand floridian” of nests. We heard the babies in there, and decided to let them go. Bad move. The day the birds stopped singing, the mites began coming into the bathroom vent. We noticed them VERY quickly. At first, it looked like dirt… then it moved. We cleaned it up regularly while I started researching what it was. I saw the horror stories on that bird mites site, and was panicking like mad. Got the bug guys in immediately. They couldn’t get the nest. So, a friend and I removed the nest (20 pounds into a contractors bag). Bug guys told me the spray they use was a residual, and would kill for 30 days after treatment. The family had a total of about 6 bites at that time. We cleaned clothing and the bug guys said we were good to go. We went on vacation for two weeks. We came home and didn’t see any of the little brown dudes in the bathroom. We were very excited. Was told by a top entomologist at Wisconsin that they could only live 10-28 days w/o a bird. Then, started noticing a couple of super tiny almost white/transparent creatures where the brown ones had been. Now we are really confused because my wife has what we think is poison ivy, and my legs feel like they have been covered in insulation. So now we aren’t sure what to do. Trying a new company this week. They have professional entomologists there to assist in treatment… but not sure if they’ll take on this task! AHHH. Thanks for your book. One question: do you take everything on that other site as fact? I’m currently terrified, but still hopeful we haven’t hit “uncontrollable” level.

    • Hello Brian,

      So let me understand this: Your supposed professionals could not remove a large, heavily infested bird’s nest, and left the job to you? That is outrageous, and I wish whoever they are a world of terrible Yelp reviews, at minimum. I hope you and your friend wore protective clothing in the process.

      When the birds stopped singing, it is likely they learned to fly (although it is possible the mites killed them – but you don’t mention dead chicks). Once the nest was abandoned, off went the mites in search of other prey.

      And then your bug “professionals” did you another “favor” and told you their spray would continue to work for thirty days. This without knowing where the mites had traveled within your house, whether they had set up shop in areas the spray could not reach, like inside books, under carpeting, in vents, etc. It is common practice to repeat spray several times over the course of weeks. It is also best practice to ask residents to dispose of excess belongings, leave dresser drawers and closets open to enable spray to reach all areas, etc. I wonder whether your pest control operator did any of that. Also, what did they spray? If it was not a combination of miticide and growth inhibiting hormone, the spray was less effective than it could have been.

      Then your “top entomologist” said your mites could live less than a month without a bird. First of all, did he or she provide a species identification? Let’s say hypothetically that you had the red poultry mite, Dermanyssus gallinae. You or I could look online at journal articles and find studies showing they live eight months without feeding. A “top entomologist” should know better. Not to mention, D. gallinae has demonstrated genomic plasticity about host species and can live on humans, no birds required. Google David George’s recent article in Parasite & Vector and you can read all about it.

      I am outraged on your behalf that you have not been given better help. Unfortunately your story is not unique. People who have the difficult circumstance of being exposed to a large infestation are most successful when they take on learning about and managing their own recovery, simultaneously on their person and in their home (and often car) environment. I’d encourage you to read the protocols on this site. Begin with the things that are most benign, like frequent vacuuming and the use of dehumidifiers. Use your critical thinking skills in choosing and managing professionals. Gear up for battle. Sure, read other websites, use what works, be skeptical of what I or anybody else has to say. And if you can, get a species identification.

      Best of luck. I’m sorry for your trouble. Do let me know how you are doing.
      Jane

  10. Jane,
    You have no idea how incompetent they were. The first guy told me that these aren’t parasites, but instead they feed on the nesting of the birds! I have no idea what was sprayed. I’m having a new group in tomorrow. Home paramount (I found them using twitter. Kevin Ulrich is @bugdoctor and I’ve seen he’s treated for bm’s before. They have entomologists instead of just bug killers. Hoping they are more helpful. they even do things like remove/replace ceiling/wall (drywall material) and vents. Hoping to get some answers. We haven’t been bitten since the first days back in mid-April. Fingers crossed that continues! I’ll update after talking to HP tomorrow.

    • Hello Brian,
      It’s great you are going to use a PCO with entomologists on staff. Hope they are able to collect a sample and give you a species identification right away.
      Please let me know how it goes.
      And may you and your family continue not to be bitten.
      Best of luck,
      Jane

  11. We have had bird mites (from a baby starling bird being brought into our home for a night ) for 3 months, have done everything recommended on every site I can find, and still have reminants of them and a few bites daily. We have thrown out all furniture and have put all clothing other than a box of necessities into storage. We are moving with 2 dogs and 2 cats. Any recommendations so they do not follow us with the move?

    • Hello Dee, very sorry to hear of the problems that have arisen from a brief exposure. Good thing the infested bird was only in your home for one night!
      Please check out the recommendations on this site for cleaning people and belongings. Hope you are running dehumidifiers and that you’ll move them into your new home. The items you store may retain activity for much longer than the eight months viability in the literature, at least based on my experience of trying to get things out of storage years after my infestation was over. My advice: Be ruthless, and throw out everything you can. Moving is a great time for that.
      It sounds like you are doing everything right. Moving can stir up the few remaining stragglers, so don’t worry if you have a slight uptick, just ramp up your protocols accordingly. I believe you have the bugs on the run.
      And don’t forget to clean your cars!
      Best of luck, and do let me know how it goes.
      Jane

  12. Thank you so much for your site an sharing with us, Hi my name is Vicki an have been living with these bird mites for 4 months now, I too had some baby chicks that were hatched in the winter an brought them in the house (never again) we had 2 chicks that were sick an I tried to take care of them I would sit on the couch an hold an hand feed them an keep them next to me, but they died the other ones got big enough to take outside, an not long after that I fell asleep on the couch an woke up to something crawling all over my head an face, I took 3 showers with in a 3 hour period of time, an it has been down hill from there,
    So I began cleaning an baging up everything not tied down, bathed several times a day in hot water thought that would get rid of them no they are still here, we don’t have any one in our area for Identification, my little dog got them tried all the things I found on Internet to treat her and it didn’t work so I took her to the vet with things I found in her bed (would be just a tiny black dot but there were a lot of them) he checked them out an told me that they were bird mites, an we have been using reveloution on her, they are not all gone but she is better, but please use some common sense, (which I didnt) an I made my problem worse.
    Had read on one of the forums to put your dirty clothes in a bag an then wash them once a week, which I did an couldn’t understand why they were still in my clothes an towels so bad, if I had thought about it that give them time to all gather in the clothes that I was saving to wash on 1 day a week, now I wash everything the day I wear it or use it,
    It is so hard to keep up with all the cleaning an washing an spraying, not to mention the animals, everything I have is infested even my computers an phone.
    My husband belives I have them but they don’t bother him so he is not concerned about it, he still has the checkens an I cring every time he comes in after being in there pen, the other day after he came in we were sitting here talking an I seen this tiny speck on his hair an grabed it put it under a magnifier an it was a mite,
    There are a few things I have found to be helpfull, I read this one guy said he sprayed Windex on his body before he takes a shower, tried it an at first thought this don’t work but did it for 2 or 3 days an I finely got some releif, so if they are working really bad on me I use the windex, will switch to sulfur soap an dawn dish detergent, also use Rid spray for lice on my clothes, beds all furnature, walls, every where, clothes at night before I go to bed, just lay them on the mattress an spray the whole thing,
    Wal-Mart also has a big gallon of Harris bed bug spray, I put it in a spray bottle an switch between it an the rid, have noticed that what works one day with these little critters doesn’t always work the next, I use borax in with detergent an use liquid bounty in the wash, but can use a lint roller after an still find bugs. The reason I can see them is I downloaded a magnifier with a light to my phone an it works good enough to be able to see the mites, this may sound silly but I use a lot of tape if I feel a bite or something crawling I put a piece of scotch tape on it an leave it for a bit when the sensation goes away then take it off, might not be able to see the critter but after it stops know it’s gone (my husband does think I am crazy sometimes) lol think it embarrasses him when I tell people they can’t come in the house because we have these bugs an don’t want them to get them, but I won’t take that chance.
    Have been to dermo an she told me twice you can’t see the bird mites an they don’t get in your hair or on your face even though I was showing her the bites, I finely ask her if she had ever had them, of course she said no, please don’t let any one make you feel crazy, or intimadate you, you know when you have these things or anything as far as that goes, I have used everything but they are every where in my house, with exception of the 2 spare bedrooms, an don’t want to get them in there we got seven dust an sprinkled it all over them in case for some reason we have to go in there hopefully that will keep them clean.
    Please don’t give up I know it is horrible, I get flurstrated, it’s hard for me sometimes, my heath isn’t the best, had a major heart attack about a year an half ago, Also have degeneration of the spine, which has left me disabled, I pray, that God will let me take one day at a time an endure what is going on with me to be able to do what I can, am grateful to be alive (because during the heart attack they lost me 3 times) but I am still here an my heart is better than they said it ever would be again, am very blessed.
    Keep your head up an find something in your life every day that makes you happy, an keep fighting this battle, I get down an want to quit but that is not an option as we speak there are these little pin pricks all over me, but at least I am alive to share with you.
    Bless you all an hope it ends soon
    Vicki

    • Hello Vicki,
      Very sorry to hear of your problems with mites and with your difficulties getting professional help with them, which are unfortunately all too common.
      Just a reminder to you and to all reading this site to please keep your long-term health in mind when trying remedies.
      We can get rid of these things, and we want to lead long healthy lives afterwards.
      Please focus on the least toxic, most benign ways of eliminating these arthropods. Remember that dehydrating mites by running dehumidifiers in your home is a great way to bring down numbers, with little to no impact on human health. Use products as directed as much as you possibly can.
      All the best, and please let me know how it goes.
      Jane

  13. I got them bad. I knew it wasn’t in my head (my first thought), because it would be in specific areas of my house. I have over 100 paper back comic books collected over the last 30 years. I haven’t read them in awhile and recently got them out (there may have been some slight mold on some). The itching started in areas I had read those books. Now they’re all over the house.

    Within the last hour I looked in a cup with water by my bed that’s been there a couple of days, and there are about 20 of these tiny miniscule mites dead and floating on top of the water. I’ve strained my eyes on a number of occasions looking at my arm where it had started itching to no avail. This may be a really good way to trap a sample…put a shallow receptacle of water in an infested area and it will trap some. Also, may be a way to see if issue’s cleared up…if no dead mites in water after an area is “decontaminated”, it may be clear. I think these are mites but am going to get them looked at tomorrow.

    My daughter just had twins in the last week and I pray I have not spread this hell to her!

    • What are the ramifications of getting rid of the mites with two cats? Maybe get them deloused/demited then taken somewhere till issues dealt with. Can’t I clear everything out and “bug bomb” the place?

      • Hello John,
        So-called “bug bombs” may or may not be effective on mites. Best is to locate a pest control company experienced with mites that can come in and use a combination of miticides and growth hormones to eliminate most of your mites and leave a residue that prevents any remaining mites from maturing and reproducing. And as for cats: Your cats may or may not be affected. On that score, best to find an experienced veterinarian who will shave a patch of skin on each cat and use the material collected in shaving to search for mites. I don’t know if veterinarians are using PCR techniques yet for this purpose, but if so, they can identify the mite species genetically.
        Best of luck, and please keep me posted.
        Jane

    • So sorry to hear of your troubles with mites, John, and it’s a special concern to keep them away from young children. This is so sad when we want to be with children and grandchildren. Please look at the protocols here and in the back of my book, The Year of the Mite, for ideas on how to control mites.
      And by the way, your idea about capturing some on water is a good one. Have you found anyone local to you who can identify them? Some of the better pest control companies have on-site entomologists.
      Best of luck, and please let me know how it goes.
      Jane

  14. Hello Jane,

    I am from Melbourne Australia (downunder). I’ve been searching websites regarding this infestation and I am fortunate to find your website and this discussion forum.

    For about 2-3 years I’ve been fighting these blood sucking pests as I like to call them. They’ve made havoc and ruined mine, my families life.

    Everything from tea tree oil, eculyptus oil, lavender oil, oregano oil, peroxide (3%), Lyclear (scabies cream), ascabiol lotion has been used on the body. The house has been fumigated 6 times, all to no avail. Others come to visit and contract it after some time of stay or sometimes they feel itchy only after 3 or 4 visits.

    The itching happens especially in the enose, inner ears, head (scalp), cartilage area of the body, the anus and virtually everywhere else in the body. What are these things!?

    I’m terrified to bring anyone to my house because of this. The carpet has been removed with lino and bedding has been replaced 4 times, all to no avail.

    The doctors believe I am nuts…. a member of my family was diagnosed with a delusional disorder due to this problem.

    What do you suggest, as a biologist in this case?

    My friends are contracting it from me! Just by me being in their car or spending time with them outdoors. What is this? I wash and shower, everything before I leave the house.

    All clothes get washed in boiling water and then put in the dryer for like 2-3hours at a time. It’s crippling me badly.

    Government department has been contacted, all to no avail. This is terrifying stuff. Sometimes I feel choking in the throat, I feel weird in my stomach.

    What can I do now? Is there a social group or any type of group which is having any discussion on this that you may know of? – Any group that would be informative that is.

    I read the meeting mentioned in your blog, nothing new there to read.

    What can I do now?

    Regards,

    Ofir

    • Hello Ofir,
      I am very sorry to hear of your ongoing troubles with mites. Your description sounds very familiar. The combination of being bitten by something you cannot see, and finding so little help from professionals, is incredibly difficult. Add to that the isolation that comes from concern about spreading the problem to friends and family, and the effects are daunting.
      It sounds like you are doing many things to attempt to control them. Other things you don’t mention that can help a lot include:
      1. Running air conditioners and dehumidifiers. Mites are less functional in a cool, dry environment.
      2. Having pest control people use growth hormones along with miticides. The growth hormones stop mites from maturing to the adult, reproductive stage.
      3. Getting a car with no rugs or upholstery. Consider a Jeep or a Honda Element.
      4. Talk with your doctor about Ivermectin. This medication can help with the mites on your person, and of course other protocols must be followed for the mites in your dwelling and your car.
      Please look at the protocols on this page or in the back of my book, The Year of the Mite, for additional suggestions.
      The group on Facebook mentioned in my blog does bring up some new, helpful ideas. Some people are working on forming a patient advocacy group – more about that as it develops.
      I wish you all the best in your search. Please let me know how it goes as you try new avenues for relief.
      All the best,
      Jane

      • Jane, honey, I was wondering in the room that I´m sleeping I have an air conditioner but the other parts of the house I don´t. I´m thinking if getting new ones, although I know we got contaminated by air conditioner. How many times should I get the air conditioners cleaned? Do you have any idea on that part. I´m scared they are nesting on the one in my room and spreading when I turn it on.

        • Hello,
          Really interested to hear you were contaminated by an air conditioner.
          How exactly did that happen?
          Sorry, I can’t advise about cleaning an air conditioner.
          Keep up the good work!
          Best,
          Jane

          • Hello Jane, I used to joke my cat, Lulu, had a pigeon boyfriend. Everyday there was a pigeon looking into the apartment from the air conditioner condenser. So that was the start of everything. I´m having difficulties getting them off of me, I´m currently unemployed and spend the whole time out of my house, looking for job and information. I´m terrified for April is yet to come, and rain season non stop is something I´m dreading. In your book you didn´t talk about eating any special diet or not that my sleepy eyes remember off.. i´ve been eating mostly vegs, meats and nuts, but very difficult to not eat fruits or no carbs for a long period of time. Any suggestions on the diet part? I was also curious, I´ve read of 4 persons that have won the battle, you, a girl called Nicole, a guy called Nathan and someone else that I don´t remember right now. Nathan eliminated them with cleaning and simplifying but said Cedar oil did the trick for him, Nicole threw out most of her belongings but her trick was the use of an ozone generator, and well of course your protocols. I´m trying to combined all three , oh I just remembered someone that swore Kleen Green did the trick, and Neil that after doing everything and nothing worked he left his house for 3 months and before leaving and before entering his apartment he bombed with malathion house and car.
            I wonder what will I do, my apartment is bought not rented, so moving out is hard, specially with me being unemployed. We have, used most of savings to do the fog the house , and rest of stuff that hasn´t worked. Know bought a dehumidifier, but only one was 200$, so think I´ll have to work before we get more. But I´m debating about getting new air conditioners. The only place I would be able to put them would be the intial point of entrance of this bugs, and although I´ve threw all type of pesticides I doubt there dead out there. A friend of mine, said his brother had that issue when leaving in Spain, and they threw liquid nitrogen in the apartment and that solved the issue, but I think that will be quiet difficult to find over here.

          • Hello FIMT,
            Very sorry to hear of your troubles with infestation. It is such a shame there is no public education about how to avoid parasitic mites. I have read that 99% of pigeons are infested with Dermanyssus gallinae, the red poultry mite that was the source of my family’s difficulties (and perhaps yours as well). But the many ways of contracting parasitic mites, such as bringing home an abandoned bird’s nest or living in a home with rodents in the attic, are known to very few.
            There certainly are people who claim that a healthy diet helps get rid of mites. I felt nauseous most of the time I had them, so it’s not a subject I know much about. But if you access Nat Willingham’s Skin Mites Support Group on Facebook, you’ll find lots of information from folks who have tried different diets.
            Many methods to get rid of mites are expensive, and families often spend a lot of money in the process. Liquid nitrogen might do the trick, as it is probably below the temperature range mites can tolerate. There are certainly some less expensive suggestions in the protocols. I hope you find a combination that is helpful. If you own your apartment, you can probably get rid of carpeting and drapes, for a start.
            Best of luck in your fight with mites.
            Take care,
            Jane

  15. Hello Jane,

    Thank you for your response, it is greatly appreciated.

    Yes. I have done everything except for the Growth Hormones and the Ivermectin. I was given zatamil (topical cream) which has not helped. Plenty of other methods that have been administered, all to no avail.

    Fortunately, I’ve been given a spray with the active ingredients 14g/Kg Pyrethrins and 60g/kg Piperonyl Butoxide – I’ve not used this for a time and I’m a little weary with this one – it’s a very, very strong concentration of chemicals.

    Could I ask you, why is it that no professional body actually know or understand what these things are? I mean why do they label people mental or delusional from something that is very obviously real and active?

    I am set to move from where I live hopefully soon but I am very, very paraniod I will end up infesting the new place too. I mean, my place is currently empty, obsolutely nothing in it due to this.

    I mop the floors with a number of essential oils, as well as singing the tune ‘Go back to where you came from little kritters, oh go back to where came from, I no tastey, I no toastey, you make mistake darlings’ – I wonder if they’ve got ears!

    How can one get rid of this type of thing from a car? Bombing the car? fumigation? Or maybe singing the ‘I no tastey, I no toastey’ song to them?

    I worried that once I get rid of this, others will give it right back to me and then the vicious circle starts again. I’ve already had a friend threaten to sue me due to this…. like as if it was me who gave it to him. I cannot see them,…

    I feel they may be able to go into the body, is this true, Jane? I mean I feel constipated and aching lower legs – it’s like as if these things can attack the weak parts of your body and your immune system….

    Thank you for making this website. I’m sure everyone here is greatly appreciative that their not alone in this battle and your support is of great benefit.

    I hope everyone battling with these little kritters find relief sooner rather than later. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.

    Kindest Regards,

    Ofir

    • Thank you, Ofir, for your kind words. So sorry to hear of your continued difficulties with this formidable enemy. It is an incredible experience to fight a major health challenge and deal with the professional denial of its existence at the same time.
      I am glad you are moving. Take only things you can clean easily. If your car has carpeting and upholstery, get rid of it. Get one with plastic seats and rubber floors, and clean it every day.
      These mites are considered to be ectoparasites, but they don’t know that word and go where they want. My experience is, once you get control of them, the ones that have strayed into sinuses and other interior areas lose ground and eventually stop bothering the host.
      The social isolation of a mite infestation is so difficult. This is the first time I have heard of a threat to sue — it is cold comfort that your friend would have just as much of an uphill battle proving his or her infestation to professionals as you do.
      Do not be discouraged. You will overcome this mindless scourge. Keep at it! And I hope you will join the fledgling patient rights group, once it is up and running. Keep in touch.
      All the best,
      Jane

  16. Hello, Jane,
    Perhaps, you can help. Although I really don’t know how to present this.

    I have a very dear friend who is being bitten by Microscopic Biting Mites.
    He’s had them for 3 years.
    He is professional.

    I think they are a species of Demodex Mites that infest birds because
    He says he first noticed them May 17, while running through a wooded area.
    That’ the height of Bird Nesting Season.
    And, because we cannot see them, at all, whereas bird mites, you can see them without a microscope.

    The symptoms are

    1. a stabbing needle-like pain. then,
    2. burrowing the needle into the skin.

    He has them in his ears, sinuses, urethra, scalp, eyes, all over.

    As you know, no one will help him, not the county, state, federal, dermatologists, doctor, entomologists, no one.

    Rather, they prefer to label him psychotic with DOP, which exasperates him.

    So, I have written a book, for my friend, about Mites.
    I didn’t know about your forthright book until 10:15 pm tonight. And, we became hopeful.

    My book is a very Negative and Angry testament.
    But, the reason I am writing and what I’m asking is,
    Would you have time to quickly look it over and give me an opinion?
    I can email it to you as a PDF.
    Xlibris published it, so it looks professional.
    It’s only 26 pages long.
    You could browse it in 10 minutes.
    Thank you again.
    Erik

  17. Hi Jane,

    Thank you so much for starting and maintaining this website. I have been dealing with bites, itching, a crawling sensation, and pin prick feelings on my body, nose and ears for over a month now. My 1 year old son also has bites on this body too. But he’s been itching his ears and back of neck at hairline for at least a couple months actually. My husband and 4 1/2 year old daughter are not bothered at all. At first, I was convinced it was in my head but when the frequency of bites ramped up and when my son was waking up with multiple new bites every morning (and sometimes after naps too!), I started reading online and got really scared. I spent a whole day scouring my house with scotch tape and collected anything and everything that moved. I called in a good pest control company and one of my samples was identified as a bird mite (but they didn’t tell me the species!) and they found an empty birds’ nest on an eave of the house. They fogged the house with a pesticide that included a growth inhibitor and we were okay for about a week, then my son started getting bites again and I’m having the same creepy crawly feelings but fewer bites (or at least I’m less sensitive to them now).

    The pest control guy came again and didn’t find any evidence anywhere and he swears nothing can survive the fogging they did. I know we are still infested. I have begun the arduous process of getting rid of rugs, and all the other procedures I have read about here and elsewhere. I have been using Cedarcide’s cedar spary on my body and that seems to help a bit, but totally. Do you think that’s a good product? I have not put anything on my son because he’s so little. I do add epsom salt and tea tree to his bathwater though. I feel so bad he is being infested! I can hardly focus on anything, let alone eat and sleep. I will try to mix a lotion with essential oils at the least for him. Do you have any recommendations for such a little child?

    Last night I think I caught one crawling on my nose. I had just applied the cedar spray and I felt something crawling on my nose. I stared at it with a magnifying mirror and I saw a little white speck moving very slow. I got it with a piece of scotch tape and saved it. How do I get it identified, if that was even it? I felt like my eyes were playing tricks on me and am second guessing myself as to whether it was really moving or not. And the one I caught initially was larger and a combo of whitish and black/brown. Very different in apprearance. Does this white speck sound like a mite to you?

    Since we don’t have chickens, can I assume we don’t have the poultry mite you had? If ours was one of the other bird mites, they are said to only live for 3 weeks without a blood meal. Or so says the pest control guy. Is that accurate? If so, would it make sense for us to thoroughly wash stuff using your protocols and then securely bag everything for a month or so? Would that work? And the books, stuffed animals, and the many millions of toys and trinkets my sweet daughter can’t bear to part with? Can I just securely bag them and leave them in our detached garage for a month (maybe with a dehumidier running in there)?

    My other question is – since my son and I are the only ones bothered by the mites, do I only go nuts on his clothing and mine? (like wash everything daily and get rid/bag up the rest). OR do I have to also do this with my daughter’s bed/clothing/etc and all my husband’s things too?

    Oh and one more thing- did you ever fog your own house yourself? I read several sites recommending that I fog the house with Cedarcide. It’s non-toxic which I like, but it does have a strong odor and I worry that it will be too much.

    I’m so sorry for the long post and many questions. I am just at the beginning of this scary and long battle. Thankfully my husband is understanding, but I do feel very ashamed and I worry about passing it on to others. I also lay in bed at night weeping, not for myself, but at the idea and image of my sweet baby boy scratching in his ears and neck.

    Thank you for your help and support.
    All the best,
    Sharon

    • Hello Sharon,
      So very sorry to hear of your challenges with mites. And as difficult as it is when adults have mites, it is that much more challenging when we try to keep young children safe from these arthropods, I wish you and your family all the best in ridding your environment and yourselves of these parasites.
      Am going to try to answer your questions in order. Please write back if more is needed.
      First of all, your pest control operator’s advice that nothing can survive an initial fogging directly contradicts the advice I received, both from my pest control operator and from Dr. Olivier Sparagano (a leading entomologist in the UK who is the author of many scientific articles on mites, and who edited the only scholarly book published on the bird mite Dermanyssus gallinae). Both of them told me that there is no way actually to prove mites are gone, that the best indicator is the experience of the people who have been infested, and that mites are small enough to hide out in many places while a home is being treated. Hiding places can include deep in wall cracks, in the inner pages of books, in folds of clothing in drawers, deep under carpeting, etc. Depending on your contractual arrangement with your pest control operator, he or she may have a financial incentive to tell you that additional treatments are not needed.
      You asked about Cedercide cedar spray. I don’t have any experience with that specific product. Overall I would urge you to begin with the safest possible interventions, since you have young children at home. For example, running dehumidifiers in every room of your home to dry out the surface of mites can interfere with their function and reproduction without adding anything toxic to your environment. I wonder if there are any lotions for children already formulated with essential oils, as even these oils can be toxic in too large a concentration.
      It sounds like you have been diligent in efforts to capture mites. Please be aware that mites have multiple life stages (including egg, nymph, and adult stages), and even members of the same species can look quite different at different life stages. I had mine identified at a lab that contracted with UC Davis Veterinary School, and simultaneously by a biologist who worked for the pest control company I used. You could try a local university that has either an entomology or veterinary department, and you would be wise to choose a pest control operator with a biologist on staff who can recognize mite species.
      You also mentioned your pest control operator had found an abandoned bird’s nest. This could quite possibly be the source of your problem. Did they remove the nest? Did they clean the area thoroughly where the nest had been?
      The literature about how long mites live without a meal seems to estimate on the low side. This could be for several reasons. It may be that mite eggs remain in stasis but viable much longer than other life stages. It may be that an insufficient number was observed. I’ve seen literature for D. gallinae (the mite I had) that estimates up to eight months, but I had a small reinfestation when I tried to take possessions out of storage after several years. This is one of many areas where additional research is needed.
      As for what to keep and what to throw out, I can only advise from my own experience to get rid of everything that is not essential for your daily life. This includes getting rid of upholstered cars and buying cars with rubber floors and plastic seats (like a Jeep or a Honda Element). If you keep things like stuffed animals, that you cannot really clean and where mites can hide, your other efforts may be in vain.
      I didn’t fog my house and can’t advise you about that.
      It is wonderful that your husband is understanding. Mites do tend to choose one or two favorite hosts in a family, and it can be difficult for others to understand when they themselves are not being affected. As to whether the clothing of other family members is affected: hard to tell, but considering that mites hide in other places in your house, they may well be in the clothing of unaffected family members.
      Again, best wishes, and please keep me posted. Sounds like you are doing a lot of great work. Please read the protocols on this site for more ideas, and please begin with the safest things. You and your family will want to remain healthy long after you have vanquished the mites.
      Best,
      Jane

    • Sharon,
      Did you ever try fogging with the cedarcide you mentioned? Since I can’t get a PCO to do anything I’d like to fog with something as all my spraying is just keeping them at bay at best so far.

  18. Hi Jane,

    Thank you so much for starting and maintaining this site. I tried posting something yesterday, but I guess it didn’t come through, so here it goes again.

    We have been battling mites for over a month, but perhaps even longer since I recall itching in my scalp at least a month before that, but I wrote it off as all in my head. Anyways, we had a vacant bird’s nest outside our kitchen and I started getting bitten and my 1 yr old son too. Not my husband or my 5 year old daughter.

    I think I caught one and the pest control company said it was bird mites, but didn’t give me a species. They fog bombed the interior of the house and we were okay for about one week, then the bites started again. I’d say we are less reactive (smaller welts), but I am having lots of creepy crawling feelings and pin pricks again too.

    I’m in contact with the pest company to devise a plan there, but I’m also gearing up to begin your protocol along with some other suggestions I’ve read about. I have some questions though.

    Do I go nuts on my daughter’s and husband’s clothing too, even though they aren’t getting bitten?

    Since my son is so young, what can I use to treat his body? I do put an eczema lotion on his already, should I add a drop or two of tea tree oil? I already use a lice repelling conditioner on his hair that has tea tree and lavender, and I do epsom salt in his bath with tea tree.

    I’ve been reading others’ praise for Cedarside Original, which uses cedar oil to kill and repel the mites. Do you have an opinion on this product? They say you can use it all over the house and on your body and clothes. I’ve been using it on my body with some relief but it’s not making them really get off me.

    We are going to get rid of our rugs and encase the mattresses in plastic, but should we get rid of the whole bed frame? I’m worried they’re hiding in there and will still get on the bed.

    I wish last night’s comment had made it on, it was much better written and had more info, but I only slept two hours last night. I lay awake cringing from the crawling and itching and often crying at the idea of the bugs doing the same to my sweet little boy. Thank god he’s a happy little guy most days.

    Any help you can offer would be amazing. Thank you!
    Sharon

    • Hello Sharon,
      Hoping my response to your previous post was helpful.
      The one new item I see in this post is the question about the bed frame. You don’t say what the frame is made of. If it is metal, you can probably wipe it down and reuse it. If it is wood, there are many places in the frame where mites could hide when you clean.
      Again, all the best to you and your family. Please write again if more is needed. These is some additional information in my book, but the protocols here are the same as in the book.
      Best regards,
      Jane

  19. Hi Jane my name is Mackenzie.
    I know this is a long shot but my sister is currently dealing with bird mites. She has read your book and has been following your advice and doing everything in her power. She is currently staying with our mom, but she is the only one being bit in the house (besides her dog). She removed herself from the source already and is planning on going up to Washington son where our brothers are setting up a quarantine room for her (that also has a pool where she and her dog will be able to swim as you recommend). Anyway she is under a lot of physical and mental stress right now and I am running out of ways to help. I was wondering if there was any way she could speak with you more privately (I understand if not I assume you are very busy and would like your privacy) but I think if she was able to speak to some one whos has gone through what she has who also has a strong understanding of it would help her a lot mentally.
    Sorry to bother you and I appreciate any help you can give.

  20. Hi Jane,
    I just finished reading your book. You are a wonderful writer. Thank you for sharing your story and what worked for you. I admire your persistence and strength. I may be running out of both. Would never have read about such a horrible ordeal, unless I was experiencing one myself. You clearly have superior intellect and resources than me. I have spent 2/3rds of my savings on this scourge.

    I finally recognized its horror on March 13, 2016, but it began earlier than that when they started by attacking my dog, Glory. Without going in to all the details, she began refusing to go back into the house. She tried to warn me before I was infested, and I didn’t listen closely enough. Been to all the doctors & vets…usual result delusional, right…until they experience it, we are all delusional. For all who read these posts, we have to keep telling experts even when they consider us crazy. If nothing else they need to investigate a growing pandemic of craziness, since if this scourge found little ole nobody me in notown northern Midwest, then it can find anyone at anytime. I take responsibility for letting the birds nest in my house vent, but the experts are responsible for not shouting from the highest mountain side (media) about the truth that these things can and do infest humans. I sent Olivier’s scientific article to doctors and a parasitologist and they still claimed that as long as I had gotten rid of the nest and cleaned where it was, that IF there were bird mites they would go away. So wrong. It is what they all want to believe. They cannot believe the truth, because they don’t want it to be true.

    I sent samples to university entomologist. He gave both me and my brothers (they got to the point where they needed PROOF to continue to believe me) a negative result regarding samples we sent. That is when my only support, my brothers, decided that I am either crazy or hormonal due to menopause (there is a symptom for menopause regarding sensation of crawling skin). I wonder if maybe they are just attracted to menopausal women because of the hormonal changes. I cannot see these things, though I see lots of black dots and lines on the tape and lint rollers. Lately I see more clear raised dots on them. They haven’t been biting as much lately, but there are more of the clear dots. I think it is getting worse, not better. I will put the rest of my story on the Facebook site, which I recently joined because my psychologist was worried that I am too isolated and without my brothers support now. She is right to be worried.

    Anyway, the main reason I write you directly on your site is:
    1) You had dogs, but don’t discuss what happened to them. My Glory wasn’t on Frontline before the infestation. I put her on it, moved out of the house into my car. Knew that I couldn’t keep her there all the time. She stayed in isolation at vet for a week and then they gave her clean bill of health, so she has been staying at kennel since April. I informed them that I was dealing with an unidentified pest in my house. Costs more than an apartment each month and I worry that she is suffering without people that are living with her who could tell. Am I being inhumane by letting her live with these things without me? The kennel people like her a lot. I love her a lot. I worry that she may be infesting their kennel, but because I am infested I haven’t been able to go see her. They say things are fine. They are willing to adopt her, but I am afraid of letting them move her into their home. Do I put her to sleep? Do I have their vet and a vet parasitologist examine her first (I would have to bear these additional costs)? I have been hoping that if I could make it to 9 months, they would all die and I could get her back. But after reading your book and Olivier’s article, I have pretty much lost hope on that front. I’d like to know what you had to do with your dogs and if still alive, are they okay. Did they infest anyone else?

    2) Also, is there anyway to make a mixture of chlorinated pool water in a spray bottle that one can use on their skin. I am hesitant to take these to hotel pools with me. I have not gone to hotels. I first lived in my car, only going inside home when needed (laundry, shower/bath, & toilet). Then I moved out of car (too infested) into garage. All right for summer, but now it is getting to be winter. I built small plastic shed in garage which I am insulating and will live out of. Or, is swimming as much about drowning the little you know whats as much as it is about the chlorine? I have been bathing with an enzyme cleaner that really seemed to help at beginning, but less so as of late. Works better when take a bath and then shower afterward, but lately have felt biting while under water. Now maybe they are learning to live without breathing, I wouldn’t put it past them.

    3) Also, on page 183 of your book you have a statement in all caps that is confusing me. It says “do not run dehumidifiers in homes with mites.” I wonder if that is a typo. Or did I read dehumidifiers when you wrote humidifiers. I don’t have the book right here. I am running one dehumidifier night and day. Hope I will be able to afford the electric bill when it comes. I have another that I purchased for basement and intend to purchase more when I can. Please advise what you meant by that statement.

    4) I work. Took 12 weeks FMLA when this started, because I was afraid of infecting others, especially new baby that co-worker was bringing along to dept. meetings. Had to return to work, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to afford to live. I gradually realized that I was infesting that environment as well. My car is infested and not sure I can afford to replace it. I know your suggestions for replacements. I roll with lint roller all outside and some inside of clothes when I first get to work. I asked them to vacuum more often and I dusted with swiffer, since custodians don’t. It got a little better. I am wanting to buy dehumidifier and vacuum for office, but can’t afford at the moment. Do you think it was lab environment that helped you keep it out of work environment? Did you ever hear of co-workers with similar problems? I see co-workers wipe at their nose when they are in my presence. I can’t understand how those things get to others that quickly without flying. I know you said lighter than air, but they must have means to direct their float path to get to others so quickly. I just don’t understand it. I wonder if I could be dealing with similar entity with wings.

    5) Has anybody realized that even if we get ourselves uninfested, that at any moment, anywhere, we can pick them back up again. If we all have to work and go out into the world to buy food and necessities to fight these things, we can all be infesting all of those places. When I was buying the delusional diagnosis I started going to two local restaurants to watch the Packers and eat and stay warm and out of the rain. Now that I am back to being convinced that I am not crazy, I wonder if I have infested those locations. Will this only be solved if enough people get it? Is it worth continuing if one will only be re-infested over and over? I am so tired of fighting this thing. I want them to die, not me, but if the experts won’t even acknowledge the problem, how will we be able to stop it from infecting others while we continue to live with it?

    With Warm & Kind Regards,
    Kathy

    • Hello Kathy,
      Thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed account while you are in the midst of fighting this scourge. So sorry to hear how the infestation has drained your resources.
      Unfortunately your experience of a negative test result is all too common. The methods often used in labs to diagnose parasitic mites are not up to date, and it may be that people with this problem will need to develop some biohacker skills and make our own diagnoses based on mite DNA. More about that soon.
      In the meantime, to answer your other questions.
      1. Dogs: My dogs went to live with my ex-wife when we split as a result of our different experiences of the infestation. One dog already had significant skin problems and continues to have those issues to this day. I don’t know whether any of that has to do with mites. The other dog has remained asymptomatic. So the short answer is, I don’t know how to advise you. Regrettably, there are people who find they must put their pets down in order to recover themselves. I hope that does not come to pass for you.
      2. Chlorinated water: I have read that way diluted chlorine can help, and swimming certainly seemed to help me when I had mites. Salt water (as in ocean swimming) is supposed to be helpful too. I suspect the mechanism is desiccation, just like using dehumidifiers, but I don’t know for sure.
      3. The statement is: Do not run humidifiers in homes with mites.
      4. Mites are not lighter than air, but they are very low mass and can be moved around by air currents. In my book I mention that my office had a rug and a couple people who came in and sat with me were bitten. I think the issue of taking mites to work with you is a tough one, both in terms of protecting yourself and regarding the ethics of inadvertently spreading them. And because we are faced with so much denial, these are choices we must grapple with ourselves. Use your best judgement. Sit on non-upholstered furniture when you can, and take other reasonable precautions. Yes, we must still make a living, even at the height of an infestation.
      5. The issue of going out in public has similar considerations to the work issue. One of the worst things a person with mites can do is stay at home, in an infested environment, and provide a continuous host. It is essential to get out. On the other hand, it is natural and ethical to be concerned about others. However I don’t know of any research on people infesting other people by being in a public place, so once again, we must each use our best judgement, balancing our need to be out in the world with our concern for other people’s well-being. I’d say, get out there, go swimming, and as much as possible, only be at home to clean, sleep, or shower.
      Hope that helps, and please write back as you progress and recover.
      Best of luck,
      Jane

  21. Hi Jane,
    We are a family of three in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada in month 5 of the ‘us versus the bird mites’ struggle. Or whatever these invisible creatures are. This is my first public posting having read and re-read many websites and user forums. They are all helpful in their own way. It reminds me of being a new mother. I got a lot of mother advice back then, some of it contradicting other advice. I kept them all on my list back then and tried them out when I needed to. Now I find myself doing the same thing. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

    I bought your book yesterday and did a speed-read of it. It was great as is your website. I related to so much of it! We need more success stories like yours to help us through the nights. I hope you can continue to support the cause even though you are cured. It is partly why I bought your book – to help you help us. I especially like the scientific approach you have followed throughout. It helps legitimize our struggle when presenting ‘data’ to any professionals we seek advice from. We have sought advice from pest control companies, medical doctors, veterinarians and more. All with the same success that most other sufferers have. No one has heard of bird mites being a problem in the capital city of Canada.

    Kudos to you. Now it’s our turn to keep calm and carry on.
    * save for the occasional crying jag.

    • Dear Julie,
      Thank you for your perspective and kind words. I really like your analogy about being a new mother: there is so much contradictory information about mites, and we each need to find what actually works. And as you point out, unlike being a new mother, there is very little help from medical and other professionals.
      May you and your family be another success story, and soon. Please write and let me know how it goes, and what works for you. Sharing our stories is our strength.
      With all best wishes for a speedy resolution.
      Jane
      PS If you can spare the time, it would be very helpful if you could post your thoughts as a book review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or wherever you bought the book. Many thanks, and if it’s too much to ask, I certainly understand. J.

  22. I just finished reading your book, and found it fascinating as I have been struggling with mites for nearly 6 months now. I have rolled eggs out of my skin, scalp, eyes, mouth. I have weird long scratches. I thought I had atypical scabies, but now thinking I might have more than one kind of mite infestation. I find little black dots in balls of dust and white dots and lint-like material on soft nubby clothes. I see white floating wisps in bright light. I sent samples to NC State several times. The results have been inorganic debris. The dermatologist and internist have been kind but clueless. Local POCs don’t treat for mites. All professionals telll me that it is rare for mites to infect people. Desperate, I called SC Johnson makers of Raid. They would not recommend any products for spraying bedroom, bathroom or car. NC State recommended steaming as a safer, healthier alternative. And, I can’t find this kind of info anywhere. Do bird mites leave debris? I find black matted bits and pieces in faucets in bathroom and in machining machine tub. I thought it was drain flies. Which mites leave little tiny black dots everywhere? Do mites at certain stages resemble llittle black spiders? What debris do rat mites leave? If I wear a beanie to cover up ruined hair, when I take a shower later, pieces of felting or material wash out with strands of my hair all matted up. It’s as if something is trying to nest in my hair. I think they nested in my body as well. Recent scientific research has established moxidectin (longer half life, more effective but not an ovicide) as a safer alternative to Ivermectin, but only available in vet formulations for now. So did you roll eggs out of your skin? Did you see anything in your stools? Food? Refrigerator? Did you ever have a parisitologist take bloodwork? Exhausted and terrified I’m going to give whatever I have to my family when we all gather at my sister’s house in Florida at Christmas. My dermatologist says swim in the ocean. They all say enjoy your life. I say, what life? Any information would be helpful. Thanks.

    • Amanda, I’m so sorry for your troubles. So many people with ectoparasites have difficulty getting effective help from professionals. Very glad you are actively seeking resources on a number of fronts.
      I have to say your experience sounds quite different from mine. If you’ve read my book, you know that a D. gallinae infestation varies in many ways from what you describe. I’m not an entomologist and cannot even speculate on what species you might be dealing with. I hope that as the mite community moves in the direction of sequencing our own mites using Citizen Science resources, we will be able to determine our own diagnoses. Because you live in North Carolina and are near a university town, you may be able to locate biohacking resources nearby. But for now, the best I can offer is to suggest trying some of the protocols in my book and on this website. The first thing that strikes me is: be careful about using steam, because many arthropods really thrive in humidity. On the contrary, I found the use of dehumidifiers very helpful. Drying out mites seems to make them less functional and less likely to reproduce.
      I wish you all possible good luck. Keep advocating for yourself, and keep up your efforts to figure out what works for you. Please let me know how it goes as you continue the good fight.
      All the best,
      Jane
      PS Swimming in the ocean is a fine idea. Gets salt into all your pores. That in itself won’t do it – no single thing will, unfortunately – but it’s a start. Gets you out of your house, too, which is a good thing.

  23. Thank you for your excellent book and website. Much of the information is daunting, but knowledge is power, right?

    Although we have not yet managed to catch a specimen, I believe we have mouse mites from a mouse infestation last spring. We started getting bitten in September, and then we found a dead mouse in the attic. Perhaps that was our source.

    I have been trying to find an entomologist who knows about mouse mites without success. Would you know of anyone? I would really like to know how long mouse mite eggs can remain viable. If they are as hardy as poultry mites, storing things indefinitely in plastic bags may not be very practical.

    We have lived in this six-bedroom house (two in the finished basement) for almost seventeen years. It has great storage, and it is chock-full because we weren’t good about getting rid of things. I consider two of the bedrooms hoarding rooms. This infestation may cure me of my hoarding tendencies and attachment to possessions. Although I have chronic fatigue, I am working as hard as I can to throw stuff out and clean.

    Thank you for your good work in this poorly understood area. I appreciate any information you can provide.

    • Hello Nicki,
      Very sorry to hear of your infestation problems, on top of chronic fatigue. That is a difficult combination.
      I’m not an entomologist and am not sure what species of mites particularly favor mice. I do know of species that are endemic to rats, and it is clear that mites can evolve to adapt to species other than their original host, just as they evolve around miticides. However you have already identified one key issue, which is eliminating as many extra belongings as you can. The 5S system from Japan is very helpful in this regard, and there is a lot of information about 5S online without charge. I also recommend using dehumidifiers, and these may be especially helpful for you because (unlike frequent cleaning of surfaces and textiles) minimal effort is needed. From my limited experience, I would not necessarily trust that eggs will stop being viable within a time stated in literature. My suggestion is to get rid of anything you don’t really need, and conserve your energy for cleaning the items you really do need. Having said that, I realize the process of getting rid of stuff itself takes a lot of energy, and if you hire someone to help you, best practice would be to disclose the problem to helper(s) ahead of time.
      There are entomologists who understand the potential for zoonotic infestation. I don’t know if any of them know particularly about mites that favor mice. You might take a look at David George’s article and see if any of the contributing authors are near you.
      https://parasitesandvectors.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13071-015-0768-7
      Wishing you much luck with this problem. Please check in and let me know how it goes. And thank you for your kind words about the book. If you have a chance to review it on Amazon, or wherever you bought it, that would be great. The more reviews, the more likely people are to be able to find it on search.
      All the best,
      Jane

      • Thank you so much for your reply. I will certainly give your book a glowing review on Amazon. This problem really needs more public awareness. When I recently told a friend about my situation (someone I hadn’t seen in a long time), she said something’s been biting her, too; and she showed me bites that look like mine! She thinks it’s from her dog.

        Anyway, I can’t believe it’s been nearly a month since I wrote–I’ve been so busy cleaning and throwing stuff out. We filled up a dumpster, and my hauler took a full truckload of furniture to the dump. We also had some ugly paneling and false ceiling removed, things that always bothered me. I don’t know if we will completely eradicate these pests, but at least my house will look nicer!

        Thank you for your support. You are clearly helping a lot of people!

        • Taking some time out from the mite war (I’ve been so busy that I lost 15 pounds in two months; we just filled our second dumpster!), I gave your book a five-star review on Amazon. I hope it helps the cause.

          Cleaning out the house (and the shed, since there was some room in the dumpster) is inherently worthwhile, but I’m afraid that there are simply too many places for mites to hide in this place to eradicate the infestation (O, the attic!), no matter how clean and tidy we are. The exterminator came again on Friday and sprayed a pyrethrin on the floors, but he won’t use hormones until we identify the pest. He put down some traps, so perhaps we’ll get lucky this time and catch a specimen.

          When the humidity returns (we live in central Maryland, where I’ve never appreciated winter as much as I do this year; for the first time, I am not eager for spring!), we will get more dehumidifiers. This summer I’ll set the air-conditioning thermostat considerably lower than I used to. I fear summer is no longer my friend.

          I’m beginning to think that immunosuppression is our best bet. The bites are much less irritating than they used to be. In the fall, we were all getting bitten, and the bites were big and intensely itchy for four days. Now I’m the only one getting bitten (perhaps because I’m doing most of the cleaning and I have the most sensitive skin), and the bites are tiny and mildly itchy for just a day. They are still irritating enough to keep me awake, but perhaps I’ll get to the point that they won’t bother me.

          Fortunately, from what I’ve read, I don’t think mouse mites are as nasty as bird mites. I’ve only noticed one bite above my chin line, and–thank goodness–they leave my orifices alone! I’ve read that mouse mites don’t actually live on their hosts, and (though we know the literature leaves a lot to be desired) my experience suggests that this might be true.

          No matter how difficult one’s situation may be, there are always people who have it worse. When I’m sad about throwing stuff away or storing things for a long time, I think about the war refugees who have lost homes and loved ones and have to emigrate to foreign lands that are kind enough to take them. At least my family and friends are safe, I have a home, I don’t have to learn a new language, etc.

          On a somewhat humorous note (I’m in really big trouble if I lose my sense of humor!), I kind of get a kick out of all the weird products I’ve discovered: kwan loong oil (a Chinese Ben Gay with salycilate), Pama Mala ointment from India (with sulfur and a bunch of obscure ingredients), Cowboy Magic at the feed store (a leave-in hair conditioner with benzyl benzoate that does not give me a rash behind my ears, unlike most leave-in conditioners), Sulfur8 hair conditioner from the ethnic hair products aisle (it has 2% sulfur, and I use it on my body, along with Aveeno moisturizer, which has benzyl alcohol, and Bag Balm, which contains a sulfate and seems to discourage the bugs). This experience has given me an education I would rather not need, but it’s certainly interesting at times!

          So, that’s the news from Lake Woebegone, where all the children are itchy. Thanks for “listening.”

          • Hello Nicki,

            Glad you’ve learned so much and accomplished so much — hoping your infestation will be completely gone before too long. And I do hope you really get rid of the mites – much better than acclimating to them.

            It is pretty common for mites to choose a particular host from a group or family. Agricultural bulletins advise farmers who suspect mites to take several chickens from a coop to the veterinarian, because it’s so often true of suspected hosts that “many have few mites and a few have many,” as it says in one mite textbook. Focusing on one host may give mites the selective advantage of immunosuppressing that host, so the mites aren’t attacked from inside by the immune responses of their food.

            It’s very important to keep perspective, as you clearly are — including retaining a sense of humor in a difficult time. I hope it gets easier as you continue with protocols and bring in a pest control operator.
            Best wishes and do let me know how it goes.
            Take care,
            Jane

  24. Hi Jane
    Thank you for your book. With the help of your protocols I almost defeated a terrible infestation and three months after being infected,I was almost back to normal.

    Now I am very close to reentering the nightmare and I would appreciate your help. While my apartment is relatively clean, my skin is not. I was using a mixture of Neem and essential oils mixed with lotion or coconut oil that was very effective and kept me almost bite free for almost 5 months. Being a neophyte at oils, I used too much (10%) and have become allergic to everything I was using, especially Neem. I have tried using lower concentrations (from 5 to 1%) and not only do I react badly but the lowest concentration does not work. Do you know of anything else to use on the skin? I am no longer showing any physical signs of bites so medical consultations are challenging. Also do you know of any way one can get one’s skin tested? Thank you for all your help.

    • Hello and congratulations on almost beating the bug. It sounds like you realized what the problem was early on, and hit it hard, with good results.
      I’ve heard from several others about “echoes” of the original infestation that can arise several months after quelling the original issue, and I had this problem as well. It’s not surprising, because if you kill almost all of them, the few remaining can reproduce and bring numbers back up. The issue is always when to stop spending so much time on mites: when is it safe to ramp down the protocols, and when is it safe to live an ordinary life again? This is tough to gauge with an invisible infestation, for which there is not yet a reliable means of detection.
      On the other hand, the good news about an echo infestation is twofold. First, you know a lot that you didn’t know the first time, which means you can act even more quickly, so the numbers won’t build up. Second, you probably are already set up to deal with mites. For example, you likely still have a plastic cover on your mattress, and dehumidifiers all over your house. So your environment is probably mite-unfriendly already. As a result of these factors, echoes seldom end up being as difficult to stop as the initial infestation.
      I’m sorry to hear you used such high concentrations of Neem oil and essential oils. There is a strong impulse when infested to do whatever it takes, but it’s also important to preserve our health for the long term. The best revenge is living well after the mites are gone.
      And I am not surprised you are no longer showing physical signs, due to the phenomenon of host immunosuppression which is discussed in the book.
      So what to do? I’d strongly suggest you take up swimming and go every day if you can to a pool with a well-chlorinated jacuzzi, where you can water-blast your feet and any other spots that are especially infested. Swimming in the ocean is great too, although not the season unless you’re in Australia. I’d also suggest you pick up some dandruff shampoo with tar and scrub with that. Cut your hair short and consider dying it blonde. I’ve never tried one of those machines to give yourself a facial with the turning brush, but using one of those with skin cleanser might be helpful – just a thought, not based on experience.
      Wishing you a short-lived echo. Please keep yourself safe and concentrate on methods with little to no toxicity, like running your dehumidifiers. Take good care of yourself, bearing in mind the long mite-free life ahead.
      Let me know how it goes.
      All the best,
      Jane

        • Hello Darlena,
          I just figure (without verifying, so may be totally mistaken) that blonde dye has more bleach, and hence is a better mite killer.
          Thanks for the smile – not many posts on here are amusing!
          All the best,
          Jane
          PS Mites don’t really have eyes, just two areas that kind of perceive light. So I doubt they can tell a blonde from a brunette.

  25. I am so glad to find a site with proactive solutions instead of just panic-inducing horror stores and despair, because I have been in a constant state of despair for about 4 months and it looks like it will be for some time more.
    My family (4 yr old, 1.5 yr old, my husband and I) live in the Bay Area, and we noticed a huge number of tiny reddish brown insects in our bathroom almost over night – which seemed to have started precisely about the same time the rainy season started (we have had a very long drought). Around the same time, my 4 yr old was getting bitten by something. Eventually we all ended up feeling bites and we couldn’t sleep or function, it was affecting my husband being able to work. We were renting and our landlord hired exterminators who came to the conclusion that it was rat mites since our neighbor in the duplex mentioned hearing rats. They threw poison around, and then sprayed anytime we complained about bites. We could no longer see them though but the problem continued to worsen. The exterminators said they had never heard of it lasting this long and we implying it was in our heads.
    I took my boys and we stayed in a short term rental, but apparently we brought the problem with us because we were still getting bitten, not as many though, but it was bad enough in our car that my husband in desperation went and got a new vehicle even though we couldn’t really afford it.
    In the meantime, my husband moved 2/3 of our stuff into storage, and we had to re-home our cats (who actually seemed unaffected by it). And we managed to find another place to move into, but because we had a few essentials in the new house from the previous place, it became affected as well. I called Vector Control Offices and they insisted this sort of thing couldn’t happen. One place agreed to send sticky pads to catch a specimen but I feel hopeless. So many times I thought we had beat this just to feel them come back with a vengeance.
    I have had so many anxiety attacks I’ve had to start taking anti-anxiety medication. I can’t focus on anything but this issue and I spend every moment cleaning – I have become neurotic and depressed over it.
    I have been using diatomacious earth and permethrin in certain areas, with uncertain results. We have had so many fluctuations that I no longer know what is helping or hurting.
    Currently, it has gotten to the point where we can at least sleep. I still feel them crawling on me but I have fewer bites. I still vacuum, wipe, dry everything on extra long cycles, and dust corners with DE, but I don’t know how much longer I can keep it up with 2 young boys. My husband works all day but he says he has been feeling better, so I guess we have improved but I keep expecting another spike in activity. And there is still the issue of what to do with our stuff. My husband threw away our couch, our sons’ bed and crib, and all the blankets, towels, sheets… I have given up on the idea of keeping any of our clothes or the kids toys, but I hate the idea of losing some of our momentos and books.
    We live in a typically hot/dry area but we are currently in the wet season so I am sort of hoping that once the summer starts, perhaps it will cook off the rest of these things. Do you think this is so, or will they just go dormant? I’ve also noticed a lot of people talking about a spike in the lice and flea populations, so perhaps this is driven by season and weather?

    • Hello Alexandra,
      Much of your story sounds very familiar. I am from the Bay Area also, and have dealt with several of the folks from Vector Control – some helpful and some decidedly less so. If you have a chance to read my book at some point, I vented more about Vector Control than may have been entirely necessary. I am sorry to hear that some of them are still in denial about the existence of the job they are paid to do.
      It is great that you are making progress in your fight against the bug. Here are some additional thoughts to consider in case they are helpful.
      1. Moisture: Yes mites love moisture. If you haven’t yet done so, go to Home Depot (or whatever similar story is near you) and buy enough dehumidifiers to dry out the air in your home. These machines dessicate mites, don’t involve any toxic chemicals, and don’t require any work beyond pushing a button now and then. They won’t solve your problem entirely but they are a big help.
      2. Pest Control Operators (or PCOs – also known as exterminators): Some are much more knowledgeable than others. Try to find one that has an entomologist on staff. If they give you that nonsense about it being in your head, ask them to guarantee in writing that they killed every one. All of a sudden they will explain to you that they have no way to verify the mites are all gone. You can then remind them of that whenever they say it’s all in your head. And be sure to talk with them about what they are using. Mites evolve around pesticides, just like bacterial evolve around antibiotics.
      3. Moving: Moving can help but only if you (a) throw out almost everything you own and (b) move into a place with floors and blinds (no carpets, no curtains). Same with getting a new car: only really helps if you buy one with no rugs and no upholstery (like a Jeep or a Honda Element). And since some of them are likely on you and your clothes at any given time, it is tough not to bring any. I read about a guy who was very wealthy and got these. Walked away from his house, stayed in a series of hotel rooms scrubbing down every night, hired people to bring him new clothes every morning. Did that for quite a while before he got a new house. Without that kind of money, we just have to pare down to the essentials and clean as if we had OCD. And move when we can, and get a stripped down car if we can.
      4. Anti-anxiety meds: Didn’t try those and can’t comment, except to say, if you just want to gag, read the literature on delusional parasitosis. In my opinion, it is right up there with the now discredited “refrigerator mom” hypothesis. People feel anxious because they have bugs — they don’t believe they have bugs because they are anxious.
      5. What to use? (Diatomaceous earth, permethrin, etc.) Please check out the protocols on this website — they are the same as the ones in the book. Glad you are cleaning.
      6. Some people getting bitten more than others: Two things about that. Get out of the house as much as you can, even if you don’t have the necessity of a full time job out of the home. Also, different people’s biochemistry attracts bugs differently, and because most mites are too small to see, when one person in a family is not being bitten, they can get to the point where they figure no one else in the family is being bitten either. This can be divisive – and it is important to keep lines of communication open.
      7. Stuff: See protocols about that too. And look up the 5S system online — many good ideas.
      8. Summer: Mites can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, and actually are not as active in cold weather. When it’s summer, best bet is a combination of air conditioning and dehumidifiers.
      Please look around on this site for other info. Check out articles by entomologists Olivier Sparagano and David George online (including in the online journal Parasites and Vectors). Keep your spirits up – sounds like you are learning a lot, doing great work, and you are way smarter than these damned bugs.
      Write and let me know how it goes.
      All best wishes to you and your family,
      Jane

  26. Stayed up late last night to read your excellent book after doing my nightly ritual of bathing in epson salts then pouring an epson salt concentration over me and drying with a hair dryer to leave a film. I end up sloughing off the salt crystals as I sleep but it has made a big difference in helping me to sleep. I so appreciate all the information you are disseminating. In fact your idea of using double sided tape got me taping all around my platform bed last night. Used sticky paws (meant to keep cats off upholstery) and today all I could find in double sided was to hold objects so I have on my list to hit Petco for more of the Sticky Paws. I have a question for you or anyone else who reads this site. Has anyone used vacuum bags to seal household objects/clothes they want to keep? If so do the bags seal tightly enough to cut the mites off from oxygen so they die? My story started with fleas brought back from my step daughters. I got rid of them by using a lot of the same products for mites, flea bombing, and cleaning like a maniac. My sister was coming to visit and I told her I felt like I was still getting bitten even though I was no longer finding any flea evidence. She visited and never felt a thing. So now 6 months have gone by and eliminating all other critters (bed bugs, lice) as possibilities I finally found your site and the birdmite one as well. Sure wish I’d found this earlier as I feel like I’m very behind now. That said I’m back to cleaning like crazy and it’s especially hard because my husband has dementia so he takes up a bunch of time leaving me frustrated each evening by how little I’ve accomplished. Cleaning ceilings like I should is almost impossible as most of mine are 15′ high and I have skylights that go up 20′! I did manage to spray part of the ceiling in my bedroom and closet but it was hard to tell if I was getting good coverage. Meanwhile, first thing, I did get a call from a pest control company (I used the link from the birdmites site where they say I could find qualified companies who deal with mites). Anyway, the guy there told me they couldn’t spray a thing without having a sample (shades of your book). I envy the folks who are able to clean thoroughly everyday. It’s been taking me hours just to doing my body protocols and laundry protocols. Speaking of..I did try the vaseline all over body and scalp and I do think it might have helped smother some. I followed that with an epson salts rinse and that evening did the bath/epson salts. Went to a hotel for a couple days and felt nary a bug till coming home wearing a coat (its winter here) that had some on them. Lucky me, I already have an Element. It’s a 2003 & I was hoping to get a new car this year but now, given all your info. I don’t see myself buying anything. I am sooo afraid I will never get rid of these critters just because I don’t have help to do the cleaning needed. I have another question. In your book Dr. Sparagano mention using essential oils like Thyme. I had not heard of that before. Did you use that and did it work?

    Well, time to get my husband dinner and do my night chores with bedding, bathing and such.

    If you could answer my two questions I’d really appreciate it. Thanks so much!

    JRo

  27. Another question if you can find the time. You mentioned in your book about mites infesting electronics so am wondering how you cleaned them given their sensitivity to products? I also looked at the bird mite site but couldn’t find info. there. I have a laptop, cell, and Ipad I can’t afford to get rid of.

    Thanks!

    • I don’t have a good protocol for cleaning electronics. I did keep my phone and my computer keyboard in plastic bags.
      Hope that is some help.
      All the best,
      Jane

  28. Hi, Jane–

    We’re having an early spring on the east coast, and the mites are definitely becoming more active, which is discouraging.

    Question: do you have an opinion on enzymatic cleaners such as Kleen Free and Kleen Green? I’m wondering if they’re worth the expense.

    Regards,
    Nicki

    • Hello Nicki,
      Sorry to hear of your infestation problems. And, you know, when people talk about global warming causing mass extinctions, they are definitely NOT talking about bugs. Bugs love heat, and the geographical distribution of various bugs is expanding into areas that were formerly too warm. So your early spring is not good news for you as a person with parasitic mites.
      You can, of course, fight the warmth by running air conditioners, preferably combined with dehumidifiers to keep the air dry as well as cool.
      In answer to your question, I don’t have much experience with enzymatic cleaners. I tried an enzymatic body wash while I had mites, and was disappointed by the lack of effect. But that’s not to say they would not work in the environment. Certainly the idea of a cleanser that chops up mite surface proteins is appealing. If you try these cleaners, please write and let me know your results.
      And best of luck with your mite fight. Take good care.
      Jane

  29. Thanks, I’ll let you know. The Amazon reviews of the enzymatic cleaners are encouraging, but it’s hard to know how honest they are.

    The last book/art shelf is finally clear. We’ll start taking them down this weekend. I’ve spent so much time throwing away or packing up stuff that I haven’t been able to clean as thoroughly as I should (though we’ve certainly been cleaner than we’ve ever been). Perhaps things will improve when I clean better. Plus the exterminator will pick up the traps on Tuesday, so maybe we’ll get lucky and identify the pest.

    BTW, the Weird Product of the Week is Pinaud Clubman talc, in the shaving aisle. Along with the talc, it has benzyl salicylate, citronellol, and limonene. It does seem to calm down the crawling sensation. It’s “World Famous since 1810”–who knew?!

    Regards,
    Nicki

  30. I have spent the money to try the kleen green and it did nothing for me. I got one bottle and tried it and it did not even slow whatever down. In fact, it seemed worse. I was so desperate because it has been years. I got another bottle because I thought maybe I did not use enough even though it is supposed to be super diluted. There are so many people out there who just want to make money off people’s suffering. I would be so happy to hear of a real solution. It does not affect anyone else in my family so everyone just thinks I am crazy. This morning I was feeling especially desperate after little sleep due to constant biting and crawling sensation, I actually thought about writing Oprah Winfrey because she always seems to find answers and get things done. I really do not know how much longer I can do this.

    • Hello Sherry,
      Very sorry to hear of your ongoing battle with mites. Sounds like it has been a long time for you. It is especially discouraging when family members don’t understand what it happening. The lack of a good diagnostic makes it tough to explain a problem that is not visible.
      I can’t comment on the cleaner you mentioned because it is not something I tried when I had mites.
      I don’t think it is a bad idea at all to contact Oprah. It would certainly change the conversation if someone with that kind of public persona took up this battle. There are several articles coming out soon, as well as a patient group in the process of formation, that might help persuade her of the seriousness of this issue.
      Please hang in there and let me know how you are doing. Hope the protocols on this site are helpful.
      With all best wishes,
      Jane

  31. Hi, again–

    I could use some more of your sage wisdom. We were disappointed but not terribly surprised that our bug traps were negative, so we still do not know what’s biting us. The head of our pest-control company has pretty much quit the case. He doesn’t want to use stronger chemicals without a definite diagnosis, which is understandable but not helpful.

    The guy, Mike, who comes to the house to do the actual treatments is willing to work with us privately, however. He thinks the pests are in the walls, which seems likely to me, and he recommends drilling small holes in the walls and inserting pesticides through the holes. Since it’s not too expensive, that may be a reasonable next step; but I wonder if it would be sufficient.

    Another option that Mike and the company head mentioned–a very expensive option that they themselves don’t do–is “structural fumigation” (putting a tent over the whole house, which is not a common procedure here in the mid-Atlantic region because mid-Atlantic termites don’t nest in walls). Although I would be willing to spend $10,000 to get my normal life back, I obviously wouldn’t want to spend that kind of money unless I was confident the procedure would work. Since I haven’t heard of anyone doing this to get rid of mites, I have to wonder how effective the treatment would be. What do you think?

    The company boss said he could do thermal remediation, but Mike and I are both skeptical of that idea. I know it didn’t work for you, so I’m not inclined to try it, given the expense. I really appreciated your book settling that question for me!

    Thank you again for any insight you can offer.

    Sincerely,
    Nicki

    • Hello Nicki–
      One of the most frustrating aspects of this situation is the lack of efficacy data from controlled experiments. We hear from people what works for them, we try it, maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t. And half the time we don’t even know what works because we are so desperate we try ten things at once and can only guess afterward how effective any one of them might have been.
      As a result, I really only know what worked for me. And if you’ve read my protocols and maybe my book, you already know what I do.
      Now, having said that, there are scientists investigating the effects of parasitic mites on humans. Olivier Sparagano and David George are two of the entomologists who are working in the field. Over time, I expect we will learn more and more.
      But for now, we are each our own laboratory, trying out what works. The key thing is to start with what is safest and protect ourselves for the long term. Once you are done with this phase of your life, you’ll want to go on to a healthy enjoyment of all the good things life has to offer. Cleaning, throwing away extra belongings, and running dehumidifiers are all things people can do at little risk.
      Best of luck and please let me know how it goes.
      Jane

  32. Thanks, Jane! You are swell. I have also been in touch with the Facebook support group and am getting some ideas from them.

    The other day, a new PCO told me that my skin trouble could be from carpet beetles, which I have seen occasionally, although I haven’t seen the larvae that are actually supposed to be the problem (I’m told the larvae are tiny but not microscopic). Our old PCO had told us carpet beetles are harmless, but maybe we’ve since acquired an irritating variety.

    Now we’re looking into what the carpet-beetle community has to say. Maybe sometime the mite-people softball team can play the beetle team!

    • Good luck, Nicki. If you have carpeting, it’s pretty tough to get rid of mites. A Dyson vacuum used every day could help.
      Best,
      Jane

      • Thanks, yes, we only have two rooms with carpeting, and we will get rid of that. Replacing the flooring will be much easier now that we’ve thrown out so much stuff.

        • Hi, Jane–

          We finally got rid of our remaining carpet, so I hope we’ll have more success going forward.

          At least I’m getting some home improvement out of this, although dealing with contractors is tricky in this situation. I tell them that we suspect this biting mite infestation (we still haven’t caught a specimen yet), but of course I don’t tell them how challenging it can be. I say that if they’ve been in lots of houses, they may well have been exposed to this kind of mite before and not realized because many people don’t react to the critters. I truthfully say that many people have been in our house since this started, that we’ve visited plenty of people, and that we’re the only ones to notice a problem. I also say that I tell everyone to wash their clothes in hot water (though I don’t mention the ammonia or borax!). So far, only two companies have declined jobs. One contractor declined because of personal experience with infestations, which is natural. He might be in the wrong business, though, because lots of homeowners may be less aware or less honest than I am.

          In a way, I feel a little bit lucky that there isn’t more public awareness about parasitic mites. If people really knew just how bad these infestations can be, we might be shunned socially and never get people to work in our house!

          Anyway, I have gotten some good ideas and support from the Facebook group. I may need to take a break from it, though, because it’s starting to scare me with predictions of additional infestations and Lyme. Anxiety and depression are enemies as much as the mites are, and sometimes the collective misery of the group is counterproductive for me.

          Still fighting the good fight–

          Nicki

          • Hello Nicki,
            Good for you getting rid of the last of the carpet. Carpet is the lair of hell when you have mites.
            Your letter raises some interesting ethical issues everyone faces when getting rid of the damned things. We all need help in some form or other, and it is difficult to get help without putting others at risk.
            I am convinced we are living at the end of the dark age of mite infestation. Already there are researchers using direct DNA detection on non-parasitic face mites like Demodex folluculorum, who have found ten times the incidence previously believed. Other entomologists are starting to write about the medical impact of parasitic mites like Dermanyssus gallinae. It’s only a matter of time until the two come together and we get to a parasitic mite DNA detection kit for use on humans. At the same time, other biologists are using DNA left behind as fish swim in rivers (called eDNA, for environmental DNA) to tell which species have passed by. When something like that is developed for the home, no more ineffective glue traps.
            While all this will be wonderful from the standpoint of ending the scourge of misdiagnosis with delusional parasitosis, on the flip side it may be tough to persuade contractors to help us when the risks are well defined.
            Something to think about.
            Keep fighting!
            Jane

  33. All I can say is thank you!!
    Because of your book and protocols, my husband hugged and kissed our 5 yr old for the first time in weeks. We also have a 4 month old and he was also able to touflxh him (after days in a hotel, going through some of your protocols and swimming in a pool). His anxiety of possibly getting mites on them is so taxing on him. Our biggest foe seems to be our brand new car (because of course, it couldn’t have been the 12yr old car that’s paid for and ready to be thrown away).

    We are currently awating identification through an entomologist in Maryland (we are in TX).

    Your protocols are working and he might soon contact you about something he discovered.

    I just wanted to say thank God for you because before finding your book, my husband was hopeless and was entering a bout of depression which was very scary to me.

    Much love!

  34. Hi Jane my problem started 6 years ago,with the odd bite,usually at 11pm on the dot from July 2010,the bites were hard and lingering,the biting never went away and it escalated in 2013,fast forward to 2016,i finally thought that moving away would solve it,but it seems to be worst than ever,i have not slept in my bed since January,cause they are everywhere in the home,the only difference that i have not read from others experience is that these can jump high and the newly hatched once can jump from the floor all the way to my bottom,every second of my day is being tormented by these creatures,even in public they seek me out,so now i am isolated,i have no social life or love life and feel depressed,exhausted and suicidal,cause when i look at all the things i could have achieved in those 6 years,instead of just concentrating on these beasts and the feeling of being free,just to be able to breath,i cannot even look out of the window,watch TV,go online( i am being bitten/stung within an inch of my life,just typing this) can’t go toilet,read a book,absolutely nothing,it is so unfair that there should be any parasites to torment man/animal,i just don’t see their purpose!!! and no surprise,I’ve been told I’m delusional by professionals,i would love to see those who doubted me get a taste of this for a week,much less 6 years of my life,if i could run away from this house i would,but i have nowhere to go

    • Hello Sharon,
      I am so sorry to hear of your problems with mites and the frustrations you have experienced with professionals. Unfortunately the issues you describe are shared by many. I hope you get some relief with the protocols on this website, and do try to get out of the house as much as you can. If you are not cleaning or sleeping, go out and do something – swim if you can in chlorinated water, get some exercise. Staying home and making yourself available as a feeding source is not a good thing.
      This is a hard road and being isolated makes it harder. You deserve a place in the world and among other people. Take good care of yourself and do let me know how it goes.
      All best wishes,
      Jane

  35. Hello Jane and anyone else reading this comma this all happen for me about 8 years ago. Yep, bird’s nest on the drain pipe outside of my window which are kept open at least a little crack all year long here in Seattle for cool air at night. It basically all started overnight with a Vengeance but I had felt a little creepy crawly sensation on my skin a couple of times before and asked my roommate if she had experienced the same and she said No. After a year of living hell and almost no sleep and yes being thought of as crazy by my roommate and her friends I moved away for a year to California and it followed me of course.
    I came back to Seattle, met my now husband and 2 years later got married and thank God it has greatly subsided, little by little. It was awful thinking of bringing this into our marriage and our home together. I was so concerned my husband would begin to itch and manifest symptoms but he has never felt them although I do see him scratching once a while during the night.

    I do think my cat is now a carrier, when he sleeps on my bed or sits on me for a while I start itching all over again. I don’t know if someone has already mentioned this because I have not had time to read all of the posts, but Dawn liquid detergent has saved my life! I met someone at a Home Depot when I was back there buying my 20th bottle of $9 insecticidal soap, which has all natural ingredients, which I would go through in about a day or 2 (after months and months of ammonia and other treatments I even applied onto my skin during the night just to get a solid sleep whenever possible, unaware that I was completely poisoning myself–i thank God I did not have any illness as a result), a worker at Home Depot told me that she had heard that Dawn detergent did the same thing as the insecticidal soap. She was completely right. I have used this now these past six or seven years and even sleeping next to my husband who doesn’t feel them but seems to be a carrier for these awful things I’m able to spray my side of the bed and sleep peacefully. Lest anyone think that I’m a cuckoo bird and that it’s all in my head I will sometimes wake up with lots of bites on my scalp and after applying Dawn detergent in a shampoo form and letting it sit there for a few minutes the bites will disappear and will not reoccur for a while. Of course I mix it with my tea tree oil and lavender body wash as well. I’m not sure why the bites suddenly occur and it’s so strange to me since that doesn’t seem to be consistent with most people’s experience but ironically it’s been my experience the whole entire time, just every now and then..

    Anyway I mainly wanted to share about keeping Dawn detergent and water in a spray bottle. I wash everything with Dawn along my other all natural detergent, and even add it to my husband’s shampoo :-). I keep a little bit in our hand soaps too, which I always have to use after touching my cat. I’d love to know if other people have experienced issues with their cat or dog. We want to get a dog but to me that only sounds like a giant carrier for these incipient Intruders!
    Thank you all for sharing and all I can say is continue to let God fill you with peace because he loves us no matter what you may feel, and He is using these difficulties, as hard as it may be to believe, to make us even better people who can have compassion on a very hurting world and make a difference. No difficulty goes to waste if we trust Him, but it will yield as an even greater blessing in the end!

    God bless you all,
    Deborah Elizabeth

    • Hello Elizabeth,
      I’m very glad you have found strategies that work for you. And although it is not possible to know with certainty what would happen if you added another pet to your household, it seems prudent to be cautious as you are. Even if you knew your species of parasite, and that it was not typically keen on dogs, mites do evolve quickly and could adapt to a new host.
      May you continue to prevail in your battles with the arthropods.
      All the best,
      Jane

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