Local News

Family Returns Home After Bird Mite Invasion

Posted November 30, 2007
Updated December 16, 2014

— After tons of chemicals and weeks spent in a motel, a Fayetteville family's battle with bird mites is finally over.

The problems for the family began when chimney swifts nested in a smokestack. Bird mites are tiny bugs that can infest people's homes when birds build their nests nearby.

A mother and her two children were covered in bites. They threw out 75 percent of what they owned, ripped out carpet and launched a mini-chemical war against the pests by putting Borax on the floors.

"It was pretty much a nightmare," she said.

After weeks of torture for the family, entomologists at N.C. State sought advice from experts around the globe. They came up with a treatment plan that finally worked.

Professionals doused all the floors of the house with a different kind of pesticide, used a chemical bomb on the entire second floor and attic, then sprayed an enzyme cleaner over everything.

The family said spending two weeks in a motel did not hurt either.

"Bird mites need human blood to lay eggs, so while we were gone, they couldn't multiply," she said. "We haven't been bit or had any other problems."

Adult mites are only a half-millimeter long. They are white until they feed on blood, then appear red. They commonly infest bedrooms and bathrooms and are most active at night.

The man of the house cane home from Iraq on emergency leave to help with the bugs. Now, he's was back at war. The family has been living out of plastic bags, just in case the nasty bugs came back.

On top of the family's troubles, they say All American Services, the company initially hired to remove the bugs, never finished the job. Now the family is out $2,000. No one from the company returned WRAL's phone calls.


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  • denverbob2 Dec 1, 2007

    emergency leave from a war because of bugs? Good thing it wasn't something like frogs or lizards, we would have had to send the entire army home and given up the middle east for it.

  • Supie Dec 1, 2007

    its interesting that the mites could not reproduce without humans in the home, but they chose to also use chemicals. I wonder if the absence of people alone would have eradicated the mites.

  • EricaSliver Nov 30, 2007

    What a horror story! I hope those little pests are gone for good. Barn Swallows often nest in my mother's farmhouse chimney. I'll have to send her this story so she'll get rid of them just in case!