Please help me identify this bug
April 16, 2010
I have taken microscopic photos of these small specs that were picked up with clear tape from ceiling in room and where they fell on bunk bed below. There appears to be clusters on the ceiling. There’s a cable hole in wall where there are dark speckles, and dark cluster around the hole. Exterior of house is pigeon poop we are continuously cleaning off. Please help me identify these things so we know how to prevent or clean. I don’t think they’re bed bugs? Could they be some kind of dust mite? Thank you
ocean beach, california

Tropical Fowl Mite

Dear sz,
This is a mite in the genus Ornithonyssus, and BugGuide has a very good photograph of a specimen found in San Diego County.  Our guess is that it is a Tropical Fowl Mite, Ornithonyssus bursa, which is profiled on the Featured Creatures website.  The site indicates:  “The tropical fowl mite, commonly found on birds, has become a pest to man in areas of high bird populations or where birds are allowed to roost on roofs, around the eaves of homes, and office buildings. Nesting birds are the worst offenders. After the birds abandon their nests, the mites move into the building through windows, doors, and vents and bite the occupants
” and “The bite is irritating to man and some individuals react to the bite with prolonged itching and painful dermatitis. Several to many reports are received each year of mites invading homes. The mites are usually the tropical fowl mite found in the central and southern areas of the state. The northern fowl mite, Ornithonyssus sylviarum (Canestrini and Fanzago), a close relative, is also found in Florida.”  Your visitors may also be a closely related species, the Northern Fowl Mite, Ornithonyssus sylviarum. According to Charles Hogue in his book, Insects of the Los Angeles Basin, both species “infest the nests of urban birds, such as House Sparrows and pigeons, and may invade homes and buildings in droves.”

Tropical Fowl Mite

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR PROMPT REPLY!  Have a great weekend, sz

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