Thought mites were species-specific

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by JennsPeeps, Feb 15, 2009.

  1. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

    Jun 14, 2008
    South Puget Sound
    This column was in the paper this morning. (quoted from

    Q: An employee accidentally carried bird mites from her home to our office. We are certain of it. The office became moderately infested, and some employees brought the mites home and were bitten and infested too. We hired an exterminator for the office. Need we do so for employees' homes? — N. Weidberg, New York

    A: Unless you can get the mite-ridden bird itself to provide an exterminator, the company should step up. Employees face certain reasonable dangers at work, but bird vermin is not one of them. While the company was not negligent — I assume it didn't sponsor a Bring Your Parrot to Work Day — it should help its staff solve a problem that was contracted on the job.

    But what ethics prescribes, the law does not. Judith Conti, an attorney specializing in workplace issues, says: "Unless the employers knew or had reason to know that this worker had an infestation in her home that she'd carry to the workplace, they aren't liable for exterminating their homes."

    As a matter of ethics, after the company responds to its employees' infestations, it could seek compensation from the bird owner. Here ethics and law coincide, Conti says.

    Update: Although some employees feared they had mites at home, they did not, so there was nothing to disinfect.

    If mites are species-specific, as we always tell our own users who freak about seeing mites on their hands after handling an infested bird, wouldn't it stand to reason that the infestation in the above case wasn't mites but some other form of cross-species parasite, like fleas?​
  2. hobbychick

    hobbychick Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 9, 2007
    Mites are species specific!!! They can bite other species but they can not live on them!!!
  3. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

    Jun 14, 2008
    South Puget Sound
    That's what I thought, too. So this person's message - and villianilly of their co-worker - is completely unwarranted.
  4. spectrumranch

    spectrumranch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Species specific or not- just reading about someone carrying mites on their body to work- makes me itch.

    I think I need to go take a shower now!
  5. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    Not ALL mites are species specific. Mange is caused by Scabies Mites, and can affect most mammals

    Bird mites can also bite humans:

    parasitic infestation from bird mites too small to be easily seen without magnification. Symptoms include pinprick bites, often intense itching with or without lesions, small reddened bumps, and a crawling sensation anywhere on the body; with increased activity at night. Some people label these the "creepy crawlies" or "nose ticklers". The intense itching and irritation on the skin is due to the mite's saliva. When a large area is covered with bites it will resemble a rash in appearance, and it is often mistaken for scabies.​

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