If you have budgies as a pet then you must know about mites infestation so you will be able to know the symptoms and immediate actions required to safeguard your lovely budgies. Every new budgie owner wonders how budgies get mites.
We will delve deeper into budgie mites and discuss all possible reasons why your budgies can get infested with mites how to know if your budgie is infected and then how to help him out of it with homemade and allopathy treatments to save your birds.
Budgies can get mites in a few ways such as direct contact with an infected bird, indirect contact with contaminated objects such as a food bowl, and Airborne like spread through the air which is not common.
How Do Budgies Get Scaly Mites?
When budgie owners contact me and discuss scaly mites my first question to them is about whether they have quarantined the infected bird before adding him to their existing flock or not as birds infested with mites can spread the disease rapidly to other birds and all of them can get infected.
Note: Always remember that budgies in pet stores and aviaries have higher chances of receiving mite infestation this is why read this before adopting a budgie
Fortunately, scaly mites are treatable but you need to identify them as soon as you can otherwise mites can feed on your budgie’s beak, feet, and legs, it reach the point where budgies cannot even eat or drink until it starves to death.
Remember your budgies can get scaly mites from the following factors such as,
Interactions with Infected Birds
When your budgie interacts closely with infected birds, especially in shared spaces like pet stores or aviaries this is how it transmits to your budgie.
Contaminated Object Transmission
Mites can find their way to your budgie indirectly through contact with objects that have been contaminated by infected birds. These objects can include perches, food bowls, or even toys within their living environment.
Airborne Transmission (Less Frequent)
Mites can also be transmitted through the air but it is rare. Microscopic mites might become airborne and if inhaled or coming into contact with your budgie then it leads to potential infestations.
Where do Scaly Mites Live?
Scaly mites have a scientific name “Knemidocoptes Mutans”, they have a small life of 3 weeks in which they grow eat, and reproduce. They live in the wooden nest boxes and also on the bird’s skin. Most of the time newborn budgies and birds get the infestation from the nest box.
This is why I recommend everyone to buy PVC nest boxes for their budgies or other birds as the chances of getting scaly mites infestation from PVC nest boxes are less.
These scaly mites live on the bird for 3 weeks during which they grow and reproduce. They keep on eating unfeathered areas of the bird such as legs, feet, beak, and cere.
What Do Budgie Mites Look Like?
Knemidocoptes mites are small parasites, spherical in shape, and can be seen with microscopes. Below is an image of the Knemidocoptes mite to show you what it looks like,
Budgie Mites Symptoms
We have already covered the ways your budgies can get scaly mites but now we need to understand how to identify if your budgie has mites symptoms so that you can start treating your budgie as early as possible.
The earliest scaly mites symptoms that you can observe on your budgies are the following,
Itching and Discomfort
Budgies afflicted with scaly mites often exhibit signs of intense itching and discomfort. This itching behavior is commonly observed as they frequently scratch various parts of their body, including their face, feet, and legs.
These incessant scratching motions are their way of attempting to alleviate the discomfort caused by the presence of these tiny, irritating parasites.
Visible Tissue Damage on Beaks or Feet
You might notice some white area appearing on your budgie beak or feet and that will be the early signs of scaly mites infestation if that goes unnoticed then these parasites might grow around the eyes and vent area as well.
Sometimes the scales can be brown or black in color so if you notice anything unusual appearing on your budgie’s feet, leg, or beak then you should start looking for answers.
As we already mentioned scaly mites start their attack from the unfeathered area but they start seeping into the skin under the feathers. Scaly mites then create a drastic impact on the budgie’s plumage this is why your budgie will start losing its feathers.
This is not an early indicator but it comes when the scaly mites have done some damage. Scaly mites damage your budgie physically and mentally. Itching and pain cause budgie to get stressed and this causes loss of appetite which in turn welcomes more diseases as the immune system gets weaker.
You should notice these symptoms as early as you can to start treating this illness.
How To Treat Budgie Scaly Mites?
There are several methods to treat budgies from scaly mites that you will hear from different sources. We will inform you about all the methods and highlight the effective methods that are safe and work better.
What You Should Not Use As A Treatment For Scaly Mites?
You will hear people recommending Vaseline treatment for scaly mites which is not a recommended treatment for scaly mites in budgies. It is not effective at killing mites and can make the problem worse.
Vaseline can clog the budgie’s skin pores and make it difficult for the skin to breathe. This can lead to skin irritation and infection.
Never use Vaseline.
You will hear people recommending Detol treatment for scaly mites which is also not a recommended treatment for this disease as Dettol is a disinfectant that can be used to kill mites on surfaces but it is harmful for use on birds. Dettol can be toxic to birds if ingested or inhaled, and it can also irritate their skin and eyes.
Never use Detol on birds.
Olive Oil Treatment
This is also not recommended as this also clogs the skin pores of the budgies/birds skin and cannot kill the mites.
Never use olive oil for treating scaly mites.
Grapefruit Seed Extract For Treatment
This is a natural product with diverse uses from disinfection to insect repellent. People have explored its potential in treating scaly mites in birds. While initial studies in chickens show promise further research is required to confirm its effectiveness for budgies.
We do not recommend experimenting while a bird is going through excruciating pain already. If you ask me, I would never experiment on my little budgie and I hope you have the same sentiments for your budgies.
Chamomile Tea Bags Treatment
Chamomile tea bags are not a recommended remedy for budgies with scaly mites. Scientific evidence does not back its use and it is the same as experimenting so I would not recommend you to use this for treating scaly mites.
Vinegar is also not recommended for treating scaly mites however it has many other benefits and is a great disinfectant. You should use vinegar to clean bird cages and also add it to their water as a dose but not for treating scaly mites.
What You Should Use As A Treatment For Scaly Mites?
The most effective treatment for Scaly Mites in budgies is ivermectin or moxidectin formula, available as S76 and Scatt. Spot-on treatment is preferred over dosing in drinking water or using topical applications. Sprays are not effective.
To treat scaly mites you have to apply one drop of the solution on the skin at the back of the neck weekly for 2-3 weeks. Avoid applying it near the beak or cere as ingestion can be harmful. Spot-on treatments work by affecting the blood as it kills internal mites and eggs. Topical treatments only address external mites.
Remember sprays and powders are ineffective.
One more thing to remember is you need to treat all the birds with scatt as scaly mites are contagious and if you do not treat all birds then you will have to chase bird by bird after your first bird is recovered.
Clean all the cages with a spray, you need to dilute 1-litre water with some drops of scatt and then clean all the bird cages.
Scaly mites are dangerous to the birds and budgies are prone to get infested easily by scaly mites this is why we recommend all bird owners effectively use preventive measures such as using PVC nest boxes, vinegar to disinfect and clean the cages timely, improving bird’s immune system with a balanced diet and use effective treatment if they are infected with scaly mites.