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What are these bugs/mites?

Over the past week, I’ve found the tiniest little mites on my hands and arms after being in the barn. Seems like even just doing stalls or picking up a pitchfork, so I can’t figure out a source. Any idea what these are? They’re so tiny I can’t describe them really. Don’t seem to irritate my skin or bite or anything but it’s creeping me out

Of note, we do have barn swallows nesting. I wonder if they’re bird mites…? (Thanks Google.)


These are 100% bird mites, and yes, very likely from your swallows. If you have chickens, they could also be from them.

Once baby swallows are old enough to consider flying, it’s awfully hard to treat the nests, because anything you spray up there will scatter the birds, even if they’re really not ready. You can treat babies on the ground with the scantest spray of fly spray, or elector PSP, or dilute pour on ivermectin before you renest.

You can spray the barn surfaces you’re touching with elector PSP and or pyrethrin/permethrin (just not the nests or near them if you’ve got anything but the earliest hatchlings.)

They won’t live on you–they’re bird specific–but they’re seriously annoying.

I had good luck this year with elector PSP sprayed on the nests & ceiling beams when they started building nests, and then a couple weeks later which was about when they started laying. I also take down nests in the fall.

Swallows are amazing for fly control, and I love how cheery they are, but the mites aren’t fun.

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Thank you for this info!! These are the current babies. Assuming these are too big to spray? When they fly out as “adults”, do I spray the nests? Or will that be bad if they return?


Yeah, too big. (So cute at this stage!) Those guys are just about to fledge. Spraying the nest will have them all on the ground.

Once they do fledge, you can definitely spray the nest and any horizontal surfaces around it, and that’ll help kill mites on the parents and prevent the next batch of babies from being mitey. Is this your only nest? I’d planned on getting in another round of elector between batches of babies here, but they overlap too much & there are too many nests to really monitor & hit one at a time.

Hitting your vertical surfaces around where you’re picking up mites will go a long way to keeping them off you.


Thank you so much for all of this info. So helpful.

No, we’ve got a few other nests but they’re all about this age. We have some empty nests from last year, too… Never occurred to me to knock them down in the fall but I definitely will start! We’ve had swallows for years but I don’t ever remember seeing mites.

They won’t bite people? Mostly worried about my toddler.

Nope, definitely won’t bite people–they only feed on birds. They are itchy just from the crawling :grimacing:

Some years are just bad on the mites. Last year for me was awful. So I was a lot more proactive on it this year :joy: And it’s helped a lot!


You’ve made me feel much better. I was ready to move my horses for a week and fog the whole place :joy:

No need to go quite that far, but I certainly understand the sentiment! :joy:

One of my coworkers years ago always parked his car with the windows open. Some birds built a nest in the parking garage above his car, and a windstorm blew the nest into his car. He ended up with a ton of bird mites in his car. He was one the kindest, most easygoing people I’ve ever known, but this nearly drove him around the bend.


Looks like a sleepy baby.