Cough, cough! I'm currently recovering from accidentally inhaling a tiny bit of fumigation spray while trying to seal off the door to my front office. You see, the last couple of days the small front room I use to work from has been invaded by what we first thought were ticks or mites we might have brought back from a weekend hiking trip. Annoying itchy bites appeared alongside sightings of tiny black specks walking across my arms, but we never could ascertain where exactly they were coming from. But upon further careful inspection of the tiny arachnids we captured (with our trusty microscope) and a review of the exterior of our apartment, we deduced the front room is crawling with...
...bird mites! The front wall of our apartment has an opening underneath our windows where pigeons have once again taken roost and nested. Our neighbors also reported excess pigeon droppings on the ground level crawling with mites, the very same critters that are hobnobbing inside my home office.
So for now, I've sealed it off and bombed the small room, and hopefully in the next 3-4 hours the interior infestation will be brought under control. Tomorrow, our manager is sending a person to clean, fumigate and seal the opening in the front, hopefully keeping the pigeons away (though we suspect we might need something a bit more forceful to keep them from trying to renest around our apartment). Later we'll have to do a thorough vacuum job and wipe everything down and likely pull things out to inspect for any remaining mites.
For now, we're reading about bird mites and other people's horror stories of the near microscopic pests at Birdmites.org where we learned the following:
Bird Mite Infestation...
Who...people with a bird's nest near the home, apartment dwellers with nesting pigeons, people with pets or other animals which are infested, farmers who raise chickens, people who obtain used furniture, carpet, clothing, etc, that has been infested. This can also include guests of hotels, office workers et al., when the buildings are inhabited by nesting birds.
What...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.
Note: I used painter's tape to seal off the door, but I'd recommend wearing a face mask as you apply the tape while the fumigation can is going off. I accidentally took in a modest amount of spray sneaking out from the gaps between the door frame and the door and it made my throat burn for awhile. The good news is it seems like the bug bomb worked, and the room is airing out and vacuumed clean.