In 2009, we were a typical Lesbian family raising chickens in our backyard. That summer we got four new baby chicks and raised them in our family room until they were big enough to mix with our backyard hens.
In most cities it is illegal to keep chickens in, or even near, a human habitation. With good reason: Chickens can carry a variety of ectoparasites, from bedbugs to several kinds of parasitic mites. These mites are so tiny that to try to see one is like trying to see a piece of cellophane tape the size of the point of a pin.
By Halloween the house was so infested that I had to move out. Eliminating these parasites took huge amounts of time, energy and money. We received conflicting advice from many professionals. The stress on our family was enormous. All this even though, as a biologist, I had the advantage of being able to read scientific journals from all over the world on those long, mite-bitten nights.
I put up this website several years ago to share the protocols I developed, and to answer questions from people with mites. It turned out that our family’s story was all too common, played out in cities around the world. It could start with kids bringing home a bird’s nest, or pigeons nesting under an apartment balcony, or with poultry. Rich and poor, gay and straight, families with parasitic mites experience stress, difficulty getting help, and a sense of isolation. It is an honor and a joy to help others overcome this scourge.
Five years later I’m about to publish The Year of the Mite, a book that captures the particulars of our family’s history as a way to let others know they are not alone. The book also discusses the biology of mites and how evolution has shaped their behavior, as a basis for problem solving how to get rid of them. The protocols that helped eliminate our mites are in the book too.
If you are a person with mites, or a professional wanting to help, please look for the book in the Fall of 2015 from Bitingduck Press. Excerpts and protocols appear on this webpage. It will take all of us sharing information to help those still affected by parasitic mites.
Best wishes to all.