Author Topic: K-2's mite story  (Read 71 times)

Offline jeanwilson

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K-2's mite story
« on: October 11, 2019, 06:53:11 AM »
Let's hear the mite story. Please and thank you.

Offline K-2

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Re: K-2's mite story
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2019, 10:06:05 PM »
@jeanwilson - it was so gross.  I got a couple pounds of turkey feathers from the farm.  Mind you, it's a game farm, so those birds live good lives.

CONTENT WARNING: REALLY GROSS BIRD MITES. Billions of bird mites.

I made two key mistakes: 1. asking for "as many of them as I could get" (specifying that I could only use the first three primary flight feathers from each wing). and 2. asking for them right before Thanksgiving (but in my defense I was buying a free-range heritage turkey from them, and thought it would save a trip all the way out there).

Apparently they gave me ALL the feathers from ALL the turkeys they had processed for ALL their customers in Northern Minnesota.  For Thanksgiving.  So do you know how many feathers are in "a couple pounds"?  It's a lot of feathers.  An overwhelming number of feathers.  Way too many for me to deal with right away - especially since they were dirty, and especially as it was going to be Thanksgiving, and I had holiday things to do.

They were in a big plastic bag (but not clean, because they had shortly before been on living turkeys running free on a game farm).  So I put them down in my basement until I could deal with them after the holidays.  You know - one thing lead to another. My in-laws came for a long weekend; my kids were still really little; I was really busy at work....  So the feathers stayed in the bag in the basement, until one of my kids was down there looking for something a few weeks later and asked me if the birds in the bag were okay.  I told him they're just feathers, but he said, no, there are birds in there. because it. was. moving.

OMG you could see the feathers shaking in there as billions of microscopic bird mites proliferated and feasted on them. So I did what any self-respecting person would do. I snuck them out to the garage before my spouse could see and hid them behind the lawn mower. And then I took a very hot shower while screaming inwardly.

When I went to pull the lawn mower out in the spring, there weren't any more feathers on the feathers.  Just bare shafts and some...dust.  So I put them in a bucket in my basement, and tried not to think about them too much, as I tried to work up the nerve to deal with them.  Okay, maybe a reasonable person would have thrown them away. But I paid money for them, and I didn't want to believe that they were a total loss.

Later, much later, I discovered that the shafts were clear and hard, because they had been sitting there, drying out and curing.  I cut one without tempering it, and it turned out great.  We strip off the feathers for writing anyway, so silver lining, I guess.

And that is my bird mite story.  Moral of the story: Wash those feathers as soon as you get them.

Offline jeanwilson

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Re: K-2's mite story
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2019, 08:43:12 AM »
Thank you for posting the story. I literally laughed out loud.
It is a friendly public service to warn people about the various critters that might decide to share your home.
Earlier this year, a friend of ours woke up covered in bites that looked like bed bugs. He found out that he had bats in his attic and the bats have their own little bugs who sometimes look for a new and tasty host. The remediation included getting a new mattress.
A few months later, we heard noise in our attic. Our exterminator said - "Yup - bats. We have to figure out where they got in. Have you had a new roof recently?'
Yup - we had.
Additions often times allow openings that roofers can't reach which is a common opening for bats.
The kicker is that bats are an endangered species - so we can't kill them.
We have to trick them into finding a new place to live.
Here is the public service announcement.
The exterminator said he's seen people, covered in bites, who thought that the squirrels living in the attic were harmless.
So - no matter how cute the little critters are - don't let them nest in your attic.


Offline RD5

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Re: K-2's mite story
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2019, 10:51:27 AM »
Wonderful, and well told. I interpreted the moral differently...

Basically, when you buy turkey feathers, leave them behind the lawnmower over the winter, and not only will the mites clean them and remove the feathers, they will bs cured.  :D

Offline K-2

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Re: K-2's mite story
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2019, 01:40:36 PM »
@jeanwilson - best wishes getting the critters out of your attic.  We had a raccoon try to take up residence in ours once. But they are not endangered, so we chased it out armed with a snow shovel and a ski-helmet & goggles.  The skunk that tried to move into our crawl space under the sunroom was a more delicate situation, as we wanted to encourage her to leave on her own - the "bad neighbor" technique might be effective for bats too though.  It worked great for the skunk:
1. install a light source at the opening and turn it on after you think the nocturnal critters have gone out for the night (neither bats nor skunks like bright light, and will be reluctant to come back in)
2. put a radio or iPod or something in there and play music or talk radio continually (they also don't like loud noises, and will avoid)
3. stomp around when you're at home to make the place shake.

@RD5 Take that moral with a lot of salt - Winter in northern Minnesota means temperatures down to -40F (that's also -40C for those using metric measure) and extremely dry conditions (too cold to snow and the wrong side of the Great Lakes for lake effect moisture).  hmm. and now I'm wondering if the extreme cold might have done something to cure them too.

Also, those bare shafts probably spent another year in my basement drying out further, after the mites had stripped them, because I could not un-see the mites. Also, seriously. MITES.  Do you really want to invite a billion bird mites into your life?  didn't you read jeanwilson's commentary about critter-bugs?  Are you not married?

ps - spouse still does not know about the mites.

Offline jeanwilson

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Re: K-2's mite story
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2019, 05:05:19 PM »
@K-2
The entrances to the bat condo were converted -immediately- to *one way doors* - where they could get out, but they could not get back in.
When you mentioned northern MN, I checked your profile.
I routinely look for Zillow listings on Park Point -- just dreaming.
I miss the Pickwick and Bridgeman's and that place in Superior with the lobster neon sign on the ceiling.
And hawk ridge during the migration.
And The Lake - greatest of the greats.

Offline K-2

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Re: K-2's mite story
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2019, 06:16:32 PM »
@jeanwilson - the great winged migration is happening right now (raptors over the ridge, songbirds below), and we're in the last of peak fall color.

Sadly, the Pickwick changed owners & management a few years ago and hasn't really been the same ever since.  There's a Bridgeman's in the Fitger's complex now, but the Lakewalk is still under construction after last year's storms did it in again.

And we had a couple inches of snow this past weekend, so I guess I can hide things behind the lawnmower again. I moved to Duluth 20 years ago, but I wouldn't ever want to live anywhere else now.  Hope you get to visit at least from time to time.

Offline Bianca M

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Re: K-2's mite story
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2019, 09:43:20 PM »
Oh my god.  Will I be able to sleep tonight after reading this?  Do I even want to?

Horrifying, yet pretty funny.

Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: K-2's mite story
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2019, 10:17:40 AM »
CONTENT WARNING: REALLY GROSS BIRD MITES.
And you think you have a problem.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2019, 10:34:08 AM by AnasaziWrites »