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Are Bed Bugs Bad for Birds?

If you have pet birds, you might start to worry that a bed bug infestation could harm them. 

Bed bugs can affect birds, but it isn’t that common, meaning bed bugs usually aren’t too bad for birds. Bed bugs generally prefer to feed on people, though they can and do bite just about any warm-blooded animal. Thus, these pests can potentially harm your bird. 

Can Bed Bugs Bite My Bird?

A blue budgie sitting on a person's hand.

Yes, bed bugs can bite and feed on your bird. 

However, bed bugs typically don’t bother birds. 

Bed bugs prefer humans, and you can most commonly find them in mattresses. 

Thus, the pets most at risk of bed bug problems are animals that sleep or lay on your bed for extended periods. 

And most pet birds don’t spend a lot of time in bed with humans. 

Yet, if your bird does snuggle or sleep with you on your mattress, it is at a higher risk of getting bed bugs than a pet bird who doesn’t visit the bed. 

Will Bed Bugs Get Into My Bird’s Cage?

While bed bugs can technically get into and live in your bird’s cage, it isn’t common. 

Bed bugs prefer mattresses or other furniture that humans sit on for extended periods, like couches and recliners. 

But, if you have a bad bed bug infestation, they may migrate away from the furniture and show up in other places, like inside of your carpet, wallpaper, or animal cages. 

So, if you have bed bugs in your home, it won’t hurt to check your bird’s cage for these insects. 

If you see any insects, you need to remove the bird immediately and clean out the cage. 

And even if you don’t see bed bugs, you should be sure to clean out your bird’s cage and check for bugs regularly if you have any bed bugs in your home. 

How to Get Bed Bugs Out of a Bird’s Cage

If you find bed bugs in your bird’s cage, you should first remove the bird and bring the entire cage outside. 

And just remember that you should never clean a bug-infested animal cage in your home, or the bugs could migrate to other parts of your home. 

Once you have the cage outside, you need to remove all of your bird’s food and bedding. 

Then, wrap the discarded food and bedding in a plastic bag and dispose of it in an outside garbage can. 

You should now move the garbage can away from your home or apartment to keep the bugs from getting back inside. 

Next, take out all of your bird’s toys or any other items from the cage. 

You should wash any plastic objects by soaking them in hot water. 

For this step, you ideally need to get the water temperature to around 130°F (54°C) because bed bugs will die within a few minutes when exposed to these high temperatures. 

You shouldn’t soak toys or other items made out of wood, leather, cloth, or rope, though, because you can easily damage them. 

Instead, if you have any dryer-friendly items, you can go ahead and stick them in the clothes dryer since the heat will kill off the bugs

For other toys, all you can do is scrub them as best you can with soap and water or another cleaner that is safe for birds. 

Should I Check My Bird for Bed Bugs?

A hand stroking the white parrot's head.

Honestly, there really is no point in checking your bird for bed bugs. 

Bed bugs don’t live on animals, and they feed very quickly, so it’s doubtful you’ll ever catch one on your bird. 

Instead, you should look for bed bugs in your bird’s cage and watch your bird for any changes in appearance or attitude. 

What Do Bed Bugs Do to Birds?

For the most part, bed bugs affect animals in the same way they affect humans. 

Thus, bed bugs could cause your bird stress and discomfort, as well as itchiness and allergic reactions. 

In more severe cases, bed bugs can lead to anemia. 

How to Tell if Bed Bugs Are Biting a Bird?

Generally, if bed bugs have bitten your bird, the bird will act stressed and may get sores or a skin infection. 

You can tell that a bird is stressed because it will exhibit behaviors such as pacing, foot-tapping, or head swinging. 

Some birds also get more aggressive when they’re stressed or in pain. 

Physically, you may notice sores or feather loss if bed bugs are attacking your bird. 

If you identify any of these problems, you should clean out your bird’s cage to eliminate any bugs that may be hiding inside. 

Then, if the symptoms continue to worsen, take your bird to the vet. 

There, you can discuss possible treatment plans. 

Are Bed Bug Sprays Safe for Birds?

A man in a yellow coverall and mask is holding a bottle of spray on a pink background.

Whether an insecticide spray is safe for birds depends on the ingredients. 

Technically, all pesticides are toxic because they have to be to kill bugs. 

However, of course, they all don’t have the same effects on humans and pets. 

Thus, it is best to do your research before using a pesticide in your home. 

Yet, I can tell you that pyrethrin is the best to use around pets as long as you apply it correctly by following the instructions on the bottle.  

Also, remember that you should never spray an insecticide in the same room as your pet. 

Instead, take the pet out of the room before spraying. 

Then, wait a few hours or until the insecticide has dried before bringing your animal back into the room. 

If you want to be extra safe, you can call your veterinarian and talk to them about what pesticides you can use around your bird. 

Can Bed Bugs Get Into My Bird’s Ear?

Unfortunately, yes. 

Although relatively rare, bed bugs can get into the ear canals of both humans and animals. 

Typically, if a bed bug has bitten or become stuck in your bird’s ear canal, you will quickly notice that something is wrong. 

The ear canal is a sensitive area, so your bird will probably start showing signs of irritation and distress as soon as the bug enters. 

You can usually tell if there is an issue with your bird’s ear canal because they will likely begin to shake their head and scratch at their ear in an attempt to dislodge the bug or due to itchiness. 

If you suspect a bed bug has gotten into your bird’s ear canal, you should take them to the vet as soon as you can. 

Are Bed Bugs and Bird Mites the Same?

Close-up photo of a bed bug on a black surface.

Bed bugs and bird mites are not the same insects. 

However, the two look somewhat similar. 

The primary way to tell the difference between bed bugs and bird mites is that bed bugs are much larger. 

Although bed bugs are pretty little, about the size of an apple seed, bird mites are smaller. 

In fact, it is hard to see bird mites with the naked eye because of how tiny they are. 

Additionally, bird mites live on birds, while bed bugs only feed on them occasionally. 

Therefore, if you see small bugs on your bird, they are most likely mites and not bed bugs. 


Typically, bed bugs don’t bother birds too much since these insects prefer humans. 

Yet, if bed bugs do begin biting your bird, you can usually tell by looking out for strange behavior or changes to its appearance.