Was a sleeping hummingbird playing possum in the yard?
DEARJOAN » Early in the morning I noticed a hummingbird hanging upside down on our feeder. I was able to run some water over its beak and there was a slight movement, which indicated that it still must be alive.
I thought that perhaps it just got too cold and went into a protective mode for survival.
I placed it on branch of a plant, upright. After approximately 3 hours I went to check and as soon as I got near, the hummer flew away. DEARAL » I don’t think overnight temperatures have reached the point where it would cause a hummingbird to freeze up like that, but I do think the bird had gone into what is called a state of torpor.
When hummingbirds sleep, they can enter a torpor state, shutting down a lot of their body so that they can save their energy. When they are like this, you can sometimes find them hanging upside down from feeding perches, their feet locked firmly around the post.
They can appear dead and often will not even respond if touched. Once they wake up, they fly away, back into their energetic lives. DEAR JOAN » For the last several months I have been getting what the skin doctor says are mite bites. We had an exterminator out, but he said there was nothing he could do because we didn’t catch any rats in his trap.
We have a bird feeder and wonder if rats come to it in the night and leave the mites, which our two dogs then bring into the house. Although we give them flea treatments, they have been scratching lately.
Could this be the source? Do we have to get rid of the feeder? Do you have any suggestions? This is driving me nuts. DEARCAROL » According to the Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control website, most mites feed on plants, other mites and insects or animals.
The mite most associated with inflicting distress on humans is the tropical rat mite, although people can have issues with bird mites and chigger mites.
If you have rat mites, you have a rat’s nest somewhere in or near your home. They infest the nest and feed on the rats, and if the rats die, they seek the next available host, which could be people.
The mites locate their victims by detecting humans’ breath (the output of carbon dioxide) and body heat. As they cannot fly or jump, they must crawl, and they usually are found in rooms where people congregate — kitchens, family rooms and bedrooms. They might also take refuge in furniture, biting people when they sit down or go to sleep.
The good news in all this is that they don’t hang around on people after feeding. They fill up and fall off, returning to feed again.
You can control them by controlling rats and getting rid of the nests. Vacuum your rugs and furniture, and if you think they are biting you at night, vacuum the mattress and wash and replace linens frequently.
Insecticides and foggers don’t work well because they often don’t reach the places where the mites congregate, but you can ask an exterminator to spray in attics and crawl spaces where rats might have been.
No need to bring in your feeder, but I would take the dogs to the vet to check for bites.