For Your Bird’s Health: Gas Heat, Bugs And Muscular Atrophy In Bird Legs

For Your Bird’s Health: Gas Heat, Bugs And Muscular Atrophy In Bird Legs

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

Carol P. replied

How can you get rid of the little brown bugs that come around the bird food without hurting the birds? Is there a spray or something I can order?

Thanks for your help, Carol in Tennessee

Hi Carol

Knowing what kind of bugs they are is half the battle.

Can you take a picture of them to send to me or identify them?

Are they coming from the food? Or did they go to it from outside the bag?

There should not be any bugs in the bird food. If there are then the bird food is old or has not been properly stored.

Buying more food than you can use in a few months does not save you money if it gets buggy.


ALL bird seed grows outside, ALL bird seed contains bug eggs. It is up to you to use it up before life happens in your bird seed.

If you have bugs in the food, it is time to throw it out and buy fresh.

If you can’t then I recommend that you put it all into a deep freeze for 2 weeks to kill the bugs.

Then it should be safe to use without them crawling around. If the bird food looks webby or crumbly, it is too far gone and needs to be thrown out.

There are no insecticides that are completely safe around birds.


You would do best to remove all seed debris and start fresh with fresh seed.

MangoPet Control is an insect spray that can be used but it is recommended that you remove your birds from the cage and room while spraying and allow the room to air out awhile before returning the birds to their cages.

Read about ants and bird cages here.


Thank you

Can ultrasound plug in pest controls harm caged birds? Thanks


From [email protected]

Hi Laurie

I would not take the chance – if its an ionic version it can definitely be harmful

Birds vary so much in size, breed and behavior.

We have no way to guarantee the Ultimate AT will or will not bother your bird.

To be safe, we recommend not using the AT in the same room as your bird, or near the bird’s cage.

Some customers have reported their birds seem bothered by the ultrasound; other customers tell us their birds seem just fine.

more about ultrasound from this site 


best  mitchr


From: [email protected]


I have a concern that I never realized until this week and I would like some advice.


My new husband and I just purchased our first home together and we are in the process of moving at the present moment.


I took care to make sure this home had a “bird room” for our feathered kids that is completely safe (no fan, window coverings, outlets covered, locking door, even hardwood so I don’t struggle daily with carpet stains anymore)!


Well what I didn’t realize is that this home is heated by gas, including a fireplace and the stove-all gas!


We haven’t moved the feathered ones yet thankfully or I would have probably bothered my vet a thousand times on a weekend!


But when I turned on the stove to cook yesterday, I couldn’t help but notice an odor!


Now I am very upset and concerned that our birds are going to be harmed here!!!


Any advice??


The room is on the opposite side of the house but on the same floor.


The door does completely shut, but what happens in winter when the heat is on?


Will the gas harm them?


My husband thinks Im smelling the gas cause it was just turned on and that it shouldn’t do that once its in constant use.


Im hoping that he is correct but either way I am very worried about the birds. Thank you!


Hi Stacy


You don’t mention whether its natural gas or propane but either way both are benign for your birds.


We knew natural gas was safe but wasn’t sure about propane so we tested it for ourselves.


Our story about propane and our birds is found here: 


Keep in mind when you put your birds in a specialty “bird room” you are at isolating them from the rest of the flock which unless they are only there to sleep.

We recommend keeping birds in eyesight of their humans for great social relationships.

Best of luck,



From: Sandra B


Mitch, love your articles.


Just want to clarify something.


My elderly DYH Amazon recently passed (difficult loss) and just ONE issue was “thigh muscle atrophy” per the vet.


I just read this from your article, “Most people are surprised to learn that birds have no muscles in their legs nor their feet just a pair of tendons called Flexor tendons that run basically from the hips to the toes.”

Now I am confused and wonder if there are thigh muscles?

Hi Sandra


We are sorry for your loss – we feel pets to be as much a part of our hearts as humans.


You bring up an interesting point – I walk the fine line between not dumbing things down much at not being too technical.


I will change the wording in the post based upon your excellent recommendation to read , “Most people are surprised to learn that birds have no muscles in their “visible” legs.


We present you with his excellent graphic to further explain the birds muscular anatomy.


scientific diagram avian muscles

you can see where the muscles end above the elbow

Thank you for engaging with our content


This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. We have a small chest freezer we keep all our bird food in. When we bring some out for use it goes into Rubbermaid containers with tight, snap caps. We only keep enough out for a couple weeks.

    1. I was talking to Dr. Hagen a few years ago at a bird tradeshow down in North Carolina. (I was stationed at Fort Bragg and was a Ball Python, Red Tail Boa and Bearded Dragon Breeder for ‘Out of Eden Reptiles’ and showed at many Repticons’ but I am a Bird guy.. go figure.)
      Anyway, Mr. Hagen was saying that it is great to freeze the food/seeds in order to prevent pest infestations, but, in doing so, you lose some of the nutrients in the process. His recommendation was to buy a bag or yummy smelling pellets (with or without color) and a bag of Mixed pellet and seed and a tub of something like Nutriberries and keep them in your closed containers. BUT… Only get the sized bags that you would use up within 2-3 months. Using the mix of seed/pellet and fresh foods is awesome, considering you have a bird that isn’t a seed only bird, and keeping the food fresh is also best.
      You wont harm the bird by using frozen seeds, just that you lose some of the actual nutrients and keep all of the fats.
      This was what he had told me and how we try to do it for our CAG.
      I am also, by no means, trying to say that you are doing it wrong. I am just expressing what was told to me by one of the experts in the field of pet bird nutrition back in the early 2000’s.

      1. and he’s right nuclearnco.

        Go with what works for you.

        We have 10 budgies and an African Ringneck.

        They get broken bags – appropriate for each species.

        It all gets blended in a big mixing bowl and then into Tupperware containers which remain covered and refrigerated.

        In spite of freezer recommendations, which by the way we’ve found conventional top door freezers don’t get cold enough to kill the larvae.

        A chest freezer is necessary to achieve the desired sanitation action.

        That said, most of the bugs (moths) emerge from seed under cages not vacuumed and/or swept enough.



  2. small black bugs? look like little beetles and are about a 1/4 of the size of a popcorn seed at the largest? Those are pantry pests. They will bore into any paper/carboard box and love things like pasta, seeds, flower, many seasonings like cayenne pepper, dried potatos etc. If you have them where you keep your dried goods, then you have a big problem. They can completely close a food pantry.
    If you have them there as well as in the bird foods, then you need to go thru ALL of your pantry items. If it isn’t sealed in a plastic bag (sealed) then throw it out. going forward, if you open something, put it in a ziplock bag before storing it in your pantry. Stack up all of your pantry items in a different location. Toss out all of your open seed as well. Then you need to sanitize your pantry and wipe all surfaces with a bleach based solution. Keep your food items out of it for a week and then sanitize it again. (eggs will hatch, aliens will finish mutating into adults).
    Then restore your items and remember to make sure EVERYTHING is sealed in a form of plastic. Even fresh items from the store that come in boxes, if it isn’t in a plastic bag, do so. those dang devils WILL cut holes in boxes. If even 1 bug survives and can get to a food source, you will get re-infested.
    I would say that a bug bomb would work, and they do if done two times in a weeks space of time with the pantry doors open and food stuff out and wiped or dumped. BUT.. then you need to wash all surfaces before cooking (which sucks) plus you have the bird and would need to keep him out for 10 days or better. (which also sucks)
    If your pest turns into those silly small white moths, then you will be ok, just dump infested food and keep all future food sealed in bags or plastic containers and make sure to clean up the bottom of the cage at least every other day. The moths will be gone inside of a month that way.
    I hope this helps. I fought that fight for half of my 9 years at Fort Bragg until I was clued in by someone telling me the exact same thing I posted here.

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