Mite Types and Mite Control

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What Are Mites?

Mites, a form of arthropod that is microscopic in size, come from the Acari subclass and the Arachnida class. Mites are among the most widespread invertebrates and are found all over the world. Due to their diminutive size, they are able to move undetected in most cases. There are tens of thousands of various mite species that have been discovered and described, but there is believed to be over one million currently living.

Because of their small size, they are able to find their way into human dwellings and reproduce without being noticed until it is too late. There are varieties of mites that homeowners should be aware of, as their presence can have cumbersome, or in some cases, dire consequences on the day to day existence of humans.

Mite infestation on a plant

Common Household Mites

Dust mites

The dust mite is one of the most commonly found mites in human households. They are most comfortable in dwellings and can survive on flakes of human skin. Dust mites can be particularly problematic for homeowners, as they can cause asthma and aggravate symptoms of allergies. Their feces contain a potent enzyme that causes wheezing. There are European and American species of house dust mites, but neither species is strictly confined to either continent and can be found worldwide.

Because of their transcendent bodies and miniature size, house dust mites are almost invisible to the naked eye. House dust mites typically only measure 0.2 to 0.3 millimeters in length. Males live for roughly ten to twenty days, while females can survive over 2 months after mating, laying up to 100 eggs.

House dust mites can survive in almost any climate, but are most comfortable in homes. They are usually found in the kitchen or a bedroom. Their preferred area to reproduce is in bedding, due to the moisture that accumulates from body contact.

Tropical Rat Mite

While the tropical rat mite was first discovered in Australia roughly 100 years ago, they made their way to the United States within ten years and have been located in Germany. The mites are undetectable, measuring less than 1.5 millimeter in length. Without a blood meal, they are grey in color, after, they become dark red or yellow.

Tropical rat mites are rat parasites and tend to flourish in older buildings that aren’t well maintained. Making this mite more dangerous is that they are able to travel long distances on their own when searching for a host and can survive for lengthy periods of time even when no host is available.

These mites have five different stages of life: egg, larva, proto and deuto nymph, before finally becoming an adult. Their entire life cycle only lasts between one or two weeks, but tropical rat mites can lay up to 100 eggs during this short period

The tropical rat mite does not rely on humans as hosts, but they are still known to bite indiscriminately, which leads to dermatitis. Children who have been bitten by these mites can end having eczematous or vesicular reactions. Because of the piecemeal nature of their bites, they can occur anywhere on the body from the chest, neck, head or extremities.

Itch Mites

Itch mites have been found all over the world, dating as far back as the 1600s. They are parasitic and will burrow into human skin. They are particularly prevalent in households due to their reliance on domesticated cats and dogs as hosts. Since they also feed on wombats, koalas, and apes, they are one of the most widespread mite species on the planet.

Considering that this particular mite measures a mere 1/64 of an inch at its largest, there is no way to detect their microscopic presence. They range in color from translucent to a lighter brown. Their bodies are round and flat. Once the mites have formed a large group, they become more difficult to eradicate.

Scabies is directly linked to the presence of itch mites in the home. Because itch mites typically dig their way beneath the skin, they can cause allergic reactions. Their infestation in humans leads to bouts of intense itching, painful rashes, and redness that can cover much of the body.

Mating usually takes place on the human skin surface. The female will lay an average of one to three eggs a day over a period of roughly two months. Most itch mite eggs do not make it to adulthood, as itch mite eggs have a 90 percent rate of mortality. The females usually perish during their burrow.

Bird Mites

Found anywhere with a bird population, these mites are equipped with a piercing mouthpiece that enables them to draw blood from a variety of sources. They are only 1 millimeter long at most, making them invisible to the untrained eye. Unless they are moving, they are nearly impossible to spot.

Bird mites are translucent, unless they’ve recently had a blood feeding, in which case they turn a brownish red. Because they only live for a maximum of 12 days and a minimum of 5, bird mites are develop populations numbering in the tens of thousands. While they are usually found in bird’s nests, they will make their way into homes, searching for alternative hosts.

They do not feed on humans, but are still capable of biting and causing pain. Humans will feel a pricking sensation, followed by rashes and intense itching. Bird mites are found in homes mostly during the spring and summer months, when bird nests are at their highest population.

Controlling Mites

If you believe that you have a mite infestation in your property or home, call Alliance Pest Services for more information. Alliance Pest Service is your local source for all of your New Jersey pest control problems. 


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