Pest Identification: Mites
Most Common Types
Mites are tiny arachnids related to ticks. The most common types include house dust mites, house mouse mites, tropical rat mites, tropical fowl mites, and northern fowl mites.
What They Look Like
Mites are brown and tiny, as small as the period at the end of this sentence. Mite larvae have six legs while adults have eight. As members of the arthropod family, mites have segmented bodies, exoskeletons, and jointed appendages.
Where They Live
Rat and house mouse mites are parasites that live on rodents throughout the world. Fowl mites are found on domestic and wild birds.
Where They Nest
Mites can be found in rat or mouse nests in homes with infestations. They also live in bird nests, cages, and chicken coups. While mites are not true human parasites, they migrate to humans from rats, mice, and birds.
Steps to Prevent
Pesticides containing permethrin or bifenthrincan eliminate mites but their hosts should be eliminated first. Scratching noises in the walls, ceilings or attic indicate rodent infestations. All vents, utility service entry points, and other areas open to the outdoors should be tightly sealed. Bird problems are indicated by chirping and fluttering sounds around chimneys, rafters, and soffit areas. Screening these areas will prevent bird access. Chicken coops should be kept far from the home and pet bird cages should be cleaned regularly.
Are They Harmful?
Mite bites are red and may become intensely itchy, resulting in rashes or welts. However, the bites are merely annoying and do not cause long-term harm.