Mite Control: Mites

Description

Certain members of the subclass Acari, more commonly known as mites, are minuscule arachnids with four pairs of legs. There are many varieties of mites, but most of them will be less than one-millimeter long. While the majority of mites are harmless, there are some that can be a detriment, and an infestation of mites can still be a problem. Mite Inspection>>

Pest Facts

Color

Varies depending on species; some are white, some are reddish-brown, others are clear, etc.

Legs

Eight

Shape

Round or oval

Size

Less than 1 mm

Antennae

No

Flying

No

Region

World Wide

  • Mites can live on land or in water.
  • Can be found in a large variety of climates.
  • Some mites are free-living, others are parasitic.
  • Live both indoors and outdoors.

 

 

Habits

The habits largely depend on the particular type of mite. For example, parasitic mites can feed on anything from mammals (humans included), to birds, to other insects. Some mites are microbial filter feeders, and others will eat plants. Others might go unnoticed, such as dust mites, which are microscopic. For those that are parasitic or plant-eaters, they can cause skin irritation or destruction of crops. Tulsa Inspector>>

Habitat

A mite’s habitat depends greatly on the mite, as certain mites can last in cold climates or high altitudes, and others cannot. Some mites prefer to live on decaying organic materials, some live in soil, and some live on plants or fungi. Parasitic mites live on a host.

Reproduction

When most mites reproduce, the female is inseminated indirectly, although some reproduce directly. The female mite will lay its eggs in the surface on which the mites live, which in turn can take days or weeks to hatch, depending on the species.

Lifespan

Mites begin life in a larval stage, after which they molt into protonymphs, and then adults. Once they reach the adult stage, the amount of time that they live for depends on the species. Some mites can live for months, while others only for weeks.

Threats

Most mites are harmless, however the ones that are harmful can pose significant threats to people and vegetation alike. Parasitic mites can bite and cause skin irritation, and ones like the chigger can (in rare cases) spread various diseases. Dust mites can cause allergies or trigger an asthma attack. The itch mite (sarcoptes scabiei) burrows into a host’s skin, and gives them a skin infestation called scabies. For pet owners, the itch mite can be responsible for sarcoptic mange, too, which causes skin irritation. Mites that eat plants can cause massive amounts of destruction to crops if left unchecked. Furthermore, mites are difficult to detect due to their diminutive size. Tulsa Pest Control>>

Prevention

Mite infestation prevention is, for the most part, simple. Insecticides can deal with some mites that are harmful to plants. Insecticides can deal with some mites, but other times specialized miticides are required to deal with certain species. For spider mites, a cloth dampened with a diluted detergent solution (one-and-a-half teaspoons mixed in a gallon of water) can be used to wipe them from plants they have infested. For dust mites, adequate cleanliness and regular washing of household fabrics should prevent an infestation of them. In other cases, however, a professional might be needed to prevent an infestation.