While an infestation of biting mites in one’s home is not all that common, it does happen. Some people are relatively insensitive to the actions of biting mites, while other may suffer reactions of one kind or another, usually in the form of itching or dermatitis.
One thing biting mites have going for them, and can make eradicating them difficult at times, is their size. Most of the time you will never see one unless it’s against a light background, and hopefully moving. Many are about the size of the period at the end of this sentence. A magnifying glass will be a great help in being able even to see one, and a microscope is often needed to distinguish one type of mite from another.
Animal Mites And Plant Mites
One would think that anything that small would have a problem biting something as large as we are, but many of them have fangs and they manage, and we itch. Mites are anthropoids, not insects, as they have 8 legs. Most species of mites don’t bite humans. This would include the plant mites. If you bring plant mites into the house, your house plants may end up having problems, but you won’t. Even those mites that do bite humans are usually hosted by animals such as birds, rats, mice, and sometimes the family pet. The biting mites are quite happy having these animals as their host, and may not even be able to live on a human’s body. Some however are opportunistic feeders, and if we come into contact with them, they will hop on board.
The biting mites that we are most apt to have a problem with are usually those who have birds as their hosts. For the most part we’re taking about wild birds, which we rarely actually come into contact with, and mites aren’t going to abandon a bird because we happen to be in the neighborhood. We usually pick up bird mites when handling bird nests or cleaning out a bird house, and it’s good practice to wear gloves when doing either of these things. A bird nest built on a home can sometimes result in mites entering the home, either through an open window or a crack or crevice in close proximity to the nest. As far as other creatures are concerned, the common house mouse is sometimes a host to biting mites.
While it was noted that most biting mites to not look to humans as being their primary hosts, if their usual host, a house mouse or bird, has been left or been eradicated, the mite will look for another host, and may attach themselves to a human who might be in the neighborhood.
Left without a host, most mites die in a few days, but some species can live much longer or, like fleas, go dormant for a period.
A third category of mites are those who favor grains and cereals, and can sometimes contaminate flour if a bag or other container happens to be left open. These mites don’t bite and are generally harmless, but one wouldn’t want to be using mite-contaminated flour, although given the size of the mites, they probably wouldn’t be
Prevention Is The Best Defense
While there are insecticides that are effective against mites, and may have to be called into play in the event of a serious infestation, the best defense against these little tormentors is prevention. Look for cracks and crevices in your home that require sealing, trim back vegetation that’s growing close to or coming into contact with your house, remove old birds nests on your property, and destroy any rodent dens you find on your property.