Your Ultimate Guide to Mites and How to Get Rid of Them

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Mites are small insect-like organisms that belong to the eight-legged arthropods family. While they are tiny at about 0.04 inches, they are still problematic in large numbers and can cause a disturbance in homes and buildings.

Most mites are very adaptable and can eat almost anything to survive, while others prefer plants and some love parasitic life and feed on mammals.

There are over 45,000 different mite species in the world. Most of them are small, but some are microscopic and invisible to the naked eye such as the famous dust mite. Although mites are mostly harmless to humans there have been some cases of disease transmission and allergic reactions.

Are Mites and Ticks the Same?

While many people consider mites and ticks to be the same insect-like organism the truth is they are distant relatives.

Both mites and ticks belong to the arthropod family, but ticks are usually much bigger and are known to transmit serious diseases such as Lyme disease.

In addition, the feeding mechanism allows ticks to firmly grip the victim and it’s usually very hard to take them off. Mites, on the other hand, can be removed easily and medical help is usually not required.

Are Mites Dangerous?

Most mite species are completely harmless to humans and animals.

There are a few specific mite species that can cause allergic reactions in humans either through a bite or by inhaling the mite feces and the mites themselves. Even though most mites are not dangerous they are still a pretty big nuance if they appear in large numbers and invade the home. Some species leave red marks and stains when squished, while others form unusual clusters in the yard or even homes.

What Do Mites Look Like?

Mites are very small, and some species are even less than 0.004 inches long making them practically invisible even in large numbers.

Mites have a simple body structure, without any defined areas and adult specimens always have eight legs.

Some mite species have one to five median eyes, while many other mite species are completely blind. The heal-looking part doesn’t contain eyes or brain, and this simple organism relies on other senses to feed and procreate.

Mites are usually in a shade of brown color, but there are some in red, orange, green, or even black color. Mites lay eggs which develop into larvae that have six legs. Mites might reproduce fast, but their lifespan is shorter than other species in the same family.

Types of Mites 

There are many different kinds of mites in the United States, and most of them don’t have any contact with humans. There are, however, a few common species that invade spaces where people live and cause different disturbances.

Here are the most common types of mites you might hear about:

  • Clover Mite

Clover mites might be harmless for humans, but they always come in swarms and leave stains all around the home and whenever they are squished. Clover mites are usually red, green, or brown and have distinctly long front legs.

  • Itch Mite

Itch mites live outdoors and can’t survive in homes. They love to feed and hide in hay, grass, and leaves, but they are known for leaving itchy marks and bites if people or animals disturb them.

  • House Dust Mite

House dust mites are the number one culprit for allergic reactions in people. While most diagnoses will describe this as an allergy to home dust, in reality it’s the inhalation of mites that causes the reaction or even an asthma attack.

  • Chiggers 

Chigger mites are famous for causing swollen and inflamed bite marks on people. This type of mite will not drink the blood of the host, but rather use the skin-digesting saliva to dissolve layers of your skin and ingest it. This causes inflammation and itchy marks on the skin.


Common Treatments for Mites

Mites are so small that most people don’t notice an infestation until it becomes severe. If you see bite marks and suspect you might have mites in your home, you need to take a soapy shower to eliminate them from your skin first.

Once you are clean, you can focus on managing the itchy sensation with creams and further cleaning your home with proper vacuuming and air filters. In case the infestation is not easily managed it’s always a good idea to call professionals.

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