top of page








Class:  Arachnida

Sub-Class:  Acari (less than 5mm in length)

There are three orders of Acari:

Mesostigmata order contains bird mites, rat mites & house mites.

Astigmata contains mites of stored food, dust mites & itch mites.

Prostigmata contains the straw itch mite, follicle mites and chigger mites.

Mites are ectoparasites; these external parasites can cause irritation, itching, blood loss and other primary effects as well as vectors in the transmission of disease organisms.

The terrestrial arachnids (Acari) or mites and ticks are important to people because they parasitize humans and domestic animals.  Sometimes they draw enough blood to weak or kill (fowl ticks) i.e., Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Relapsing Fever and Lyme Disease.  (See Ticks)

Many mites are not visible to the naked eye, however, some are readily noticeable.

The following descriptions concern the most common mites homeowners & businesses will encounter.

Food Mites:

Cheese, grain, flour, sugar, cereal, corn, dried fruit, mushroom and mold mites.

Do not eat or serve any of the above if “brown spots” are visible.

Furniture Mites: Non-Biting:

The white mite (aka the house mite) is associated with “grocers itch” even though they do not bite.  The mites are found in furniture that has been stuffed with fibers.  The mite feeds on the fungi growing in the fibers.  In greater numbers (population) the mite turns white, while they do no damage or bite their very presence on the skin of sensitive people causes an itch.

The above mites are capable of subsisting on tiny fragments of organic matter found in the cracks in floors, shelving, couches & chairs in/and around removable cushions, etc.

Grain (Straw) Itch Mite:

Grain itch, Acarodermititis urticariodes, comes from straw, barley or grain.

These mites are usually located in the fields around infested areas.  However, humans bring grain food products into the home or business, i.e., cereal, corn, dried fruits and flour, etc.  This in turn brings insects that infest these products, i.e., saw-toothed grain beetle, rice & granary weevils and Angoumois grain moths.  Mites (ectoparasites) attack the insects (parasite) that attacks the grain products.

From Product to Humans:

Mites are rapidly spread to humans once an infestation occurs.  Once a host is bitten the mites inject an irritating material during the process of sucking liquid substances from human skin.

All products, i.e., pet food formulations that consist of moist grain and meat based ingredients that are kept too long allow mites to proliferate inside the bag.

Chigger Mites:

Chigger mites, Trombicula alfreddugesi, are only parasitic during the larvae stage.  Man, rodents, birds, poultry, rabbits, livestock, snakes, frogs, almost all things are attacked by chiggers.

Chiggers DO NOT burrow into the skin “they insert their mouthparts” and inject fluid into the blood vessels, thus preventing the blood from clotting.


After piercing the skin, the chigger introduces a salivary

secretion into the wound.  This fluid causes the surrounding

tissue to harden, forming a little tube of hardened flesh.

Depending on the reaction of the person, a red welt with a hard white center appears on the skin around 24 hours later.  The person’s reaction is due to a protein in the chigger’s salivary fluid, intense local itching occurs at the site of the welt.

Prevention and Control of Mites:

1.         Inspect foods before they are taken into the premises.

2.         Do not reuse bags, sacks or boxes or store food over 10 days.

3.         Reduce humidity to 55% and moisture content to 12%.

4.         Provide ventilation to reach a mite safe moisture level.

5.         Store flour in moisture proof containers.

6.         Avoid prolonged storage periods.  Use fifo, first in, first out.

7.         Prevent or remove any/all debris from storage areas.

8.         Remove infested products.

9.         Clean, to eliminate even the foci of infestations.

10.       Vacuum window sills, shelves, beams, prep locations and avoid sweeping that results in spreading mites throught an area.

11.        Clean with hot water and detergents and allow to dry.

12.        Remove harborage, i.e. bird & rodent nesting sites.

13.        Focus on preventing moisture, leaky pipes, roof & window areas.

Call Lone Pine Exterminating Company for all our consulting & exterminating services.  Lone Pine Exterminating will provide,

14.        A thorough treatment of floors, walls, drains, storage areas, etc., requires treatment with a residual insecticide.

15.        Lone Pine Exterminating will continue with scheduled treatments.

16.        It must be pointed out that dosages will be applied at greater amounts than required for general insect control.  All according to EPA approved label directions.

Mites usually enter the home or business on people, pets, rodents, insects, even passing through the door on (food, clothing & furniture).  Also, cracks around windows, pipe entry points (drainage or sewer) due to an infestation in the pipe or the surrounding area.

The following are pictures of mites that are commonly carried into homes & commercial structures.

bottom of page