Clothes moth
Textile Moths (Carpet Moths)
Sneaky Invaders: Rats and Their Exploits in UK Residential Drainage Systems
Clothes moth
Textile Moths (Carpet Moths)
Sneaky Invaders: Rats and Their Exploits in UK Residential Drainage Systems

Everything You Must Know About Mites

What Are Mites?

Mites are small arthropods belonging to the subclass Acari within the class Arachnida. They are closely related to spiders, ticks, and scorpions. Mites are incredibly diverse, with over 50,000 described species, and they inhabit a wide range of environments, including soil, water, plants, and animal hosts.

Entomologically, mites are characterised by their soft bodies, typically covered in fine hairs or scales. They have four pairs of legs as adults, distinguishing them from six-legged insects. Mites vary in size, with some species barely visible to the naked eye, while others can be as large as a few millimetres.

Mites undergo simple metamorphosis, which means they have three life stages: egg, nymph, and adult. In some species, the nymphal stage resembles the adult, while in others, it differs significantly in appearance.

Mites are known for their remarkable adaptability and survival skills. They play essential roles in various ecosystems, functioning as decomposers, predators, parasites, and plant pests. Some mite species are beneficial in controlling pest populations. In contrast, others can be significant nuisances or vectors of diseases in humans, animals, and plants.

Pest mite species can pose challenges for agriculture, households, and industries, as they can damage crops, infest stored products, and cause allergic reactions in humans. Effective pest management strategies involve understanding the biology and behaviour of specific mite species to implement targeted control measures.

House Dust Mite (Dermatophagoides Pteronyssinus and Dermatophagoides Farinae)

House dust mites are tiny arachnids belonging to the family Pyroglyphidae. They are common inhabitants of indoor environments, particularly in homes, where they thrive in warm and humid conditions. The two most prevalent species found in homes are Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (European house dust mite) and Dermatophagoides farinae (American house dust mite).

  • Appearance: House dust mites are microscopic and invisible to the naked eye. They measure about 0.2-0.3 mm long and have a translucent, creamy-white body with eight legs.
  • Habitat: House dust mites prefer living in environments with relative humidity levels around 70-80% and temperatures between 20-25°C. They are commonly found in bedding, carpets, upholstered furniture, curtains, and other soft materials where they can shed human and pet skin cells.
  • Feeding Behaviour: House dust mites are primarily scavengers and feed on organic matter, such as skin flakes shed by humans and pets. Their digestive enzymes help break down the skin cells into simpler compounds for absorption.
  • Role as a Pest Species: While house dust mites are not directly harmful to humans, they are considered pests because they trigger allergies and asthma. Their faeces contain allergenic proteins, and when these particles become airborne, they can be inhaled, leading to allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Common symptoms include sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, itchy or watery eyes, and skin rashes.

Storage Mite (Tyrophagus Putrescentiae)

The storage mite, known as Tyrophagus putrescentiae, is a small arachnid belonging to the Acaridae family. As the name suggests, these mites are commonly associated with stored food products. They can be a nuisance in households and food storage areas.

  • Appearance: Storage mites are tiny and measure about 0.5 mm in length. They have a pale, cream-coloured body with eight legs and are barely visible to the naked eye.
  • Habitat: Storage mites infest various food items commonly found in pantries, including flour, grains, cereal products, dried fruits, and pet food. They are particularly attracted to products with higher moisture content and can thrive in humid storage conditions.
  • Feeding Behaviour: Storage mites are scavengers and feed on a wide range of organic matter, including mould, fungi, and food particles in stored products. Their presence can lead to the degradation and contamination of food items.
  • Role as a Pest Species: Storage mites are considered pests due to their ability to infest stored food items and cause contamination. Their presence in food products can lead to reduced shelf life, loss of product quality, and potential health risks if contaminated food is consumed.

In addition to the damage they cause to stored products, storage mites can trigger allergies in some individuals. People with allergies to storage mites may experience respiratory symptoms, skin irritation, and asthma exacerbation.

Effective storage mite control involves proper food storage practices, including using airtight containers, rotating food stock regularly, and maintaining dry and clean storage areas. Regular cleaning and sanitation of storage spaces can also help prevent infestations. If a significant storage mite infestation occurs, it is advisable to seek professional pest control services to address the issue effectively and prevent further contamination of food supplies.

Clover Mite (Bryobia Praetiosa)

Clover mites, scientifically known as Bryobia praetiosa, are tiny arachnids belonging to Tetranychidae. They are commonly found in gardens, lawns, and agricultural fields, where they feed on plant sap and are associated with clover, grass, and other vegetation.

  • Appearance: Clover mites are small, oval-shaped mites that measure about 0.75 mm in length. They have a bright red to reddish-brown body, but they may leave behind a red stain when crushed.
  • Habitat: Clover mites prefer outdoor environments and are typically found in grassy areas, especially near buildings or homes. During cooler months, they may invade homes in large numbers seeking shelter.
  • Feeding Behaviour: Clover mites are phytophagous, meaning they feed on plant sap. They pierce plant cells and extract the sap, leading to stippling or tiny white spots on leaves.
  • Role as a Pest Species: While clover mites do not harm humans or pets directly, they are considered nuisance pests when they invade homes in large numbers. During the cooler seasons, clover mites may gather in large clusters on the sides of buildings. They can accidentally enter homes through small gaps or cracks.

When crushed, clover mites may leave behind a reddish-brown stain on surfaces, leading to potential aesthetic issues. While they do not bite, their presence can be bothersome, especially for people who fear insects or mites.

Controlling clover mites involves sealing cracks and gaps in the exterior of buildings to prevent their entry. Homeowners can also create a barrier of crushed stone or similar materials around the home to deter mites from approaching. If clover mites become a persistent problem, seeking the assistance of pest control professionals can help manage their populations effectively.

Flour Mite (Acarus Siro and Lepidoglyphus Destructor)

Flour mites are small arachnids belonging to the family Acaridae. They are commonly found in stored food products, particularly flour, grains, cereals, and other dry food items. Two common species of flour mites are Acarus Siro (the grain mite) and Lepidoglyphus destructor (the mould mite).

  • Appearance: Flour mites are tiny and typically measure about 0.5 mm long. They have an oval-shaped body with eight legs and are barely visible to the naked eye.
  • Habitat: Flour mites thrive in warm and humid environments and are often found in stored food products, especially in poorly sealed containers or infrequently used items.
  • Feeding Behaviour: Flour mites are scavengers and feed on a wide range of organic matter, including flour, grains, cereal products, and dried fruits. They can also consume mould and mildew that develop on damp or spoiled food.
  • Role as a Pest Species: Flour mites are considered pests due to their ability to infest stored food items. Their presence can lead to contamination and degradation of food products, resulting in reduced shelf life and loss of product quality. When flour mites multiply in large numbers, they can create an unsightly appearance and affect the edibility of food.

Flour mites are not known to transmit diseases to humans. Still, their presence in food can be a health concern if contaminated products are consumed.

Effective flour mite control involves proper storage practices, including using airtight containers to store dry food items and rotating stock to prevent prolonged storage. Regularly inspecting stored food for signs of infestation and discarding any contaminated products can help avoid potential problems with flour mites. If an infestation is detected, cleaning and sanitising storage areas thoroughly to eliminate any remaining mites and prevent re-infestation is crucial.

If you have a problem with any other type of pest contact that needs professional treatment, contact us below or call us on 07443 052851, and our experienced, friendly team will offer advice and provide an effective solution.