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Mites That Attack Humans


ENY-2181P G Koehler and A Chaskopoulou21This document is ENY-218 one of a series of the Department of Entomology and Nematology UF/IFAS Extension Original publication date January 1996 Revised April 2

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Document on Subject : "Mites That Attack Humans"— Transcript:

1 ENY-218 Mites That Attack Humans 1 P. G.
ENY-218 Mites That Attack Humans 1 P. G. Koehler and A. Chaskopoulou 2 1. This document is ENY-218, one of a series of the Department of Entomology and Nematology, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date January 1996. Revised April 2003 and July 2011. Reviewed February 2017. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.u.edu 2. P. G. Koehler, professor/Extension entomologist; and A. Chaskopoulou, former graduate student, Department of Entomology and Nematology; UF/ IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611. The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension. Mites are small arthropods with two body regions, sucking mouthparts, no antennae, and four pairs of legs as adults. e life cycle of a mite is generally composed of four usually requires one to four weeks and may result in huge populations of mites when there are favorable conditions. ere are more than 250 species of mites known to cause health-related issues to humans and animals. Household Mites Mites are occasionally found in homes and attack humans insects. Bites from these mites may be painful and cause severe skin irritation. Bird Mites e northern fowl mite (Figure 1), tropical fowl mite, and chicken mite are the major bird mite species in Florida. e northern fowl mite is the species of most importance in the chickens. However, it occasionally attacks humans. e adult, female, fowl mite lays eggs on the host bird. e eggs hatch in one to two days into the six-legged larval stage, which does not feed. e larvae molt to the nymphal stage in about eight hours. e nymphs and adults have piercing mouthparts and seek blood meals. e complete days or longer, depending on the environment. Bird mites are encountered in ho

2 mes usually when they migrate from bird
mes usually when they migrate from bird nests in eaves, raers, or gutters. ey prefer to feed on edglings in the nest, but when the young leave the nest, the mites migrate to other areas in search of a blood meal. Many times infestation of buildings occur This fact sheet is excerpted from SP486: Pests in and around the Southern Home, which is available from the UF/IFAS Extension Bookstore. http://ifasbooks.ifas.u.edu/p-1222-pests-in-and-around- the-southern-home.aspx 2 Mites at Attack Humans Insect Mites e straw itch mite (Figure 2) is the most prevalent insect parasite that also attacks humans. e straw itch mite is almost invisible because of its small size. Infestations from alfalfa, hay, and barley can produce irritation. e mites are parasitic on the larvae of insects such as the Angoumois grain moth, the wheat jointworm, and furni - ture beetles. e female mite retains up to 300 eggs in her body, and the immature stages develop to adults inside the female. Upon emerging they search for hosts to parasitize. In humans, the bites of the straw itch mite are located almost entirely on the clothed portions of the body. Der - matitis results from reaction to the bites within 24 hours. Humans become infested when they come in contact with straw, grain, or wood. where the mites are present. Houses may become infested when the insect hosts of the mites are present. Rodent Mites e two most abundant rodent mites in buildings are the tropical rat mite (Figure 3) and the house mouse mite. Rodent mites are primarily external parasites of rats and house mice, but they will also feed on humans. e life cycle of rodent mites is similar to the bird mites. e life cycle usually takes from 10 to 12 days. Rodent mites can cause severe irritation and dermatitis in humans. Areas bitten by mites may remain swollen for several days and leave red spots. Scratching of bites oen can result in secondary infection. Control Control of household mites is best accomplished by eliminating nests and roosting areas for birds, controlling rodents, or controlling insect hosts. Household mites can be controlled with indoor space sprays. ese products are eective in killing mites but do not prevent re

3 infestation. Application may need to be
infestation. Application may need to be repeated in two to three weeks. Figure 1. Northern fowl mite (actual size 1/16 inch). Figure 2. Straw itch mite (actual size 1/32 inch). Credits: USDA/ARS Figure 3. Tropical rat mite (actual size 1/34 to 1/18 inch). 3 Mites at Attack Humans Mites oen invade structures from crawl spaces or attics. Residual crack and crevice treatments can be used to kill mites as they crawl into rooms. Mites sometimes invade structures from perimeter infesta - tions. ese mites can be prevented from entering buildings by applying an outdoor barrier treatment. Bites should be treated with antiseptic, and a local anesthetic may be applied to ease the irritation. Persons with severe dermatitis caused by mites should consult their physician for proper treatment. Scabies Mites Biology e scabies mite (Figure 4) or human itch mite burrows into the outer layers of the skin of humans causing human mange or scabies. Dierent varieties of scabies mites are specic for certain mammals including man, domestic animals, and wild animals. e female mite makes long burrows in folds of skin. e female lays from 40 to 50 eggs in the burrow. e larvae and nymphs develop and burrow in the skin. e total life cycle takes one to three weeks depending on the environment. Transmission Scabies mites are transmitted from one person to another by direct contact or also by two people who share the same bed. People are most likely to become infested when living in crowded quarters with other people. Dog scabies oen can be transmitted to man under ideal conditions. Symptoms Persons infested with scabies suer severe itching. A rash may develop later as the person becomes sensitized to the mites. e rash usually occurs around armpits, the wrists, the waist, and back of the calves. Even though only a few mites may be present, the rash may spread over much of the body. Control If scabies mites are suspected, a physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment. If dog scabies transmission to man is suspected, a veterinarian should be consulted for treatment of the dog at the same time that the human is treated. House Dust Mites e house dust mites, or oor mites (Figure 5), are

4 increas - ing in medical signicance
increas - ing in medical signicance to humans. e importance of house dust mites is that pieces of the mites in house dust may produce allergic reactions and asthma when inhaled. It is presently estimated that 4% of the human population suers with house dust allergy. Biology e adult, female, house dust mite is approximately 1/64 inch long, and the males are even smaller. Because of their small size these mites are oen overlooked in a house. e adult female lays about an egg a day for 30 days. e eggs hatch and develop to adults, in about one month. Figure 4. Scabies mite (actual size 1/64 inch). Credits: Kalumet (CC BY-SA 3.0) Figure 5. House dust mite (actual size 1/52 inch). Credits: U.S. Food and Drug Administration 4 Mites at Attack Humans House dust mites feed on the shed skin of humans. It has been estimated that the average person sheds approximately 5 grams of skin per week. One gram of skin will feed thousands of mites for months. e house dust mite is found commonly in houses and schools throughout the United States. e most common habitat for the mite is in thick carpeting, heavy curtains, fabric covered furniture, beds, and pillows. Mite Allergy House dust mites, their fragments, and excretory, or secretory products, are the most important allergens found in house dust. Asthmatic symptoms aer exposure to house dust have long been known. Only recently it has been shown that the house dust mites, like pollen, can be the potential producers of allergic responses when inhaled. Asthmatic patients oen suer aggravated symptoms when they go to bed because of increased exposure to house dust mites. Oen patients who are hospitalized improve dramatically because of less exposure to house dust. Control Frequent changing of bedding and use of nonbrous bedding will reduce mite populations. Frequent vacuum cleaning and correction of excess humidity problems will aid in mite control. Use vacuums equiped with HEPA lters. HEPA air cleaners and HEPA air lters for air and heating units can help reduce allergen eects. Remove carpeting where possible. If carpeting cannot be removed, use an appropriate acaricide application, follow - ing the label instructions.