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They’re back!!!! – ITCH MITES

(By Jared Hoyle; KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

For the past couple of years, when the leaves start to change colors and fall, we begin to complain about these itchy bits.  Well last year was a bad year and I feel like the year before was as well.  Well they are back.  I was mowing the yard yesterday and afterwards I found about 5 bites on my arms and legs.

itch-mites

We have lots of posts from previous years about itch mites; what to do, what are they, and more.  I will list them below.  But spread the word about itch mites.  Be cautious of children that may be playing outside during the day or your self.  These things really itch!

Got unexplained itchy bites?

Hot Holiday Weekend Didn’t Slow Down the Oak Leak Itch Mite

Not so mysterious “Itching” (Oak Leaf Itch Mite)

Itch mites!

Who has oak itch mite bites? I do! 🙁

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who has oak itch mite bites? I do! :(

(Megan Kennelly)

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Why am I making a sand-and-grumpy face? I have two itch mite bites on my neck that are driving me bonkers.

As we move into more fall weather, with raking around the corner, here’s one more reminder to be careful about those itch mites, in case you missed Jared’s recent article (https://blogs.k-state.edu/turf/hot-holiday-weekend-didnt-slow-down-the-oak-leak-itch-mite/)

They itch and sting, and are highly annoying, and I think the worst case scenario would be little kids getting into them. Little kids don’t know how to resist scratching, and if they scratch until they break skin they can get secondary infections. Last year around this time we were at the pediatrician with our own son for his checkup, and the doc said he had seen lots of kids with mystery itchy bites. He didn’t know about itch mites, so I gave him some info.

Despite trying to stay away from our pin oak, I’ve got some bites on me from this weekend. I mean, it’s impossible to totally avoid an entire part of our yard, and it’s not practical to change my clothes and shower 3x a day when we are out trying to enjoy the weather. Plus, there are lots of pin oaks in our neighborhood and so on windy days I’m sure they are blowing all over, no matter where we go.

Last year, before we knew what was going on with the itch mites, my poor husband did some raking and playing in the pin oak leaves and ended up with EIGHTY bites. Luckily my son was NOT involved in that process, and he escaped unscathed. We kept him away from pin oak leaves all fall. We raked those spots when he was napping and wasn’t around to “help.”

Here’s one in the crook of my elbow – they often (but not always) have a raised pimply/blister appearance like you see here. On me, the bites last much longer than mosquito bites do.

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You don’t want itch mites. You don’t want to be making grumpy faces. Be careful around those pin oaks!

Disclaimer – I’m not a dermatologist! If you have a mystery rash that is causing problems, you should get it checked out. This post is just a reminder that itch mites are active.

Here’s a reminder of the symptom on the tree:

itch-mites

A little midge does the leaf rolling, and the mite feeds on the midge. But, sometimes the mites fall/blow out of the tree onto US.

If it’s any consolation – we are a “dead end host” and they won’t spread further once they’ve been on us.

Hot Holiday Weekend Didn’t Slow Down the Oak Leak Itch Mite

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

Do you have a Pin Oak tree close by to your house? Well, if you do then you are a prime target for the Oak Leaf Itch Mite.  I was outside this past weekend and this morning I found little red bites on my skin with a tiny little blister in the middle.  I remembered this time last year the same thing happened to me and it was the Oak Leaf Itch Mite. After getting bit there isn’t much you can do other than use some anti-itch cream and try not to scratch the bites, that will make it worse.

I wrote a blog post about this last year but I wanted to let everyone know that with fall right around the corner and everyone picking up leaves be aware that you might find some bug bites on your skin.  Definitely don’t let you kids jump in the pile of leaves, especially if you have oak trees.

Below is some more information about Oak Leaf Itch Mites and what to do about them.

Three Quick Facts about Itch Mites:

1. The itch mites are microscopic and can not be seen by the naked eye.

2. DEET or other bug repellents will not prevent you from getting bit.

3. Itch mites can not live in your home.

Here is a link to the post from last year (with pictures):

https://blogs.k-state.edu/turf/got-unexplained-ichy-bites/

KSU Entomology has an article here (scroll down to see):

http://entomology.k-state.edu/doc/Newsletters/2014/KSInsectNewsletter24.pdf

and a fact sheet here:
http://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/pubs/MF2806.pdf

and here is some more info:

http://www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/pcitchmites.htm

Itch mites!

Some of you might remember an outbreak of itch mites a few years ago. Itch mites are associated with oak leaf marginal gall. I’ve seen a fair bit of oak leaf marginal gall activity this year. I’m not saying there’s an outbreak of the itch MITE – this is just a “heads up” and reminder that if you are seeing oak leaves with marginal leaf gall, take the cautions outlined in the links below.

Definitely do NOT rake those leaves up into a pile and jump into them!

KSU Entomology has an article here (scroll down to see):

http://entomology.k-state.edu/doc/Newsletters/2014/KSInsectNewsletter24.pdf

and a fact sheet here:
http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/bookstore/pubs/MF2806.pdf

and here is some more:

http://www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/pcitchmites.htm