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K-State Turf and Landscape Blog

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

(Megan Kennelly)


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.


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:


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.