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(Itch Mites)



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Most species in this large group of mites are phytophagous or attack non-human hosts such as grasshoppers. Acarapis woodi Rennie inhabits the tracheae of honeybees that results in the "Isle of Wight Disease" in northern Europe.


Only a few species are parasitic on humans. Pediculoides ventricosus Newport, known as the "Grain Itch Mite," is probably cosmopolitan in distribution by 2016. It feeds on larvae of insects in grains, cotton or their products. In the life cycle the eggs hatch within the female's body where the young mites are kept until maturity. A single prolific female can sustain over 260 sexually mature offspring. In plant material the numbers of these mites are extremely high.


The itch mite, Psoroptes communis, is a nonburrowing species that attacks sheep primarily, but also humans working in the area. The hair follicle mite, Demodex folliculorum also common on domestic animals may affect humans in a closed environment.


Humans become attacked when coming into contact with mite-infested material. A severe rash covering the entire body can result followed by fever and sweating. As with many of these mites, avoidance is the best treatment even though medicinal applications are sometimes required, usually on the advice of a physician.




Folk remedies that involve bathing in warm soapy water have provided some relief, although taking care to avoid infested areas is still the best remedy. In severe cases consultation with a physician is always advisable.



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Key References: <medvet.ref.htm> [Additional references may be found at: MELVYL Library]


 Croft, B. A., , P. D. Pratt, G. Koskela & D. Kaufman. 1998. "Predation, reproduction, and impact of phytoseiid mites (Acari: Phytoseiidae)

on cyclamen mit (Acari: Tarsonemidae) on strawberry". J. Econ. Ent. 91(6): 1307 1314. 

Jeppson, L. R. , H. Hartford & Keifer & Edward William Baker (1975). "The Tarsonemidae Kramer". Mites injurious to economic plants.

Univ. of Calif. Press. pp. 285306.

Matheson, R. 1950. Medical Entomology. Comstock Publ. Co, Inc. 610 p.

Nugroho & Y. Ibrahim. 2004. "Laboratory bioassay of some entomopathogenic fungi against broad mite". J. Agric. Biology. 6(2): 223 225.

Service, M. 2008. Medical Entomology For Students. Cambridge Univ. Press. 289 p

 Sterk, G., E. Bal, W. Goossens & D. Bylemans. 1997. "Semi-field and field experience in the control of the strawberry mite, Tarsonemus

pallidus Banks) (Acarina: Tarsonemidae)". Parasitica 53(1): 2533. 

CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)Weintraub, P. G. & E. Palevsky. 2003. "Distribution and diel movement of the predatory mite, Neoseiulus cucumeris, on greenhouse sweet

pepper preliminary study". IOBC/WPRS Bulletin. 26: 8994.