Mites are worse than bed bugs. On top of that, mites negatively impact your health.
So, how do mites get in your house? What types of mites get inside your home? Where do mites come from?
What’s making your home prone to mite infestation?
This guide answers all these questions.
In this post, you’ll find out nine types of mites that can hide in your home.
Plus, you’ll also learn some actionable hacks that you can use right now, at this very moment, to make your home mite-proof forever.
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Identifying Mites – What Types Of Mites Get Inside Your Home
Let’s make one thing very clear. Mites are not bugs or insects.
Mites are arachnids. It means that mites belong to the family of spiders and ticks.
The only difference that mites and ticks have with spiders is that mites and ticks are both parasites.
There are two categories of mites in the world – the mites that bite and the mites that cause allergies.
You’ll find out what mites fall in each of these categories in a minute, but for now, there’s one more thing you should know about mites which is pretty essential.
Mites are microscopic. It means that for many people, they can be hard to detect.
That makes dealing with mites more challenging than other tiny biting bugs like bed bugs and fleas.
So, now that you know the high-level information about mites, let’s dig a little bit deeper.
There are a total of nine types of mites that can make your life itchy and miserable in your home.
Let’s find out in what categories these nine types of mites fall, under mites that bite or mites that cause allergies.
7 Types Of Human Biting Mites That Can Get Inside Your Home
All the seven mites that you’re about to find out bite humans. They’re tiny, and when they bite, they make you wonder what’s biting you that you can’t see.
- Tropical rat mites
- House mouse mites
- Chicken mites
- Fowl mites
- Chiggers mites
- Scabies mites
- Grain mites
Let’s find out more about these mites.
Tropical Rat Mites – The Most Common Human Biting Mite In Homes
Tropical rat mites, also known as Ornithonyssus bacoti, is the most common human-biting mite that can be in your home.
It’s because the tropical rat mite is a parasite on rats.
And if you live in big cities like NYC or in the south of the US, where rat infestation is common, then these mites can be the nastiest tiny biting bugs in your home.
Rat mites are too small to be seen. Their size is like the period at the end of this sentence.
Their infestation occurs when there’s an active rat infestation in your home.
Or, you’ve eliminated the rats in your home, and the tropical rat mites are left behind.
You’ll find tropical rat mites at places where there were rat nests.
In Texas, roof rats are quite common.
As the roof rats are good climbers, the tropical rat mites can be present in higher areas of your home like the attic, shingles, or at the undersides of the ceiling areas.
You can detect rat presence by the sounds of chewing or scratching coming from these places in your home.
House Mouse Mites – Another Human Biting Rodent Mite
Like the tropical rat mites, the house mites are also rodent mites.
The house mouse mites, also known as Liponyssoides sanguineus, are common in homes with mice infestation.
They’re parasites on mice, and their numbers in the home can be more than the tropical rat mites.
It’s because mice in a home are always more than the number of rats.
Chicken Mites And Fowl Mites – Human Biting Bird Mites In Homes
Not as common as the rodent mites, the chicken mites and fowl mites are bird mites.
Both are parasites on birds, and they exist in bird’s nests. They’ll feed on the blood of the adult birds and hatchlings.
The chicken mites primarily infect chickens. So, if you’re raising chickens in your home and you’re handling them, then you can get bites from chicken mites.
The chicken mites can also hide in the thin gaps and fissures in the chicken coop. It happens when their numbers in the chicken coop increase.
These mites will come out at night to bite the chickens and feed on their blood.
In contrast, the fowl mites can be present in any bird. They’re common in birds that make nests in human dwellings like sparrows and pigeons.
There’s one more parasite on birds that bite humans. That is known as swallow bugs.
But swallow bugs are not mites. These bed bug look-alikes are present in the nests of the swallow birds.
The bites from the tropical rat mites, house mouse mites, fowl mites, and chicken mites are very itchy.
The bites can also cause skin infection and dermatitis.
Chiggers Mites – The Larvae Of Chiggers That Bite Humans
Chiggers mites are soil-dwelling mites. They’re not adult mites like the previous human-biting mites you found out.
Chiggers mites are larvae of the adult chiggers.
The larvae, or the chiggers mites, have six legs. They bite humans, rodents, and other ground-dwelling birds.
But unlike the other mites, the chiggers mites don’t feed on the blood of their hosts.
They feed on the liquified skin.
Chigger mites will pierce their mouth by cutting through the skin, inject the skin-liquefying saliva in the skin, and suck up the liquefied skin.
If you don’t remove the chigger mites off your skin, then they’ll stay there and feed on your skin.
You’ll notice inflammation, itching, and red lumps on the bitten area of your skin.
Chiggers mites are also minute. They look like tiny red or yellow dots.
Outdoors, chiggers mites dwell in tall grasses and bushes in the moist areas. Walking through these places will make the chiggers latch onto your clothing.
Then it’s only a matter of time that they’ll bite you when they get access to your skin.
Scabies Mites – This One Can Spend Its Life Inside You
Scabies mites are disgusting, and that’s the only mite on the list that can live off of you.
Scabies mites, and a few other bugs, can infect humans.
Scabies mites will burrow in your skin, and they’ll remain in the burrows.
These burrows are quite visible like veins.
The worst part?
These scabies mites will lay eggs inside the tunnels underneath your skin. The tunnels are usually 0.4 inches or 1 cm in length.
And if you don’t get treatment, the scabies mites can spend their entire life of 10-17 days inside your skin.
They’ll breed and lay more eggs till you get rid of them with the help of a medical professional.
But when they’re not in a human host, they can’t live for long. They’ll die in a couple of days.
Scabies mites infection can go unnoticed for nearly a month. You notice it when you start to get intense irritation and severe itching.
There are different species of scabies mites. And each species has its favorite hosts.
Once species of scabies mites cause mange in dogs.
Grain Mites – The Pantry Mite That “May” Bite You
Grain mites are perhaps the mildest biting mite in the list of mites that bite humans.
You’ll find these mites in your kitchen pantry, stored grains, and seeds.
In nature, grain mites live in plants and trees. Outdoors, grain mites are parasites on insects and bugs.
These mites latch onto you if you sit under trees or lie down on a leaf bed.
There’s no commonplace in your body where the grain mites will bite. They’ll bite on any exposed skin they can get access to.
Rashes and itching develop in the areas where they bite you.
But the best part, grain mites leave your body after biting.
2 Types Of Mites That Don’t Bite But Can Cause Allergies
Now that you’re through with the process of identifying and knowing biting mites in your home, it’s time to know about the mites that don’t bite.
But that doesn’t mean these mites are innocuous. These mites can cause allergic symptoms in sensitive people like children and the elderly.
And you don’t want these mites near you, even by a mile, if you’re asthmatic. It’s because these mites can trigger asthma attacks too!
Here are the two mites in a home that don’t bite but can cause allergies.
- Dust mites
- Clover mites
Let’s find out more about each of these three mites.
Dust Mites – The Most Common Mite In Homes That Causes Allergies
There’s barely a home that didn’t get dust mites. Dust mites are invisible to the naked eye, but they can spread fast inside your home.
Dust mites are present in nature in most parts of the world. Regions, and homes, with high levels of humidity, have high concentrations of dust mites.
Dust mites, like cockroaches, release substances that can cause allergic attacks on many people.
These allergens settle in soft furnishings like mattresses, couches, upholstered furniture, carpet, rugs, and even on fabric, triggering allergic reactions in sensitive people.
Dust mites don’t bite. Nor do they sting or burrow into your skin.
Dust mites feed on the flakes of dead skin on humans. So, when they’re feeding on your dry skin, you might feel a slight pinch.
The harmful allergens come out from their feces and skin, which can be in every corner of your home.
A recent study showed that four out of five homes in the US have dust mites or dust mite allergens.
For asthma patients, dust mites are a nightmare. Asthma patients are susceptible to dust mites.
Dust mites’ presence in homes increases the risk of asthma attacks in asthma patients. Some people can also experience skin rashes on their skin because of dust mites.
Dust mites are at their peak from May to October. During the winters, dust mites die.
Clover Mites – The Nuisance Mite Inside Your Home
If there’s any mite in the list that doesn’t cause you much harm, it’s the clover mites.
Clover mites are tiny red, brown, or green resembling spiders. These mites are the only mites that are easily recognizable and visible to the naked eye.
On watching them closely, you’d notice their front legs are double the size of the rest of the legs of their bodies.
Outdoors, clover mites are present in your yard or garden, feeding on clover, grasses, and seedlings.
These mites are also present in over-fertilized grass lawns and soil beds.
Clover mites enter homes in droves when their food source outdoors exhausts.
But the most common reason for clover mites to enter homes is to escape the winter.
From the fall months, clover mites are on the lookout for warmer places to overwinter. That’s the time when they get inside your homes.
The worst part with clover mites is that they’re a nuisance. And when they find a warmer place, they lay eggs.
All clover mites are females, and they can lay eggs without fertilization.
That’s why their numbers can shoot up inside your home if you don’t get rid of them.
But don’t ever smash a clover mite. Clover mites splash out a red liquid when you crush them.
That red liquid leaves behind a red stain on fabrics and hard surfaces, which can be hard to remove.
Clover mites don’t bite. The likelihood of allergic reactions in people because of clover mites is also pretty less.
But susceptible people can get allergy symptoms because of the presence of clover mites in their homes.
Clover mites can also get on your bed. Given their tiny size and reddish color, you may confuse clover mites with bed bugs.
Here’s How Do Mites Get In Your House
Now that you know the nine types of mites that can be present in your home, it’s time to look at how these mites get in your house.
In other words, where do mites come from?
First, let’s have a look at how rodent mites enter your home.
The rodent mites come from their hosts, which are rats and mice.
It means that rats and mice bring rodent mites and house mouse mites to your home.
These mites are also present in places in your home where rats and mice make their nests.
Some of these rodent mites are left behind when their hosts (rats and mice) die, exit the home, or if you get rid of them.
In the absence of their primary hosts, these mites look for an alternative supply of blood meals.
That’s when they start to bite you or your pets.
The carbon dioxide that you exhale and the sweat of your body draw the mites to you.
And how do bird mites enter your house?
Biting bird mites, which are fowl mites and chicken mites, also enter homes through their hosts.
When birds like pigeons or sparrows build their nests inside your home or on your property, chances are they’re carrying fowl mites with them.
These fowl mites are also present in the nests that they build. Some of these biting bird mites will drop off from the nests and hide in the home’s cracks and gaps.
Some mites will also be left behind when the birds leave their nests. At that time, the fowl mites will crawl inside your home, looking for a host.
That’s when they bite humans.
The way chiggers mites enter homes is different.
Chiggers mites and grain mites latch onto your clothing or luggage when you’re in an outdoor activity.
As you found out earlier, they live in trees, overgrown vegetation, and foliage.
So, if you sit underneath a tree or lie down on a leaf bed, or walk through the bushes, then chances are that you’ll get bites from chiggers mites and grain mites.
Some of them can also latch onto your clothing and stuff. And when you get back home along with the stuff full of chiggers mites, you bring them home.
In contrast, scabies mites are contagious. It means that they spread from one infected person to another.
Or, they spread from using fabric and clothing of people infected with scabies mites.
Dust mites are present in homes throughout the year except in the winters when they die.
Clover mites enter homes through the tiny gaps and cracks on the walls and window and door frames starting from the fall months.
Contrary to popular belief, mites don’t hitchhike like bed bugs, except grain mites and chiggers mites.
They’ll crawl to reach their hosts.
How To Get Rid Of Mites And Stop Mites From Entering Your Home
In all honesty, you should be more concerned about stopping biting mites and dust mites from entering your home.
It’s the biting mites and dust mites that make life miserable by inflicting itchy, painful bites and allergies.
Let’s have a look at how you can stop bird mites and rodent mites from entering your home.
Here are the six steps to get rid of mites and stop biting mites from entering your home.
These steps are a perfect blend of home remedies to get rid of mites and using specific insecticide sprays.
Let’s check them out.
Step#1 – Get Rid Of The Primary Hosts
The first step to take to prevent human-biting mites from entering your home is to remove their primary hosts.
It means that you need to get rid of rodents and birds nests in your home.
Knowing when the infestation of biting mites occurs in homes keeps your guard up and helps you to stop them from entering your home.
Rodents can sneak inside your home any time of the year.
Still, most rodent infestations occur during the fall and winter months when they look for warmer places to live.
During this time of the year, the chances of rodent mites infestation, which includes both tropical rat mites and house mouse mites, are high.
Birds like pigeons and sparrows nest during the spring and summer months, so fowl mites infestation in homes are likely at this time of the year.
Step#2 – Seal Entry Points Of Rodents In Your Home
Getting rid of the primary hosts won’t help you stop these mites from entering your home unless you stop the intrusion by their hosts in your home.
Rodents, especially rats, can enter homes from the higher sides of your home.
So, sealing gaps and vents on the attic, electrical wirings, gaps and openings on chimneys, roof shingles will go a long way to keep rats away.
You can seal these points of entry with an anti-rodent metal hardware cloth or copper wool. These are sturdy, and rodents can’t chew through them.
In contrast, mice enter homes from tiny gaps near the ground or at the home’s foundation.
Mice can easily enter homes through holes that are as small as a dime.
So, sealing all the tiny gaps and cracks on the home’s foundations, cementing the holes on the walls, and sealing any gaps on the window and door frames will keep the mice away.
Sealing off these gaps will also keep clover mites from sneaking inside your home during the fall months.
Step#3 – Prevent Birds From Nesting In Your Home
This step is specifically for preventing fowl mites infestation in your home.
Birds, especially pigeons that carry fowl mites, build nests in higher areas of your home.
Soffit and lose shingles and gaps in the roof are one of the prime real estates for pigeons and sparrows to build nests in your property.
So, seal any gaps that exist in the roof or ceiling areas of your home.
Birds can nest in chimneys. It’d be best if you use a chimney screening to deny birds the opportunity to nest in chimney areas.
If there are any holes and significant gaps in the chimney, repair them. Birds can use these places to build their nests.
If you’re raising chicken or any other type of fowls in sheds or coops very close to your home, then relocate them at least 30 feet away from your home.
The chicken mites from the chickens can crawl in if the coops are too close to your home.
The chicken coops and fowl sheds can be sources of chicken mites and fowl mites in your home.
And while handling chicken, always wear a pair of gloves to prevent chicken mites from biting you.
Step#4 – Steam Clean The Upholstery And Soft Furnishings Of Your Home
Steam cleaning is highly effective in killing all the mites hiding in your home’s soft furnishings.
It’s because steam cleaners produce heat that kills mites and even bed bugs.
Also, steam cleaning ensures that it kills the dust mites and the allergens they release.
So, using a steam cleaner is your best option in killing any hiding biting mites and dust mites in your bed, couch, and upholstery.
Step#5 – Use The Right Insecticide To Kill Any Hidden Biting Mites
Biting mites don’t go far away from the nests of their hosts, even when their hosts die or leave their nests.
So, the tropical rat mites and house mouse mites will be near where the rats and mouse nested.
The same is the case with bird mites.
Using the correct insecticide to kill these mites is the key.
And cleaning the nesting places with these insecticides will ensure all the biting mites hiding in these places are dead.
Use insecticide sprays containing permethrin or bifenthrin on the nesting places of rodents and birds.
Insecticide sprays containing permethrin or bifenthrin have high residual toxicity, and they are effective for weeks.
Generic mite sprays lose their toxicity within a few hours despite killing mites on contact.
Read the instructions on the label carefully before using permethrin or bifenthrin-based insecticides.
Wear a mask and appropriate protective clothing while using these sprays.
Word of Caution: Do not use permethrin or bifenthrin-based sprays on furniture or on anything else that you touch often. And keep it away from children and pets.
Use the spray on attics, crawl spaces, the base of the walls, and on the potential entry points of birds and rodents inside your home.
Using diatomaceous earth or silica aerogel on electrical outlets and tiny gaps and cracks on the walls, windows, and doors will also kill any mites or bugs hiding in these places.
The rule of thumb is that only insecticide sprays will not kill or stop the mites from entering your home. You’ve to remove the source of the biting mites, which are their hosts, too.
If there are rodent pets in your home, like white mice, gerbils, hamsters, or guinea pigs, and you’re experiencing bites, then take them to the vet for possible mite infection in them.
Step#6 – Use A Dehumidifier In Your Home To Reduce The Moisture Levels
There’s no denying that most bugs, including mites, are drawn to moisture. It’s true, especially for dust mites.
Dust mites are moisture-seeking microscopic bugs, and they’ll infest homes that have high moisture levels.
The best way to make your home repellent from dust mites and many other moisture-seeking bugs is by using a dehumidifier.
A dehumidifier will normalize the moisture content in your home.
And finally, after every outdoor activity, don’t keep your clothes on the bed or couch.
Take them off and put them straight into your washing machine, and wash them with lukewarm water.
It’s because if any chiggers mites or grain mites are latching onto your clothing, washing them in warm water will get rid of them.
Depending on the type of mites, there are four ways that mites get in your house –
- Through their hosts
- Through the tiny gaps and cracks
- And from one person to another
- By latching onto your clothing
Scabies mites are contagious that spread from one person to another and through infected clothing.
You can bring chigger mites and grain mites to your home from outdoor activities.
It’s because these mites can latch onto your clothing and belongings.
In this guide, you’ve found out what mites impact you. These mites include seven biting mites and two allergy-causing nuisance mites.
This guide also includes a 6-step process to stop mites from entering your home.
This guide also revealed the type of insecticide you need to use and how to use it to eliminate any hiding mites in your home.
So, if you’ve been experiencing bites from mites or have signs that indicate there might be mites in your home, go ahead and implement the steps you’ve learned.
These steps will surely make your home mite-free.
Dr. Thomas Orbert, the Microbial Maestro, dances with the tiniest of creatures as an entomologist extraordinaire! With a PhD in entomology, his passion lies in unraveling the secret symphonies of insect-microbe interactions. From minuscule marvels to captivating complexities, Dr. Orbert unveils the hidden world of bugs, igniting curiosity one buzz at a time!