Will Harvest Mites Go on Their Own?

Will Harvest Mites Go on Their Own?

Harvest mites, or spider mites as they’re sometimes known, are tiny creatures that hide out in long grass. Unfortunately, they don’t stay there and that can cause problems. They can hitch a ride into your home on your clothing or dog when you’re out for a walk. Here’s our guide to the problems they can cause and how you can get rid of them.

What Do Harvest Mites Look Like?

Harvest mites are a member of the arachnid family, like spiders, hence their alternative name. The species that can be found in the UK is Trombicula autumnalis. Though they are incredibly tiny, their bright orange colour makes them visible to the naked eye.

The Harvest Mite Life Cycle

The harvest mite lifecycle starts when the female lays three to eight eggs, usually on a leaf or under the roots of a plant. The eggs hatch and larvae emerge. The larvae are parasitic and will feed on a human or animal host by embedding a mouthpiece into the skin. This can cause severe itching and swelling. After feeding on a host, the larvae drop to the ground where they mature into adults. Adult harvest mites don’t feed off a host, they eat plant material.

Where do Harvest Mites Live?

You’ll usually find harvest mites in forests and grasslands, woodlands, and on lawns, golf courses, and parks. The harvest mite population is at its largest in the early summer due to the fact that there’s more grass and vegetation around.

Signs of Harvest Mites and the Problems They Cause

If a few larvae happen to get onto your pet, they might not be noticeable. But a larger population is far more noticeable. You might notices that pets are scratching themselves more and you may see red patches of skin. In dogs, check the paws, abdomen, groin, and ears. In cats, the ear flaps are a common site of infestation.

It’s not just your pets you need to worry about, either. Harvest mites will feed on you too. You might notice bites on the feet, ankles, or lower leg if you’ve been out walking in the long grass. Harvest mites can also make their way into your home on your dog’s coat or your clothes.

What Can I Do to Get Rid of Them?

• If you’re venturing out walking in an area with long grass, you can try applying insect repellent on your legs and wrists before you go. If you are unlucky enough to get bitten, use an antihistamine and a bite and sting cream.

• In the UK, there are no licensed products for treating harvest mites in pets. You may think a flea treatment or similar will work, but sadly, they’re not that effective. See your vet for advice if you suspect that your pet has harvest mites.

• Walking your dog in the early morning or late evening reduces the chance of exposure to harvest mites. This is because the larvae are only active on warm, dry days. Avoid walking in long grass or areas with thick vegetation.

• If you suspect there are harvest mites in your garden, you can spray your vegetation and see if this eradicates the problem.

Will Harvest Mites Go Away on Their Own?

Unfortunately, trying to treat a harvest mite infestation on your own is not likely to be successful. In order to treat the problem, you have to know exactly what you’re dealing with, and that’s where professional pest control technicians come in.

At Contego, we have the expertise and the access to the products and equipment that will get rid of a harvest mite infestation – fast.

Protect yourself and your beloved furry friends from misery, call Contego!

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