Search Button
Divider Home Button

Fact sheets menu image

Itch Mites

What are itch mites?
Where are itch mites found?
What are the symptoms of itch mite bites?
How can I keep from getting itch mite bites?
If I have itch mite bites, what should I do?

What are itch mites?
Itch mites are microscopic insect-like creatures that cannot be seen by the naked eye. There are several different kinds of itch mites in the United States. One type, the oak leaf gall mite, has been reported in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.
 
The mite feeds on the larvae of a small fly which forms a brown and crusty shell on the edge of an oak leaf.
 
Itch mites cannot be seen and the bites are not felt, but leave itchy red marks that can resemble a skin rash. These mites do not live on humans, do not survive indoors and are not known to transmit disease.

Where are itch mites found?
Itch mites are often found on tree leaves, because they prey on the small fly maggots on the leaves. When the maggots mature, they drop off the leaves. Without a source of food, the itch mites then look for another host object, sometimes blowing in the wind and landing on humans.

What are the symptoms of itch mite bites?
The bite reaction generally begins as a pimple measuring less than a quarter of an inch, and within several hours to a day, can become the size of a silver dollar, with a clearing in the center. Multiple bites can appear as a red rash. The lesions usually disappear in 10 to 14 days.
 
People who have been bitten by itch mites generally have itching and redness at the site of the bite location.

The bites are typically located on the head, neck, arms and face and can grow in size and also become painful.
 
How can I keep from getting itch mite bites?

If I have itch mite bites, what should I do?
Itch mites are not believed to cause disease, but over-the-counter medicines to relieve itching, like calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream, can relieve the itching. If itching persists, you may want to contact your health care provider.

Sources: Hamilton County Public Health, University of Nebraska, Illinois Department of Public Health