These creatures known as arthropods make up the “Acarina” family of animals, just like ticks, their food sources are the pieces of skin that are shed from the human body. These creatures, which usually nest in furry and dirt-containing environments such as sofas, beds and carpets and can cause various diseases, especially asthma. But don’t worry, you would need a professional microscope to follow these mites because they cannot be seen with the naked eye. Just a single gram of our skin is enough to feed 1,000,000 mites! Here are ten of the most common that feed on our human skin…
INFO: Rust mites are tiny mites (too small to see without the aid of a microscope) in the eriophyid group. Generally, rust mites are of little concern to fruit growers. Foilage of pear is very sensitive to rust mites, and symptoms can be seen in moderate to high populations. Lower populations can be tolerated, and serve as food for beneficial insects.
INFO: The mites cannot be seen and the bites are not felt, but leave itchy red marks that can resemble a skin rash. When itch mite populations ‘explode,’ people and other animals may receive numerous bites.
INFO: The flat mite is a minor pest of citrus in the desert regions and interior valleys. The adult is much smaller than the citrus red mite, is flat, and often appears salmon-coloured but the colour varies.
INFO: Dust mites, close relatives of ticks and spiders, are too small to see without a microscope. Dust mites eat skin cells shed by people, and they thrive in warm, humid environments. In most homes, such items as bedding, upholstered furniture and carpeting provide an ideal environment for dust mites.
INFO: Lorryia formosa, commonly known as the yellow mite or the citrus yellow mite, is a species of acariform mite. They are in the subfamily Tydeinae of the family Tydeidae. Commonly found on the foliage of citrus trees around the world, Lorryia formosa also associates with a variety of other plant types.
INFO: Scabies is not an infection, but an infestation. Tiny mites called Sarcoptes scabiei set up shop in the outer layers of human skin consuming it to stay alive.
Spiny Rat Mite
INFO: Three types of rodent mites readily bite humans: the house mouse mite (Liponyssoides saguineus), spiny rat mite (Laelaps echidna) and tropical rat mite (Ornithonyssus bacoti). The house mouse mite prefers to suck the blood of mice, but also will bite rats and people, often causing a rash around the bite.
INFO: Two species of chigger mites attack humans and other mammals, birds and reptiles. The nymph and adult stages prey on insects. It is the six-legged larval stage that typically feeds on rodents or ground dwelling birds but will bite people when they are available.
Glasshouse Red Spider Mite
INFO: Spider mites are members of the Tetranychidae family, which includes about 1,200 species. They are part of the subclass Acari. Spider mites generally live on the undersides of leaves of plants, where they may spin protective silk webs, and they can cause damage by puncturing the plant cells to feed, but they will also live on houseplants and consume human skin.
INFO: Trombidiidae, also known as red velvet mites, true velvet mites, or rain bugs, are small arachnids found in plant litter and are known for their bright red colour. While adults are typically 4 mm in length, some, such as the genus Dinothrombium, may reach up to 12 mm.