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Topical Issues
August

Ants: flying ants are now causing many problems. Easy to control. Give us a call.

Wasps: Season now in full swing. The nests are about the size of a foot ball or more!

If you need help with these or any other pest problem Call us!

  Mites Mites

Size:

0.5 -1.5mm overall body length.

Markings: 

Varies considerably in colour, but often white or grey.

Location:

Numerous habitats from houses to factories, farms etc.

Detection:

Musty or minty smell, Visual sightings of adults (tricky).

The mite is not classed as an insect, but falls into the same group as ticks and spiders. These are tiny animals which are often virtually invisible to the naked eye, but when viewed under a hand lens, they can be seen to move, albeit slowly. Across the world, there are mites to suit virtually every ecological niche - some feed on vegetable matter, others are carnivorous or even cannibalistic.

Many are predatory and some are even parasitic. Their biology and behaviour could fill a book and so just the salient points are summarised here.

A typical mite, such as the Flour Mite, Acarus siro, will lay up to 500 eggs in it's lifetime. Upon hatching, they will pass through a six- legged larval stage. From this, the young move on to a number of nymphal stages (two in this case), before reaching adulthood.

The time period from egg to adult can be three weeks at 25C, but much less at increased temperatures. This can lead to phenomenal population explosions, with many millions of mites appearing in a matter of weeks.

Some mites, the Flour Mite being one, have an additional stage in their lifecycle. This is known as the 'Hypopus' or resting stage. The hypopus is extremely resistant to changes in the environment such as drought, starvation and the introduction of a pesticide. Some people see it as a hibernation phase, and whilst this is a useful analogy, it is not strictly true.

There are nearly as many reasons to control mites as there are species. Often it is due to a commodity becoming infested or a piece of machinery requiring a fumigation. Sometimes it is for public health or medical reasons, as many species, such as bird mites can bite humans. On other occasions it is because mites and their droppings are known to cause adverse reactions such as Baker's Itch and Asthma. Indeed, a protein from droppings of the house dust mite, DER P1, is thought to be a major causative agent in the modern Asthma epidemic.


 

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