Updated: May 25
You mite, or alternatively mite not, want to read this piece about mites.
Okay. That’s an admittedly terrible (and cheesy) way to start a blog about the mite-y mite!
But mites have become a ‘big deal’ of late. Not because they have grown in size, but because their impact and effect on human populations are now better understood, and have become a source of some concern.
Mites: Small but Multi-Talented
Actually, mites are pretty easy to overlook, not least because of their diminutive size. A good many of the some 48,000-plus species are less than 0.04 inches (1mm) in length and they don’t exactly advertise their presence. Mites are a type of invertebrate animal that belongs to the Arachnida class, which makes them relatives of spiders.
As you might expect, mites are as multi-talented as they are small. They are as at home in water as they in earth, where some act as decomposers, while others live on plants. Some even flourish as parasites or predators. Thankfully, most mites don’t pose any threat to humans, although a few species can transmit diseases, while others have been associated with certain allergies.
By Hooke or...
It turns out that mites have been around for quite a while ̶ some 65 million years according to most reliable sources, which place them in the Tertiary (the geologic period from 65 million to 2.58 million years ago and marking the beginning of the Cenozoic Era.)
However, one paleobiologist claims to have found an oribatid mite dating from the Early Ordovician, that is some 480 million years ago. But that’s as much as we know at present.
Mites, which under a microscope look like monsters from some low-budget sci-fi movie, were first mentioned by the 17th century English scientists Robert Hooke, in his 1665 book Micrographia. Unfortunately, for all his talents Hooke was of the opinion that these "very prettily shap'd insects" were spontaneously created from simple dirt!
Mites, Mites Everywhere!
So, what are mites, exactly? Well, despite their disquieting appearance mites are actually one of the most successful, and widely spread, invertebrate groups on the planet. As we mentioned previously, they can be found in a dizzying array of habitats, including both fresh and salt water, soil, forests, pastures, crops, even thermal springs and caves! And, while some 48,200 species of mites have been identified experts estimate that there may be as many as a million or more that have yet to be categorized.
Contrary to popular belief, mites cannot fly; in fact, they can’t even jump! Instead they walk, which would seem to limit their territories. However, some species have devised other means of dispersal, such as climbing to a high point and being carried by the wind. Like their spider relatives some mites have been observed spinning silk threads that can carry them away on the wind. (Think Charlotte’s many ‘children’!)
Yet others employ the kinds of dispersal methods favored by such critters as ticks, which will attach themselves to passing animals, or humans, and hitch hike their way to freedom. What makes this worse is that the mite species that prefer this mode of travel tend to be those that reproduce rapidly and are quick to take over new haunts.
Of Mites and Men...and Women!Fortunately, most types of mite pose no threat to humans The vast majority of mites ̶ and in that virtually endless list we can include such things as grain mites, bed mites, paper mites, dust mites, red spider mites, scabies mites, hair mites, rodent mites, and bird mites, "are beneficial, living in the soil or aqueous environments and assisting in the decomposition of decaying organic material, or consuming fungi, plant or animal matter, as part of the carbon cycle.”
The operative word here is most, since there are some mite species that can act as vectors for disease transmission and can give rise to various allergenic diseases, including hay fever, asthma and eczema. Mites have also been identified as the source of several types of skin rashes, including rodent mite dermatitis, grain itch, gamasoidosis, grocer's itch and, of course, scabies.
At this point we ought to say a few words about how get rid of mites, once and for all. We think that Sterifab® is one of the best ways to get rid of them. Not only is it a highly effective mite treatment, but it will also get rid of bedbugs, lice, fleas, and a host of other insects.
In addition to being a perfect way to kill mites, Sterifab:
Deodorizes and controls odor-causing organisms
Sanitizes and deodorizes restrooms.
Is one of the few products labeled for use on mattresses and upholstered furniture.
Dries in 15-20 minutes, is biodegradable, and leaves no residue
Can be used on everything ̶ except people, animals and cooking utensils
In fact, there are no other U.S. EPA-registered products that can boast so many uses –viricide, bactericide, sanitizer, insecticide, deodorant, germicide, disinfectant, mildewcide, fungicide, bacteriostatic or fungistatic.
Mites! A Threat to Humanity?
No. Not really. Still, while mites really aren’t much of a threat to humankind, that’s no excuse for dropping one’s guard.
In fact, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health “While mites rarely transmit disease to humans . . . they definitely impact health in ways that range from simply being a nuisance when they enter homes in large numbers, to inflicting severe skin irritation that can cause intense itching.”
Check back with us regularly and you’ll learn more than you ever wanted to know about mites ̶ and every other troublesome bug that has ever bugged you.
We (humbly) suggest that you bookmark this Sterifab site and rely upon it for accurate, up-to-date and effective advice on how to combat a huge variety of unwelcome pests!