How Can I Prevent Oak Mite Bites?

Oak mites are tiny, microscopic insects that live and hatch in oak trees and feed on small midget fly larvae. The bite from an oak mite can create large, red welts on humans, and are sometimes misdiagnosed as chigger bites. The oak mites aren't intentionally biting us, but as they drop from trees, or are carried to your yard by the wind, humans inadvertently become hosts.

Here are some quick tips to help prevent bites from oak mites:

  • Wear long sleeves and a hat while working outside. Because the mites fall from trees or are carried by wind, the most susceptible place to be bitten is your head, neck, and upper body.

  • Because the oak mites will stay on your body for several hours, immediately take a shower and wash your clothes after working in the yard.

  • No products exist that will completely get rid of oak mites from your trees and yard. Bayer Advanced Complete Insect Killer can be used with your garden hose to spray affected trees and yard areas, killing hatched mites that come in direct contact with the spray. Unhatched mites are not affected, so you may need to apply this treatment numerous times over the fall. Given the large number of mites in the air and trees, spraying will minimize mites but will not likely eliminate the threat. Because there isn't a product that will kill the mites before they hatch, the mites won't disappear until the second hard freeze of the year.

How do you stop oak mite bites from itching?

Bites from oak mites will often take a few hours to appear. Once a welt appears, DON'T SCRATCH IT. Scratching will only open the welt and increase chances of an infection. Treat the welt with antihistamine lotion or anti-itch cream and leave it alone. The welt may stay on your body for several weeks. As always, visit a doctor if the welts become painful or don't get better.

 

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Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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