Mites are small and insect-like but are closely related to spiders. Often, they are the size of a period following a sentence. They use piercing mouthparts to eat sap from plants or feed on blood. Mites do not hop or fly, but can crawl onto people or animals. They may be found on stored food, crops, and inside homes. They may bite people or animals. Others may be parasitic to birds or mammals. Some mites may also scavenge for their food.
These mites are able to attack many different plants. Some may cluster together while feeding. Plant damage may show signs specific to a type of mite. Spider mites are commonly recognized because they create webbing.
These mites may bite other animals, including pets and people, if their preferred animal host dies. Some people may be sensitive to mites, and may show irritation or welts. Mites that bite humans may not survive long without a host. They can be picked up off of surfaces or through contact. Some common biting mites include:
Stored food like grains, cheese, corn, and dried foods are products that may be attacked by mites. Mites found in stored food facilities favor high humidity and moisture. They can also spread fungal growth in stored foods. These mites are less common in homes.
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Through its county agents, the Cooperative Extension Service gives individuals access to the resources at land-grant universities across the nation. These universities are centers for research in many subjects, including entomology (the study of insects) and agriculture. Each county within the United States has an Extension office, which is staffed with agents who work closely with university-based Extension specialists to deliver answers to your questions about gardening, agriculture, and pest control. You can find the phone number for your local county extension office in the local government section (often marked with blue pages) of your telephone directory or by clicking on the map below.
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