Types of Mites: Wood Mites

Tiny, crawling insects that are hard to see are among the least desirable, which is likely why wood mites draw such a negative response among people. They cause no harm to people, yet their presence is abhorrence, especially if they are found within the home. Oddly enough, one of the best and most effective methods of eliminating these pests “mite” be just as horrifying.

It may surprise people to learn that, instead of being insects, mites are actually members of the arachnid family. There are over 45,000 known species of mites, with the most well known type probably the dust mite. No one really knows how many mites exist in the world since the majority of them are microscopic. However, when looking over just one room in your home you are unseeingly looking over tens of thousands of these creatures. While this may give some people a creepy crawly feeling, many these miniscule creatures actually perform an extremely valuable service by cleaning up after humans, animals and plant matter. They also are the culprit behind many allergic reactions, as their feces and dead bodies signaling a threat to the human immune system when inhaled as tiny particles in the air.

Found virtually everywhere ubiquitous anytime, mites have been in existence likely since the beginning of time with fossilized evidence of their presence 400 million years ago. Even the frozen barren wilderness of the Antarctic and the most desolate of the earth’s deserts play host to certain varieties of mites.

One group of this huge and diverse family of arachnids is wood mites, found in decaying and decomposing wood matter. While this may be their preferred habitat, they will proceed to feed off from any type of wood source if given the opportunity. In homes, these tiny wood feeders may enter by way of firewood or pieces of wood brought in to be used as perches or supports for small animal pets. Anyone who enjoys keeping snakes as a pet will likely have heard of these pests, since they are commonly found in aquariums and cages inhabited by pet snakes. This is due to the fact that snake habitats frequently feature wood based substrates that invite the presence of the mite.

Another favorite place within the home for these mites to invade is a cigar humidor. So common are they in these decorative boxes that they may also be referred to as “tobacco mites”. They are attracted to these because of the temperature and conditions in which cigars are kept; humid and warm. The mites are often discovered when opening a fresh wooden box of cigars. The cigars themselves are at no risk, as the mites are not attracted to them for either food or shelter. The wrapping of the cigar may endure damage, as it is vegetable based and a target for the mites.

Getting rid of wood mites is not generally a difficult process. They have relatively short life spans so will not live long, but they may have had the opportunity to lay eggs which will hatch and repopulate. The most effective means of eliminating these pesky mites is to bring in their biggest enemy, which just happens to be yet another mite. The Hypoaspis mite is considered to be a predator mite that will hunt down and destroy any other type of mite in the area. These warrior mites present no harm to humans, snakes or cigars. No worries about becoming infested with the Hypoaspis; once all of its prey has been hunted down, they will die off for lack of nourishment.

If adding yet another mite to your home is not your choice of elimination, you can use insecticides to spray the infested area. Any clothing, bedding or linen in the area will need to be washed in hot water. For limited items such as humidors where mite presence is found, freezing these items is also effective.

While wood mites may not be the most appealing of creatures, they do offer a valuable service in their proper habitats. When they encroach upon yours, these simple methods will help you to get rid of them quickly.

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