Rat mites, also known as rodent mites, rat lice, or mouse mites, are one species of mite that can become a problem in your home, since sometimes they can bite humans. They are very similar to bird mites and are often treated as such. There are a few different rodent mites species (like the tropical rat mite and house mouse mite). While the bites aren’t severe, some species can carry diseases so it is important to know how to kill rat mites.
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Rat Mite Habitat
Rat mites are nearly microscopic pests that feed on the blood of rodents but can become a problem when their host pest is removed or dies. Under normal conditions, these pests will stay confined to their hosts. A rat mite is capable of going long distances to seek alternate food sources, so if the first food source it comes upon is a human, it will bite. Rat mites on humans usually aren’t a major problem; rat mite bites cause mild to sever itching rashes.
How to Get Rid of Rat Mites
Removing the host animal and cleaning and sanitizing that area is the first step in rat mites treatment. Remove any nests and remember to always use gloves and a respirator when handling dead animals and their nests. Areas near the host animal should be treated with a pesticide that is safe for indoors and formulated for mites. Vacuuming visible mites or wiping them up with a damp cloth can remove existing mites, but freeze vacuum bags to ensure the mites are dead. Controlling rodent populations in your home by using traps and sealing your home can ensure that these mites do not enter your home.
Information via University of Minnesota Extension, University of Kentucky Entomology, University of Missouri Extension.
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