Following swarms of the 17-year Brood X cicada hatch, Washington, D.C. has a brand new pest on the town.
As was first reported by The Washington Post, residents of the capital metropolis had been now aware of so-called itch mites feeding on the eggs laid by the billions of Brood X cicadas that emerged in spring 2021.
Itch mites, identified scientifically as Pyemotes herfsi, are microscopic pests practically invisible to the human eye whose bites trigger purple, itchy, and painful welts. One kind, the oak leaf gall mite, was most lately liable for a 2004 outbreak in Missouri, Nebraska, and Texas and is believed to have been the primary identified incident in america, in line with a study performed by the Division of Entomology at Kansas State College. Throughout that point, an “unrecorded number of patients visited the city hospital” with “pruritic rashes,” or itchy pores and skin related to dry pores and skin or different bug bites.
Itch mites, or oak leaf gall midge, sometimes feed on midge larvae like these left behind by the Brood X cicadas, however the Illinois Division of Public Well being (IDPH) notes that they’ll unintentionally chew folks when searching for meals.
“Mites usually need about four hours on your body before they bite. Once the mite’s regular food source is gone from the leaves, usually in late summer, the mites drop from the trees,” wrote IDPH.
“Oak leaf gall mites are so small that they can float on the wind, and pass through window or door screens and loosely-woven clothing.”
Typical itch mite bites measure about 2 centimeters and are “itchy and painful when scratched, often resulting in secondary bacterial infection.” Those that have been bitten might develop purple welts that resemble chigger bites on the neck, face, or arms — not the same old leg space sometimes related to chiggers. Itch mite welts make pimple-like lesions after round 12 hours and may be current for as much as two weeks, famous IDPH.
Specialists suggest not scratching the bites, as scratching can result in a secondary an infection. Quite, deal with rash areas with anti-itch lotions or oral antihistamines to alleviate itching. Whereas itch mites are current in Washington, D.C., it is strongly recommended that residents keep away from sitting underneath or close to areas with oak timber current and to concentrate on brown and crusty edges on the leaves of oak timber as that’s sometimes an indication of an infestation.