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Straw itch mite

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Straw itch Mites

Straw itch mite is very small and invisible to the naked eye; while gravid females are large enough and can be easily recognized. Usually, the straw itch mite infestation to humans occurs accidentally and through manipulation of infested grains, hay or straw in barns.


Straw itch mites

The straw itch mite was known in the early 1900s as a nuisance pest after farm workers handling small grain, wheat, oats and barley were often infested with insects on which the itch mite fed allowing them to reach large numbers by harvest.

Itch mites have tiny, piercing mouth parts, through which they inject neurotoxic saliva into their insect host. Host insects become immobile in minutes and shrivel to shapeless mass as the mite feeds. Mouthparts are irritating with reduced stylet-like chelicerae and injection of salivary fluids. Straw itch mites parasitize a wide variety of insects, including stored grain pests.

Life Cycle:Straw itch mite has one of the shortest animal lifecycle ( 6 – 7 ) days allowing it, if conditions were favorable and prey is available, to multiply rapidly many times each season, producing millions of mites.

Newly emerging females supplied with one larva of S. cyanea for each as a host; showed a quick response, and attached themselves within a matter of seconds to their hosts. Engorged females greatly distended and the body gradually became spherical in shape within a few days, while the front part carrying the mouthparts and the legs remained almostthe same.

Straw itch mites

Straw itch mites

When females reached their final size, they detached off their hosts, they become essentially incapable of movement and has a globular body measuring up to 1mm in diameter. Six to seven days from mating, the new offspring of young males and females emerged, one after another. These mites emerge as adult mites ready to reproduce if they find a suitable host.

Males emerged first; they are few in number, waiting at the genital opening and mate with females as soon as they emerge. Males die soon after mating. Each female gave birth to an average of 200 offspring in a range of 50 to 250 individual mites. Newly emerging adult female mites were yellowish and tiny making them barely visible by the naked eye.

Prevention: Straw itch mite usually does not need to be controlled; it is considered beneficial, it attacks. economic grain insects and stored product insects. It might be killed through controlling other insect pests that play a role as hosts for the mite. So, emphasis must be placed on manipulation of the environment for the mite control. In this case, it was annoying and was a real problem attacking humans in their houses. Types of crops should be changed; barley and wheat should not be grown among dwellings.

Sanitation: Sanitation is one of the important control methods, as the pest control strategy is to eliminate the mite’s host insects. Sanitation should be conducted in the field; using mechanical control by early harvesting, removing the residues of the crop by grazing, burning and plowing the field. Controlling grain and hay insects in the field is done by spraying chemicals, or using light traps, pheromone traps or any other method that can be helpful in collecting and killing those insect hosts, especially moths in the grain field.

Straw itch mite-bite

Straw itch mite-bite

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