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Description of mold mites
Mold mites comprise a large group of similar species that are quite difficult to tell apart. Common members in this group of tiny mites include the cheese mite, flour mite, and grain mite. They are also known as tyroglyphid mites.
Life cycle of mold mites
Mold mites only develop where there is moisture or a high humidity. As the name implies, they feed on molds and are common only where mold and fungi can flourish. They have been reported from a large number of items and places but the common characteristic of all infestations is the presence of a high humidity. Infestations have been mentioned in cheese, flour, grain, seeds, bulbs, straw, wallpaper, furniture, dried fruits, cereal foods, bird and small mammal nests and so forth.
Damage caused by mold mites
Mold mites are very common but usually go unnoticed except in occasions when they become abundant. They can infest stored food and grain and cause tremendous losses although they are more usually an annoyance and nuisance and not injurious. They are harmless to people and pets, furniture, house structures, clothing and so forth.
Management of mold mites
Control of mold mites may be difficult and is likely to require persistence. The first step should be to eliminate humidity or moisture that is producing favorable conditions for molds and mites. Spray or fog treatments with household insecticides will be of some benefit if the insecticides reach the source of the mites. Spraying without correcting conditions to eliminate the source will only provide temporary control. For more information on indoor use insecticides please see this article.
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The Iowa State University Plant & Insect Diagnostic Clinic will identify your insect, provide information on what it eats, life cycle, and if it is a pest the best ways to manage them. Please see our website for current forms, fees, and instructions on preserving and mailing insects.
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