Entomology (Study of Bugs)/rat mite biting staff


I manage a retail location in lower manhattan.  The building that we are in is shared by renting tenants above us and two other retailers on either side of us.  In case you did not know, lower manhattan has a rat problem (it has been written about in the NYTimes) and we have always used a pest service to keep our infestation levels down.  Unfortunately, our neighbors on one side have not been doing the same and once they realized they had a problem and the pest service baited and killed the rats they pulled over twenty rat carcasses out of the basement. Our problem is that now my entire staff, including myself,is itching and getting bites.  Our pest company has used glue traps and found a tiny mite that they have identified as a rat mite.  My question to you is what can we do to protect ourself from this pest and keep from carrying them home to our families and friends.  I have already had an ifection of my lymph glands and throat from being bitten as I am missing a lymph node under my arm where I was bitten serveral times and want to avoid this happening again. Is exterminating enough? Are there any creams or lotions or pills we can take to make us less desirable to these creatures?  Looking forward to your response.  Thank you.


Fortunately these mites do not infest homes so once the host animals (rodents in this case) are removed the mites will die off without further treatment. This can take days - weeks so in some cases insecticides are used on a limited, temporary basis. See this article http://www.livingwithbugs.com/bird_mites.html for some suggestions and post a follow up if you have additional questions.

Jack DeAngelis

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Jack DeAngelis


I can answer questions in any area of entomology (study of insects, spiders, mites, ticks, and other terrestrial arthropods). Contact me about home and garden insects, insects that bite and sting, and insects that damage homes such as carpenter ants and termites.


20 years as university extension entomologist, now retired; currently publish a website about home and garden insects.

see www.livingwithbugs.com/resume.html

Ph.D. in Entomology

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