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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Identification of mites



I have a question regarding what I believe are mites. I live in Chilliwack, BC (outside of Vancouver BC).

My daughter had complaints of itching and had multiple hives and bumps on her skin for 2+ weeks. I had taken her to the doctor who said it was an allergy, however it didn't seem to go away.

As she only seemed to get worse after sleeping in her bed at my house (she improved when sleeping at her mothers) I searched her room and noticed what seemed like thousands of tiny black specs moving over and around the area of her hamster cage.

Since then I have removed the hamster from the house and thrown out the cage and anything that was within 5-10ft of the cage. Every item I picked-up that was with in the general area of the cage had tons of these things crawling on it. I initially sprayed then entire area with raid. Vacuumed everything. Cleaned the area with bleach and have sprayed it again with a spray including Permethrin. I have double bagged all clothing and stuffed items at tied them what seems like air tight and have them stored outside at the moment.

Since I started the removal process, I have noticed I appear to be getting bit, despite sleeping on a couch on another floor of the house.

My questions are basically this;

- Is there any way to determine what kind of mites these are?
- Will they be able to keep living and reproducing now that the hamster has been removed?
- Can they be killed by freezing? I would like to freeze all her toys to make sure.
- Can they be killed by hot water during laundry?
- Is there anything else I can do? I have a central vacuum and after the initial vacuuming I sprayed raid inside the hose that attaches to the wall and taped both ends. After look the next day I noticed many mites stuck to the tape on one end. I am afraid if I vacuum they will just stay in the hose and come back.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


I think you are right to focus on getting an identification first. I'd suggest that you collect a few in a small vial of alcohol then contact a local university or health department where someone can examine the sample under a microscope. You can use a damp Q-tip to transfer them into the alcohol. Once you get a proper id we can discuss possible control.

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.


Ph.D. in Entomology

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