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I am currently experiencing a problem with what i suspect are a species of predatory Mites

in the past i had a manageable population of booklice living in my old drawings( i am a bit of an artist and have paper stored in boxes etc)
although these were a nuisance, they did not cause  alarm, however whilst i have been away to attend university these booklice have vanished, but i now have unidentified mites in pretty much all the same places the booklice had once been ,

these mites are small in size , approx 0.5 mm , and white in colour ( i have no means of proper magnification so i can't see any distinctive markings)  
it does not seem to be a major infestation, when i find these mites, i tend to only find only about 1 to 3 in close proximity

they are visible to the eye, and crawl at relatively quick speed across flat surfaces such as desks(and the items on the desk), bookcases and more alarmingly my bed frame
i have found them on fabric, though i find less , but this may be because it is harder to see them on fabric

i suspect that these mites are a predatory species, because of the erradication of the booklice , in the period in which i did not occupy the room , possibly Cheyletus eruditus or Cheyletus malaccensis as my research indicates that these both prey upon booklice , and seem to fit the colour and size of the mites invading my bedroom

although i did panic a little  at first when discovered these mites on my bed, i don't think they are feeding on me, as the room has not been slept in since i went to university ,  however i am a little concerned that it may be Cheyletus malaccensis and that the nymphs might feed on me

so far i have attempted to reduce humidity , vacumming the floor,skirtingboard and flat surfaces, wiping and dusting surfaces, increasing frequency of washing bedding and removing the mites with a cloth when i see them , as well as de-cluttering the room to give them less places to hide and breed



my primary questions to you are

-identification , mainly to determine if the mites are harmful or not

-advice on  population control, i would like to know if i should take extra precaution in wiping down items , to remove eggs , as many of my  books and dvds have mites , and i would really don't want to have to throw those away

apologies for rambling on a bit long , i hope you can give me some good advice for managing the mites naturally ,
( i do not want to use chemicals if i can help it)

Answer
Daniel,

I think these are mold (mould) mites rather than any type of predatory mite. See http://www.livingwithbugs.com/mold_mites.html for info about these mites. Obviously the only way to be certain is to collect some and get them identified by an acarologist (the British NHM in London has an entomology department and acrologists). However, predator species are generally hard to find because their numbers are low compared to non-predatory species. The number you have found already indicates to me that these are not a predator species.

Mold mites are very common in the situation you describe especially since you have already had booklice, which depend on the same damp, moldy conditions. See the page cited above for control options as well.

Jack DeAngelis

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Jack DeAngelis

Expertise

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 such as aphids and spider mites, insects that bite and sting such as ticks and wasps, and insects that damage homes such as carpenter ants and termites.

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

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see www.livingwithbugs.com/resume.html Fine Gardening magazine

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Ph.D. in Entomology (the study of insects)

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