Pests/Mites

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Question
Hi.
I am really paranoid I may have bird mites/rodent mites or some other form of mites.
I'm living in University dorms. It is awash with bugs most noticeably silverfish and larvae of dermestids. However I've been getting what appears to be 'bites' sometimes in rows of 2's. They look like raised pimples. They're not that itchy unless i touch them. They just appear out of nowhere. I also have extremely dry skin on my legs and feet not sure if that's connected. It's really, REALLY flaky no matter how much moisturizer i put on. But not dry skin on my arms or upper torso. I'm just wondering whether it could be bird or rodent mites. There are lots of rats around campus. We share dorm flats with 16 people, most of whom are international. There doesn't seem to be any bed bug signs as i always flip my mattress and inspect it routinely. Today i saw a tiny red/orange/yellowish mite in the ensuite wetroom(we all have them in our bedrooms) and when i picked it up with a tissue it didn't squish at all, in fact it didn't die for a while it appeared to be very hardy, it moved around extremely quickly. Now I'm freaking out it is bird mites. Do they like humid conditions because that's why we have a bunch of silverfish everywhere as they are attracted to the humid moistness in our ensuites. Do you think it's possible it was a very tiny nymphal stage of silverfish? I'm just really paranoid now and would appreciate some information regarding how to distinguish between biting mites and other critters.

Thank you so much!!

Answer
Julie,

There are many things that can cause these lesions but it is usually NOT related to insects or mites unless you are actually finding a bug (see http://www.livingwithbugs.com/unknown_bug_bites.html for a list of the possibilities). My guess is that dry skin is the main culprit. Have you seen a dermatologist? That would be my first suggestion. There are also many allergies that can elicit this type of reaction so you could talk with the MD about this as well. Sorry I can be more specific.

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.

Experience

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

Organizations
see www.livingwithbugs.com/resume.html

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

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. in Entomology (the study of insects)

Awards and Honors
see www.livingwithbugs.com/resume.html

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