Pests/Mites

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Question
Hi Jack,
We live in Long Island NY. My wife has recently started to notice some very tiny (size of a dot with a pencil) black insects in our kitchen cabinets, mostly around our spice cabinet. They’re also around our computer and on the mouse which is located directly underneath the spice cabinet. They move extremely slowly. I’ve also noticed that several of them are completely white in color. We called our pest control company and to our surprise, the technical didn't know what these were. So he googled it and found out that they ‘might’ be wheat mites. From reading some of your answers, it seems like he might be right but I wanted to get a second opinion from you. He suggested that we get a heater of some sort and vaccume heat the cabinets as well washing all the dishes throughly. Please let me know what other information I can provide to you so that you can make an assessment as to what these things are and how we can get rid of them. Any help would be greatly appreciated as they’ve become a great annoyance. Looking forward to hearing from you. Thank you!

Answer
Jake,

Thanks for re-submitting. The common name "wheat mite" is not so common. These mites are usually called grain mites or mold mites. The names comes from the fact that they are pests in grain storage warehouses if the grain gets damp and moldy, see http://www.livingwithbugs.com/mold_mites.html for a drawing. The mites feed on mold and are always associated with excess moisture. In homes this often means a leaky pipe or unvented steam. Once you locate and eliminate the moisture the mites will go away.

Jack DeAngelis  

Pests

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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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