Tropical Rat Mite

Category:

Actual Size: 0.75 to 1.40 mm

Characteristics: Very small; cream-colored or red when engorged.

Legs:  Juveniles have 6 legs; adults have 8 legs

Antennae: No

Wings: No

Habitat: Will accumulate in walls, particularly where there is a source of heat. Often found near various heat sources such as hot water pipes and stoves.

Habits:

  • Most commonly found as a parasite on rats.
  • Equal in size to a period at the end of a sentence.
  • Will travel several hundred feet from a rat or rat’s nest to find a new host.

Tropical Rat Mites in the North and East Bay of California

The tropical rat mite can be extremely annoying, but whether it can transmit human diseases is unclear. The primary host of the tropical rat mite is the Norway rat, and because of its association with this commensal rodent, the mite is now distributed worldwide. More often seen in warmer regions of the world, these mites infest used or abandoned rat nests. These mites can travel several hundred feet from a rat or rat’s nest to find a new host.

Tropical Rat Mite Habitat

Tropical rat mites are sometimes found in stores, restaurants, theatres, and other buildings. The mites usually feed at night or in semi-darkness and retreat to cracks, crevices, and other dark places until their next meal. These mites tend to accumulate in walls, particularly where there is a source of heat. For this reason, they will often be found near various heat sources such as hot water pipes, stoves, dishwashers, etc.

Tropical Rat Mite Behaviors, Threats or Dangers

Tropical rat mites often become a serious problem where rat eradication programs are underway, for then they must attack humans and other animals to survive. Additionally, this mite is known to attack people, even when rats are abundant. Their bites may produce irritation and sometimes painful dermatitis that continues for two or three days. Itching, often severe, is a principal complaint. Both the nymphs and adults may attack humans, however, the nymphs appear to be the most troublesome.

If you suspect an issue with tropical rat mites, it’s important to contact a professional tick & mite control expert.