Common Biting Mites in Texas

Texas is the second largest state in the United States of America, and has a varied terrain that includes forests, mountains and deserts. As in other places around the world, mites are a common problem in Texas. Mites are small arthropods related to ticks. While most mites are harmless to animals and people, biting mites are particular nuisances.

  1. Tropical Fowl Mite

    • The tropical fowl mite is a mite that lives on wild and domestic birds, and sometimes on rats. They will also bite humans. An infestation of tropical fowl mites inside the home is possible if birds roost on your roof or inside fireplace chimneys. These mites are reddish, brown or black in color and have eight legs. Their bites cause painful, itchy bumps. While they look similar to tropical rat mites, they are a different species. Tropical fowl mites have never been known to carry diseases.

    Tropical Rat Mites

    • Tropical rat mites live on rodents. If rodents live around or inside of your home as either pests or pets, they could become infected with tropical rat mites. Tropical rat mites will also bite humans. While some people are unaffected by the bites of tropical rate mites, others will experience pimple-sized welts that itch for up to three weeks. Tropical rat mites do not commonly carry diseases. Tropical rat mites are small and difficult to spot with the naked eye. They are roughly the size of a period at the end of a sentence.

    Itch Mites

    • Sometimes referred to as "straw itch mites," itch mites occur in four states, including Texas. Itch mites are have four legs and are microscopic, so they are not visible to the naked eye. Itch mites live in straw and grain and are often sold as a natural biological control agent for fire ants. Itch mites can be a danger to human health since their bites can cause rashes, bumps, intense itching and sometimes fever, joint pain, headaches, diarrhea and vomiting.


    • Chiggers, sometimes referred to as "harvest mites," "jiggers" or "redbugs," are common Texas biting mites that live in soil or foliage on the ground. They are most commonly found in areas with a lot of leaf litter, berry patches or tall grass. Chiggers will bite both man and animal. Their eggs hatch in the spring and they are active through early fall. Adult chiggers are small but visible to the naked eye. Their bodies are shaped like a figure eight; they have eight legs and are a bright red color.

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