Will Vinegar Kill Grain Mites?

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Grain mites are often found in food items and mold spores. These pests multiply rapidly and infestations can become heavy in a short period of time. Controlling these pests is best accomplished by preventing infestations in the first place. According to the University of Kentucky, there are no chemical control solutions to grain mite control. Natural remedies such as applying vinegar to mites are not recommended to eliminate grain mites.

Identification

  • Grain mites are very small pests typically found in stored food items such as yeast, ground grains, wheat germ and cheese. These pests may also be found living in mold growth. Hot, humid conditions promote the reproduction of grain mites. Females can lay up to 800 eggs on food surfaces and grain mites reach maturity just two weeks after hatching. When food items become heavily infested, grain mites will move to other sources to feed.

Effects

  • Mite dust found in kitchen cupboards is often the first sign of grain mite infestations. This dust is often found on shelves or on the bags containing infested food and are skin casts of molted mites. Heavy infestations of grain mites can produce a sweet odor near infested food items. Grain mites can cause dermatitis in some people which is characterized by intense itching. Grain mites stay close to infested items and can spread to many stored foods in a short period of time.

Prevention

  • Applying vinegar to grain mites does not kill them and is not a recommended treatment. Preventing grain mite infestations is the best way to control them. Store all food items in dry areas low in humidity. Avoid purchasing food items in damaged packages and inspect food storage areas on a regular basis. Store all ground grains, yeast products, wheat germ and powdered milk in sealed containers to contain infestations if they occur.

Control

  • If you have grain mites, clean your cabinets or shelves with hot soapy water to remove them. Vacuum cracks and crevices of infested areas to remove mite dust. Throw away all infested food items and inspect all stored food items for signs of infestation. Discard any moldy items such as bread, as grain mites may feed on mold spores. According to the University of Kentucky, insecticides are not recommended for grain mite control because of the potential to contaminate food or food preparation areas.

References

  • Photo Credit Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images
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