Food mites are a part of the Acaridae family. They are attracted to stored foods such as dried fruits and vegetables, cereals, flours, pet foods and other grains. They can also be found in stored papers and animal and bird nests. More than anything, food mites are attracted to moist, damp locations that provide viable food sources. The most common food mites are grain mites, cheese mites and mold mites. All three are translucent with darker mouths and appendages. In addition to infesting food, they can cause asthma, dust allergies and mild dermatitis.
Insecticides are usually not a recommendation for the treatment of food mite infestations, simply because the areas they target are kitchens and other places where food is stored. You can, however, use insecticide sprays and gels in cracks and crevices where food mites and other insects may be entering the home or storage areas.
The best remedy for treating an infestation of food mites is a thorough cleaning and sanitation of the affected areas. Foods that are known or suspected to be infested should be immediately discarded. If food mites have gotten inside reusable containers, throw away the contents, then place the containers inside a freezer for a week to kill off any remaining mites or eggs. Then wash the container thoroughly.
Sweep and mop floors, paying special attention to corners and areas underneath furniture. Vacuum carpeted areas, cracks and crevices, and throw away the vacuum bag as soon as you are finished.
Avoid future food mite infestations by keeping food stored in airtight containers. Food mites and other insects can easily chew through cardboard and thin plastic and polythene bags, so you should select airtight containers that are made out of thick plastic, glass or metal. Look for jars with tight-fitting lids or rubber seals.
Keeping food storage, preparation and eating areas clean of food debris and spills will reduce the likelihood of food mites being attracted to the area. In addition to sweeping, mopping, vacuuming and wiping down surfaces on a regular basis, clean and sanitize with disinfecting wipes or sprays, and pull out furniture and appliances to clean up any debris, crumbs or bits of food that may have fallen down on either side or beneath them.
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