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Are Red Mites Harmful to Humans?

Rowan Burgess |

Being around insects is part and parcel of life on a poultry farm, but not all insects are harmless. Do you know which ones to avoid and which to let be? Indeed, when it comes to red mites, you'll want to be careful.

In this article, we've outlined everything you need to know about red mites - from what the bites look like on humans, how to get rid of them, and how to prevent them. Read on to get up-to-date on all things red mite and make your life on the farm that much healthier.

Can Red Mites Bite Humans?

While red mites prefer poultry, that doesn't mean they won't bite humans if they've managed to get on your skin. Although the bites are unpleasant, they can also be helpful in determining if you have an infestation in your coop. Given the difficulty in discovering an infestation, if you've been bitten, you now have confirmation of the infestation.

What Do Red Mite Bites Look Like in Humans?

The main giveaway that red mites have bitten you is if you develop pruritic dermatitis - that is, incessantly itchy skin that might also come with dry skin, bumps, and rashes. Generally, this will be on the back of your hands and forearms.

How Do You Get Rid of Red Mites on Humans?

If you've found yourself with red mite bites, the best way to remove them from your skin is to bathe in hot soapy water. While in the bath, be sure to scrub and exfoliate carefully, as the mites are tiny and not always visible unless you’re looking closely.

We also recommend taking allergy medication or using hydrocortisone cream on the affected areas to ease the itching, as needed.

Can Humans Catch Red Mites From Poultry?

While previously thought to be uncommon, research has found that humans can catch red mites from being around poultry that has been infected with them. Initially, it was thought that the mites do not feed from human blood, but this is also being reconsidered after a case study in Iran.

Due to this new development, it is more important than ever to be vigilant when you suspect your farm of having a red mite infestation.

How To Prevent Red Mite Bites

Wear the Necessary PPE

Given that the most likely areas mites will bite a human are the hands and forearms, it is vital to cover these areas - especially well when you are in the chicken pens. The PPE linked above will provide you with safety and protection, which means you can go about your job with the chickens without worrying about getting bitten.

Eliminate Red Mite Infestations

The most obvious way of avoiding red mite bites on humans is to eradicate the red mite infestation on the farm. The best way to do that is to invest in some insect control materials, such as the Harmonix Poultry Red Mite solution.

Not only will this save you and your staff from the irritation of the bites, but it will potentially save the lives of your chickens, as well. Remember, while an inconvenience to you, red mites are much more dangerous to chickens than humans.

Quarantine New Birds

Red mites are incredibly small and easy to miss, and while it can be difficult to stop them from being brought in by wild birds, you can do something about any new poultry you acquire. A simple tip that you can adopt for any new arrivals is to quarantine them away from the rest of the birds long enough to discover if they have an infestation.

Given that it's a good idea to introduce new birds to the rest of the brood slowly anyway, this works as a win-win situation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Do Red Mites Live on Humans?

Researchers generally believe that mites reach adulthood in around seven days and live for roughly eight weeks. However, they can survive for much longer than this if they're not feeding, as they go into a hibernation state. This can last up to five months. That's why it’s crucial to wash the mites off your skin as soon as possible.

Need to Get Rid of Red Mites? Shop Dalton!

In the last decade, it has become increasingly clear that red mites can and will feed on humans if given the chance. While humans don't have the same life-threatening risks as chickens, the bites can still cause extreme irritation and, in some cases, even lesions.

For insect control products, along with further information and products for poultry farming, visit Dalton Engineering now.