The harvest mite

The harvest mite larva

Fig. 87. The harvest mite larva is only 0.3 mm long, but from this angle, it is an impressive creature. (Vercammen-Grandjean)

The harvest mite, Neotrombicula autumnalis, is a species of mite of the family Trombiculidae. The larvae of this family live parasitically while the other developmental stages are free-living predators that attack and suck out small insects and other mites. The harvest mite larva is a parasite of warm-blooded animals: rats, mice and birds. The larval stage cannot complete its development in humans, because we usually manage to scratch off the larva before it has time to eat.

Larval bites are not felt. When bitten, a rash, Trombiculosis, occurs as the skin reacts to the mite saliva. The mites cannot be eradicated, but local nuisance can be partially remedied by spraying with an insecticide or any products intended for control of mites on plants. For personal protection mosquito repellents may be applied.