Hay or straw mite?

Asked September 30, 2015, 10:38 AM EDT

Please contact me so I can email you some info i found. I need help identifying the parasite for sure. This is not just a problem for me a friend has had the same problem he makes hay in Medina county and we had not seen him for over a year he had complained to us about these bites he was getting and when we saw him we verified that it was the same kind of bites we had and we thought they were probibally hay mites. So please help us Im afraid it will ruin our horse boarding business and it making us miserable too. Give me your email address so i can forward the info i found to you and we need someone to identify these bugs please help. Thanks Lynn VanDeusen 330 239 1615 or 330 635 0161

Medina County Ohio

1 Response

As you are already aware, you most likely are dealing with a straw or hay mite that can be very irritating to some people. I don't know how much hay with which you are dealing, but you may have to start your management of the mites with removing all hay from the barn, cleaning the barn and treating the barn with an miticide/insecticide. The hay is going to be difficult to rid the mites from within the bales. Once temperatures fall below 50F the mites will be less of an issue. Fumigation would be the only rescue treatment available. Fumigation is a dangerous endeavor and should only be done by professionals.

Personal protection from the mites could be accomplished using insect repellents when one has to work with the hay; however, there might not be anything to protect the horse in the same manner.

Straw Itch Mites

Pyemotes tritici commonly breed in stored grain, dried beans and peas, wheat straw, hay and other dried grasses . They are frequently a problem for people doing landscaping or feeding horses and other livestock. The mites are actually beneficial because they attack insects that feed on stored grain and similar materials. People who handle mite-infested materials will be attacked. The bites of straw itch mites are characteristically found on the trunk of the body and on the arms.

The best control strategy is to eliminate the mite's host insects. If possible, clean storage areas thoroughly and treat it with a pesticide, such as cyfluthrin. Treating the straw is difficult because the mites are inside the bales as well as on the surface. Plus, there are currently no insecticidal sprays labeled in North Carolina for application to hay used as feed for animals. If necessary, stored commodities can be fumigated with Phostoxin® to disinfest them. Fumigation should be performed by persons holding the appropriate license.