Small bugs that look like Northern Fowl Mites on our porch

Asked May 31, 2016, 12:36 PM EDT

We have found what looks to be hundreds of small bugs on our sun porch and are wondering what they are. I collected one and looked at it under a microscope at my work and have taken a picture of the creature as best I could through the lens of the microscope. After googling it, the best guess I have is that it is O. sylviarum, but not being a bug expert, I am not sure. I would love to know what they are and if we need to be concerned since we have a dog and a 9-year old. And if there is a way to eradicate them I would love to know that too! Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated. P.S. We do not have any birds, nor do we live near any poultry farms. But we do have some trees in the backyard and live near wetlands where Canada Geese live, so maybe they are coming from them? Or another idea is we have recently noticed a robin`s nest under that same porch. Could it be the mites are coming from those birds?

Wright County Minnesota entomology insect identification

2 Responses

Unfortunately, your picture is a bit too blurry for me to see any details on this mite to be able to try to identify it. I am not a mite expert per se, but to me this doesn't look to be quite the right shape to be a northern fowl mite. Many different kinds of mites look similar and a mite expert might have to have a specimen that can be examined under a microscope to be able to tell what this is. If you are seeing "hundreds" of them on your porch, and no chickens or other birds are nearby, then that also makes me doubt that they are fowl mites. Could they be some other type of bird mite, coming from your robin's nest? Possibly, but likely only after the robin had abandoned its nest and the mites no longer had a host. Again, I think that is not very likely. I think it is more likely these are coming out of the lawn or soil in your yard, especially if you have had recent heavy rains and the ground is saturated. The apparent body shape of the one under your scope (narrowed at the middle of the body) actually reminds me more of a chigger in shape, but if these were overwerwintering, recently emereged adult chiggers, they would be bright red. Since I can't tell what kind of mite this is from just your photo, I am really only guessing at this point. I would suggest you collect some actual specimens and take them to your county extension office to see if they have a diagnostics expert in the Minnesota system that can identify mites. They can also recommend appropriate control strategies if these continue to be a problem.

Ok thanks for the help. Dr. Moon of the Vet school thought it looked like the fowl mites ... but who knows. We have removed the nest and vacuumed the area so we will see what happens ... but my guess is it will be ok. Thanks!