ARACHNIDS: Mites are tiny arachnids (related to spiders) and have 8 pairs of legs. Common pest mites are spider mites, clover mites, and fowl mites.
Contact with humans usually occurs after birds gain entry to roof cavities via broken tiles or through unprotected eaves, of homes, factories, barns and other dwellings to construct their nests in early spring or summer. However, some infestations also occur from birds roosting on the outside of dwellings such as window ledges or awnings. The mites feed on the unfeathered nestlings, as well as the adult birds, and the large amount of nesting material used by the birds provide the mites with an ideal environment in which to thrive. The mites have a short life cycle (approximately 7 days) and can rapidly generate large populations.
When the young birds leave the nest, or die, many mites (often many tens of thousands) are left behind in the absence of a suitable host, and these will disperse from the nest into and throughout the dwelling searching for new hosts. Most mites will die within 3 weeks without a blood meal from a bird host. They will bite humans they encounter but cannot survive on humans.
The clover mite, Bryobia praetiosa Koch, is a tiny relative of spiders and ticks. Thousands of clover mites can appear during spring or fall, and they are often found crawling around windows or other areas of a house. Clover mites are distinguished from other species of household-invading mites by their reddish-green color and long front legs. The front legs are as long as the body and almost twice the length of the other legs. These distinguishing features can be seen with the aid of a magnifying glass.
Mites are common pests in landscapes and gardens that feed on many fruit trees, vines, berries, vegetables, and ornamental plants. Although related to insects, mites aren’t insects but members of the arachnid class along with spiders and ticks. Spider mites, also called webspinning mites, are the most common mite pests and among the most ubiquitous of all pests in the garden and on the farm.