The Mite Protocols

 Disclaimer:

These protocols are the result of one person’s experience and study. The protocols were not developed in a controlled fashion to demonstrate their safety and efficacy. Be aware that if you use these protocols, you do so at your own risk. Follow all directions on products you choose to use, and consult your physician regarding your health issues. Consult with a licensed pest control expert regarding environmental treatments that are legal in your community.

Introduction: I became heavily infested with D. gallinae in the Fall of 2009 from baby chicks raised in the family home.  Our older house with its wood paneling and carpet turned out to be “mite heaven,” as Vector Control called it.  I was more affected than other family members, and spent many nights that winter trying to sleep in the car.

Eventually the mite population skyrocketed and we moved out of our home. Specimens from the chickens were identified as D. gallinae in all life stages by a veterinary school parasitology lab, and we had the chickens put down.

Eliminating the source did not solve the problem immediately.  That took over a year and a lot of work.  Ending a mite infestation requires creating an environment that is so inhospitable to mites that you get rid of them faster than they can reproduce.  And it starts with getting rid of the source host, in our case the chickens.

Here’s the advice I wish I’d had at the outset:

  1. Inform Yourself and Your Team: What is now known about parasitic mites may be different from what your doctor and pest control expert were taught in school. Educate yourself and share information with professionals, your spouse and family to improve your chances of getting good support.
  • Get Rid of All Possible Source Hosts: Your pet bird, the pigeons under your balcony, the bird’s nest in your child’s room, the mice in your basement, are all possible sources. Get rid of them all.
  • Get Rid of Most of Your Belongings:
    • Move into a place with no carpeting and no drapes (get blinds).
    • Get rid of your carpeted car and get a Jeep, or a Honda Element.
    • Look up the 5S system (which originated in Japan) for a method to pare down belongings.  Get rid of your upholstered furniture, or if you must, have plastic, not cloth, upholstery. Throw out your books and get a library card.  Throw out most of your clothes.

    When everything you own becomes a fomite (an object that transmits an infection, in this case mites), it’s easy to let go of your possessions.

    1. Cool Down Your Environments: Mite are more active and reproduce more rapidly in a warm environment. Keep your home, car and office cool.
    2. Dry Out Your Environments: Mites are susceptible to desiccation (drying out). This is an effective way to interfere with mites that involves no toxic chemicals. Go to a major hardware store and buy dehumidifiers to run in every room. DO NOT run humidifiers in your home while you have mites.

    3. Keep It Clean:
    • Use ammonia — not bleach — to wash your floors.  Bleach corrodes surfaces and provides hiding places for bugs.  And NEVER use ammonia and bleach together! That combination produces toxic gas.
    • Wash your laundry after each use, including sheets, on hot water, with detergent, Borax and ammonia.   Dry on high heat.  Thin clothes are easiest to wash thoroughly; avoid fuzzy clothes.
    • Wear washable shoes and wash them with your laundry every day.
    • Clean the inside of your car every day with antiseptic wipes.


    1. Keep Your Body Mite-Unfriendly:
    • Keep your hair as short as you can stand it.  Wash whatever hair is left with a sulfur or tar dandruff shampoo at least once a day.  Follow up with a conditioner with essential oils.
    • Shower at least once a day, scrubbing with a rough washcloth. Use liquid soap that contains mite repellent natural ingredients such as neem, tea tree, eucalyptus, and/or lavender.  Wash your face with a cleanser that contains eucalyptus, or use an apricot scrub. A battery operated face brush that cleans in a circular motion is helpful. Try using peppermint lotion. Clean your shower after use, and dehumidify the bathroom.
    • Keep the following homemade mite repellants with you. Use as needed:  a) Lotion to which you have added essential oils and neem; b) a spray bottle containing witch hazel to which you have added essential oils plus neem.  Remember to follow label directions regarding amounts. You’ll find these two repellents are useful at different times.


    1. Keep Your Bed Mite-Unfriendly: Wrap masking tape around the legs of your bed, sticky side out, to keep mites from climbing up from the floor. Cover your box spring, mattress, and pillows with plastic bed covers and wipe them down with antiseptic when you change bedding.
    2. Use Pesticides and Mite Growth Hormones as Directed: Your pest control professional will likely need to identify the species before using these products on your home. Mites evolve pesticide resistance; so discuss the choice of products with your pest control specialist.
    3. Believe in Your Senses:
    • If you are a favored host, your experience may be different from others in your family. Parasitic mites are known to choose favorites in a flock to feed upon.
    • Good diagnostic tools are being developed but are not widely available, so underdiagnosis is still a problem.
    • The best way to know if treatment of an environment works is whether mites still affect you after the environment is treated.
    1. Get Out of Your House and Swim: The more you are at home, the more you are exposed to the mites in your environment. Get out and swim in a chlorinated pool every day.  Then sit in a chlorinated Jacuzzi and power wash your feet.  If you can’t do that, at least exercise (and work up a sweat) every day.
    2. Own the Problem: Become your own expert. If you want to understand why nobody else in your family is being bitten the way you are, read about host selection. If you want to understand why your new bites are less visible than the first bites you received, read about immunosuppression by ectoparasites. More is known every day about parasitic mites. The more you learn, the better you can solve this problem.

    Best of luck.  You can reclaim your life from this infestation.  You, and only you, can make it happen.

    Press Release for "Year of the Mite" -- the Book

    63 thoughts on “The Mite Protocols

    1. Hi. I have been following your advice since we first had our infestation (in August of this year). Thank you. I *hope* I’m starting to get on top of the infestation but it’s a long and slow process (not to mention a rather overwhelming one). Would it be possible to email you personally with some questions I have? With many thanks. Kitty

    2. i have been infected since 2004. i thought i had a shaving rash the first 4 years. my m.d. told me last month that i am infected with h5n1. they are in my lungs and sinus cavity. sometimes when the bird flu gets bad i am in bed for 8 weeks unable to breath well. now i have swelling in my ribs and pain from the virus.
      if you know you have then and can afford to get rid of everything you own and move i would do so today. there is a 40% chance i will live. there is no cure. it can move to my liver,intestines, spleen and brain.
      if you are smart move and leave all behind.

      pbs

      • So very sorry to hear of your troubles, and I hope some of the information on this site is of some use to you.
        Certainly the less we own during an infestation the easier it is to get rid of the bug.
        Best of luck to you.

    3. Hello, thank you so much for this information. My fiancé, and myself, are experiencing this horrendous mite infestation for three months now. We have tried absolutely everything I could think of. No one knows what it is, or how to rid it.

      I so not know if they are bird mites, mold, or “mould mites” or some other kind of mite. I have found ways to keep them manageable, most days, but am becoming increasingly terrified we will never be rid of them. We just bought a new, dream house, on a great deal a couple years ago, and moving is not an option. It is on the water, Clear Lake, TX, a salt water lake. We also have a pool. We had an outdoor pipe leak that took over a month to find and fix, that entire time with shallow standing water in part of the back yard.

      I am wondering, with your experience and expertise, if you can hopefully give me your opinion of which type of mite it is, and any other info and what I should do. I desperately hope you are still checking this page, as I don’t know what to do and what should be the best year of our lives…is instead a nightmare. Thank you in advance for any help.

      ~Elaine in Clear Lake

      • Hello Elaine,

        So sorry to hear of your troubles. If you are able to collect specimens, the Parasitology Lab at the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis should be able to identify them for you. Please check your home for host species such as nesting birds or rodents (which might be attracted by the leak). Keep your pool well chlorinated and swim in it frequently. If the leak you speak of made your house damp, it will be especially important to control moisture by running dehumidifiers (NOT humidifiers!!) in your rooms. If you have rugs, you would do well to replace them with tile floors that are easily cleanable. Similarly, driving cars that have solid (not carpeted) floors makes them more cleanable. I hope the suggested protocols on this page assist you in gradually lowering the numbers.
        Best of luck to you.

      • Hello Elaine,

        One of the toughest things about this is that, absent a specimen, it is very difficult to tell what kind of mite anyone has. Fortunately many of the same things help: lowering temperature and humidity, replacing carpeting with washable flooring, disposing of excess belongings, using Borax and ammonia in laundry, using tar shampoo in the shower. Hope you are finding some relief. Swimming in a chlorinated pool can also help bring relief.

        Best to your family.

    4. It seems those of us who are afflicted with these bugs from satan are fighting a mighty mite. They are diabolical in their arsenal of weapons and abilities. I thought my partner was exaggerating in their abilities. I was wrong. For everyone fighting this fight ty for all I’ve been able to learn through your experiences. Ty for this site, I am constantly thinking up new questions to ask.

    5. My daughter and I are writing to you, we are very desperate. You seem helpful and knowledgeable. My daughter is suicidal. She believes that she has the same mite as you had. She caught it from a stray cat she rescued. The mites stay on her skin and crawl all over her. They follow her everywhere and swarm and bite and draw blood. When they die she sees little red or black dots and black small strands of hair on the sheets. This sounds like the same mite as yours from what we have read on poultry sites. Does it sound familiar?
      This started back in Dec. 2013. The mites have infested her home, car and job. She had to leave her home, stop driving her car and quit her job. She went from hotel to hotel here in South Florida, but the bugs followed her in large swarms. She went to Nevada because of the low humidity, she has been there 2 and 1/2 weeks, but the bugs are still swarming and following her wherever she goes. She pared her belongings down to 2 outfits and medicine, but the bugs still swarm out of her bag. She has recently started swimming daily in a chlorinated pool as you suggested. She is on her third dose of stromectol, but it doesn’t seem to work anymore, the permetherin is also not working. Do you have any suggestions on what she can put on her skin to kill them?
      The most important thing we’d like to know is if you know how long mites take to die in low humidity. In Nevada where she is, they have very low humidity. She has no job and is running out of money. She was hoping the mites would die in the low humidity and she could come back to Florida and stay with her family, she can’t afford to stay in Nevada much longer. We would appreciate any helpful suggestions you can give. We are desperate. Thank you for your time and bless you.

      • Hello Kathy,

        Some of what your daughter is experiencing sounds familiar, but I didn’t see strands of hair from mites.

        Low humidity is good, but the high heat in Nevada could be an issue. The ideal climate would have low temperature and low humidity.

        Some folks have had good luck with talc to dry out mites on the skin. Gold Bond sells a powder that has essential oils mixed into it.

        Best of luck to your family.

      • Hey, we are trying to get rid of BMs in Nevada also. We are from Texas. Write me back here and maybe would could meet up and share horror stories. We have some great ones

      • Laura I just read your post to Jane, may I add a few more natural remedies that have worked tremendously for me? Although I am still battling this like many others, I am doing so much better now than a few years ago, when it was pure hell. I use a cedar oil product from DG cedar oil, I use the large bottle of “Nature’s Defender Vet’s Choice” cedar oil spray for horses, actually the cedar oil spray on that site contains only 2 different formulas under many different names, but all are very safe for humans, you can put this in both large and small spray bottles and spray on your skin (or spray on bedding, clothes, shoes, etc.) whenever you feel crawling, it stops them in their tracks. Then every night I mix Neem leaf powder capsules (NOT neem oil, but the neem leaf) – I break open the capsules into any lotion and mix it up, but my preferred lotion is derma-e tea tree and vitamin e oil, you can plaster your whole body with this, it stops the mites from mating, your skin will feel so much better. I also use Campho-phenique in the little green bottle on and in my ears, and directly on bites, it works to eliminate the mites and calms down any redness. It suffocates them well and I also use it directly on fingernails when I feel crawling there. I also use 100% seabuckthorn oil for my face, in my nostrils, etc. And on eyelashes. Another remedy for eyelashes is sea salt mixed into vinegar, close eye tightly and apply with a washcloth, then rinse off. I threw out all my clothes about 2-3 times now. I’ve been sleeping on a camping mat for 2 years. I have no couch. I’m almost better. It’s been insane, and nobody believes it. However, I have noticed VERY significantly that many, many, many other people in my city seem to also be catching this awful thing – I see young men with odd shaped bald patches on their heads (in weird places), otherwise healthy people with weird bites and rashes on their face and necks and hands, and red marks on their skin that look exactly like what I’ve had, etc. But NOBODY is talking about it. It seems like these bugs are taking over the whole country. Oh yeah a couple other remedies – I mix 1/2 and 1/2 diatomaceous earth with boric acid and sprinkle in my shoes and socks – works great on a daily basis. And when I want to try to “save” an article of clothing which I’d otherwise have to throw out, I try using a ‘De-mite” laundry additive or straight benzoyl benzoate spray (which is very toxic, so use sparingly) – it works. Plus use natural enzyme cleaner sprays, for any area rug, enzyme laundry detergent instead of regular (which is also a natural non-toxic detergent), and then adding tea tree oil or eucalyptus oil drops to your regular floor wash (Murphy’s oil soap) or detergent for clothing. All these have helped. Good luck.

        • Thank you for these thoughts, Becca. It is frustrating that there is such a variety of opinions and strong beliefs among professionals in the field. There are still entomologists who believe humans cannot host parasitic mites, and yet there are other entomologists publishing articles about host plasticity – like this one:

          “Should the poultry red mite Dermanyssus gallinae be of wider concern for veterinary and medical science?”
          http://www.parasitesandvectors.com/content/8/1/178

          It is also frustrating that we are left to our own devices to devise treatments, rather than having scientifically tested protocols upon which we can rely. I am glad to share ideas on this site, but let’s all be careful and take responsibility for our own safety as we try out each other’s ideas. Remember that any claim made by any of us, like “it stops them from mating,” or “it suffocates them,” has likely not been verified scientifically. If any of our ideas worked perfectly, we would not need this site.

    6. My daughter and I are writing to you, we are very desperate. You seem helpful and knowledgeable. My daughter is suicidal. She believes that she has the same mite as you had. She caught it from a stray cat she rescued. The mites stay on her skin and crawl all over her. They follow her everywhere and swarm, bite and draw blood. When they die she sees little red or black dots and black small strands of hair on the sheets. This sounds like the same mite as yours from what we read on the poultry sites. Does it sound familiar?
      This started back in Dec. 2013. The mites have infested her home, car and job. She had to leave her home, stop driving her car and quit her job. She went from hotel to hotel here in South Florida, but the bugs followed her in large swarms. She went to Nevada because of the low humidity, she has been there 2 and 1/2 weeks, but the bugs are still swarming and following her wherever she goes. She pared her belongings down to 2 outfits and her medicine, but the bugs still swarm out of her bag. She has recently started swimming daily in the chlorinated pool as you suggested. She is on her third dose of stromectol, but it doesn’t seem to work anymore, the permetherin also is not working. Do you have any suggestions on what she can put on her skin to kill them?
      The most important thing we’d like to know is if you know how long mites take to die in low humidity. In Nevada, they have very low humidity. She has no job and is running out of money. She was hoping the mites would die in the low humidity and she could come back to Florida and stay with her family. She can’t afford to stay in Nevada much longer. We would appreciate any helpful suggestions you can give. We are desperate. Thank you for your time and bless you.

      • I am sorry to hear of your troubles. It is certainly helpful to be in an area with low humidity, and that is part of an overall program that includes personal care, laundry, and cleaning the residence. Sounds like your daughter is doing many things to kill the mites. It is so unfortunate that this is not a quick process. Our bodies belong to us and we deserve to reclaim them, but it takes time and effort, even while a person is exhausted.

        Over time, if she keeps killing them faster than they can reproduce, the population will decline and eventually die. But no one can say how long it will take. Please stay strong and keep going. You and your daughter deserve it.

        PS Remember mites love heat. Summer in Nevada, even if dry, may not be ideal. If your daughter can be in a cool, dry climate, it will speed the process. If she does go back to Florida, running both a dehumidifier and an air conditioner will help. Good luck!

      • Hello Kathy,

        Not sure of where your daughter’s situation is now but scrubbing with dawn dishwashing liquid mixed with a little peppermint oil helps get them off and repels them. They cant stand peppermint, clove, thyme, tea tree or lavender oil. Hope this helps in any measure.

        Sorry she is having to deal with this horrible problem. It definitely is a nightmare for anyone who has them. Praying for your daughters complete eradication from these monsters.

    7. I have just recently discovered we are dealing with NFM. My groomer at the vet’s found them on my Maltese when I miss a dose of his Advantage Multi. They sent it off for identification. It was double trouble for us. One source was a bird nest in a pipe in the mailbox. We were taxing them into the office everyday and two birds nest in shrubbery outside my bedroom window.

      I have done everything I possibly can to get rid of these things. I have found some relief with essential oils and my dogs top spot does kill them when they feed on them.

      The thing I am trying now as an experiment is a dehumidifier in a bedroom where they were the worst. My question is, I have the dehumidifier set to 30 percent and its definitely doing that number but puts off heat from the motor. Will the heat counter act the humidity since they like warm places? If this dehumidifier works in this room we are springing for a full home dehumidifier at about 2 grand. I was just curious as to your thoughts on it.

      • Yes, the heat put out by a dehumidifier does offset somewhat the benefit of lower humidity in warm weather. When it’s cold outside and you would be using heat anyway, the dehumidifier is an unmixed blessing.

        The problem is that we can’t see the damned things, so we don’t have really good data to measure whether the upside of lower humidity is bigger than the downside of more heat. If it’s possible to run an air conditioning unit at the same time as the dehumidifier, I’d be tempted to do that.

        A full home dehumidifier could be a really good investment, assuming the quality is there and that there is a warranty.

        Best of luck in eliminating your mites.

        • Thank you for your reply. We are running the central a/c but the room is about an 8×10 so the size makes it easier for the motor to warm the room to about 80 degrees. The house is set at 73. I’ve had it running constant for two days now. I have already started to notice a difference in the number of bites on my feet when I walk in there. I plan on trying to sleep in there on Tuesday to see if its even a possibility.

          If I had a full home dehumidifier the heat wouldn’t be a issue but wanted to try a hundred dollar dehumidifier as opposed to the other first.

          One thing I have found is that when I have a ceiling fan running, I have been able to sleep the whole night through. First time in two months. They definitely don’t like it. Realized that by accident but its been a blessing.

          Again, thank you for your comment and this page. It’s nice to read something on the sane side rather than all these alarmists sites scaring you into their products or pest control company. Some of those sites are down right ridiculous.

          I will keep you posted on my dehumidifier project. Praying this works.

    8. Well, this is an update. I ran the dehumidifier for 5 days on constant. Humidity was 27 percent. Temperature was average 80 degrees in the room because of the dehumidifier motor. I slept in the room last night and not one bite nor any crawling around my mouth, nose or ears. Slept all night. Woke up without that feeling of yuk mouth and stopped up nose. I believe by the grace of God, this low humidity thing works. Planning my next step while I frantically still clean everyday. Getting prices on home dehumidifiers and installation while I move the dehumidifier to another room. I’Il keep you posted.

      • Terrific news, Lana! Dehumidifiers are non-toxic, and mites can’t readily evolve resistance to them like they can to pesticides. Plus dehumidifiers require no work on the part of the mite host, unlike cleaning regimens which can be so intense.

        Like you, I found I still had to clean every day. But getting rid of carpeting and using dehumidifiers in every room were essential to eliminating the damned things.

    9. Hi this is Laura, the girl trying to get rid of what ever kind of mite I have in Nevada.You responded to my mom twice. Thanks for your help. Since August 1st they have been dying on me everyday. I had to use some drastic measures other people have tried. I use kerosene every night. And 37% permethrin with Vaseline in the day. That’s been keeping them dying. I also take neem pills along with neem oil. What I was wondering when they started dying for you at a constant rate how long did it take? I still feel hopeless. No matter how many die more keep coming. I am about to max out my credit card the clock is ticking! I think I have some other mites because I get what appears to be little hairs or maybe larva that comes out with the little black specks. I know mites like heat but I have also heard they do not like sunlight and if it is over 100 degrees. For awhile it would get to 110 sometimes and the humidity would be 5%. That would make them go crazy and eventually they would die. If there is somewhere else I could go that would be better, please let me know? What I really wanted to ask is if I am on the right track, and if it is getting better? I just want to know how it went for you? Even though so many have died everyday since August 1st. They never seem to go down in numbers more and more keep coming. That is the hardest part, not knowing if your getting better. It does not feel that way. Thank you for your time and help. God bless you. Thank you for others who have prayed for me as well. God bless you all.

      • Hi, this is Laura the girl still in Nevada trying to get rid of these mites. I am hoping to make it home to florida before Christmas. I just wanted to give you an update, hoping you could give me some advice. I have now started using lyme sulfur dip. I use it every 3 days and I leave on 24 hours. That has seemed to work the best for me so far. I find the day I keep the sulfur on there are more dying. I also get these little pieces what appear to look like salt and I wonder if those are eggs? I was hoping you could tell me what you think? I don’t think I have the same kind of mite you had. I know mine spin these little hairs that look like eyelashes. Also this debris that looks like splinters, not many of those though. Well the question I have is I am so desperate to know if I am getting any better? Everyday lot of these little black dots keep popping up out of my skin ever since August 1st. It is so frustrating because it seems more and more keep coming no matter how many die. Sometimes it makes me feel I am getting worse. Since I have been using the sulfur I feel so many more on me. They also create terrible rashes all over and many more bites. I am confused because so many die but it never seems to feel like there are less. It always feels like there are more? I was just wondering if you could tell me how your recovery went? Did you have a lot dying for a long period of time? Did it seem it would never end? When did you start to notice an improvement? Well thank in advance for all your help. It is nice of you to keep helping people with this terrible disease that is a nightmare. God bless you. Laura

        • Hello Laura, I am very sorry to hear of your troubles. Yes it does sound like you have a different kind of infestation than I had. I never experienced the little hairs you are talking about, or the splinters. Nor did I see anything like salt. The closest I came to any of that was the sensation of webbing on my face. Later I saw pictures of chicken coops heavily infested with D. gallinae, with visible webbing.

          I don’t of course know what you are experiencing, but it sounds like what I’ve read about Colembola, which is not supposed to infest humans but perhaps does (what I had was also thought not to infest humans until fifty years ago). I don’t know if there is a diagnostic available for Colembola. And I don’t know if looking up that organism on the internet will lead you to useful results, but you might try it.

          It sounds like you have the resourcefulness and initiative to combat the problem you face, and I wish you all the best. In my case, recovery took over a year and was the result of much trial and error, many failed attempts. It is difficult to know if what you are doing is working when you cannot see the infesting organism. Only later, when your efforts really begin to pay off, do you really know.

          I wish I could give you more specific guidance, but your situation and mine are rather different. I hope that one day when you have prevailed, even if you never want to think about it again, you’ll share your learning and your successes with others.

          Take care.

        • Kathyec, sorry to say what you have describes morgellons. Do not listen to what the cdc says about morgellons, they are wrong. There are 100,000 of us who 1st thought it was only mites but the black specks, spinters, webbing etc is a sure sign of morgellons. Best of luck. There are many group with people who have morgellons on facebook. Ruth

          • Thank you, Ruth.
            Some studies seem to indicate that Morgellons is caused by an organism called Colembola.
            The good news is that scientists studying face mites (scavenger mites that apparently live in everybody’s eyelashes) have come up with improved ways to catch mites. These methods may be useful to catch organisms that elude old fashioned methods used to catch mites (like scotch tape), that apparently have about a 90% false negative rate.
            For everyone infested with small ectoparasites, the lack of data has been a huge obstacle to receiving appropriate treatment.
            Check out this article that describes the new collection method:
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4146604/
            Improved methods of collection are key to ending the problem of under diagnosis. If physicians are using outdated methods, they are not getting the whole story.
            Hoping improved methods will help folks with every type of small ectoparasite.
            Best of luck.
            Jane

    10. Hello Jane-

      I seem to be in a similar situation. It’s summer here in Rhode Island, and the bites have gone from a nuisance to many dozen a day, and it’s honestly driving me nuts.

      I have three questions- first, can you describe any techniques or methods you have learned to capture a sample. Proof would go a long way towards convincing my family, who don’t seem to be bothered. I could certainly use their support.

      Secondly, after following your protocol, how and when did you know they were all gone? Did you wait several weeks from your last bite to stop the daily cleaning and dehumidifying, or even longer. I’m concerned I’ll solve the problem, move somewhere warm and muggy, and boom- 2 months later they’re back.

      Thirdly, I’ve stayed with some friends over the past few months before I understood the full extent of the problem. I’m worried about reinfection. In your experience, are they spread easily, say after spending a couple of hours somewhere or a simple car ride. Or only after an overnight stay, or an extended stay. Maybe there’s no hard rule to this.

      Thanks in advance.

      Regards,

      Mark

      • Hello Mark,
        Sorry to hear of your mite troubles.
        In regard to capturing a sample: The lack of data is one of the main challenges faced by people with mites. I recently attended a presentation on face mites given by Michelle Trautwein of the California Academy of Sciences. Face mites are scavenger mites, not parasites like we are talking about. People who study face mites formerly used the capture methods typically used for parasitic mites (tape and microscope), and were able to determine that maybe ten percent of humans had face mites. With improved techniques (a slide covered with a much stronger adhesive, plus PCR used to sequence the captured mite DNA) they found that 100% of people carry scavenger face mites. That means the usual method had about a 90% false negative rate, at least for scavenger mites that live in our eyelashes.
        So we know the methods we usually use for parasitic mites are likely very inadequate. And we may be on the verge of the development and use of better methods for parasitic mites. But we’re not there yet, unfortunately.
        Your second question: Because detection methods are so dismal, the best way to know they are gone is you stop getting bitten. And don’t move somewhere warm and muggy. Just don’t. I gradually lowered the amount of cleaning as they went away and ramped back up temporarily if mite activity increased. It’s a bit of a dance, as they go away.
        Your third question: This problem of possibly spreading mites to people who help us by letting us stay with them is a real ethical issue. Be careful whom you stay with. Pick places that are spartan, and easily cleaned when you leave. Fully disclose so your friends understand the risk they are taking. No, there is no hard and fast rule. And the ethical issues extend to everything from trying on clothes to sitting in a dentist’s chair. We can’t stop existing, we just need to take reasonable precautions until we get rid of them.
        Best of luck to you.
        J.

    11. Jane – thank you so much for the thoughtful reply. Having done the research and looking at too many message boards, you’re one of the few voices of sanity and reason on the subject. I’ll definitely buy that book once it comes out.

      One more lingering question – having eliminated almost all my possessions, the two things I can’t live without (or submerge in chemicals), are my iPhone or Macbook. Particularly the laptop, full of spaces and crevices, always with me, is the ultimate fomite. What to do? Simply wiping it down seems like not enough.

      thanks

    12. Hello Mark,

      Many thanks for your kind words. It is much easier to sound reasonable after they’re gone.

      Yes, electronics can be a dilemma. Those nice warm circuits do attract bugs, and how to get rid of them? I have a friend who eliminated bedbugs from fragile objects by putting them in a container with dry ice. Not touching, just in the same chamber. I think that exposure is outside the temperature range of viability for mites, but I’ve no idea what that experience would do to a phone or a computer.

      Aside from that, probably the best you can do is keep your distance. Text instead of putting the phone up to your head to talk. Get an external keypad for your laptop – cheaper to replace than a whole infested computer.

      Again, best of luck. This is a messy process but let’s face it: You are smarter and more determined than they are.

      Jane

      • Hey Mark

        Put your iPhone in a small zip lock bag and use it through there. Also, get an iPad and if possible sell the Macbook. Again, put the iPad in a zip lock bag.

        If you must have a laptop, I have heard of people using a 2 gal zip lock bag and using CO2 on their laptop in there.

        With laptops, you can’t really use it in a zip lock. So when you are using it, make sure it is never on your lap or in bed. Only use it at a desk/table.

        I get the feeling that you haven’t had your mites for very long. They may not have burrowed into your body yet. You have a very good chance of beating them. We have had our mites for over a year now and they are deep in us.

        If I had to do it over again, I would have left my house sooner. Try going to a hotel and taking a baby oil bath to see how many are truly in you. That will give you an idea of how seriously you need to take the parasites. Spray all your stuff down with Lysol All Purpose Cleaner too.

        good luck
        rami

        • Rami, great suggestion re the ziploc sandwich baggie for the cell phone.
          Careful though about recommending folks sell infested stuff. We don’t want anybody else to join our little club.

          Also I like what you said about leaving the house sooner. We all would do things differently if we knew then what we do now. I would have done the same things but sooner: kill the chickens, dismantle the coop, get rid of the carpeting, use dehumidifiers everywhere, throw out just about everything I owned, etc. Treating aggressively at the outset is the way to go.

          Best,
          Jane

    13. Sorry, I meant could I email you personally with one additional question? Don’t want to take up too much of your time.

    14. Hey Jane,

      Just recently acquired whatever mite I have? They are white and look like a speck of white dust or salt. Got them at my mom’s home. She is in a nursing home but the sister use her help. I was there when another sister had been staying there. She had brought in a kitten from the Ferrel cats that live outside. Not sure where the mites came from several possibilities. I’m the only one in the family that has been attacked by them. yeah me! Anyway I thought they were fleas at firs, but didn’t ever see anything brown or black, just white. I’ve found pics of white mites but no name for them. Any suggestions where to look?
      I have a couple of questions for you:
      I’ve been bathing in several natural products and have read by many they see things in the water and that is how they know they are coming out of their skin. But I really haven’t seen anything. I still itch and burn and feel bites. Is that always the case? Or does that depend on the type of mites. I’m becoming almost obsessed with getting them out of my skin!
      I have read that people with compromised immune systems are more subject to be attacked. Well that’s me! I have 2 autoimmune diseases and one is basically I have no immune system. I take a monthly treatment to raise my immune system that does help. But isn’t a cure. Have you heard this before?
      My husband is supportive, but since he doesn’t get bit doesn’t think he has to do anything personally to kill the little critters. He’s not washing his clothes in a manner suggested or doing anything special when he baths. If he doesn’t do those things and we sleep in the same bed, even though I have done what needs to be done on bedding, am I going to get reinfected by him?
      I too am worried about spreading these to others. My mom just went to hospice which means a funeral shortly and a lot of people. Hugging and kissing. I would like to go to see my dr, but sitting in a waiting room thinking about these little critters jumping off on to others is something I’m concerned with.
      Food for thought: the bible talks about their being pestilence in the end times. I personally think these little critters qualify!
      Raz, you are correct about some of the other websites having good info but a challenge to sift through.
      Thanks Jane for your input!

      • Hello Ellie,
        I’m so sorry to hear both about your mother’s illness and about your infestation. That is a lot to deal with at one time. Wishing you all the best, including lots of good support from friends and family.
        There are many types of parasitic mites and even some other small parasitic arthropods that are not mites. It sounds like you have seen your parasite, and if you are able to capture a specimen, you can then take it to either a university entomology department (vet schools can be very helpful), or to a knowledgeable pest control operator. Some PCOs have entomologists on staff. If you are not able to capture a specimen, you might still be able to find a helpful entomologist in a university with whom you can discuss this. There are also books about mites with pictures of various types. “Mites: Ecology, Evolution and Behavior” by Walter and Proctor is a good one.
        As for getting bugs out of your skin: There are protocols on this website with suggestions. Spending time every day in a swimming pool, scrubbing your skin with a rough washcloth containing soap with essential oils, and the use of a strong dandruff shampoo are all helpful. I kept my hair very short until the infestation was over.
        Anecdotally I’m aware that a number of people with mite issues have preexisting immune system issues. I’m not aware of any studies about this.
        It will be very helpful for your husband to understand that mites infest not just the person but the environment. So even if the mites have chosen you as their favorite and are not biting him, his clothes and personal belongings are part of the environment where they can hang out while dormant. If his clothing isn’t treated, it can act as a fomite, which means an object that transmits a disease.
        Many people who have mites worry about spreading them to others. From what I can tell, brief contact like a hug is not enough. The only person I know who may have transmitted mites to another person was a mother who believes she gave them to her young child by carrying him on her hip a lot of the time. When I was treating for mites, I hugged a lot of people in my church community at services over a period of months. They knew I had mites and were willing to take that risk. None of them developed mites.
        Thank you for your comment about pestilence in the end times. Some entomologists believe mites are more prevalent now because of global warming. And many people believe global warming will in fact end us. So you may be right.
        Best of luck with the challenges you face.
        Jane.

    15. Have read of one person who used Cimexa dust on carpets. Cimexa is a negatively charged Silica dust that is used as a desiccant to dehydrate the exoskeleton of mites. It can be dusted around perimeters or mixed with water and sprayed on carpets. I have been suffering for 16 months. The house and cars are heavily infested. The only success has been with steaming and using 91 percent Alcohol. The house is loaded with cotton furniture and carpet.

      • Thanks for your thoughts, Gary, and best of luck to you. Sixteen months is a long time to deal with parasitic mites.
        Certainly desiccation is one important avenue for controlling mites, and silica dust has been shown to have some effect. In my experience, running dehumidifiers was more effective at desiccation, but I have seen no head-to-head studies.
        As for your car being infested, please consider either switching to public transit or buying a car without carpeting such as a Jeep or a Honda Element. The carpeting and upholstery in a car can become a perfect “cave” for these cave parasites.
        For your home, please see the Protocols on this site, where there are suggestions about eliminating excess possessions, systematic cleaning, and the removal of carpeting and drapes (along with use of dehumidifiers, mentioned above).
        I would caution about the use of steaming, because mites thrive in heat and moisture. A cold, dry environment is the goal.
        In addition, 91 percent alcohol can be quite toxic depending on how you use it. Again, please see the Protocols on this site for less toxic alternatives.
        Wishing you all the best.
        Jane.

    16. Jane, is it possible to keep my dog with the mites? I love him. and abandoning him would be cruel to him a death sentence! He is very fluffy and 45 lbs. Bathing him is such work and takes hours. Is it still possible to get rid of mites with him? The original source were rats.

      Thanks..

      • So sorry to hear of your difficulties maintaining your pet dog during your infestation, Jay!
        Please let me know how that is going.
        I hope you are able to trim his fur and bath him more easily.
        Best wishes,
        Jane

    17. Hi Jane
      This has been interesting to read. Of course I’ve been researching every day to try to figure this out. Docs aren’t any help. I was already sick and in the middle of disability when I went to stay with my daughter in a rural area. We were surrounded by farms with chickens and various other animals. Im alone (tore family apart), broke etc. I feel awful. Have tracks that you cant see but itch and when I rub them some type of creature falls out. I see comma shape black things and white tear shape spots that are alive and attached to my skin. There are inverted V shape with dots at the end and they are shiny. Very small and I wouldnt have found them if I hadnt shaken my hair outside. I see them everywhere outside and inside. I dont know what to do. Doctors wont even listen, let alone look at these things. They just think you’re crazy. I cant see my grandchildren and my son thinks im insane. My daughter has it too and only told me. So made my son thin it wasnt true. She gave up after seeing the doc twice. We did creams etc and nothing works. I feel so sick now and exhausted. Its been over a year. How can I get identification and prove this? I also have cats that only live indoors and now they have it. It does live on them the same as on me but who will believe? I have no money to keep going to doctors. Any help out there for poor people with this? I can’t live like this and dont want to. Please let me know if you can suggest any help.
      Thank you
      Nancy

      • Hello Nancy,

        Very sorry you are having multiple health problems, including an infestation. It sounds like you are not receiving the help or support you need. Unfortunately this happens with many folks who have an infestation.

        The organism you describe does not sound like what I had, and since I am not an entomologist, I can’t help you identify it. The fortunate part is, you seem to be able to see and collect these organisms. I’d suggest you get a small vial, put several specimens in it, and fill the rest of the way with isopropyl alcohol to preserve them. You will need to get them to an entomologist who can ID them for you, either at a university or at a reputable pest control operator. You don’t say where you live, but if you are in California, I’d recommend calling the UC Davis Vet School. Once you have an ID, a pest control operator can spray with the appropriate pesticides.

        There are also protocols in this website that may help, although again, without a species ID it’s hard to know how applicable they are. But things like cleaning, and getting rid of things you don’t need, should help with many different kinds of bugs.

        As far as bugs crossing host species lines, there is more and more research showing that is more common than people used to think.

        Please read the protocols and see if anything there is of help to you. Also you might encourage your family members to look at this website and at the free sample portion of the Year of the Mite book online. If you buy the book, it also has an FAQ section for friends and family that might help them understand what you’re dealing with.

        Again, I’m very sorry you are dealing with this. It takes a lot of time and energy to get rid of the blasted things. Please let me know how it goes for you.
        All best wishes,
        Jane

    18. Jane,
      On keeping it cold and dry… Do you have a specific number? Like below 70 degrees and below 30 humidity? We have central air and set to 68. No Dehumidifier at this time. We live in PA, so humidity can sometimes be an issue.

      • Hello Brian,
        Don’t know how big your place is, but you have several options for dehumidifiers.
        You could buy one for each room at Home Depot. These work fine, but would be expensive to buy a lot of units if you have a big house.
        Or you could have a full home dehumidifier system installed. This might be a better bet for a big house.
        I don’t have a specific number. If I were in the initial stages of fighting an infestation, I would keep my house as cold and as dry as I could stand it. I would also rip out my carpeting and throw away my curtains, but that is another story.
        All best wishes,
        Jane

    19. Hi Jane,
      I just found this website after searching for months for what has been infesting me, my cat, this hell of an apartment – from most of my symptoms it seems it is the red bird mite, but I haven’t seen two of my symptoms listed – little black speck scratched from my scalp and tiny translucent pebbles in m soap bar after washing my bodily “unmentionables.” I am thinking a combo of fleas that have burrowed inside and the mite, but I can’t get a doctor who knows enough to even look further.
      Anyway, in the meantime, I am moving and wanted to ask about one of your protocols:
      “Throw out most of your clothes.”
      If I am washing everything nearly daily in hot water with borax and drying on high heat for at least 45 minutes, why would I throw out my clothes? Or does this apply only to unwashables? (And if so, what about dry-cleaning?)
      Thank you so much.

      • Hello, and sorry to hear about your troubles with infestation.
        The suggestion to throw out most of your clothes is in line with limiting the number of hiding places for arthropods in your life.
        As for dry cleaning, I didn’t find that it worked very well, at least during a time of heavy infestation.
        Glad you are taking charge of your own care, and best of luck. Let me know how it goes.
        All the best,
        Jane

    20. Hi Jane! Thanks for all the information. My gf & I have been dealing with white or dark colored bird mites and whatever else for 3 months now and our lives have sadly completely changed. I say whatever because we have found some strange white critters that are larger and sometimes an inch or more in length. We have them all frozen in a ziplock. I live in an older upscale neighborhood in OKC. There’s a lot of trees and birds. But also I’ve had a neighbor draining his hot tub into my yard for years and as the water runs through his dog pen, it goes thru all it’s feces before it gets to me! Draining takes 3-4 days. Just misses my pool due to my french drains. He’s never there when I go over to speak to him. It’s always some woman house sitting and teenagers who party all night long. They play dumb and last time stopped the draining. However after the infestation, I got my attorney on this but he’s having problems finding anything legally that can be done. With my pool I’ve got to drain it down a city pipe in the ground (which I thought was the law.) Our infestation is so bad, my gf has an auto immune disease and her bites are more visible and much worse. Mine are irritation, stinging, and uncomfortable. My house is minimalist type, no drapes, leather furniture, but we do have a small patch of SHAG carpet in our living room where we spend most of our time on large leather sectional (we now sleep on.) I have a lot of high-end clothes, sport coats, etc I’m a professional and can’t imagine throwing everything away. But as it stands now, I can’t wear it because I’ve stopped using dry cleaners and I’m only wearing what I wash that morning. Simple, very casual stuff. I had to tell my boss at work because of the effect this has had. My over all worn out look, weight loss, hair (no more hair products.) We’ve been to the Doc 2-3 times, tried the permethrin creams, anti-biotics, and had 3 exterminators and the problem is only getting worse. I just ordered something called Klean Green this morn in hopes it
      helps. I made a Doc appt this Mon because I guess I have mites in one of my eyes. I noticed it when I started seeing bright flashes of light out of the corner of my left eye. Almost like a strobe light, weird. So
      looked in magnifying mirror and saw little mites in eyelashes and junk closer to eye lids. Been washing with just anti-bacterial soap and water. Something else we just started at night before bed is after cold showers, pouring a solution of Epsom salt and water all over us and instead of toweling off, using a blow dryer. It leaves the residue all over (incl. the hair.) We also have Epsom salt sprinkled all over our house incl the carpeted area. We will def be trying a lot if not all your suggestions, we can’t live like this!
      Has anyone had any luck with “tenting” a house to get rid of these mites. Or is moving the answer? We are def the hosts too, so I’m afraid we will take them along.

      • Hello Mike, very sorry to hear of your infestation issues. Glad that you have trapped specimens. They may keep better if you put them in isopropyl. If you are able to get a species identification, that will help you get appropriate pest control. You may find an entomologist at a nearby university or through a veterinary school. Some pest control operators also employ entomologists. I’d caution you to keep some specimens in reserve, as a surprising number of people have reported specimens being misplaced by organizations that are supposed to identify them. A skilled pest control officer can advise about tenting, and it really depends on what species you are dealing with. Sounds like you have several, and maybe not just mites. Often mites per se are exterminated using pyrethrins and growth hormones that keep mites from maturing and reproducing. Neither of those require tenting, as far as I know.
        It sounds like you are doing some good things to control the infestation. With multiple types of organisms, identification will help figure out what measures to add to what you’re already doing. Depending on what you have besides mites, dehumidifiers and air conditioning may be helpful.
        How frustrating it must be to try to deal with your neighbors. Legal action and insurance coverage both seem to be ineffective in these cases.
        I hope your physician is able to diagnose and treat your eye issue. Please write back and let me know how you’re doing. Sending all best wishes.

    21. I am a disabled Vet and I have been struggling with these mites for almost 2 years due to 15 months of misdiagnoses by 4 doctors here in Maui ; food allergies,too much sun, too little sun. too much bathing etc.Sad.
      But now it remains to deal with the problem for what it is. I have fumigated 3 times and tented my hone once with no effect.I have moved 3 times and infested 3 rentals.
      I have been given permetherin 5% and ivermectin with some positive results but the bites continue to spite treatment of the rentals I have moved to. If with the help of God I actually come to a time of victory over these demons how do i prevent reinfesting my home or any new property I move to? I have read that some folks have literally burned there possessions. I am most concerned about my papers and computer?
      Thanks for any guidance
      Tony

      • Dear Tony,
        Many thanks for your service to our country, and I’m so sorry to hear that you have been dealing with parasitic mites for two years in addition to coping with the disability you acquired during your service. And, like too many other people, you have dealt with the issues of misdiagnosis and lack of real assistance from professionals in the field. You deserve far better.
        You mention the possibility of burning possessions. From what I have heard, that was an old-time solution farmers used when chicken coops became infested. They would burn an infested coop to the ground and build a new coop at a good distance. Burning does have an appeal, because when we dispose of possessions that appear to be perfectly fine, others could be tempted to use them and then become infested. One of the many things that needs to change in regard to mite infestations is public education about prevention, which would include not using things that others have discarded (especially items such as upholstered furniture, that can be heavily infested and are not easily washed).
        You asked specifically about papers and computers. One way to deal with papers is to scan them and destroy the originals. Another idea is to place papers in a chest with dry ice. I’ve not tried this myself, but others have recommended it. Obviously it’s important to handle dry ice with appropriate skin protection. And of course get rid of all papers you don’t absolutely need. When I had parasitic mites, I threw out hundreds of books and drawers of files.
        Computers are tough. Mites are attracted to heat, and that includes the heat of a computer. Mites in a CPU are less of a concern, because you don’t really touch that. Keyboards are a big concern. You can enclose your keyboard in a plastic bag, or in a plastic cover that is made as adaptive equipment. And of course you can replace your keyboard, but that gets expensive if you do it often.
        You didn’t mention your phone, but one way to handle that might be to use earphones and clean them frequently.
        In regard to how to avoid infesting a new place: Any time you move is an opportunity to bring the level of infestation way down. Pare down your possessions, and in particular get rid of anything you can’t easily clean. Clean each item as you pack. Choose a new home that has floors not carpet, and blinds not drapes. If you have a car with rugs and upholstery, this is a good time to change to a Honda Element or a Jeep with no rugs and plastic seats. Use dehumidifiers in each room of your new home (very important in Hawaii, which tends to be humid – mites love moisture in the air). Please check the protocols on this site for other ideas that are useful at moving time. It is best to treat the environment and the person at the same time, to leave the mites nowhere to go.
        Knowledge is power, and now that you know what you have, you’ve gained the power to fight these things. Best wishes to you. Please write again and let me know how you’re doing.
        All the best,
        Jane

    22. Jane:
      Thank you for your detailed and thorough site!
      Our situation is sad…my sister and her husband have a home and a personal infestation evidenced by bites on mid-torso, and that crawling feeling.
      Via their local agriculture ext. department, springtails are the only thing identified.
      The bites are quite visible; however, the culprits are not. In addition, there are nor residual drops, dots, blood…nothing.
      The problem of infestation came possibly from nesting material of starling in a window sill.
      A sad element is that their infested home is their family cabin which was hand built log/chinked, hand split white oak shingled…and they are retirement age…
      so because this is their “retirement” home and all they have. Therefore, they are considering tenting/fumigation.
      The husband has few new bites, and the wife seems to think her’s are slowing….but…who knows!
      Do you have a recipe for eradication protocol compiled from all the success stories?
      I am so tired of hearing about all the tormented folks…just needing to hear something helpful.
      The couple is following all the protocol for personal hygiene and home environment that could be garnered from online.

      • Hello Carolyn,
        I am very sorry to hear of the problems your family is having with parasitic mites.
        Please look at the protocols on this website to see if there are suggestions that might help you.
        The main thing is to get rid of them faster than they can reproduce, both on the people and in the environment.
        Keeping the house cool, dry, and clean, and throwing away everything you don’t need, is very helpful.
        So is swimming in a chlorinated pool every day, if you can manage.
        Again, there is more information in the protocols on this site.
        Best of luck to you and yours, and do let me know how it’s going.
        Jane

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