What Readers are Saying about “The Year of the Mite”

Below are some recent reviews. And as I post this, Amazon seems to be offering the eBook free!

And, by the way, if you have read the book, please post a review… the more reviews, the more likely the Amazon genii is to offer the book to folks searching for information about mites. Thanks!

“Jane certainly has a gift for writing, her story is both captivating and fascinating but she also provides valuable knowledge on what she did to rid herself and her family of the problem. I laughed and was angry with her as I read her story and I’m sure others that have been through this can relate. The few friends that believe be me know I’m suffering but they’ll never quite understand because unlike any other bug infestation a mite is so small you typically can’t see it and what’s even worse is these mites are extremely resilient so when you get to the point that you think you are getting them under control or their almost gone and then they come back with a vengeance it makes you want to give up. I’m so glad I found this book, I only wish I found it sooner. If you are going through a bird mite infestation or know anyone going through one please, please, please tell them about this book it will help them more than you know! And last to Jane Ishka thank you, you are a godsend!” 

“Shining a light on such a little know and often misunderstood topic. No one can possibly comprehend how this tiny invader can ruin relationships, lives and drive you to the brink of insanity only to be told by health professionals that you are delusional. Great read, thank you Jane.”
-Just Me

“This is an important book about the under-recognized problem of mite infestation. Last September, something we couldn’t see started biting us in our home, and we thought it was mosquitos until the weather turned cold. Then, after researching online, we realized that we probably had microscopic mites left over from an earlier mouse infestation. Before this experience, we had no idea that a few species of animal mites sometimes attack humans.

As the book explains, mites can be difficult to catch, and the bites affect some people worse than others. Many individuals may be unaware of an infestation because the bites don’t bother them. For people who are sensitive to the bites, however, an infestation can be an ordeal, as Ishka attests. Because the effects of the bites may mimic other physical and emotional conditions, sufferers are often misdiagnosed; so the problem may be more common than many doctors and even entomologists realize. We need more public awareness about mite infestations to stimulate research for better diagnostic techniques and miticides than are currently available.

Many thanks to Ms. Ishka for her intelligent narrative, dry humor, and wise coping strategies. She has inspired me to do a lot of work around the house to make the place less hospitable to mites.”

“I cried when I read this book. I’ve been battling bird or rodent mites for 5 years, and I feel so alone. I am an educated person–I have a Bachelor’s in Biology, but I have never felt so defeated as I have by these mites. I’ve tried everything under the sun, spent tens of thousands of dollars, but it is never enough. I’m so glad Jane Ishka wrote this book—not just because I relate to her experience, but because she is calling for the medical and scientific community to step up. We need publicity and research. We need help. If you are suffering from mites, this is the book to read.”
– Infested

“Very helpful, comforting and intelligently written. Finally some protocol information that makes sense as well as current scientific information. A mite infestation can completely derail your life and any plans you might have had for it. It is very easy to feel alone and unheard. I am thankful that Jane Ishka has spoken out for those with no voice. I hope that the CDC, the medical community and the pest control industry read this book so that progress can be made and we can get our lives back.”
-Amazon Customer

“Finally an authoritative- and absorbing- book on the horrendous phenomenon of bird mites. Jane Ishka also has a website. Her clear protocol, sense of humor, and ultimate health all give hope to those of us dealing with this. I can’t say enough about my gratitude to her for writing this book”.
– PW

The Best Revenge: Kill the Mites, Save the People

The goal in the fight against parasitic mites is to outlast them. This means get rid of mites without harming ourselves.

I hear from people all the time who have symptoms of parasitic mites. Miserable people, sleepless people, who are suffering without sympathy because the professionals they consult are uninformed or in denial, and the people they love are not being bitten and have no understanding of what the favorite host is going through.

A better day is surely coming, because more and more professionals are realizing that parasitic mite infestation of humans is a real problem. But in the meantime, people with mites are still in charge of their own diagnosis and treatment. And when you have not slept in months because you are being bitten all night, just about any kind of self-treatment is appealing.

But I am asking you: Please, remember you are in this for the long haul. This is not just about getting a few hours of sleep at any cost, although it may feel like that today. This is about killing the mites and keeping you alive. So please take care of yourself. Start with the safest possible methods and give them a chance.

You can do all these things with little or no risk:
Get rid of the carpeting in your house and your car
Clean your floors with ammonia in water
Run air conditioners and dehumidifiers in your home
Go minimalist: Throw out all the stuff you don’t absolutely need
Drop a cup of borax and a cup of ammonia in every load of wash
Swim as often as you can in a chlorinated pool

Please see the protocols on this site for more approaches to ending the co-infestation of skin and environment.

Too often I hear from people who are drinking things no human should ingest, or putting things on their skin that are toxic. You won’t see those letters published on my site because I cannot in any way endorse those methods. I do understand when you write such a letter that you are hurting and nobody helps you or even believes you. And so you have become your own scientist and your own guinea pig. I have been there and I understand the motivation. But let me tell you, when you are over this you will wish you had never exposed yourself to toxins or to carcinogens. You will want to live a happy mite-free life in the years ahead.

And it is possible to get there while making your own health your top priority.

The best revenge is living well. And to get your revenge on parasitic mites, you must keep yourself alive.

Take good care.

The Shifting Ethics of Mite Fighting

People with parasitic mites all need help in some form or other, and it is difficult to get help without putting others at risk. You escape to a hotel for a night: how do you know your sheets will be thoroughly washed? You throw something out: how do you know no one else will scavenge and use it? You sell your house: even if you disclose, how do you know how the buyers will be affected?

I am convinced we are living at the end of the dark age of mite infestation. Already there are researchers using direct DNA detection on non-parasitic face mites like Demodex folluculorum, who have found ten times the incidence previously believed. Other entomologists are starting to write about the medical impact of parasitic mites like Dermanyssus gallinae. It’s only a matter of time until the two research streams come together and we get to a parasitic mite DNA detection kit for use on humans.

At the same time, other biologists are using the DNA fish leave behind as they swim in rivers (called eDNA, for environmental DNA) to tell which species have swum by. It turns out every organism leaves trace nucleic acids in the environment as it passes. Once that technique is applied to locating parasitic mites in the home, the era of relying on ineffective glue traps will be over.

These developments will be wonderful in several ways. They will end the scourge of misdiagnosis with delusional parasitosis, which has been fueled by lack of real data. Accurate medical and environmental measurements of parasitic mite infestations will enable people with mites to advocate for more research funding, and to take better advantage of the limited treatments that currently exist.

But on the flip side, it may be tough to persuade others to help when the risks are well defined. The therapist who thought you were imagining things may suddenly start worrying you will infest the upholstery in her office. The contractor who comes to haul away your carpeting may turn down the work.

It is incredibly frustrating not to be believed. Real data will usher in a new era. But in the first stages, when the reality of parasitic mites is better understood and before there are better treatments, people with mites will not be able to hide behind the ignorance of others. It will be a far better problem than the ones they face today.

A Call to Self-Advocacy for People with Parasitic Mites

I hear from more and more people about their struggles with parasitic mites. So many lost homes, ruined marriages, derailed careers, decimated savings accounts. So many children suffering, so many pets being put down. Hopefully the reason I hear from so many is that more folks are finding my book, this site, and my Facebook page — and NOT that more people are contracting mite infestations. But with the climate warming (which favors arthropods), and with the continued popularity of backyard poultry, it is possible the number of affected people is increasing. As long as the problem officially does not exist and is not tracked, it will be difficult to know for sure.

What is clear is that there are enough of us, with enough smarts and enough indignation, to begin to breach the official denial that has prevented people with mites from getting help for so many years. Networks are forming. There are petitions signed by thousands, there are groups sharing ideas on Facebook. In Europe, Dr. Olivier Sparagano has begun a professional organization to fight the red poultry mite, that will surely benefit humans as well as agricultural animals. Dr. David George has published his groundbreaking article in the journal Parasites & Vectors on the need to consider parasitic mites as a human and veterinary diagnosis. There are groups on Facebook where affected people share information about the protocols that work for them.

If you are a person with mites, and if you have any energy left after working the grueling protocols you’ll find on this site and elsewhere, here are some things you can do:

Join the Skin Mites Support Group on Facebook and volunteer to help

Get involved with your local Biohacking or Citizen Science group, and learn to identify your own parasitic mite species

Start educating the people around you about how to avoid a parasitic mite infestation, because an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. And it can be as simple as suggesting your friends refuse to bring a bird’s nest or feathers info their homes.

When someone disputes the reality of your infestation, be prepared. Refer them to David George’s article, or to the “Frequently Asked Questions for Friends and Family” section of The Year of the Mite. It is time we all came out of the closet.

We can also start gathering information systematically about the shared natural history of infestation.  This will help us approach NIH and the CDC with a scientifically based appeal for assistance.

When I think about people who had to deal with parasitic mites before the internet, with no information and no support, it fills me with sorrow. It is hard enough to overcome this scourge with the support and information we have now. But we have come a long way from those isolated days. And together we will overcome the institutional denial that adds to the health issues of too many people with parasitic mites.

With all best wishes to you and yours,

Biohacking Parasitic Mites: Self Diagnosis by Open Source PCR

When scientists and physicians assume parasitic mites cannot infest people, the result is little or no research that would lead them to understand otherwise. One way to end this Catch-22 is through biohacking parasitic mites, which is to say, becoming our own diagnosticians.

Formal research conducted on scavenger face mites such as Demodex folliculorum has shown that detection of mite DNA using Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) is a much better diagnostic tool than traditional, mostly futile efforts to capture mites themselves.

Yet to my knowledge, no formal scientific studies are being conducted to capture parasitic mite DNA on infested humans.

The Citizen Science movement (also known as Biohacking) exists in part to address gaps in research that would benefit particular patient groups. The more that persons with mites can take charge of their own diagnosis, the sooner they will have evidence to illustrate that parasitic mite infestation is a problem that requires further research and medical support.

Below is a link to purchase open source PCR equipment.


Making the most of this opportunity will require open source sequences for DNA of various mite species. More to come on this topic. Stay tuned.

And in the meantime, let’s encourage entomologists and other scientists to conduct formal investigations as well.

False Diagnosis of Delusional Parasitosis

Below is a link to an article comparing false negative rates using various methods of testing for mites. I believe the PCR method was first used in studies of Demodex and showed much higher rates than with old methods. The interesting thing is, if you read articles in the psychotherapy literature about delusional parasitosis, the authors uniformly assume the validity of old methods like tape testing. So the false negatives with tape testing turn into false positives for delusional parasitosis. Coming soon: a full article on the etiology and sequelae of false diagnoses of delusional parasitosis.



A (Mostly Great) Article on Perils of Backyard Poultry

Meredith Swett Walker wrote a pretty great article about the perils of backyard poultry.  All about people who promote their livestock to family pet, without considering the consequences.

Funny.  Well written Terrific.  Except for one sentence, where she says not to worry, these pests don’t cross over to humans.

Considering that bedbugs can live on chickens, this is already a problem.

Backyard Chickens Harbor Greater Diversity of Ticks, Mites, and Lice than Farm-raised Chickens

Really hope she reads David George’s article on the plasticity of the D. gallinae genome, and how chicken mites can create medical problems.


This idea that parasites can’t cross host species lines seems to be one of those memes that won’t go away, like the flat earth.


Jane Ishka on Facebook and Other News

Jane Ishka on Facebook

Big News!


Jane Ishka is now on Facebook! Please follow Jane there, chat and recommend her to anyone who could be helped by her expertise. You can also use the buttons on the left to ‘Like’ or ‘Share’ any of the pages with your friends on Facbook – please consider doing that so that Jane can help more people understand about mites and how to get rid of them.

The Book

Jane is busily proofing the very final version of The Year of The Mite and it will be available at Amazon and other good book sellers by the end of February! You can get both hard copy print and the electronic Kindle version online. The printed previews look great and were shown off at Jane’s latest talk on ‘The Sex Life of Mites’ at Nerd Night, North Bay in early February. The books we took were quickly grabbed for reviews and for education.  Jane would very much appreciate a review on Amazon.

Some of the topics in Jane’s talk, for more on the sex lives of mites, Jane suggests:

Jane Ishka Now On Facebook

Jane Talks at The North Bay Nerd Night about the ‘Sex Life of Mites’

* “Want Longer Sex? Come Back as a Dust Mite.”
* “Are Mites Having Sex in My Face?”
* “Ancient Dominatrix Mites Found Trapped in Amber While Mating
* “Adactylidium: Baby mites fertilized before birth, eat their way out of mother’s body

The Website

You will see that we have a completely revamped website.  We like it and hope that you do too.  Let Jane know your thoughts, you can now email her directly at [email protected] and the name of the site (just to try and avoid those pesky spammers).

You can also comment on Facebook of course.


Envy – An Excerpt from the Book – The Year of the Mite

It was dusk, just when the bugs woke up to bite. While awaiting a load of laundry at a laundromat, I sat on a wooden bench on the sidewalk facing a restaurant. I was dressed in thin clothes that were easy to wash, and I was cold. It was a chilly night, and I was a homeless person with a six-figure income.

As I sat on the bench, a man and a woman in their forties approached the restaurant. He was trim, looked like he worked out. He had dark hair and a pencil moustache.

She was slender too, had light brown hair, wispy and almost blonde. She was wearing a baby blue sweater, had it wrapped tightly and her arms crossed.

When they arrived at the restaurant, the man reached across and opened the door for her. They passed through, into a warm evening of good food and later, maybe sex, and almost certainly a cozy sleep. And here is the thing: the expressions on their faces as they walked through the door. They were so blasé, almost bored, as if maybe they were both trying really hard to play it cool. That is what I’d like to think: that they were finally on a date with each other, really did appreciate what they had, could not wait to be together, and were wearing their game faces because they were both playing hard to get.

But in the moment I saw their faces, while I sat there cold because warm jackets are too hard to wash every night, while I had no appetite and things bit me and crawled on me, I believed these two people were just as uninterested as they looked. And I had a flash of complete hatred for this couple I never met. I hated them more intensely than I hated my screaming alcoholic eleventh grade chemistry teacher. I hated them more than I ever hated anybody, and these were people I never talked with, people who had done me no wrong. I hated them because I envied their ability to take it all for granted. I hated them because they were innocent of what it was to be haunted. I hated them because their skin was unmarked, and nobody was in their hair or their ears or their belly buttons. I hated them because I wanted that. I wanted to be just that privileged. I wanted to not even notice how good I had it, and I did not know if I would ever feel nonchalant again.

It was a flash, one second, then the door closed and I never saw them again. I don’t know whether they noticed what they ate, or if they spoke at dinner or just sat, glazed over. For all I know they were run over by a bus that night.

I am not even sure now which laundromat I sat near, what restaurant it was. If I saw that couple again I would not know them. But I will never forget those blank expressions, those bland eyes, the man smug and entitled, the woman serene and self-contained.

And I wonder if, in that moment when I hated them, I was alive in a way that they were not. It is tempting to believe that awareness is the prize and contentment the booby prize. But really, of course, it’s the other way around.