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Oak mites not dangerous but can be annoying

From staff reports Published: September 14, 2016 12:00 AM

You can't see oak mites with your eyes, but you can feel the large, red itchy bites that they leave, according to published reports. Most people do not show symptoms until several hours later, and those bites can become infected and leave swelling.

However, there have not been large outbreaks of oak mites in Northeastern Ohio, and there is no potential for indoor infestation, according to published reports.

While oak mites feed on larvae in pin oak trees, they can also be found on oak trees in general. In fact, some oak mites are literally hiding in pin oak trees and dropping on people standing beneath the trees.

The emergence of cicadas this spring and summer increased reproduction of the oak mites, according to published reports.

People can mistake oak mites for mosquitoes and bed bugs, and more than 300,000 oak mites can drop out of an oak tree, according to published reports.

The oak mite bites can be treated with Benadryl, hydrocortisone or an ice-pack to numb the area, but insect repellent does not work, according to reports, while Ibuprofen is recommended if there is inflammation. Eventually, the irritation from the bites will go away.

People concerned about the oak mites are urged to wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when in heavily-wooded areas. It is also suggested that people stay away from oak trees and use anti-itch cream for the insect's bites.

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