What are Rat Mites? Are They Harmful to Humans?

Author: Kurt Treftz, Cascade Pest Control

Due to the rat-prone nature of the Seattle and greater Puget Sound region, it is important to be tuned in to and educated about rat mite habits and prevention techniques. Luckily, Cascade Pest Control’s expert technicians offer a range of rodent removal, abatement, and exclusion services to help you through this process.

While the name implies a threat to rats directly, parasitic rat mites are capable of traveling several hundred feet to find a different warm-blooded target when they are lacking a rodent host. This only elevates the existing threat level rats pose to the health and safety of your space and its residents.

Rat Mites: Like Bed Bugs, but Grosser

As if rats needed a reason to be more vile…now these rodents come with pests of their own. Rat mites, or ornithonyssus bacoti, are parasites that live on rats and in their nests. They are only about 1mm when fully engorged, and they feed on their rodent host’s blood. They have the unfortunate ability to be able to survive several weeks between meals, and they can travel up to hundreds of feet to find sustenance if a rodent isn’t nearby.

It is in this scenario in which rat mites more directly endanger humans: they can bite and feed on us, usually when we’re sleeping, in order to survive. The minor silver lining is that they don’t burrow or survive on our bodies once they’ve finished feeding. They definitely prefer rat nests and rat’s blood, but their bites are annoyingly itchy and can be mistaken for bed bug bites.

If you find yourself with small, itchy bite marks on your torso or upper body, please treat this with antihistamines or corticosteroids to relieve the itching or allergic reactions. It is not shown that these mites can transfer any disease through biting us, but the threat remains that their rat hosts can. It is important to be aware that one can signal the presence of the other, and to have a conversation with your rodent pest control provider about what to do.

Rodent Prevention & Removal: How to Get & Keep a Rat Mite-Free Home

Cascade Pest Control offers both commercial and residential rodent and pest control services that will be effective at removing and preventing rat mites and their hosts.  Our rodent control services will be effective at removing, abating, and preventing both rats and rat mites. To treat an existing infestation, it is important to identify and gain control of the rodent population, close holes/ access points the rodents had been using, and have infested areas professionally treated with eco-friendly rodent control methods.

Due to these recommendations, it is not in your best interest long-term to try and treat rat mites yourself. Home remedies, like sticking sticky tape or traps near warm places you think they might congregate, is a great additional way to spot if you have an existing infestation, but it won’t be effective in removing the root of the problem. Regular, comprehensive pest control treatments are the best ways to ensure you never have to think about rat mites again.

Call 888-989-8979 to schedule with Cascade Pest Control today!

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