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Oak Mites Join Chiggers, Ticks and
Other insects as Big Annoyance for Pets and Humans

Oak mites aren't critters you or your pet want to meet up close and personal.

Veterinarians are warning of something you may not have heard before: protect yourself, your family and pets from oak mites.

It may sound like something out of a science fiction story and, as the accompanying photo shows, they indeed resemble something from a horror movie. Oak mites can be a very real problem, however.

Oak mites are a threat on the scale of chiggers, another mite that can cause problems for both humans and pets. The itching can cause real misery for you and your pet and, in both cases, scratching can lead to secondary infections in pets as they may scratch an area raw trying to get relief.

Though generally not as widespread or well known as chiggers, oak mites are generating headlines in several areas of the country because of their apparent plentitude. Like fleas or ticks, all of these outdoor threats can be brought into your home, so avoiding them and getting rid of them is a good idea. Exposure usually means a persistent, itchy rash that doesn’t go away since their life cycle includes lengthy periods as parasites.

While chiggers are more common in tall grass or wooded areas, oak mites are typically found around oak trees, where they obviously derive their name. They fall onto humans and pets and can drift considerable distances in the wind, so don’t limit caution to just the trees’ immediate vicinity.

Treatment advice includes a topical antihistamine cream or hydrocortisone cream as a way to reduce the itching. Treatment by a veterinarian may be called for in severe cases.

Some of the best advice for any such threat is to avoid areas where they are apt to be. If you and your pet return from an location likely to have them, a bath or shower for both of you is a good idea. Humans should also consider long pants and long sleeve shirts while in these areas.