Oak Tree Mites leaving their mark on Topeka

Erin Mumford, Photo Editor

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This year a pesky visitor that bites has come to the midwest. Oak tree mites are in full force this year, causing inescapable itchy bumps. The mites are found in oak trees, but are blown by the wind, making it hard to get away from them. Maura Fitzgerald, junior dance team member, has been bitten just from being outside dancing at the Topeka West vs Topeka High football game.

 

“I was at the Topeka West game outside and the next day I woke up with a lot of mosquito looking bites, and then like a week later I realized they weren’t mosquito bites and they were the oak tree mite bites,” Fitzgerald said.

 

Oak tree mites are closely related to chiggers, so their bites might be mistaken for chigger bites. Doctors warn not to scratch the itches as the skin might break and cause secondary infections. However, there is no need to worry about getting an infection from the bite itself – oak tree mites are harmless. To relieve the itch, calamine lotion or cortizone cream is recommended.

 

If you are hoping these pests will be gone soon, you are in luck. One or two hard frosts should kill them, and according to the Farmer’s Almanac, that should be around October 11. In the meantime, if you do not want to get bitten, limit your time outdoors and wear high socks, long pants, and long sleeves.

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