PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – WARNING! This story may leave you scratching.
Just their name is enough to make you wonder what that feeling is…”Itchy Mites!”READ MORE: Suspects Accused Of Stealing No Parking Signs And Ripping Down Flags Expected To Turn Themselves In
They go by a few different names but it’s all the same critter says Ehrlich Pest Control Entomologist Dr. Chad Gore.
“The gall itchy mite is a really tiny thing,” he explains. “It’s about two-tenths of a millimeter.”
In other words, they are really hard to see.
But they are out there by the millions living on pin oak trees and in some cases falling out of the trees and landing on people.
It’s not that it’s interested in eating you but…
“They’re not infesting human skin, they’re biting,” Dr. Gore says.
The welts usually on the neck and shoulder look very similar to a bed bug bite but these bites don’t extract your blood or do anything more than be an itchy irritant.
That’s not to say they can’t create a medical issue.READ MORE: Pennsylvania Ready For Booster Shots Once Feds Give OK, Acting Health Secretary Says
“You get a secondary infection because of the itch,” Dr. Gore explains. “So, scratching the itch and introducing bacteria and into it.”
Shumway: “Is there anything that I as a homeowner can do or spray that would reduce the possibility that I’m going to get bitten by these little suckers?”
Dr. Gore: “No not really. There’s not really good management for them, really the best course of action is to try and reduce your, your encounters with them.”
This means not walking under any pin oak trees which is almost impossible in Western Pennsylvania, but if you are going to take a walk in the woods Dr. Gore says putting on a Deet-containing bug spray is probably a good idea to discourage them from nibbling on you.
WATCH: Avoiding Tick Bites & What To Do If You Get Bitten
The mites, which are also called “Oak Itch Mites,” are in their reproductive stage right now and by the time the leaves drop from the trees, they will be in abundance.
So you will want to be especially careful when you rake the leaves this fall.
Putting your clothes in a hot dryer will take care of the issue and rinse off in the shower after a woody encounter will wash the issue down the drain.
And while we’re at it, Dr. Gore says the ticks are particularly bad this year.MORE NEWS: Pittsburgh Partners With Kiwibot To Launch Robot Delivery System
So, protect your pet and cover-up or spray up with Deet if you’re planning a walk through the woods or high grass.