To many, rats are synonymous with the word pest, but it might surprise you that these rodents have their own series of parasites and pests to handle themselves. One particularly nasty critter is the rat mite, known scientifically as Ornithonyssus bacoti. While it's hard to imagine anything worse than bed bugs and the psychological torture they can inflict, the rat mite is similar and can reproduce and spread easier than most any other parasite. Some say, these tiny parasites are kind of a blend between rats and bed bugs. Yes, you read that right: a microscopic parasite with the worst qualities of a bed bug and a rat. So what exactly makes rat mites so bad? How do you know if you have them? And, most importantly, how do you get rid of them, or prevent them in the first place?
What Is A Rat Mite?
Rat mites are tiny parasitic bugs that typically prefer rat blood as their primary source of sustenance, hence their name. But in a pinch, they can also dine on human blood. They will usually start feeding off a human if their host rat has died or if they're unable to locate a rat to feed off of. Like a bed bug, the rat mite usually feeds on humans at night as we sleep. These parasites are minuscule, about the size of a period like the one at the end of this sentence. The bad news about that is that they're often very difficult to spot with the naked eye unless you're really looking for them (and know what to look for).
Unlike a bed bug, the rat mite is capable of traveling a significant distance in order to find a host. A rat mite can also live longer than a bed bug between feedings, so they have plenty of time to roam and find a new host. The really bad news about these critters is that the rats that they feed on carry a myriad of diseases. In fact, a report about rat disease released in 2014 revealed that scientists had discovered eighteen new diseases being carried by the rat population in New York City. While there has been no known instance of a rat mite transmitting a disease to a human, these parasites are definitely not something you want roaming freely in your home, cabin, or campsite.
The rat mite can be found anywhere there's a rat population, but some areas are more prone to infestation. The higher the rat population in your area, the more likely you are to experience a rat mite infestation. Farms, wooded areas, and areas with high volumes of waste frequently experience rat and rodent infestations, making it more likely that you'll fall victim to the parasites they carry.
How Do I Know If I Have Them?
In addition to their ability to travel, a rat mite's small size means that they are often very difficult to see. While the bed bug can often be seen easily and will leave stains on the bedsheets to indicate their presence, the rat mite does not. These bugs are simply too small to leave any significant trace behind. This means that you will most likely have to do some detective work to determine whether you have an infestation. People often discover that they have a rat mite infestation after finding itchy red spots on their skin as a result of the bugs' bites.
Of course, even if you do start having skin issues, there is no definite way to determine whether the problem is being caused by a bed bug or a rat mite infestation (or some other problem altogether). Some leave sticky or glue mouse traps to trace rat mite remnants. While this can be effective, we don't support sticky traps for rodent control because of their inhumane nature. You can achieve the same desired effect with double-sided tape to catch some of the bugs and try to determine the culprit. Because the rat mite is so small, you may not be able to see them. A professional exterminator may be needed to help determine what's going on.
How Do I Get Rid of Them?
If it turns out that you do in fact have a rat mite infestation, it means that you more than likely have at least some kind of rat infestation nearby as well. This can happen for a variety of reasons. If your property isn't sealed properly, rodents can enter through the roof or along the floor. They can also sneak in through doors or windows, particularly during colder months. The surest way to eliminate rat mites is to eliminate the rats that carry them around. One quick kill, automatic, and non-toxic option is Goodnature traps. The Goodnature A24 is an innovative new option that will do most of the work for you when it comes to effectively and quickly eliminating rodents.
The Goodnature A24 Rat and Mouse Trap is an automatic, quick-kill trap that will target rodents and quickly eliminate them without the use of toxins or electricity. Simply mount the device and let it do the work. The trap's spring-loaded striker is triggered by the pest and automatically resets itself. All you need to do is dispose of the remains. If you live in an area where natural outdoor predators will do the disposal for you, a counter will keep tabs of how many times the trap has been triggered. That means you'll always have peace of mind knowing that the trap is working. Best of all, the trap is waterproof. If you are using the optional Digital Strike Counter, it has a five-year battery life so you can accurately track your trap’s success. All this means you never have to worry about your rat trap not working.
The A24 Home Trapping Kit is a great option to prevent a rat or rat mite infestation before it even begins. Gone are the days of your rat trap not working to completely eliminate an infestation. As a property owner, you've got enough to worry about even before a mite infestation. Don't get caught unprepared: read more about the A24 Home Trapping Kit and find out what it can do to protect you and where to get one today!