Advice about Rat Mites

Questions & Responses:
Mysterious Bites on 2 Year Old(7 responses)
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Mysterious itchy red bites

July 2008

Re: Are these spider bites on my toddler?
kind of disgusting but.....could it be an allergic reaction rat mite bites? at first i thought our kids had chicken pox, as we (parents) didn't have any marks. but after i took them to the dr, she said that because the kids' skin is thinner, it often shows up more on children. also, not everyone reacts to the bite. check around your home and attic for evidence of rats (esp. dead ones). we had to remove a beautiful vine but it solved the problem. problem solved

June 2007

Re: Small red itchy bites that only I get

Hi there We had the same kind of issue a couple of years ago. After much internet searching and talking to a dermatologist - we narrowed it down to rat mites. (these mites also live on birds that may be nesting in or around your house). Unbeknownst to us we had a rat in our attic. The mites live on the rats. Solution? We called Rat Patrol. They trapped the rats and sealed any entrance around the house so they couldn't re- enter. Then we bombed the house (twice). Problem solved. This of course was time consuming and we ended up camping in our yard - literally. But it worked. Good Luck. Julie

Sounds like tropical rat mite bites. If you have roof rats in the neighborhood or in your home, occasionally a rat will die and the mites search for an alternate host. Tropical rat mites prefer pregnant or lactating women to men and children. The rat mites are smaller than a period at the end of a sentence. The good news is that the mites cannot survive on human hosts alone so the bites will continue for approx. 6-8 weeks. I recommend contacting Alameda County Vector Control - they will send an inspector out - no fees are involved - and they can help with confirmation and mitigation. Good luck! Been Bitten
March 2007

Re: Itching, biting things crawling under my skin
Without knowing about Morgellons or all of your symptoms, I just wanted to be sure you are not being bitten by mites. We were invaded by rat mites a year ago. Often only one or some people in the family are effected. It definitely felt like things were crawling on us -- and they were, but the mites are practically too small to be seen by the human eye. This caused unbearable itching. You can research rat mites, or call the city of Berkeley for a pamphlet, to determine if your bites/itching follow the pattern for mite bites. Unfortunately many doctors don't know how to recognize this. Ultimately the problem was resolved by ridding our attic of rats. Good luck! anon

Please consider the possibility of RAT MITES.

They are essentially invisible, more active at night and in warm weather, and because not everyone is allergic to their bite, it's possible for only one of a couple to be aware of a problem. (The mites will infiltrate from whereever the rats are breeding, for instance, in an attic or basement.)

I suffered with similar symptoms for three years before I figured out what was going on. Got rid of the rats and the itching subsided almost immediately. (You might try sleeping elsewhere for a weekend as a ''test''.)

BTW, I recommend going for rat *traps* before resorting to poisons. If the rats die in the walls you're in for MONTHS of a stench that's almost unbearable, not to mention swarms of Really Big FLIES! Good luck!

Feb 2005

Re: Our family is being eaten alive!
We had the same thing--my daughter and husband have hundreds of tiny, very itchy bites. I consulted the archives, and it was, as many other people have had, rat mites (we had just discovered rats in our basement a few days earlier.) I think the rain is driving them in. We'd never had an issue before and have lived in this house for 10 years. Check your attic and basement carefully. anon

May 2004

Re: Bug Bites on Mom Only
I can't tell for sure, but it may very well be mite bites. My younger son and I are getting lots of welts, while my wife and older son aren't, but we are all getting bitten- apparently the two of us are having an allergic reaction the others aren't (this is typical of mite bites). It's very hard to eliminate mite bites if you don't keep all rodents and birds out of your dwelling, because the mites travel amazing distances. If roof rats or birds are nesting, say in the attic, they will travel to your bed and bite you. Your landlord would have to do the abatement (sealing up entryways).

It could be hard to verify the vector, if you can't find any (we discovered some mites swarming in the bathroom where they can be seen easily, but I have never seen any in the bed, where I KNOW I am being bitten). Skeeters will bite you where you are exposed when sleeping (head and arms), while mites will bite you where you are covered- that's one tipoff. If you never hear mosquitoes buzzing, I would guess mites. Good luck!

Check out the Rat (or bird) mite possibility again. I was bitten by rat mites for months with very similar symptoms to yours. My husband (with no bites at all) insisted that it could not be mites. When we heard rats in our attic we got the house sealed up, the rats disappeared, the bites intensified for a little over a month (this is as long as they can live without rats around to host them) and then went away. I was surprised when they came back this year, but then we found out the rats had found a way back in again. We sealed up the house again and... 40 days later, no bites. I did find a couple of mites on my body over the course of these many many months, but really--it is hard when there is no evidence of anything to believe it really is what you suspect! We found out subsequent to the first infestation that the reason my husband was not getting bites was that only some people are allergic to the bites, and this is why they swell up. I would call Rat Patrol immediately: they are the only exterminators I know of who really deal with this problem... or have your landlord call if you are renting. Good Luck! (formally) Bitten in Berkeley

Mites Bites -- Yikes

August 2005

like much of the Oak/Berk area we have recurring problems w/ roof rats, and so recurring problems w/ mites, which are biting the smallest of us like crazy. aside from dealing w/ the larger problem (the rats -- and believe me, we're trying), any suggestions about eliminating the mites themselves? when we first had the problem, a few years ago, we thought it was fleas and had Fleabusters come out. they told us it was not fleas, but that their treatment might work anyway, and it did for some time. but Fleabusters changed hands, and the current folks seem not to have a clue about any of this .... the itchy and scratchy show

My friend in Berkeley got very ill last year. She went to several doctors before they determined her mysterious illness was brought on by reaction to her rat mite bites. While taking strong medications to cure her illness, she invoked the landlord to clean out the rats (who lived in the ivy behind the building).

Many exterminators later, they found that the rats had also entered the basement storage area and entered her upholstered peices where they urinated and defecated; and where they ate through her valuable painting, chewed electric cords off lamps, and destroyed her stored books.

They then found evidence the rats had been in her upholstered pieces in her house, inside the couch cushions. This meant the mites were all over her house and she lost everything--all her bedding, beds, sofas, chairs, etc. The pieces were full of excrement and could not be cleaned (none of this was visible to the eye). The mites live on the rats, so you cannot get rid of the mites until the rats are gone.

It got so everytime she entered her own house she would have an immediate allergic reaction, swelling and itching, and then the physical illness. She had to move, she lost most of the contents of the house, and spent a year recovering from the illness. She is now working with the insurance company to settle this.

She was not able to find any pest control who could really get rid of the rats as they are so prevalent in the sewers in Berkeley, and many live in Ivy. anon