The oak leaf itch mite, which first made its look within the Grand Rapids space in 2014, has since commanded the eye of anybody partaking outdoor in gardening, sports activities, or different leisurely actions. This mite infests oak timber, primarily pin oaks, but additionally pink and black oaks, whereas looking for and feeding on larval midges (the true pest of the tree) which create galls on the leaves.
It is unknown the place they disguise over winter, however late spring and early summer season is once they start making their look identified by means of their incidental biting. Their full life cycle is kind of brief – 7 days from egg to grownup – and ends in numbers estimated to be effectively over 300,000 per tree.
The downside unfolds as they’re blown or fall from the timber on to you, lawns, gardens, and buildings the place, as a consequence of their extraordinarily small measurement (0.2mm or 1/125″), they readily enter your property by means of screens. Unlike chiggers, which assault from the bottom – affecting areas of tight clothes equivalent to belts, underwear, and socks – the oak mite impacts areas from above the place clothes is unfastened, equivalent to your neck, shoulders, chest, and again. Sitting or mendacity on lawns beneath the timber may also trigger an assault.
Be conscious of pest management operators going door-to-door with claims that they’ve the treatment for this downside. At this time, there isn’t a protected, sure-fire technique for controlling these mites and their prey. Spraying lawns and tree trunks will assist scale back, however not get rid of, the issue. Efforts could also be made to spray the tree, however when coping with a 75-80 foot tall tree, spraying typically creates a better hazard!
One answer could also be to use a soil drench across the timber to get rid of the gall-making midge, which is the foundation reason behind the issue. This would greatest be utilized at bud break or shortly thereafter to be efficient. Obviously, it’s too late this 12 months for such an method to be efficient, however our entomologist is exploring this selection for future use. Unified Pest Control can deal with timber (to a protected peak), lawns, and foliage round your property with a backpack mister, which may be very efficient in eliminating mosquitoes, chiggers, and fleas; nevertheless, as beforehand talked about, the effectiveness of such a service on the oak leaf itch mite will probably be restricted.
In the meantime, defend your self by sporting hats and long-sleeved shirts handled with insect repellents. While there are lots of repellent merchandise in the marketplace, not all will ship the specified reduction. Consumers Reports lists a number of that produce wonderful outcomes. They are: 1. Sawyer Picaridin (accommodates 20% picaridin}; 2. Repel Lemon Eucalyptus (accommodates 30% oil of lemon eucalyptus); 3. Natrapel 8 Hour (accommodates 20% picaridin); 4. Off Deep Woods VIII (accommodates 25% DEET).