Got an Itch? Pray for Frost!

Media Resources

Bob Hallinan

Executive Producer

Office: (913) 588-7284

Cell: (913)-481-7329

Email

newsmedia@kumc.edu

           Have you wondered why you seem to have insect bites all over your arms and upper body this fall, but can’t remember being bitten? You’re not imagining things. The Midwest is under attack from a microscopic enemy called the oak leaf itch mite…which is out in record numbers this year. The pests are nearly invisible to the naked eye at 1/100th of an inch, and 300,000 of them can fall from a single tree in one day. The problem for humans is that the itch mites fall on anyone who happens to be passing by, and can even be blown by the wind a good distance from the tree. They bite anything they touch, but the victims don’t realize it till hours later when they experience itching that some have described as worse than poison ivy.

            Dr. Dan Aires is head of Dermatology at The University of Kansas Hospital, and he says he’s seen a huge increase in the number of patients with these bites. In the video, Dr. Aires describes what the itch mites are and where they live. He explains what it’s doing to patients, the best way to treat the itching and how to prevent being bitten. He says it will take a good hard freeze to stop the problem, and talks about whether we can expect these pests every year. But his number one message…don’t be worried. He says the itch mites do not carry diseases.