Pest of the Month: Biting Oak Mite
This month we are going to be talking about the biting oak mite – what it is, what it can do to your trees, and how to keep them away from your landscaping.
First things first, let’s discuss what this pest is. Not sure if you have ever seen or dealt with these creatures? Read ahead.
What are Oak Mites?
So, what are oak mites?
These extremely tiny pests attack the gall larvae on the leaves of oak trees. They are so small that you may not even be able to spot them without using a magnifying glass.
The female and male mites mate, and then the females enter the gall and use their venom to paralyze the larvae. They then feed off of it until they give birth – an entire generation of the oak mites can be created in around a week’s time.
Once the mites have eaten all of the gall larvae, they will search for other sources of food elsewhere. Typically, they will either fall off the tree in question or get blown off by the wind. Around 250,000 to 300,000 mites can fall from a tree per day.
What Damage Do Oak Mites Cause to Your Trees?
While these pests won’t really cause excessive damage to your trees in the fall season, they may very well be problematic for you.
How to Get Rid of Oak Mites
What can you do to get rid of oak mites on your property?
Since these pests are protected by nesting in galls on oak trees, spraying your trees with pesticides is not an effective way to get rid of them. Also, once they leave the tree and become airborne, they will become even more difficult to spot and kill.
There are, however, some ways to protect yourself from the effects of these tree pests.
1. When you go inside after being around an infestation of oak mites, immediately take off and wash all of the clothing you were wearing.
2. Take a hot shower with soap as soon as you can after being in your landscaping.
To actually get rid of these pests altogether, we highly recommend contacting a local, trusted arborist to remove them from your property.
Cover photo: Franco Folini from San Francisco, USA