By now we have all heard of Zika, and the devastating effects the disease has on those who have contracted the virus, especially newborn infants. However, the Zika carrying mosquito is not the only menace of the skies that you have to watch out for this fall. Of course I am talking about the notorious bug known as the “invisible oak leaf itch mite.”
If you have never heard of this strangely named insect, then you are not alone, as these bugs have only recently been introduced to the Midwest United States from Europe. These bugs are invisible as their name clearly states, and they will make you itch like crazy, as, once again, their name clearly states. The mites spend their summers nesting on oak trees and consuming other smaller bugs. It is only during the fall that they jump from their oak tree homes and land on unsuspecting victims. The itching that these mites cause is reported to be even more bothersome than poison ivy, and hospitals located in the Midwest report outrageous numbers of itch mite victims seeking treatment right up until the first freeze during the winter season.
For a significant period of time many Midwesterners were not even aware of what it was that was causing their profuse itching. This is due to the fact that these mites are not even meant to be roaming American soil. During the ‘90’s these mites were introduced to the Midwestern US environment, and there they have stayed ever since. It was not until 2004 that researchers responded to mass outbreaks of itching, only to eventually discover that the itching was caused by this rare European mite. However, the mites are not life threatening, and if you or someone you know suspects that they have been bitten by one or more of these mites, then simply applying some anti-itch cream could go a long way. In any case, if you have been bitten…then you can expect some suffering.
How do you think the invisible itch mite was introduced to the USA?