October 14, 2016
Kansas City, Kan. — 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 currently under attack from a microscopic enemy called the oak leaf itch mite, one that is out in record number this year. These 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 mite falls on anyone who happens to be passing by, and can even be blown by the wind for a good distance from the tree. They don't discriminate and bit anything they touch, but the victims don't realize it until much later when they experience an itching that some have described as worse than poison ivy.
Dan Aires, MD, head of dermatology at The University of Kansas Hospital has seen a huge increase in the number of patients with these bites. The best cure? A good hard freeze to stop the pests.