Food storage mites can cause a major problem in your home. They tend to gravitate towards cool areas with high levels of moisture and humidity.
If you have never experienced food storage mites, consider yourself lucky. They are microscopic and often found in dry food supplies feeding on items like grains, flour, and pet foods. When you eat food exposed to storage mites, it can cause a reaction because of the allergens they contain.
Storage mites can ruin your food storage and properly packaging and storing items is a critical step to avoid mites taking over your home. By using airtight containers, you can ensure that mites are kept out because they rely on oxygen to feed. It is extremely difficult to eliminate them, but by keeping exposure low the effects can be kept under control.
Storage mites have contaminated our storage before so we understand the problems they can cause. But after trying new techniques and some thorough research, we learned more about storage mites and the best way to avoid them. This guide contains some information and tips on how to do so.
What Are Food Storage Mites?
Mites are small, invisible creatures that live on or in food. They come in a variety of colors and shapes. They're typically diagnosed based on physical examination, although some mites can be identified with the assistance of a microscope.
Numerous types of mites could be encountered when food is stored. The most common include flour and grain mites. They also like to feed off of dry pet foods too.
Mite infestations can also occur in homes and other places where food is stored for long periods such as closets or pantries. Mite infestations usually present no symptoms while living on the host and may cause irritation when they come into contact with human skin or when contaminated food is consumed.
Food storage mites can also infect other sources such as grains, pet food, etc. Mites will contaminate your food supply if you don't keep them in check with regular sanitation practices and proper storage techniques.
Once mites start to formulate in your home, they can reproduce quickly and start to grow in size without you even knowing.
Are Food Storage Mites Visible?
We all know that mites are tiny and invisible to the naked eye. They are difficult to see from a distance but they can sometimes be seen with the help of a microscope. The presence of these mites in our food storage is unavoidable to an extent, but we can minimize exposure to safe levels when proper steps are taken.
Storage mites are only about 0.2mm in length and basically invisible. It is possible to isolate them based on the contamination area and they are very similar to dust mites and cause allergic reactions.
What Foods Attract Storage Mites?
Storage mites are the most common life form that people encounter, and mites love to live in your food. These little critters can get into just about anything you eat, and they happen to be attracted to specific dry foods the most.
It is common for your pets to be highly allergic to storage mites too. They tend to target pet foods because access can be easier and if this occurs, your cat or dog could suffer when eating contaminated food.
Some of the most common foods that attract storage mites are dry foods like oats, grains, flour, dog food, cat food, cereal, and other similar dried foods. By using airtight containers, you can lessen the risk you face for contamination.
Food storage mites are most likely to find their way into dry foods in cabinets and pantries when the food is not sealed correctly. By taking initial steps of precaution, you can eliminate this risk by putting foods in an area without a humidity or moisture problem with properly sealed lids.
How Do You Kill Food Storage Mites?
Killing food storage mites is extremely difficult because of their size and ability to spread so rapidly. Rather than trying to kill each individual mite, you should start by being prepared to treat an allergic reaction that might occur with the proper medication for yourself or your pet.
You can control humidity in your house to kill mites. A high humidity level can help mites spread quickly, but a low humidity level can stop their development and prevent them from reproducing.
Too much moisture provides a breeding ground for mites. If you want to eliminate them from your home, it is important to lower the humidity levels. One of the most effective ways to do that is by using a dehumidifier.
You should also try to identify the food source that caused contamination from the food storage mites. Start by cleaning out containers and cabinets to try and get them out of the house. You should even wash cabinets down with warm water and soap.
All of your dry foods in open areas present a major risk to food storage mites. Start by checking out all of these items and either throwing them away or moving them to a better location that is more protected.
Before you put any food back, you should also vacuum around any potentially infected areas. This is the most effective way to get rid of the mites from your home. They tend to gather in groups too so a vacuum is an effective tool to get rid of them.
How Do I Know If I Have Food Storage Mites?
Typically, the only way to find out you have contamination of food storage mites is after allergic reactions start to occur in your pets or in members of your home. You will notice things like itchy skin as a clear sign that something is wrong.
If symptoms like this start to occur, it is best to see a doctor or get the property allergy medication to treat the instance and start taking precautions to eliminate the storage mites from your home.
Mites normally do not cause much harm to humans, but they can become more dangerous to your pets.
About THE AUTHOR
I have over a decade of experience in food and beverage management, including a ServSafe food safety qualification. As part of this qualification, I have been professionally trained in safe food storage.Read More About Mark Walker