Keeping your pets out of the heat of the day helps avoid overheating, burnt paws and pesky parasites! Find out more about harvest mites here!
What are harvest mites?
Harvest mites have the scientific name Neotrombilcula autumnalis and are red-orange in colour. Harvest mite larvae feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals, causing your poor pet intense itching and, sometimes, infection. They use two fang-like mouth parts to cut into your pet’s skin before releasing digestive enzymes to break down the skin further. Rather than the bites themselves, the itchiness is caused by a reaction to the enzymes. These tiny creepy crawlies are just 0.2mm in size, but they can cause a big problem for your cats and dogs. They’re normally around between August and October and prefer warm, dry weather. They are only active during the daylight hours when they’ll be on the prowl looking for a feed, with temperatures over the summer warming up we are seeing these little pests earlier in the year.
Where might you find harvest mites?
Harvest mites are found throughout the UK, although the numbers can vary substantially, even from garden to garden. If you look closely at the right time of year, you might spot them congregated on foliage, soil, or grass, waiting for an animal to approach.
How could your cat or dog get a harvest mite infestation?
If your dog or cat brushes past a group of harvest mite larvae, poised ready to attack, the mites will transfer onto your pet. This means that whether they’re in your garden, on a woodland walk, or running in a grassy field, they could still be at risk.
How do you know if your pet has harvest mites?
Harvest mites cause dogs and cats to be very itchy, so they scratch, lick, and nibble their fur a lot. You might also notice they lose hair, or their fur becomes sparse, stubbly, or discoloured. In advanced cases, you might see pus or oozy discharge from the skin and an offensive smell. But, there are many reasons your dog might be itchy, from allergies to flea infestations and skin infections. So, how do you know if harvest mites are the cause?
If it’s harvest mites, alongside the general signs of itchiness, infection, and irritation, you might be able to see the mites themselves. Harvest mites congregate in areas like the armpit, groin, feet, ears, and genitals, so it’s worth checking these areas first. Although the mites are bright orange, they’re so small that they’re not always easy to spot. However, if you look closely, you might see tiny orange dots or specks.
What should you do if you think your pet has harvest mites?
If your pet is itchy, has sore skin, or you think you’ve seen harvest mites, it’s best to make an appointment to see our vets. Our vets will be able to find out the cause of the symptoms, as well as give treatment to kill the harvest mites, reduce the itchiness and clear the infection. Meaning your pet gets back to living pest free!
Ask our vets and nurses about how to prevent and spot harvest mites today!