A few days ago, I was sitting at a soccer field waiting for my son’s second of three games to begin. We had quite a long break in between games so I was beginning to get bored and a little bit sleepy. I happened to overhear two other parents having a conversation about wood mites in one of their homes. They were talking about how to get rid of them and how much it would cost if they hired a professional to take care of the problem for them.
Now, I had actually never heard of wood mites so, admittingly, I started eavesdropping a little. I figured it is always a good idea to be prepared just in case we found ourselves in the same situation, right? Well, it turns out after listening for nearly a half hour, they really knew nothing more than I did. I listened intently while they tried to research it online, but the reception was not very good, so they ended up giving up and moving on to an entirely different conversation.
But I was pretty invested now! I had just spent a half an hour listening and now I wanted to know what wood mites were and not only that, but I was also convinced I had them in my house too. Does anyone else convince themselves that everything bad you hear about that is happening to someone else’s house is probably happening to your house too? I tend to do that, and I can say it is not a good feeling!
When I got home, I decided to do all the research I could. I also inspected my house, and I am happy to report that my house is wood mite free! I am happy that I am wood mite free, but I can also say that researching has taught me a lot about these little bugs.
What are Wood mites?
Wood mites are very small bugs that are barely able to be seen. When they are big enough to be seen by the human eye, they tend to resemble a tick. However, they are pretty much harmless. They rarely bite humans or animals, so most people do not even realize they are there. They can be several colors but mostly commonly, they are white or a clear color. They have eight legs, which makes sense because they are actually in the arachnid family.
Where do they live?
They live mostly in old, rotten, or moist wood and just about any kind of plant. You can find them both indoors and outdoors. Some common places you might find them indoors are baseboards, woodwork, windows, and house plants. You can even find them in that Christmas tree you chopped down for the season. Outdoors you will find them in gardens, greenhouses, potted plants, and shrubs.
If they aren’t bad, can I just leave them there?
Again, wood mites are for the most part harmless. They will not ruin your woodwork or destroy your home like other nuisances such as termites. So, you may wonder why you even need to get rid of them in the first place? Well, these tiny bugs leave a small silky-like thread behind wherever they have been. This thread of silk is known to be a major allergy trigger for many people. In fact, some people have mistaken these threads for dust and thought they had dust allergies. It is a good idea to make a good effort to get rid of them for the cleanliness of your home and the health of those who live in it.
So how do you get rid of them?
Here are a few ways that you can take care of the problem:
Find out where they live
Check your all your woodwork, baseboards, and any other place you may have rotten or even just damp wood. Check these places for signs of that silky thread that these bugs leave behind. Also check any house plants you have living indoors. If you live in a humid environment, you may be more likely to have damp or damaged wood as an ongoing issue in your house. If this is the case, you may need to schedule a time every year that you inspect these areas of your house.
Have a cleaning party
If you are anything like me, a cleaning party does NOT sound like fun. But, in this case it is a must! You will need to clean every inch of your house very thoroughly. Wipe down surfaces, sweep well and mop with extremely hot water, and vacuum every room. You will also want to clean your furniture but vacuuming your couches and wiping them down with a damp cloth. Next, you will want to wash all linen such as curtains, bedding, and blankets in hot water. Make sure when you are cleaning that you are moving from the top of the room to the bottom.
Try a natural method with essential oils
There are several essential oils that are known to deter bugs and other critters. Some of these include clove, tea tree, eucalyptus, and cinnamon. Make a spray bottle with a combination of water and a few drops of your chosen essential oil and mix well. Spray this on the infected area and the wood mites will not want to live there anymore. Not only does this help solve your problem, but your house will also smell amazing in the process!
Get rid of moisture and mold in your house
Now, if you live in a humid or moist area, I realize that this is a difficult task. However, if it is possible try to get rid of these problem areas. Go through your house and check the floorboards and other wood areas suck as windows, doors, and casings and look for any moist or moldy areas. If the area is moldy, treat the mold by either replacing it or cleaning in with a bleach cleaner. For moisture, invest in a dehumidifier and keep it running during the most humid times.
Repair or replace the wood where needed
Go through and inspect the floorboards, windows, doors, and any other area where you have wood. Look for signs of wood mites including moist wood and silky thread left behind. If you find any, first see if you can repair the area. If the wood still is structurally sound, you can sand down any bad areas. Then spray these areas with either a blend of essential oils and water or an insecticide. If the area is too far destroyed already, cut out the wood and replace it with a new board. Make sure to thoroughly clean these areas after completing your repairs.
Buy some insecticide
There are many different insecticides on the market that you can find in any home store. After inspecting and cleaning your house, follow the directions on the insecticide to treat the areas needed. Pay attention to how it instructs to prep the area and use the product. Also note whether it is safe to use around children and pets if that applies to your household. Safety always comes first!
Call an expert
Sometimes, you just need to call an expert. Now, wood mites are usually an issue that can be taken care of on your own, especially since they are not a big risk to humans or our houses. However, if your schedule is anything like mine, you may have a hard time finding time to properly take care of this. I have learned that sometimes it is alright to call in someone. This could mean calling in an exterminator that specializes in wood mites or it could mean calling in a cleaning service that is able to fully clean your house from top to bottom. This option can not only save you time but if can easily save your sanity also!
What about wood mites in my garden?
If you find wood mites in your garden, it will need to be addressed in a timely manner. While wood mites are not a big issue in our houses, they can spread fast through a garden and ruin your plants. The best and most effective way to get rid of them in your garden is to remove the infected plant or plants. Dig them up, bag them and throw the plant away. Then, keep an eye on the rest of your plants to make sure you got rid of them all.
If I get rid of them, will they ever come back?
It is good to mention that once you get rid of wood mites, it is not a guarantee that you will never see them again. Especially if you live in a humid climate, you may see these tiny bugs again in your future. It is good to set up a scheduled time a couple times a year to go through your whole house and inspect troubled areas. You want to really pay attention to places that you have treated before. You also want to inspect any plants you bring into your house, including if you bring in a real Christmas tree.