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Indian Pest Control Association
 

Flour Mite

flour miteThe flour mite (Acarus siro) is a small sack-like mite. It only grows to 0.1 to 0.6 mm in length, is white and has red legs. Mites are generally very troublesome storage pests, because they are so small and hard to see. Their lethargy does not stop them reproducing rapidly (with up to 500 eggs per female), and the larvae develop in only about 17 days. During development into the adult mite they often pass through inactive stages, so that the larvae can survive long dry periods without food. Because flour mites belong to the family of mould mites, they thrive in warm and humid climates.

The flour mites usually infest flour, muesli and other dry vegetable foods. The affected products seem to be covered by a coat of light dust, crumble, smell sweet and taste bitter. For instance if a cake doesn't rise, the cause can be mites in the flour used. Eating infested foodstuffs can also seriously harm your health. Allergies can occur that lead to high temperatures and headaches. Blisters and pustules may form on the skin, and serious stomach and intestinal reactions, even asthma attacks can result from eating food infested with mites.

Preventive measures and control

  • Destroy infested foods, put food that looks alright in a deep freezer for three days
  • Keep new stores in closed containers (jars or boxes)

The basic rule is:
Do not apply insecticides in storage cupboards which have any food items in them.