The recent mite infestation at the University of Kansas, Kansas State University and Pittsburgh State University have triggered students on Washburn’s campus to consider the ways to prevent the same mite bite attacks from happening closer to home.
While Washburn has not seen the same infestation that has occurred on other Kansas universities campuses, the problem is still important to consider, and precautionary steps are needed to prevent such an outbreak.
According to Penn State University, oak mites, the mites that come from oak trees, are nearly invisible to the naked eye. These mites did not come to the U.S. until 2004; their first appearances in the U.S. being in Kansas.
Oak mite bites leave small pink marks on the skin that can lead to rashes. While these insects feed on other insects, they are also drawn to humans. Their bites are characterized by being itchy, similar to most other bug bites.
To prevent bites and rashes from these oak mites which live in trees and other plants, Mindy Rendon, director of residential living, said keeping clean is the most effective way to avoid these bites.
“There is not so much of a way to prevent it, as they are out in nature. I think I read that you make sure you shower after you have been outside for awhile and wash your clothes. I think it can be a problem anywhere in Kansas, not just the dorms,” Rendon said.
Rendon also said that a few students have reported similar bites on campus already. Students should be more careful by making sure to shower and change clothes as regularly as possible. Taking extra time to check for mites and mite bites could prevent an infestation like those on other Kansas university campuses.
For more information on oak mites, visit Penn State’s fact-sheet, ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/leaf-gall-itch-mite.