Mite Bites: Warning Signs and Natural Treatments
Mite bites can leave you with intense itchy red rashes on your skin that cause a lot of discomfort. Mites are tiny, microscopic creatures that can inhabit your oil glands, hair follicles and other skin areas. There are a number of species of mites that bite humans and cause red itchy rashes.
Some types of mites are human scabies mites, dust mites, eyelash mites, and chiggers. To treat mite bites naturally, you can use natural treatments that stop the itching and kill off the tiny pests.
The Discomfort Mites Cause
Certain kind of mites like the demodex species of mites live on most humans and become more active if your immune system is weak. Other species of mites, like the itch mite, are passed on by human contact and can cause severe infestations. Contrary to popular belief, mites are not spread by living in unhygienic conditions but are common in crowded environments.
The most typical reactions to mite bites are itching skin, redness around the infestation, and inflammation. However, not all human mites bite and cause skin rashes. Some mites, like the dust mites, cause allergic reactions in some people resulting in wheezing, coughing, and even asthma attacks.
For many people, the inflamed red rashes from mite bites cause great discomfort and embarrassment. In this article, you will find out how to get rid of mite bites using natural home remedies.
Common Types of Mites that Affect Humans
To know the best ways to get rid of mites, it’s important to know what kind of mite bite is causing the inflammatory reaction on your skin or in your respiratory system.
The human itch mite, or scabies mite, burrows into the top layer of the skin. They cause intense itching when the skin reacts to the mite bites. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, scabies living in the skin will cause a red rash to develop with an intense itch. Scabies mites are passed on by direct contact and are commonly picked up from infested bedding, clothes and furniture.1 The rash usually forms in a straight line where the tiny itchy mite burrows under the skin.
Demodex / Eyelash mites
Two species of Demodex mites, Demodex folliculorum and Demodex brevis, live in the hair follicles and are found on most humans. According to dermatologists, Demodex folliculorum mites are commonly found on your face and in the eyelashes and can be a reason for irritation, itching, and scaling of the eyelids. That is why they are sometimes called eyelash mites.2 Demodex mites can also infest areas around the cheeks, forehead, nose, and ears.
Dust mites live in dust and can cause allergic respiratory reactions in humans. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, dust mites thrive in humid, warm environments and are common around the home. Dust mites feed on tiny flakes of human skin that we shed daily.3 Dust mites don’t bite humans, but they can cause sneezing, itchy eyes, stuffy nose, and a cough.
Other Types of Mites
There are some less common types of mites that can affect humans.
Bird mites live on pigeons, chickens, house sparrows, and other wild birds. According to the University of Sydney and Westmead Hospital in Australia, bird mites can live away from their host for around a week. They can easily find their way into homes through cracks, AC units, nests close to windows, or be carried in if you work near poultry. Bird mites bite humans to feed on blood, but they don’t live on humans like itch mites.4
Rodent mites live on mice and rats and they will readily bite humans. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, there are 3 types of rodent mites that affect humans. They can cause painful skin irritations and severe itching.5
The larvae of chiggers can give you a nasty bite and cause red rashes that have an intense itch. Chiggers usually live in the soil and you can pick them up if you are walking in the park or playing sports on grassy areas. According to Dr. William Blahd on WebMD, chiggers most commonly bite in the late spring, summer, and early fall.6
Symptoms of Mite Infestation
There are some common symptoms that you have been bitten by pesky mites. Not all people will experience the same symptoms and in some people, the mite bites cause no reaction. Because mites are tiny and can best be seen under the microscope, it’s important to know what to look out for.
Some common symptoms of mite bites are:
- Itchy skin with mild to severe itching.
- Thick crusts on the skin
- Hive-like rash
- Clusters of bumps that blister
Mite bites cause itchy skin rashes
Mite bites cause severe itching which is very often more severe at night time when the mites are more active.
The American Academy of Dermatology says that scabies mites can cause a rash with bumps that look like small pimples or even eczema.7
Demodex mites cause inflammation around the affected skin area. According to the Indian Journal of Dermatology, Demodex mites can cause rosacea, dermatitis, and be a cause of hair loss. For example, eyelash mites can cause red eyelids and loss of eyelashes.8
Respiratory symptoms caused by mites
Most domestic mites, not just dust mites, can cause respiratory problems which result in coughing, wheezing, sneezing, and cold-like symptoms.
According to the journal Parasites & Vectors, mites are inhaled and continue to live in the lungs and gastrointestinal system and cause a condition called acariasis. Acariasis is a term for a rash, caused by mites. This can cause irritation and itching and can be responsible for asthma, shortness of breath, severe cough, and headaches.9
Parasites & Vectors also reported that when mites enter the intestinal system, they can cause diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fatigue.9
The Best Natural Treatments for Mite Bites
To get rid of the intense itching that mite bites cause and to reduce swelling and inflamed skin, there are many excellent natural treatments you can use. Some of these home remedies for bites caused by mites are also antimicrobial and will help to kill off the mites.
Tea tree oil for mite bites
Tea tree oil can help to reduce itching and inflammation caused by mite bites thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. Tea tree oil also has insecticide properties and is a helpful home remedy to destroy mites and get rid of them for good.
In an article entitled “The Therapeutic Potential of Tea Tree Oil for Scabies”, scientists reported that tea tree oil has acaricidal effects against mites. It is useful for treating crusted scabies and also in preventing secondary infections from developing. The researchers also found that tea tree oil helps to reduce severe itching caused by mite bites.10
The researchers also found that tea tree oil was effective in killing off all dust mites and a 5% topical application of tea tree oil was more effective at killing off scabies mites than conventional treatments like permethrin (often recommended to treat scabies). Added to this is the fact that mites don’t become resistant to tea tree oil, so you can see why tea tree oil is excellent for eradicating mites and treating their bites.
Tea tree oil is a unique essential oil because you can put a drop or two directly on a small area of skin. To get relief from an itchy insect bite, dab a drop of tea tree oil on the inflamed skin for quick relief. If you have a sensitive skin, or need to apply it on larger areas of your body to stop it from itching, dilute the tea tree oil with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, sweet almond oil or jojoba oil.
You can also make your own anti-mite body wash to get rid of an infestation of mites. Here is how to do it:
- Add 30 drops of tea tree oil to every fl. ounce (30 ml) of natural lotion, natural butter, oil or moisturizer (this will make a 5% tea tree oil topical application).
- Apply the tea tree oil mixture to your skin every day.
- Continue applying the tea tree oil remedy until all symptoms of mites and scabies are gone completely.
The soothing effect of coconut oil along with its antibacterial properties make this an excellent home remedy for mite bites. Virgin coconut oil will also protect your infected skin to prevent any secondary skin infection from scratching the itchy rash.
A review of the medicinal properties of coconut oil in the Natural Medicine Journal found that coconut oil is effective for treating many skin conditions. The fatty acids in coconut oil help to treat dermatitis, psoriasis, and prevent dermal infections.11
The journal Dermatitis reported that virgin coconut oil was an effective remedy for itchy, dry skin conditions.12
To use coconut oil to soothe itchy skin rashes caused by mites, this is what you should do:
- Mix 2-3 drops of tea tree oil with 1 tbsp. virgin coconut oil.
- Apply to the affected skin in the morning and in the evening.
- Continue applying the coconut oil remedy until the itch mites are completely gone.
A great and effective natural remedy for getting rid of scabies mites and treating mite bites is neem oil. Although neem oil has many benefits, it has a very pungent smell which repels mites and other insects.
The efficacy of neem oil for combating mites has been proven by scientific research. A study from 2014 found that by applying neem oil directly on the affected skin area, scabies mites were effectively killed off and the infestation was cured.13
The journal Tropical and Geographical Medicine reported that a combination of neem oil and turmeric was able to cure mite infestation in 3 – 15 days in 97% of people who used it.14
To get rid of mites and prevent them biting your skin, massage neem oil directly onto the affected skin area. Leave the remedy to go to work for 10-20 minutes and then shower to get rid of the strong neem oil smell. Repeat the neem oil treatment daily until you get rid of mites for good.
You can also make your own remedy for mite bites by combining neem oil and turmeric. Here is how to make the cream:
- Mix neem oil with ground turmeric to form a thick paste.
- Apply the home remedy to the itchy skin 2 times a day to help soothe itching and get rid of the mites.
- Leave for 10 minutes before rinsing off.
- Repeat until you no longer have any symptoms of mites.
Please remember that turmeric can easily stain fabrics and other items.
Aloe vera is an amazing product for keeping healthy skin. Aloe vera is also a natural remedy for getting rid of mite bites. Aloe vera is great for your skin because it contains vitamins, enzymes, and minerals essential for skin health.
A review on the healing effect of aloe vera on the skin found that it helps to moisturize the skin and it contains antiseptic properties. The anti-inflammatory activity of aloe vera helps to reduce itching and swelling.15 In fact, the University of Maryland reports that aloe vera is superior to 1% hydrocortisone cream which is often prescribed to reduce skin inflammation.16
A small study found that aloe vera was just as effective as benzoate lotion (another popular treatment for scabies) in treating scabies mites.17
To use aloe vera for soothing itchy mite bites, you should apply pure aloe vera gel directly to the inflamed, itchy skin. Use the remedy 2-3 times a day to keep your skin hydrated and itch-free.
To boost the power of aloe vera in completely eliminating mites from your skin, add 2-3 drops of tea tree essential oil to 1 tbsp. aloe vera. Apply 2-3 times a day to get rid of mites for good.
Essential Oils to Get Rid of Mite Bites
You can help enhance the healing properties of coconut oil, neem oil, and aloe vera by adding some essential oils. All the essential oils mentioned in this article have proven success at eradicating mite infestations.
Remember that essential oils are too powerful to be used directly on the skin (with the exception of tea tree oil and lavender oil which can be applied directly on a small area of skin such as a spot treatment). To use these essential oils to treat mite bites, you should mix 2-3 drops of essential oil in 1 tbsp. coconut oil or other carrier oil.
Pregnant women and children shouldn’t use essential oils unless directed otherwise by a professional aromatherapist or other medical personnel. Also please note that essential oils should not be used in areas where they can come into contact with the eyes. If your Demodex mite infection is in the eyelid or eyelash area, please do not use essential oils as a topical treatment.
Here are some of the best essential oils to use as natural treatments for mite bites.
Clove oil is an extremely effective treatment for getting rid of scabies mites. The insecticidal activity of clove oil is due to a compound called eugenol.
The journal PLoS One reported that clove oil is better for treating scabies than permethrin (a common pharmaceutical treatment for scabies). It was also found that there were fewer side effects when using clove oil and it was better tolerated. It can also be used to treat colonies of mites that have become drug-resistant.18
If you are plagued by Demodex mites, then use camphor oil for an effective home remedy. Camphor oil is a natural insecticide that can repel mites. It is also a great home remedy for reducing itchiness and inflammation.
A study from 2003 found that camphor oil completely killed off all mite infestations at a concentration of at least 50%.19
Rosemary oil is another great essential oil for getting rid of bites caused by mites. You can mix a few drops of rosemary essential oil with some coconut oil to soothe infested skin and help destroy mites.
The journal Annual Research & Review in Biology reported that rosemary oil was effective at killing off scabies mites.20
If a mite infestation has caused your hair to thin or fall out, rosemary oil can also help treat hair loss.
Anise seed oil
You can treat scabies mites and head lice by using anise seed oil as a natural home remedy.
The book “Herbal Medicine” stated that anise seeds have antibacterial and insecticidal properties when used on the skin. The essential oil from anise seeds can be used to treat scabies.21
Mix a few drops of oregano oil with some coconut oil to help treat scabies mites naturally.20 You can use oregano oil to also help get rid of Demodex mites by applying it to the affected area.
Read my other related articles:
1. How to Detect and Eliminate Eyelash Mites (Demodex Mites)
2. The Top 8 Home Remedies to Get Rid of Scabies
3. Itching All Over the Body – Causes and Natural Treatments
4. Effective Home Remedies for Lice (Based on Research)
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- Indian J Dermatol. 2014 Jan-Feb; 59(1): 60–66.
- Parasit Vectors. 2014; 7: 411.
- Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2016 Feb 3; 94(2): 258–266.
- NaturalMedicineJournal. Treatment of dermal infections with coconut oil.
- Dermatitis. 2004 Sep;15(3):109-16.
- Vet Parasitol. 2014 Aug 29;204(3-4):323-9.
- Trop Geogr Med. 1992 Jan;44(1-2):178-81.
- Indian J Dermatol. 2008; 53(4): 163–166.
- UMM. Aloe.
- Phytother Res. 2009 Oct;23(10):1482-4
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- J Egypt Soc Parasitol. 2003 Apr;33(1):47-53.
- Ann Res Rev Bio. 2014; 4(12):2027-2036.
- NCBI NLM. Herbal treatment for dermatologic disorders