TICKS, MITES, BEDBUGS & LICE
After completion of the study of Biting Pests, the trainee should be able to:
Identify common biting pests.
Understand the biology and habits of biting pests.
Cite integrated pest management options for biting pests.
More than 30,000 species of mites have been
segment, then pull the segment back, and the mite
identified. They are placed in the Arachnid order
moves forward. Many mites use their first pair of legs
Acarina. Many new mite species (which includes
like antennae, feeling in front as they walk along. Leg
ticks), are found and described every year. They have
hairs have diverse purpose: some sense touch; others
sack-like bodies, rather than segmented bodies like
pick up odors; not uncommonly, some hairs have
scorpions. Unlike spiders, which have a combined
light-sensing cells which allow the mite to distinguish
head and thorax where the legs attach and an abdomen
light from dark.
that is connected behind, mites have only a single (one
part), oval body with legs attached to its sides. All
first stage mite larvae have only six legs; both later
stages, nymphs and adults, have eight.
Ticks, the largest mites, feed only on the blood of
Mites are more diverse than spiders; they are
mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Ticks differ
found all over the world from deserts to rainforests,
from other mites; ticks are larger and have recurved
mountaintops to tundra, salt water ocean floors to
teeth or ridges on the central mouthparts (called the
freshwater lakes. They suck plant juices and animal
blood, make tumors (galls) in plants, and transmit
They also have a sensory pit on each of the first
pair of legs. This pit detects stimuli such as heat and
Mouthparts are attached at the very front end of
carbon dioxide. Ticks also detect light and dark as
a mite's body. These mouthparts consist of a group of
well as shapes, shadows and vibrations -- all stimuli
small appendages that sometimes looks like a head but
that help them find their hosts.
the brain actually is located behind the mouthparts and
There are two types of ticks: soft and hard. Soft
eyes. The mouthparts of mites form a tube that ingest
ticks feed on hosts that return periodically to a nest,
plant or animal juices. Very short appendages on
shelter, cave, coop, and so forth. Hard ticks are round
either side of the mouthparts guide other mouthparts as
on pets, cattle, wildlife and people. In the United
they are inserted into food tissues. As the mite sucks,
States, all campers, hikers and hunters are sometimes
digestive juices gush out of the front of the body, mix
hosts for hard ticks. Worldwide, there are over 650
with the food juices in the mouth, and are sucked back
species in this group.
through the mouth tube. The mite's genital opening is
Some ticks live their life on one host, other
found underneath and between the attachments of the
species spend only their larval and nymphal stages on
first two pairs of legs.
one host; then the adult drops off to find another host.
Mites walk by using body muscles to press blood
Most ticks, however, have three hosts -- one for each
into individual legs. The movement of blood extends
a leg out or forward. Little muscles in each leg
Module Two, Chapter 4, Pg 1