Flour mite

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Flour mite
Grain mite 1.JPG
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Chelicerata
Class: Arachnida
Order: Sarcoptiformes
Family: Acaridae
Genus: Acarus
A. siro
Binomial name
Acarus siro

The flour mite, Acarus siro, a pest of stored grains and animal feedstuffs,[1][2] is one of many species of grain and flour mites.[3] An older name for the species is Tyroglyphus farinae.[4]

The flour mite, which is pale greyish white in colour with pink legs, is the most common species of mite in foodstuffs. The males are from 0.33–0.43 millimetres (0.013–0.017 in) long and the female is from 0.36–0.66 mm (0.014–0.026 in) long. The flour mites are found in grain and may become exceedingly abundant in poorly stored material. The female produces large clutches of eggs and the life cycle takes just over two weeks. The cast skins and dead bodies can form a fluffy brown material that accumulates under sacks on the warehouse floor. After a while, predatory mites tend to move in, and these keep the flour mites under control.[5]

Flour mites that contaminate grains, flour and animal feedstuffs, create allergens in the dust produced, and also transfer pathogenic microorganisms. Foodstuffs acquire a sickly sweet smell and an unpalatable taste.[5] When fed infested feeds, animals show reduced feed intake, diarrhea, inflammation of the small intestine, and impaired growth. Pigs have their live-weight gain, feed-to-gain ratio, and nitrogen retention markedly reduced by infested feeds.[6]

Flour mites are intentionally inoculated into Mimolette cheese to improve the flavor.[7] When used for this purpose, they may be referred to as "cheese mites".

The mites sometimes bite humans, which can cause an allergic reaction known as Baker's itch.[8][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ J. A. Dunn; B. B. Thind; C. Danks; J. Chambers (April 2008). "Rapid method for the detection of storage mites in cereals: feasibility of an ELISA based approach". Bulletin of Entomological Research. 98 (2): 207–213. doi:10.1017/S0007485308005634. PMID 18279566.
  2. ^ L. M. I. Webster; R. H. Thomas; G. P. McCormack (2004). "Molecular systematics of Acarus si s. lat., a complex of stored food pests". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 32 (3): 817–822. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2004.04.005. PMID 15288058.
  3. ^ Jerome Goddard (30 March 2007). Physician's guide to arthropods of medical importance. CRC Press. pp. 248–. ISBN 978-0-8493-8539-1. Retrieved 14 April 2010.
  4. ^ International Rice Research Institute (1 January 1989). "IRRN". International Rice Research Notes. IRRI: 39–. ISSN 0115-0944. Retrieved 14 April 2010.
  5. ^ a b Stored-grain Pests. U.S. Government Printing Office. 1955. pp. 41–42.
  6. ^ Braude, R.; Low, A.G.; Mitchell, K.G.; Pittman, R.J.; Wilkin, D.R. (1980). "Effect of flour mite infestation (Acarus siro L.) on nutritive value of pig diets". Veterinary Record. 106 (2): 35–36.
  7. ^ Melnyk, J.P.; Scott-Dupree, A.; Marcone, M.F.; Hill, A.; Hill, A. (August 2010). "Identification of cheese mite species inoculated on Mimolette and Milbenkase cheese through cryogenic scanning electron microscopy" (PDF). Journal of Dairy Science. 93 (8): 3461–3468. doi:10.3168/jds.2009-2937. PMID 20655414.
  8. ^ Robert L. Rietschel; Joseph F. Fowler Jr. (2008). Fisher's contact dermatitis (6th ed.). Hamilton: BC Decker Inc. p. 428. ISBN 9781550093780.
  9. ^ Hill, Dennis S. (2003). Pests of Stored Foodstuffs and Their Control. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers. p. 129. ISBN 9780306481314.

External links[edit]

  • Wikihow How to Get Rid of and Prevent Flour Mites (domestic infestations)