Types of Mites: Flour Mites
Flour mites are tiny and can be very difficult to detect. They can infect flour, grain products like cereal, cheese, corn, and dried fruits and vegetables. The important thing to remember about flour mites is that they are not a sign of poor hygiene or simply having food. They simply like warm, damp, dark places. This means any pantry or kitchen cupboard is the perfect place for flour mites to live and grow. The best thing you can do is just keep an eye out for them. Of course the first thing many people do when they see tiny critters in their food is throw everything out, but flour mites are completely harmless, even if you do happen to eat one by accident.
That being said, you should take steps to watch for flour mites. Because they are so difficult to detect, you’ll have to be vigilant to keep an eye on them. The best way to tell if you have flour mites is to leave a piece of tape with the sticky side up by your bag of flour or in your pantry. You might also try double-sided tape to make it even easier. The mites will stick to the tape if you have any. Another sign that you have a mite problem is if there is a fine dust over everything. This is an indication of a very severe mite problem. The mite dust causes a brownish tinge over everything. Crushing a mite causes a slight minty odor in the area.
Flour mites are pale white or gray with yellow or reddish brown legs. They are smooth critters that do not have wings. Female mites can lay up to 800 eggs at one time, which means it only takes one or two mites to take over an entire cupboard, pantry, or even an entire kitchen.
If you do detect flour mites in your pantry, then throw out all of the food that’s infected. You’ll have to take it completely out of the house to keep the mites from getting right back into your food.
To prevent flour mites, try keeping all of your food in sealed plastic bags or containers. As flour tends to be one of the primary targets for these little pests, you might try keeping it in a sealed back inside the refrigerator. Simply keeping flour in the fridge will actually keep flour mites away because they like warmth.
Another important thing to remember if you do discover flour mites in your home is that you should never use pesticides in any place that you store food. Use warm water and bleach to clean any cabinets or pantries where the mites are prevalent.
The best way to fight mites is simply to prevent them in the first place, but don’t worry if you do happen to get them in your house. It’s not a sign that anything is wrong with your housekeeping. Just remember to seal all of your food in plastic bags to avoid mites altogether.