Oak Itch mite has become a serious pest over the last 3 years, with outbreaks in Kansas and 7 other states. First discovered in Kansas in 2004, they have become quite a problem for those working and spending time outdoors.
The mites feed mainly on the larvae of the Oak Leaf Fold Gall Midge. The mites have a 7 day life cycle. The mite lays up to 300 eggs in a sac and hatch out. The mites feed on the midge larvae, but many fall to the ground. Once populations of the mites build up and devour the midge larvae, as many as 370,000 mites can fall from a single tree per day. That means that every week, from July to December, under pin oaks, there could be millions of mites falling from the trees.
The mites bite humans as a reaction to not knowing their surroundings when they land on us. It can take 10 to 16 hours after biting for bites and itching to start. There is no control recommended for either the midge or the mite. They can be found mainly on pin oaks, but also any member of the red oak family which includes pin, red, scarlet, black, sawtooth, and blackjack oaks.