What are harvest mites?

Posted by Argos, 26 November 2015, last updated 16 August 2023.

One of several mite species which can annoy our four-legged friends during late summer and early autumn is the harvest mite. Harvest mites tend to be found in grassy areas or in cornfields and can be very irritating for our precious pets, which is why we’ve put together our guide on everything you need to know about how to treat harvest mites, what they look like and signs your pet may have them.  

Cat being checked for harvest mites

Are harvest mites dangerous?

Harvest mites can cause a lot of discomfort and itchiness in pets, which can worsen over time if left untreated, however, other than being irritating, the mites themselves are actually quite harmless.

What do harvest mites look like?

Spotting a harvest mite can be difficult due to how tiny they are, however, things to look out for are a spider-like mite with small red or orange speckles/dots on its skin. Alongside this, look out for the signs below that can indicate your pet may have harvest mites.

Harvest mites symptoms

Harvest mite bites are usually on the skin nearest to the ground, or the thinner areas of skin, such as the groin, stomach and paws. Common signs of harvest mites in pets include:

  • Itchy and irritated skin
  • Red patches of skin
  • Raised lumps
  • Small spots that ooze puss

It is the bite marks that cause the itchiness and irritation, so keep a close eye on your pet’s skin if they appear to be itching unnecessarily.

How to get rid of harvest mites

Carol Martin, from the Canine Therapy Centre in Dumfries, is asked about this issue every year and believes there are things to do to help protect your pet. She said: “At this time of year, it is a good idea to keep your dog away from cornfields and areas of grass, where harvest mites tend to be found.

“Try washing your dog regularly with a shampoo made from the Pennyroyal plant, which has been used to ward off insects and mites since Roman times. There are various brands of this shampoo on the market and all of them can be used by puppies, kittens, dogs and cats with all coat types. Cedarwood oils also have soothing properties and will also keep flies and mosquitoes away too.”

If Harvest Mites are a particular problem for your pet then speak to your vet who can advise you on effective anti-parasitic treatments to prevent and treat the infestations.

What other mites commonly infest our pets?

There are other types of mites, such as ear mites which are most common in cats and kittens. They invade the ears where they eat wash and cause irritation to the skin and result in inflamed ears. For more information about caring for your cats and dogs head over to our Pet Talk blog.

Looking after your pet’s health is important, as is keeping yourself protected from unexpected vet bills with Argos Pet Insurance provided by Pinnacle Insurance plc. Explore our pet insurance policies today.

Argos Limited is an Appointed Representative of Home Retail Group Insurance Services Limited (HIS). HIS is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (register number 314050). Registered office: 33 Holborn, London, EC1N 2HT (registered in England and Wales, no 04109436). HIS act as an introducer to Pinnacle Insurance plc, who sell, administer and underwrite the policy and who are authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (register number 110866). Registered office: Pinnacle House, A1 Barnet Way, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, WD6 2XX (registered in England and Wales, no 01007798). HIS and Pinnacle Insurance plc are not part of the same corporate group.

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