Turkey mites are the larval stage of small ticks generally found in the Midwestern United States. They are also known as “seed ticks”. The immature tick is commonly found in areas that have high populations of turkey or deer. Recently, Kentucky and Illinois have seen a surge in outbreaks of turkey mites, due the sudden increase in wild turkey populations. They are most commonly found between July and October.
The turkey mite burrows under skin, much like the common “chigger”, and uses blood as its only source of nutrition. If left untreated, the mites can live for months under the human skin, causing what is commonly described as “excruciating itching that cannot be relieved by any solution”.
Symptoms of a turkey mite infestation on the human body typically appear one to three days after initial exposure. Small bumps, or rashes, appear across the body, wherever a mite has burrowed in. It is in appearance much like a poison ivy rash, but without the formation of blisters. The itching is continuous and severe. It does not spread by scratching, nor are they technically contagious through contact.
The treatment for turkey mites is similar to treating infestations of lice or scabies. See your doctor for treatment. The only at-home treatment available with any promise of relief is through shampoo for lice. Use the shampoo as a body wash, and once the body is dry apply a small amount of lice shampoo to affected areas and allow to air dry. All bedding, clothing worn, and towels should also be washed in hot water and dried in high heat in a dryer. Again, see your doctor before performing any at home options.
Turkey mites are picked up by humans passing by nests in open fields or wooded areas. They will burrow into the first warm blooded body that travels by. Due to this, the best option for someone living in an area that has high population levels of wild turkey or deer is to always use an insect repellent that contains DEET.
For more information see http://www.uky.edu/Agriculture/Entom…ruct/ef618.htm