Grain Mite (Cheese or Flour Mite)

Category: OLI
Minimum Life Cycle: 17 days.
Distribution: Worldwide; attacks many types of produce particularly if moisture is high or after fungal attack.
Biology:
Eggs - At least 100 per female; egg stage can tolerate several months at 0°C.
Immature stages and adults - Attack cereal embryos, dormant stage resists starvation, desiccation, and chemical treatments.

Grain Mite, Cheese Mite, or Flour Mite (Acarus silo). The body of the grain mite is a white oval with reddish brown mouth parts and legs. It is widely distributed and endures low temperatures. The grain mite will live in fields, barns, loading areas, and grain elevators, as well as in grain, flour, or other food products that contain sufficient moisture. The mite develops quickly and will cause damage to the grain embryo. The mite leaves a characteristic and mildly pungent odor. Development usually takes place only in grain with a high moisture content (Figure 27).

(Slide and top caption courtesy of ICI Americas, Inc.)

illustration of a grain mite

Figure 27. Grain mite (cheese or flour mite).