What are soil mites?
Soil mites are very tiny arthropods of only 1ml long. These mites, as the name is very self-explanatory, live in the soil. Believe it or not, there are as many different mites varieties as insects.
Each variety is found in a different environment. As for the most common soil mites (Acari), we have Oribatei, Prostigmata, Mesostigmata, and Astigmata. The one which is found frequently is the Oribatei, also called the turtle mite.
How do They Affect the Soil & Plants
They are, in fact, beneficial for plants. They feed on fungi on plants, significant for the decomposition process, feed on dead plants, and some of them, such as Mesostigmata, eat worms and other harmful insects. Unlike spider mites which feed on the green cells of plants and are hard to get rid of
How Do Soil Mites Affect Humans
However, they can be a pain when they are in indoor soil plants as they tend to leave the soil and spread around the house in an infestation journey. This, indeed, can be disturbing, but would they affect humans?
Soil mites are not harmful to humans. However, in the USA, it has been stated that very rare cases were recognized. When a few of them reach a person, they might bite and cause irritation. Such as itch mites (Pyemotes.)
Though, these irritations can be real or imagined. Imagined irritation is psychological; meaning the person is not affected, but rather the brain is sending false signals due to some kind of fear.
In some other rare cases, they might carry bacteria and eggs of parasites and pass them to people resulting in diseases. Even though this can be very rare to happen, it does happen!
To avoid this, make sure to wear gloves when you notice these mites in the soil. Or, every time you interact with soil, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly with water and soap. That should do it.
Lastly, we conclude that these little insects are nature’s friends. They help the soil to be at its healthiest stage. There is no need to worry if you spotted one of them on your soil. It is actually a good sign to see them because that means your soil is healthy and useful.