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roundish, brown mite with four yellowish legs and long mouthparts on a yellow background
Spiny rat mite. Photo: NYSIPM. Click photos to see enlarged versions.

Mites are tiny arthropods related to spiders and ticks. Some will bite humans, a few are merely nuisances, certain ones attack plants, and some can trigger an asthma attack. There are even predatory mites that can help in the garden by eating other insect pests.

Identifying which type of mite you have can be tricky due to their small size, but is a vital first step in determining what steps to take when you find them in your home.