How do I find, sample and submit mites for evaluation?

Specimens can be gently collected with a moistened cotton swab, artist’s paintbrush or a small tissue paper fragment. These may be transferred to a small crush-resistant container (such as a pill bottle) or zipper lock bag. Alternatively, mites may be gently lifted from walls or other surfaces by use of clear tape. These strips should be gently affixed (adhesive side down) onto clean white paper. Whenever possible, use a pen or marker to circle the object on the tape or in a bag. Finally, we encourage referring to our guidance on sampling the environment with non-baited insect glue traps.  

You should also complete an IdentifyUS Specimen Evaluation Form to send in with your sample.

What we do when we get your mite specimen(s)

Samples of presumed biting mites are examined microscopically by our resident medical entomologist / parasitologist who has considerable expertise in acarology (study of mites). We may need to extract specimens from adhesive substrates, apply chemically treatments to render them clear for microscopic evaluation, and image them digitally for documentation. These efforts are time and labor consuming, and require considerable expertise. Nonetheless, we generally can report our findings within one day of receiving the samples.

Service Costs

Our mite evaluation services operate on a two-tier cost system. 

The base rate ($30 per sample submission) is for the identification – to species level when possible, of most samples of mites. A sample may consist of several creatures of the same kind.  If the mites are of a biting kind, we will simply confirm that they are biting mites, but will not identify them to species.

Because far more effort is usually required to identify biting mites to species, the cost ($100 per submission) is correspondingly greater. For biting mites, we encourage submission of a dozen or more mites, when possible, and the submitter should try to sample the largest mites that are discovered, as these will facilitate our efforts. The $100 cost will cover evaluation of the entire sample. 

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