Harvest mite

Harvest mite, this 1 to 2 mm mite lives on insects and insect eggs. Its larvae prey on vertebrates, including humans.

Do not confuse with:
Velvet mite (Trombidium holosericeum)

Also known as:
Autumn chigger

recognize harvest mite
An adult harvest mite, photo: Alan R. Walker - CC BY-SA 4.0

Harvest mite (Trombicula autumnalis). This 1 to 2 mm mite lives on insects and insect eggs. The mites look like little red spiders.
In August, the mite lays eggs in warm weather from which minime larvae (+ 0.25 mm) emerge around harvest time. These larvae require one meal of half-decomposed cellular fluid or cellular tissue of vertebrates for growth. So these larvae bite cows, chickens, goats, birds and people, among others. Once hatched, the larvae lurk in the grass to strike when a suitable animal passes. In humans, the larvae crawl on the ankles and feet, then move to more comfortable places such as armpits, hollows of the knees, on the skin under the waistband, etc. They bite down and stay put until they fill up after a few days. The bite of the larva is not felt but the bumps that appear after a few hours, however, itch all the more. Once full, the larvae drop and further develop into adult mites.

Where to find

  • Are commonly found


Once bitten by the larva, lubricating anti-itch medications may help.


Prevent bites by the larvae by:

  • wear boots
  • keep grass short
  • not walking bare-legged in the garden (August, September)
  • Lubricate with a Deet-containing agent.