Can Grain Mites Live In The Fridge

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Grain mites are pests that feed on grounded and processed grain. The grain mites live and feed on powdered milk, flour, cheese, and mold spores. There are various temperatures where the mites can survive but can grain mites live in the fridge?

Yes, grain mites can live in the fridge. The fridge’s coldness is insufficient to halt grain mites’ growth. Indeed, their reproduction rate will slow down just like that of the mealworms, but they will still be able to grow gradually. 

In this article, I will tell you who grain mites are, where they thrive, and what you can do to get rid of them from machines like refrigerators.

What Is The Fastest Way To Get Rid Of Grain Mites?

Here are several ways by which you can get rid of grain mites. 

  • It would be best if you dried out your kitchen cabinets and pantry using a hair dryer. The grain mites propagate in humid conditions.
  • It would be best to ensure that the food storage areas were arid.  You can also utilize other sources of hot air. It kills off the rest of the grain mites. 
  • The grain mites can be killed with soapy water as well. The high temperature of the water kills the eggs of grain mites. 
  • It would be best if you took care while cleaning out with a rag or sponge so that you do not move the mites to another location. 
  • Using a bleach solution is also effective. All you need to do is add a little bleach to the water. It will dilute the mixture and will eliminate the grain mites on contact.
  • It would be best to avoid contact with your eyes and skin while carrying out the procedure.

Where Do Grain Mites Come From?

The grain mites are tiny arachnids. They are eight-legged arthropods. The grain mites, like all other pests, are in your surroundings and are most attracted to the packaging or the food products in your kitchen. They are also known as ‘ flour mites’ or Acarus Siro.

This is not a very common method of infestation, but grain mites can be clingy and attach to animals or insects in their life cycle, also called hypopus. When the conditions are humid, it gives mites a chance to reproduce rapidly. 

The grain mites can lay up to 800 eggs on food materials. The food particles act as breeding grounds for the mites. Their life cycle is short; they take only about two weeks to transform from an egg to an adult.

Do Grain Mites Spread?

Yes, grain mites can spread very quickly. The grain mites thrive on the flour and enter the sacks of dried goods. These grain mites can be a nuisance if you do not keep a stringent check.

They spread to the other storage areas and onto other nearby items. So, if you have food stocks in your go down and have been infested with grain mites, you are in great trouble.

Within a few weeks, the grain mites take hold of other food substances and start eating them. Not only this, but they also lay eggs by hundreds to propagate their population. So, once they start spreading, there is no stopping them.

What Temperature Kills Grain Mites?

Controlling grain temperature is very important when you have to maintain the quality of your product. Generally, we start looking at it in terms of temperature; it is best if the grains are kept cold and dry. Why? This is to reduce the reproduction of insects inside the grains.

A temperature of 70°F is sufficient to slow down the reproduction of insects. To keep the insects dormant, a temperature of 50°F is enough. However, to kill the insects, you will have to keep the temperature below 30°F for a few weeks. This will make you get rid of a lot of infestation.

However, you must realize that once the infestation has started, it is now an ongoing problem that you have to look after. You cannot afford to be lazy and not pay heed to the pressing issue lying ahead of you.

How Long Do Grain Mites Survive?

In ideal conditions, the female grain mites can live for about 42-51 days on average. The maximum number of days that have been recorded is 63 days. The males do not live as long as the females. 

Research also says that virgin females live the longest. They can live for about 103 days. Virgin males, on the other hand, live up to 50 days.

Can Grain Mites Survive Cold? 

The mites are dark blue to black. They have red legs. They can be challenging to see with the naked eye, and one has to use a hand lens for a good view. The mites can survive the cold. 

The freezing temperatures do not affect mites; they prefer mild temperatures between 40-70° F through winter. However, the cool temperatures do not affect the mites. They can survive the cold conditions and still be able to reproduce but at a lower rate. 

Does The Fridge Kill Grain Mites?

When you purchase food in bulk containers rather than pre-packaged food, there is a chance that it will have grain mites in them. This grain should be refrigerated to kill the mites first.

However, the temperature must be below zero for you to achieve the purpose of killing mites. Otherwise, the mites can also survive the cold temperatures of the freezer. You must spring to action and start doing the mite treatment.

This will not only kill the mites but will also save your fridge from an unseen infestation. Otherwise, all your other food products will be ruined too.

Wrapping It Up

If you have food products in your house, you must beware of the grain mites and the infestation they are capable of causing. They can wreak unseen havoc in your food storage area.

That is why you must take caution and take all the necessary actions to keep your refrigerators free from grain mites. Proper treatment can help save you from a lot of inconveniences later on.

References

College of Agriculture, Food and, Environment.

Canadian Grain Commission