What Are Paper Mites?

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A wide variety of mites inhabit the home or office and are capable of biting humans. Bed bugs, dust mites and straw itch mites all cause health problems, such as bites or respiratory problems, and can live in the home or yard. However, the paper mite can neither infest your home nor bite you and your family.

The Facts

Paper mites can't bite or destroy important documents because they simply don't exist. The North Carolina State University Extension Office states that paper mites are an imaginary mite that is commonly blamed for bites on the body that appear to be from a small insect. This phenomenon is commonly known as illusory parasitosis. These bites occur in both homes and workplaces, and many works and parents have become convinced that some pest is biting them or their children despite pest control professionals finding no insects.


The small, irritated bumps commonly attributed to this mystery mite are actually caused by other insects or hard-to-notice particles floating in the air. All of the insects that can bite and that live in a home or work environment, such as scabies and bed bugs, can be seen with the naked eye and are found quickly during a thorough inspection. Airborne particles make up most of the reported cases of "paper mite infestations" according to the District Council 37 Health and Safety Unit.


Real insect or mite bites require various treatments depending on the species making the injury. A health care professional may be able to identify the insect or the family of insects by examining the bite. If you can't find proof that an insect is biting you, try applying lotion to the affected area of skin and avoiding scratching, recommends the District Council 37 Health and Safety Unit. Irritations that appear to be bites will stop itching and disappear shortly after this treatment if they were caused by airborne particles.


Even though these problems aren't caused by a real mite, they're still painful and distracting. Carpet fibers, paper particles, exposure to formaldehyde from furniture or insulation fiberglass fibers all cause pinpoint skin disturbance, says the Techletter Pest Control Publications website. Any number of indoor air pollution problems lead to itchy, raised bumps on exposed skin. Installing a HEPA filtration system, vacuuming more regularly and fixing loose insulation helps cut down on this problem in the office or at home.