Oak leaf itch mites back for annual visit in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Posted at 8:46 PM, Oct 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-19 09:18:10-04

Oak leaf mites are back in Tulsa for their annual visit. While the outbreak last year was more significant, the bugs are still causing quite an issue this year.

As the leaves begin to change, these tiny bugs come out in force.

They look like mosquito bites but the bugs that caused the welts on three-year-old Laila Coats' back are quite different.

"She probably had over the course of this, I would say at least 100 between all of her legs everywhere,” said Kimberly Coats.

Tulsa Dermatology Clinic Dr. George Monks told 2 Works for You that the mites run out of food around September and October and that’s when they fall out of the oak trees.

"There could be hundreds of thousands of mites that fall in a single day from a single tree,” said Dr. Monks.

Dr. Monks says last year was the first year these bugs affected Tulsa.

Right now, he sees about five patients a day with these bites - that look just like chiggers.

"This year doesn't seem to be as bad as last year. Last year at its height, probably every fifth or sixth patient has oak leaf mite bites."

Dr. Monks says you can treat the bites with over-the-counter anti-itch medicine like hydrocortisone or calamine lotion but he says don't scratch or rub.
"She just wants to itch and when she itches them it will scab or bleed and it just makes it worse,” said Kimberly Coats.

After getting an ointment, Coats is hoping to take the itch away to protect Laila from the annoying pests once and for all.

"It seemed to help so far and I’m so grateful for it and she seems to be doing a lot better with it on her bites now."

Other experts say to wear long-sleeved tops and long pants while you're outside. They say it's best to take a shower as soon as you get inside -- and wash your clothes immediately.

They also say the first hard frost usually kills oak mites … until next year.