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Home: Education: Hot Springs and Red Spider Mites
  Hot Springs Guides and Articles

Northwest Hot Springs and Red Spider Mites

Magnified Red Spider Mite

A commonly known nemesis of the soak seeker, the Red Spider Mite (RSM) inhabits a few natural hot springs. Barely visible to the naked eye, these tiny crimson mites scurry about on top of warm rocks and hot water in and around select hot springs throughout Idaho, Nevada and the Northwest.

How RSMs Effect Humans

Red Spider Mites typically cling to the body (including clothing/towels in proximity of the pools) and proceed to bite the skin in an unsuccessful attempt to lay eggs. The bites leave itchy red sores behind that usually heal completely after a couple weeks. It is highly advisable to use itch relief cream and avoid scratching the bites. The human immune system kills off the eggs before they can hatch and eventually builds up enough immunity to kill off the mites themselves after a couple days or so.

Note: Scratching bites during the first few days proceeding contact with RSMs can result in additional bites. It seems that agitating the skin in-turn agitates the RSMs.

Red Spider Mite Precautionary Measures

  • Keep your towel and gear far away from the hot springs pools and surrounding rocks. Hang your pack, clothes and towel off a tree limb and make a dash for it. At least this way they won't be waiting for you on your towel and clothes post soak.
     
  • Use bug juice, ideally of the natural and lotion assortment, but only after your soak - no need to pollute the water with that junk. Plus, RSMs usually wait to dig-in until their host has dry skin, applying bug juice after soaking should reduce your chances of receiving bites.

Treatment

Once bitten by RSMs (trust me, you'll know), treatment involves copious amounts of anti-itch cream, as itching the bites early on can set recovery back significantly and may result in additional bites. Take it easy, sleep, stay hydrated, eat and don't forget the itch cream!

Listing of Hot Springs with Reported Red Spider Mites

A complete list of hot springs in the northwest with reported and/or confirmed Red Spider Mite inhabitants that I have been maintaining for over a decade. Thank you to all that have contributed! This is the only known list in existance!

Atlanta Hot Springs (ID)
Confirmed by guide book and hot springers - multiple confirmations
RSM Activity Level: High

Bear Valley Hot Springs (ID)
Confirmed by self and hot springers - multiple confirmations
RSM Activity Level: High

Bogg Hot Springs (NV)
Confirmed by self and hot springers - multiple confirmations
RSM Activity Level: Moderate

Boiling Springs Hot Springs (ID)
Confirmed by hot springer - couple confirmations
RSM Activity Level - Moderate

Buckhorn Hot Springs (ID)
Confirmed by self and hot springers - multiple confirmations
RSM Activity Level: Low

Chattanooga Hot Springs (ID)
Confirmed by hot springers - multiple confirmations
RSM Activity Level: High

Eagleville Hot Springs (CA)
Confirmed by hot springers - multiple confirmations
RSM Activity Level: Moderate

Granite Creek Hot Springs (ID)
Confirmed by hot springer - couple confirmations
RSM Activity Level: Low

Hart Mountain Hot Springs (OR)
Confirmed by hot springers - multiple confirmations
RSM Activity Level: Moderate

Hot Springs Campground (ID)
Confirmed by self and hot springer - multiple confirmations
RSM Activity Level: Low-Moderate

Kirkham Hot Springs (ID)
Confirmed by hot springers - multiple confirmations
Upper Pools RSM Activity Level: High
Lower Pools RSM Activity Level: Low-None
Notes: I have soaked at the lower pools many MANY times without a single bite

Loftus Hot Springs (ID)
Confirmed by hot springer - single confirmation
RSM Activity Level: High

Molly's Hot Spring (ID)
Confirmed by self and hot springers - multiple confirmations
RSM Activity Level: Moderate

Prince Albert Hot Springs (ID)
Confirmed by hot springer - couple confirmations
RSM Activity Level: High

Rocky Canyon Hot Springs (ID)
Confirmed by hot springers - multiple confirmations
RSM Activity Level: Moderate-High

Ruby Lake Hot Springs (NV)
Confirmed by hot springers - multiple confirmations
RSM Activity Level: High

Secesh Hot Springs (ID)
Confirmed by self and hot springers - multiple confirmations
RSM Activity Level: Low

Soldier Meadows Hot Springs (NV)
Confirmed by hot springers - multiple confirmations
RSM Activity Level: Moderate

Vulcan Hot Springs (ID)
Confirmed by hot springers - multiple confirmations
RSM Activity Level: Moderate
Note: There is a possibility that RSMs are being confused with 'Chiggers'

Whitey Cox Hot Springs (ID)
Confirmed by hot springers - multiple confirmations
RSM Activity Level: High

Willow Creek Hot Springs (ID)
Confirmed by self and hot springers - multiple confirmations
RSM Activity Level: Low

Worswick Hot Springs (ID)
Confirmed by hot springers - multiple confirmations
RSM Activity Level: Moderate-High

Know of a hot springs in the Northwest with RSMs not on the above list?

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