Dust Mites 101

Your kid has a runny nose and keeps sneezing even though flu season is long gone. If your kid is allergic to dust mites, then you have a pest problem in your hands.

What are they?

The worst part is that the pests cannot be seen by the naked eye. They have translucent bodies and are no more than 250 to 300 microns in length.

Dust mites do not have any eyes or antennas. The pests are microscopic and survive by ingesting dead skin cells that are shed by animals or people. The fact is enough to make your skin crawl. They don’t bite; however, the pests are infamous for causing violent allergic reactions in people who suffer from breathing problems such as asthma. An asthma attack can also be caused by their feces.

Dust mites are often confused for bed bugs since they like to linger on pillows or any other place where people spend the most time. Dander and dead skin cells also tend to accumulate in such places as a result.

They pests don’t have to worry about running out of sustenance, especially since a person can shed 10 grams of dead skin in a single week. The problem can worsen if you have pets in the house even if you shampoo your hair on a regular basis.

Life Cycle

Female dust mites can lay over 80 eggs in a single sitting or in groups of five or threes. The six legged larvae emerge after six months and grow into full adults in as little as a month. Adult dust mites can live for two or three months.

Most dust mite infestations occur during the hot and humid months. This doesn’t come as a surprise since house dust mites need water for sorption.

Should you be worried?

A single mattress can contain about a thousand dust mites. What’s worse, a single dust mite can leave 20 droppings each day. A mixture of these droppings and shed skin is what is causing your husband to sneeze like his life depended on it.

While they are not known to carry diseases, their annoying tendencies to cause allergic reactions in seemingly healthy individuals should be a cause for concern.

How to Control them

Detection – Since house dust mites are microscopic, their presence is often suspected rather than seen. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should buy a powerful microscope and hover it over every mattress or carpet with your eye at the eye piece. Allergic reactions are often touted as a symptom. For example, people who have been diagnosed to be allergic to dust mites are faster in detecting the pests.

Prevention – Fortunately, you can ensure that the pests do not bother you if you –

  • Invest in some allergy proof mattresses or pillow cases preferably ones that let your skin breathe. Plastic covers can become sticky and uncomfortable to lie on. Make sure that you encase all of the beds in your bedroom.
  • House dust mites thrive in humid environments. If your home is stifling during the summer months, installing some ventilation is a good idea. This will reduce the amount of house dust mites in your living space.
  • Don’t spread out wall to wall carpeting if you can help it. House dust mites thrive in carpets and more of them will only make your situation worse. Opt for flooring that is easier to clean instead such as linoleum or wooden floors.
  • If you do have carpets, make sure that you vacuum them on a regular basis. This will prevent your problem from spreading. Older carpets that haven’t been cleaned in a while, on the other hand, must be removed completely. Dust cannot be vacuumed out if it has remained undisturbed on a carpet for a long time. And besides, house dust mites have a tendency to hold fast to the fibers no matter how powerful your vacuum is. The strong sucking pads on the ends of their legs ensure it.
  • Launder your sheets, duvets or other bedding every week.

If all else fails, you can always rely on a professional pest control service to help you especially if you think that the problem has turned into an infestation and is out of your control.


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