Dust mites are a global menace and live where we live. The eight-legged pest eats debris, the dry dead skin that flakes off us and our pets. Since we are constantly losing skin flakes, they constantly stay around us. They are a cause for asthma and allergic signs across the globe. The stomach and gut of the dust mite has enzymes that will digest and that follows the intake of food into their feces. This can cause wheezing, sneezing, coughing and other allergic symptoms. Its exoskeleton, the external supportive covering, contribute further to allergic reactions.
There are two species: The European house dust mite (Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus) and the American house dust mite (Dermatophagoides farinae) and they are not limited to living in North America or Europe.
As if we haven’t enough of these nasty phylum, Anthropoids, there is a third species Euroglyphus maynei that seem to live everywhere. House dust mites do not tunnel, dig, or eat their way under the skin as scabies do and are not parasites that live off others. There are those “others” who are being exploited today by parasitic scammers and identity thieves—who are parasites.
The male dust mite, living in your house, lives for 10 to 19 days. A pregnant female dust mite can live up to 70 days. By this time, she will have laid 60 to 100 eggs during the last 5 weeks of her life. It is not pleasant to know that the house dust mite, male or female, will excrete about 2000 fecal bits to include a much larger number of undigested particles covered with their enzyme dust. Oh gross.
The droppings (feces, poop) are mucous coated and the 3 to 5 food balls all wrapped up in a semipermeable membrane of undigested food and enzymes, then expelled. These leftovers are then consumed as food in the future. Dust mites usually defecate 20 droppings each day. It is either eaten or broken up by disturbing the space. The typical size of the droppings are 10 to 40 microns. The more than 14 allergens are extremely allergenic. The smaller the droppings, the more they can be inhaled into the lungs.
House dust mites are tiny and to see them you would need a 10x magnifier to identify them correctly. That’s doable. Their bodies are semi-transparent, meaning you can practically see through them. They measure 0.008- to 0.012-inches (0.2 to 0.3mm). Its outside body has a cuticle that is hard striated, having groves, bands, or lines.
The average person sheds off 1/3-ounce (10 grams) of dead skin each week. That is a lot of tasty dead skin for dust mites to eat. Cats and dogs slough even off more dander for dust mites to eat. Yuck!
- Where do Dust Mites Come From?
- How to know if you have Dust Mites?
- Differences Between Dust Mites and Bedbugs
- How to treat Dust Mite Allergies / Bed Bug Bites
- How to kill Dust Mites
- Removal of Bedbugs
- How to get rid of Dust Mites and Bedbugs – Top 13 Tips for Carpet, Mattress, Pet and more
- Final Thoughts
Where do Dust Mites Come From?
Dust mites occur in nature and are ancient and have adapted well to a variety of environments and are closely related to spiders, scorpions, and ticks. They emerge in almost all homes. They love humidity and moisture. Since they do not drink water and simply absorb moisture from the air, it’s easy to understand how they thrive so well in mildew and moldy humid areas. Dry climates such as the desert will not have dust mites because they cannot live without humidity.
How to know if you have Dust Mites?
These creatures flourish in warm humid environments found in most homes with a relative humidity above 60 to 65%.
They can be found in:
Mattresses—where we spend a third of our lives sleeping. This is the perfect place to be unseen in the fibers of your mattress, pillows, and bedding, where you are inclined to see the largest population of dust mites.
A typical mattress can hold tens of thousands of dust mites and almost 100,000 of them can live in 1-square yard of carpet. Sick yet?
Don’t be fooled. They also hide in the nooks and corners of furniture such as your headboard, nightstand, and bed frame. They’ve also been found in lamp shades.
Recliners, Sofas, Cushioned Chairs, Carpet—all places to hide out secretly! Since they feed on dead human skin (dander) and pet dander, they are going to be found where you have been. The more time you spend on this type furniture, the more mites will be found. Leather upholstery, being non-porous, will not have as many dust mites as fabrics made of fleecy fur, cloth, or dense upholstery.
Curtains and Drapes—are home to dust mites for the warmth the sunlight provides. They can live there in peace and comfort because we don’t clean window coverings that often.
Carpeting and Rugs—are ideal if you have wall-to-wall plush or shag carpet. Throw rugs can be tossed into hot water and washed whereas permanent carpeting must be clean professionally or by you if you have a carpet cleaning machine.
Airline Seats—same as recliners and sofas, unless you happen to sit on the new uncomfortable plastic seats.
Kid’s Toys—plush toys loved by all kids and adults alike are a breeding ground for dust mites. Steal them away from the kids and wash them in hot soapy water with an alternative bleach that won’t ruin the color.
Other Hiding Places:
- Objects or clutter near beds
- Under peeling paint and loose wallpaper
- Under carpeting near baseboards
- Under light switch plates or electrical outlets
- In your vehicle!
Bedbug Infestation Can be Associated With:
- International travel
- Changes in pest control
Differences Between Dust Mites and Bedbugs
Bedbugs are small yet you can see them and they are brownish-maroon in color. Dust mites are microscopic arachnids (class, Arachnida) that take a microscope to see in detail. You can see them moving about. Bedbugs feed on warm blood and dust mites eat dry flakes of human or animal skin that has been shed from their bodies.
Bedbugs can really hide out! They are found in the crevices and bindings of mattresses, both upper and lower with box springs, sheets, and on your pillows and carpet. Dust mites hang out in cool damp areas with moisture.
Bedbugs can leave red bite marks and skin irritations. Dust mites cause allergies and asthma.
Dust Mites vs Bedbugs
If you see red itchy spots when you get up each morning, you might think you have a mosquito bite because the bites look similar and both itch. If you see the welts and spots every morning, it’s possible you have bedbugs. Bed bug bites last longer than mosquito bites and don’t quite look the same.
Don’t be confused that bedbugs are dust mites. They are not. Dust mites do not bite; they eat dead skin and cause asthma and allergy symptoms.
- Both bugs belong to the phylum Arthropoda and both take up residency in human homes. This is where the resemblance ends. Bedbugs belong to the class, Insecta and dust mites belong to the class Arachnida—just in case you are science minded about bugs. Simply put, bedbugs are tiny insects and dust mites are microscopic spiders. Get outta here!
Feeding Behaviors of Bedbugs and Dust Mites
The bed bug is a species of cimicidae (Cimex lectularius) that feeds on the blood of warm blooded animals, and we humans are one of those warm-blooded mammals. Bedbugs, through one of the rostra (rustrum—the beak, snout, or proboscis of any of various insects or arachnids), inject an anesthetic as a pain killer and anticoagulant so the blood flows thinly, freely, and fluidly. The other rostrum sucks up your blood. Bedbugs are everywhere globally, except Antarctica.
They disappear into your bedding during the day and come out at night like the blood sucking vampires they are. Being hemophagous is a nice way of saying that they live on blood. Some people develop raised rashes and welts where they are bitten, and in rare cases, people may experience allergic reactions to bed bugs. Some research has also suggested that these bugs may carry disease.
They travel well too—on airplanes, from hotels and motels, clothing, in boxes, luggage, bedding, in your grocery bags, and drop off your visitors in your home when they have bedbugs and you don’t!
Once again, dust mites dine on dead flakes of skin humans and animals shed. Most of the dust on your furniture, except dryer lint dust, belongs to dust mites.
Dust Mite Symptoms
You might sneeze, have a runny nose, and/or red and watery eyes from dust mites keeping house in your home. The most common cause of asthma is from dust mites.
If your dust mite allergy triggers your asthma, you might have these symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing
- A whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling
- Chest tightness or pain
- Trouble sleeping due to shortness of breath, coughing, or wheezing
It is not a sign that you are not clean to have bedbugs arrive at your home. They don’t care if you are filthy or clean, rich, or poor. All they want are hiding places and a warm-blooded host.
They have legs so they can walk and they go as fast as a ladybug or spider. They travel quite quickly and effortlessly between floors in your home, hotels, motels, apartment complexes, college dorms, homeless shelters, trains, buses, cruise ships, and refugee camps. Bedbugs are found more often in crowded lodgings and places with high turnover tenancy.
Bedbug bites are often:
- Red, raised or flat, with a darker red spot in the center;
- Bites are in a squiggly line or in clusters;
- Itch like mosquito bites;
- Found mostly on your neck, face, arms, and hands; and
- Sometimes legs, feet, and pelvic area where it is warm and moist.
How to treat Dust Mite Allergies / Bed Bug Bites
It is sometimes hard to tell one bug bite from another. You might think you have a rash from clothing or rubbing against bushes and trees. Dust mite bites look like this picture and they can itch.
Some people will have no reaction to bedbugs, but will have the bite mark. Others, sensitive to the allergens, will have an allergic reaction to make up severe itching, blisters, and/or hives. Dust allergen triggers rhinitis allergica or bronchial asthma.
See your healthcare provider at once and keep an EpiPen® on hand. It can save your life from hives leading to anaphylactic shock. Go to the emergency room immediately after injecting.
How to kill Dust Mites
The best way to kill dust mites and to keep dust mites away is to use an air conditioner or dehumidifier to keep the relative humidity below 50%. Synthetic bedding materials are better than feather or wool materials to keep these mites gone. Bare floors and walls instead of carpets help remove dust mites. Damp dusting rags should be used to get rid of the dust. A lot of vacuuming and weekly washing of your bed linens in hot water also kill dust mites. Damp mop hard floors weekly. Don’t use brooms or dust mops that stirs them up and puts them elsewhere. Remove carpeting if you can.
Dust Mite video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=UX4fTY9FgbA
Dust Mite video. https://youtu.be/UX4fTY9FgbA
Removal of Bedbugs
Because bedbugs are sensitive to heat, cleaning your bedding, such as sheets, mattress protector, and pillowcases, can kill them from the 130-degree F. hot water in your washer. Wash them twice to be sure they all went down the drain. For down comforters and luxury bedspreads, have them cleaned by a professional laundry or dry cleaners. For fabrics that can’t be washed in hot water, put them in plastic bags into the freezer for 24- to-48 hours to knock bedbugs and dust mite’s dead, then wash in cold or warm water.
Usually, home insecticides are futile, often resulting in hiring a professional pest control exterminator. The professional may take up to 4 separate times getting rid of bedbugs forever, yet it can be done and is in the thousands of dollars range. It’s worth the hassle! You will still need to wash everything that is washable.
To check for bugs yourself, take 2-inch wide heavy grade cellophane tape about 6-inches long and start touching areas they might be. You will probably have dead bugs attached to the tape. Check your hard-surfaced floors too; bedbugs have been found walking around while cooking in the kitchen. Bedbugs can jump too!
How to Get Rid of Bedbug Infestation Fast in 24 Hours! https://youtu.be/jMYTh5L3bdE
Dr. Oz and Bedbugs video. https://youtu.be/NlnFz3STqHE
How to get rid of Dust Mites and Bedbugs – Top 13 Tips for Carpet, Mattress, Pet and more
- Consider removing all carpets and replace with wood, linoleum, or tile.
- Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
- Wash all bedding in hot water for dust mites and bedbugs.
- Brush pets outdoors daily.
- Wipe their fur and feet down with a damp towel.
- Buy a dehumidifier so that dust mites will not live in humid conditions.
- Clean your pet’s bedding daily.
- Keep pets out of your bedrooms where transference can occur.
- Look for a professional exterminator in the phone book or online for your city. They use chemicals or special light and heat devices to kill dust mites at once.
- Wash bedding weekly or more often.
- Use an anti-allergy mattress and mattress cover.
- Don’t make your bed in the morning; let it air out any body moisture that mites love.
- Get rid of feather pillows and duvets; they harbor moisture and a good place to live for dust mites.
- Get rid of curtains, cushions, and soft furnishings; replace with blinds or vertical shades.
- Use a steam cleaner for items that cannot go into the washing machine.
- Replace fabric covering with leather or faux leather.
- Wear a mask when you vacuum and dust to avoid inhaling allergens. Stay out of the vacuumed area for 20 minutes to allow any dust and allergens to settle after vacuuming and dusting for the health of your lungs and sinuses.
- Dry cleaning kills all dust mites and is also good for removing dust mites from living in fabrics.
- Clean or replace the air filters on your furnace or air conditioner at least once a month.
- Store your clothes in the closet or in drawers, not laying around on the bed.
These nasty critters are simply nasty! You can put your mattress and pillows in protective coverings that are dust-proof or allergen resistant. Put them on your baby’s crib mattress and on children’s bedding. By now you probably feel like bugs are crawling all over you, but they aren’t. These bugs will gross anyone out. You cannot totally remove dust mites, but you can totally remove bedbugs. Remember, bedbugs can be eliminated forever! You don’t need to let bats into your house to do it either.