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Dust Mites Q&A: All You Need To Know

Posted on December 10th, 2015 by Panther Pest Control Team
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Dust mites are common household pests which roam freely in many UK homes. But what do you actually know about them? Where do they come from? What attracts them to your homes? These dust mites Q&A will give you all the information you need.

What are dust mites and where do they come from?

House Dust Mite

Image By: www.flickr.com
Author: Gilles San Martin
License type: CC BY-SA 2.0


Dust mites are very common microscopic pests, which occur naturally and typically inhabit households. They’re not insects but arachnids, just like spiders.They “feast” on human skin flakes and their population flourishes in damp homes. But are dust mites dangerous? Unlike the scabies mites or skin follicle mites ( which are very well-known as tiny parasites which live under your skin), these microscopic arachnids live in your sheets and mattresses. So, no, dust mites do not pose a fatal threat to your life or health by biting you. There’ re are two types of common home dust mites – American house dust mite (Dermatophagoides farinae) and the European house dust mite (Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus) which inhabit more than the continents they take their names from.

Are dust mites visible to the human eye?

Dust mites are too tiny to be seen without a microscope. In fact, their size is around 250 to 300 microns, which is 0.02-0.03 centimeters. What’s more, their bodies are semi-transparent, so they’ll be completely invisible to the naked eye.

How do dust mites look under a microscope?

House dust mite(Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus) under a microscope


Author: CSIRO
Image source: commons.wikimedia.org
License: CC BY 3.0 (modify, share even commercially)

If you use this kind of equipment, you’d reach the conclusion adult dust mites look quite dreadful. Their bodies are covered in striations and long hairs (setae). They have no eyes or antennae. Instead, they’re equipped with eight hairy legs and a pair of appendages around the mouth called mouthpart, which they use for eating.

Where are dust mites found?

dust mites in the bed

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Image by: Laura D’Alessandro
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They can live particularly everywhere in the household where it’s dusty and humid and temperatures are between 20° – 28 ° C. They populate household items like furniture where people often use like bed linen, pillows, sheets, soft, upholstered furniture.

What do dust mites eat?

Dust mites feed on dead human or animal skin flakes and organic waste matter.

Can dust mites bite you? It’s unavoidable to develop a short-lived paranoia when you read the rows above. Why short-lived? Well, these tiny arachnids do not feed directly off human skin. This means they won’t crawl on you to have a bite. Unlike mosquitoes, fleas or bed bugs they don’t bite. So, what do HDMs eat? They feed on dander, which consists of skin particles both humans and pets shed daily on the sheets or living room furniture and carpets.

Do dust mites cause allergies?

Allergies to house dust mites

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Yes, dust mites are among the group of common pests which cause indoor allergies .

Causes For Allergies To Dust Mites:

What triggers allergies to dust mites? Very often their exoskeletons or droppings are the cause for allergic reactions in humans. Their faeces have high concentration of their potent digestive enzymes. The protein triggers an allergic reaction in the form of respiratory problems or skin rash. As a matter of fact, 80% of people worldwide are inclined to dust mites allergies.

Dust Mites Allergy Symptoms In Brief:

  • Sneezing, runny, stuffy nose
  • Pressure in the sinuses which often cause facial pain
  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Wheezing and coughing
  • Chest tightness and shortness of breath
  • Itchy skin,eyes and nose
  • Skin rash,eczema (inflammatory skin disease)

Allergic reactions triggered by dust mite proteins in their droppings and can range from mild to severe. The mild allergic reactions include runny, stuffy nose, watery, red and itchy eyes, sneezing. In its severe forms the allergy may result in constant sneezing, coughing, facial pressure, chest tightness and shortness of breath and severe asthma attacks.

What Makes Dust Mites Allergy Worse?

The answer to “can these allergy symptoms get any worse?” is “yes”. Walking or sitting within the infected areas, shaking bed linen or other infested household items will cause the dust mite particles to fly in the air, thus worsen the symptoms.

Is it possible to completely get rid of dust mites?

How to get rid of dust mites

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You cannot eliminate them all on your own, but you can rely on a dust mites treatment expert to do it instead of you. Yet, you can reduce the existing dust mites population . You can make a daily household tasks checklist which will help you keep their living conditions unfavourable with the help of the following short checklist :

Among the countless property maintenance tasks for a fully pest-proof home you should tackle monthly and annually, there are a few you have to perform more often:

  1. Daily cleaning – dust furniture like tables, night stands and similar with wet microfiber wipes, to prevent the dust mite particles from flying in the air. Vacuum clean everything possible- from carpets to upholstered furniture
  2. Weekly cleaning tasks – wash your bedding like sheets, pillow cases, blankets and similar every week at temperatures higher than 50 ° C.
  3. Dehumidify their “home” environment – these microscopic pests thrive in places where humidity levels higher than 50%. These pests don’t drink water directly but absorb water through the moisture in the air. Dehumidifying rooms will kill them due to lack of water.
  4. Lowering the room temperatures – dust mites love temperatures higher than 21 ° C. By reducing temperatures the infested rooms will become too cold for them.
  5. Switch to synthetic materials– you can switch from feather-stuffed pillows to such with synthetic filling. Switch to blankets which are made from cotton fibers.
  6. They like dark rooms– Let natural light and fresh air in and air your home daily.

You can get rid of them by using professional help for dust mites treatment in London , as well, which won’t take up all of your spare time.