Managing Dust Mites at Home

Have you ever wondered what are dust mites, and why they are so annoying to the human race? The good news is that these little bugs do not live on humans (and do not bite), but they will take a ride on clothing looking for something to eat. The major risk of having dust mites in the home is the fact that they can make allergies unbearable for the selected individuals that are allergic to their feces. Learn about dust mite habits and how to manage them in the home.

What are Dust Mites?

Microscopic dust mites embedded on your linen coversDust mites are small microorganisms that can only be seen through a microscope magnified ten times stronger than the human eye. These bugs do not carry disease, but can be very irritating to people with allergies to the feces they leave behind or those with asthma. They feed on skin cell left behind by humans and animals. A square yard of carpet can be the home for up to 100,000 dust mites.

As information provided by Broadway Exterminating revealed, dust mites lay eggs to reproduce. A single adult female can lay over forty eggs. Once these eggs hatch, they go through three physical changes until they have reached the adult stage. These mites typically live from 1-3 months as an adult and a month during the physical changes. These microscopic organisms survive on a diet of skin scales, crumbs, cereals, or even fish food flakes.

The bugs thrive in warm and humid environments. They are often prevalent in higher humidity regions. Each mite will leave behind an average of 20 fecal droppings a day. When a home can have millions of these small bugs, the amount of fecal material left per day can be very irritating for those with allergies.

Skin allergies caused by bed bugs and dust mitesWhere in the House Can Dust Mites Be Found

In most cases, dust mites are found more often in beds or highly used furniture (such as sofas and lounge chairs). Typically, a human will spend up to eight hours a day in bed, providing the perfect environment for these bugs to thrive. In general, a bed pillow that is two years old will have ten percent of its weight coming from dust mites and the fecal material they leave behind.

Since humans typically shed up to one-fifth of an ounce of dead skin cells each week, any cloth surface such as furniture, bedding, or carpet provides a virtual feeding house for these bugs. Consider the fact that any used mattress could be home to 100,000 to 10 million dust mites living inside.

How to Limit the Spread and Growth of Dust Mites

Dust mites live in warm, moist environments and feed on human and animal skin scales, but there are measures to take that can stop their growth and ability to live. The first thing to do is lower the temperature in the home to below 70 degrees. Limit the humidity in any room to less than 50 percent. This can be done by using a dehumidifier or by running an air conditioner.

Limit the number of mites living in on the bed by covering the mattress and pillows with a plastic cover. Wash sheets, blankets, and pillows every week in very hot water, as this can greatly limit the number of dust mites. Also, consider changing out floor carpeting for wood or tile.

Daily vacuuming can help get rid of dust mites. However, using a bagged vacuum can be simply spreading the dust mites around. A vacuum does not kill mites it just picks them up. For this step to be effective, use a vacuum with a HEPA filter, and it needs to have the option to dump the waste immediately. Take the waste outside and dump it in a trash container outdoors. Otherwise, the mites are left to re-spread through the home.

Dust mites may seem harmless, as they cannot be seen by the naked eye, but they can cause many problems. While it is hard work to keep the number of mites down, it is worth it, especially to individuals suffering from allergies. A dust mite will never go away, but making them less welcome in a home can be done.