Dust Mite Description, Behavior, Life Cycle

Dust mites are arachnids (in the same “family” as spiders. Dust mites feed on organic detritus, more commonly know as “dead material” that is from a previous source such as flakes from dead skin. Both male and female dust mites are blue and have a rectangular shaped body, with a striated outer cuticle. These pests are so small (420 micrometers or roughly 1/3 of a millimeter ) that they can be transferred from outside-in by simple air currents from opening and closing doors or dust bunnies. The male dust mite life cycle usually lasts for approximately 10-20 days, while female dust mites have been known to live for more then 70 days. During the last few weeks of her life the female dust mite will lay from 60-100 eggs. House dust mites thrive in indoor environments provided by homes, specifically in bedrooms and kitchens. Dust mites survive well in mattresses, carpets, furniture and bedding and pillows. Even in dry climates, house dust mites can survive and reproduce easily in bedding (especially in pillows), deriving moisture from the humidity generated by human saliva and perspiration.

Dust Mite Health Related Issues

These decomposers are clinically one of the most common contributors to asthma and allergenic issues. They are second to only pollen causing allergic reactions. These allergens are caused by the protein DER p1, which is present in the fecal matter of the pest. Allergens cause by dust mites have also been known to occasionally trigger asthma attacks. These contribute to poor IAQ (Indoor air quality) and may increase the risk exposure to allergens.

Signs of Dust Mite Infestation

Mite populations are usually highest during humid summer months and lowest during winter dry months. This can be attributed to the availability of water and moisture. Allergenic signs of infestation may include itchiness, sneezing, inflamed or infected eczema, watering/reddening eyes, runny nose, hay fever, and clogging in the lungs. Dust mites are known to “hitchhike” on human clothing, however Dust mites, unlike other types of mites do not live on humans and skin irritation is rarely caused by exposure. Because dust mites are microscopic, Acarex Testing kits are helpful in initially determining if dust mites are present. Mitest kits have also been useful to trap samples for testing. These can be attached to the wand of a vacuum cleaner and help determine if the pest is present. Once the sample is collected it is then tested by a mite allergen test kit to see if there is a present infestation.In Bio Rapid Test Kit However, Dust mites are found in nearly every household, so testing is usually unnecessary, because they will show a positive test almost all the time. A better method in identification and removal if symptoms of allergies appear, is to think about “How can I control them.”

Dust Mite Treatment Options

Washing and drying clothing and bed sheets will usually bring the temperature high enough to kill household dust mites. It is also important to wash sheets at least once every two weeks to help maintain control over dust mites. Dehumidifiers and Air conditioners set below 35% humidity and 70 degrees will help reduce the population of dust mites. Air purifiers will help to reduce the number of airborne allergens. When cleaning dust, make sure it is done with a damp rag, to reduce spread of airborne dust. It is necessary to dust everything including books, fans, furniture etc. Airtight sealing of mattress top and sides with plasitc cover is recommended by consumer reports. Vacuuming the room regularly will help to get rid of dust mites. It is impossible to get rid of every dust mite, however it is possible to control the population and reduce the amount of airborne allergens. If possible remove carpet and replace with wood, tile, linoleum, or vinyl floor covering.

Ozone Air Purifiers for Dust Mites

Although ozone air purifiers emit a low level of ozone (activated oxygen) that attaches to fungus, mold, and bacteria on skin flakes, US Food and Drug Administration does not recommend ozone generators. The same ozone that oxidizes the dust mites is bad for your health. Air purifiers that use HEPA filtration are usually more effective and safe to use. Various types of air purifiers can be attached to the central air return to decrease irritants. Most filters remove 50 to 70 percent of material. HEPA filters will remove up to 99 percent of the material; not just dust mite feces, but also all types of other allergens, like animal dander, dust, pollen, cockroach feces, etc.

Comprehensive Approach To Cleaning for Dust Mites.

  1. Although no clinical proof has suggested that HEPA bags in vacuum cleaning is more effective then a general vacuum cleaning, it is probable that they are more effective in trapping allergens then a regular bag. A general vacuum may aggravate the problem and disperse dust into the air. During vacuuming it is important to open windows to help ventilation of the home or apartment.

  2. De-mite laundry detergent.

  3. Steam cleaning carpets may help as well.

  4. Non-chemical products including Acarosan and Allergy Control Solution are available for treatment of house dust mites and their allergens.
  5. Keep house to a low temperature; around 70 degrees, with relatively low humidity less than 35%. Low humidity will also help reduce to reduce molds.

  6. HEPA air filtration to reduce number of airborne allergens.

  7. Clean and dust weekly.

  8. For delicate clothing that can not be heat treated, freezing clothing in a freezer has also been proven effective for eradication of dust mites.
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