Dust mites (Dermatophagoides farinae) are often called spider mites. These very small arachnids are off white in color, shaped like a globe and can have an average life span of a month and known to live up to 3 months!
Because dust mites are so small the human eye alone can not detect them; To see a dust mites, you’ll need a basic microscope. Females dust mites are larger than their male counterpart and can lay anywhere from 1 to three eggs per day.
* According to controversial article by William F. Lyon written for the Extension Service at Ohio State University, a typical used mattress may have anywhere from 100,000 to 10 million mites inside!
It goes on to state that 10% of the weight in a pillow that is two years old can be composed of dead mites and their waste. One more disturbing finding was that when you open your shades and see that beam of light with a ton of floating objects, eighty percent of it are flakes from your skin!
In as little as a month, a dust mite can reach adulthood and thrive best in damp material, such as towels, clothes or a mattress.
Dust mites love dead skin and some of the best repositories of dead skin are bed covers, blankets, anything made of cloth, dust and more.
Higher then normal humidity levels can also contribute to dust mites.
Dust mites are commonly thought of as causing dermatitis, asthma and rhinitis. Small children are also said to run the risk of asthma if exposed to the feces of dust mites. For example, if you sleep on a mattress containing a large amount of dust mites, you’ll notice red itchy bumps. These bumps are a result of your skin reacting to the allergen of the dust mite.
Controlling Dust Mites
Dust mites can cause a variety of health problems and while there is no way to completely eliminate the dust mites, controlling them can reduce a person’s risk of suffering from the health problems associated with an infestation of dust mites. This article is an overview of measures you can take to control the dust mite population in your home.
While you sleep, dust mites are hiding in your bedding. There are several things that can be done to reduce the dust mites in your bedding. The simplest solution is to wash bedding such as bedcovers, blankets and sheets once per week in hot water.
For pillows, it is recommended that you replace feather and down pillows with ones that are have synthetic materials as a filling. Alternatively, you can your regular pillow covers with dust-proof zippered ones.
As stated before, washing blankets and other bedding once a week will help control dust mites in your bed. Also, replace wool blankets with cotton or nylon.
One the more cost effective ways to control dust mites is to damp dust the plastic mattress cover on your bed. Alternative ways to prevent a dust mite infestation is to buy dust-proof zipped mattress covers. Research also shows that covering your mattress with fitted-sheets helps slow the accumulation of skin scales; this is a low-cost alternative to dust-proof mattress covers.
Carpeting is another breeding ground for dust mites, but there is help. Vacuuming carpeting areas regularly helps control dust mite populations. It is also recommended that a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter when vacuuming the carpet, because the filter will trap allergens. Replacing carpeting with vinyl flooring
Dust mites thrive in high humidity conditions, but this can be controlled through de-humidifiers and air conditioners. To remove dust mite allergen from the air, researchers suggest an air filtration system, but especially ones that use a HEPA filter.
Detecting Dust Mites
Dust mites could be a source of allergens in your home, and detecting dust mites is the first step to controlling them. There are several dust mite detection kits commercial available. We focus on commonly used detection methods for dust mites.
Several of the dust mite detection kits measure the presence of dust mite allergens inside of samples collected from the entire home. The combined collected samples, with indicator chemical agents, tell the user about the infestation levels in the home.
A person may also detect the presence of dust mites by putting a small amount of dust on the surface of water then examining it under 20 times magnification with a microscope. The reason a microscope is needed is because dust mites are too small to be seen with the naked eye.
Using this method requires sufficient technical knowledge and microscope with the required magnification.