Mites Affecting Humans and How to Rid Your House of Dust Mites

 Mites That Affect Humans

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the mite sounds pretty icky.

Mite” is a term commonly used to refer to a group of insect-like organisms, some of which bite or cause irritation to humans. While some mites parasitize animals, including man, others are scavengers, some feed on plants, and many prey on insects and other arthropods. In fact, there are nearly as many different types of mites as there are insects. Like their relatives, the ticks, mites pass through four stages of development: egg to larva to nymph to adult. All stages have eight legs except the six-legged larva.

As bad as that sounds the information they have on the common house dust mites is even more alarming. These things just sound disgusting and I would want to get rid of these little buggers when possible.

HOUSE DUST MITES (Dermatophagoides spp.)

Much information (and misinformation) has appeared in recent years about house dust mites. Virtually invisible to the naked eye, house dust mites are nevertheless real. It has been shown that, like cockroaches, dust mites and their feces can become airborne and are one of the most common indoor allergens. That is, most persons diagnosed as being allergic to “house dust” are actually allergic to the dust mites whose bodies and feces are major components of dust. Roaches and dust mites have also been implicated in triggering asthma attacks. But, unlike rodent mites, itch mites and chiggers, skin irritation is rarely caused by exposure to dust mites. Although they may “hitchhike” on clothing, dust mites do not live on people. They feed primarily on dander, flakes of dead skin that fall from people and animals. Upholstered furniture, pillows and mattresses typically harbor more dust mites than carpeting.”

Reducing Dust Mite Infestation

The NC State University Department of Entomology and the North Carolina Cooperative Extension gives a pretty good way to deal with reducing house dust mites that do affect humans.

Products containing benzoyl benzoate and other ingredients are often used for severe infestations of house dust mites. Since dust mites can cause respiratory problems, avoid using insecticides that may further aggravate such conditions. The long-term solution to reducing a house dust mite problem is sanitation and environmental modifications:

  • Vacuum (possibly with a HEPA-filtered vacuum cleaner) frequently and thoroughly to remove mites and the organic debris on which they feed. Target critical areas, such as:

    • mattresses and bed frames

    • rugs and carpets

    • overstuffed furniture (and the area underneath)

  • Replace or clean air conditioner filters frequently and maintain low (less than 50%) indoor humidity to reduce conditions favorable to dust mites.

  • Encase mattresses and pillows in plastic covers and change bed linen frequently to help prevent mite populations from building up.”

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