As their common name suggests, these mites are associated with house dust. Although they don’t bite, dust mites are still a nuisance because they’re extremely common allergens. House dust mites are estimated to be responsible for the allergic reactions of some 500 million people worldwide. They may be a fact in 50 to 80% of asthmatics.
Although there are several species of house dust mites, we’re going to focus on the two most common species found worldwide. These are the American house dust mite (Dermatophagoides farinae) and the European house dust mite (Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus).
Adult house dust mites are tiny (1/64” long), oval, soft, flat from top to bottom, and off-white to cream-colored. As is typical among mites, the larva stage (hatchling) has 3 pairs of legs. Nymphs and adults have 4 pairs of legs.
House dust mite development, egg production and longevity are very dependent on temperature, moisture, and an adequate food supply. Consequently, they select certain locations (microclimates) within a structure where they can get these needs.
House dust mites feed on sloughed human skin, spilled foodstuffs, fungi, and pollen. The average adult human sheds about 70 to 140 milligrams of skin scales each day. About 180 milligrams of this material is sufficient to produce and maintain mass cultures of House dust mite for several months. The highest concentrations of sloughed skin scales occur in bedding, mattresses, upholstered furniture, carpets, and in stuffed toys. Humans also supply the moisture and temperature mites need. Bedding and stuffed furniture provide perfect mite conditions because humans spend so much time on them. They provide plenty of the warmth, moisture, and skin cells mites need. It’s been estimated that a typical used mattress could contain 100,000 to 10 million house dust mites within it.
CONTROL AND PREVENTION
The best control method presently available is a combination of habitat modification, sanitation, and moisture control. We modify mite habitats by cutting them off from their food sources. During our mite prevention, we’ll encase your mattress and pillows in special plastic covers with zippers. This will separate the mites from people sleeping on the mattress. Dust and vacuum frequently enough that skin cells can’t build up on room surfaces and furniture. Make sure your pipes aren’t leaking and your home isn’t too humid or drafty.
To learn more about steps you can take to prevent house mites, contact the pros at Plunkett’s today. We’ll help make your home a mite-free zone.