Just the thought of many tiny creatures crawling around in your house can send shivers up your spine. And if you’re extra squeamish, brace yourself, because we’re going to discuss dust mites in detail, below.
What do they look like? Why do you have them in your house? Can you get rid of them? Read on to know more!
What Are Dust Mites?
Dust mites are very small bugs that may thrive anywhere in your house, be it a bed, sofa, or furniture.
They belong to the arthropod family and are closely related to spiders. With a head, abdomen, and eight legs, these mites can hardly be called ‘insects’. Hence, your everyday insecticide spray won’t work on these pesky little creatures.
Each female lays about 50 eggs in her life cycle, and most of them live for around two months or so.
That may seem like a short lifespan, but dust mites live in colonies that are thousands and even millions in numbers. Yep, you read that right – your house might have millions of dust mites without you even knowing.
Can You Detect Them With the Naked Eye?
If anyone tells you they’ve seen dust mites with their naked eye, they’re probably mistaken. Dust mites can not be detected with the naked eye. This is because they’re hardly 0.2-0.3 millimeters in size – they don’t even grow to be half a millimeter in length.
But since they exist in thousands and millions of numbers, you must be able to see something, right? Nope. To make them even harder to detect, dust mites have translucent exteriors. So you can’t see them even if they’re present in large clusters in one area.
You can only see them under a microscope, and even then, they look like extremely tiny spider-like creatures.
There are a couple of ways you can detect them, though. Firstly, you can see an immunologist and get an allergy test done, in case you face allergic symptoms at home. This will confirm whether you’ve got a house swarming with these creatures.
Secondly, you can purchase a home-based kit to test whether your house is infested with dust mites. Just take some dust samples, and follow the instructions on the kit to quickly check if it has dust mites.
Why Does Your House Have Dust Mites?
Dust mites are prevalent in households because houses provide the optimum living conditions for them.
As if these creatures weren’t gross enough, they live off eating our dead skin cells that are often found in dust. A typical human being sheds about 1.5 grams of their skin every day, which is enough to feed thousands of dust mites. They also thrive on dead skin from your pets.
Moreover, dust mites like to live in humidity above 50%, as their bodies are very sensitive and prone to dehydration. They also need temperatures between 68-77 degrees Fahrenheit to survive.
Hence, our beds, pillows, sofas, and furniture provide all the favorable conditions for dust mites to survive happily. And no, don’t worry, these bugs don’t really care about you – expect no bites or stings. They only want your dead skin flakes.
However, dust mites can be dangerous for people susceptible to allergies. Their fecal matter and other bodily secretions can cause symptoms like:
- Itchy eyes, nose, and throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
More importantly, dust mites can trigger asthma attacks. This is why it’s crucial to get rid of them if you or your family members have asthma.
What Can You Do to Get Rid of Them?
So you can’t see them, hear them, or feel them. How are you supposed to eliminate them? Try the following steps, which can help reduce and eliminate dust mites:
- Wash bedsheets and blankets in hot water more often than usual.
- Alternatively, you can use dust mite-proof covers for your mattresses to kill them.
- Vacuum rugs and carpets all over the house to remove any dust and dead skin.
- Or, you can remove carpeting from your home altogether to prevent the build-up of dust.
- Wash curtains regularly or replace them with blinds.
- Replace sofas with leather couches.
- Keep the humidity in your house below 50%.
- Use air purifiers that have various filters to trap small particles and tiny insects.
Are dust mites the grossest things to have in your mattresses and sofas? Probably. Can you get rid of them? Absolutely. It doesn’t matter if you can’t see them. Just take preventive measures and maintain cleanliness inside your home, so dust mites don’t have a chance to thrive.