If you have been suffering from allergies or other pulmonary issues, chances are you have dust mites in your home. Dust mites are perhaps the most common cause of year-round allergies. These tiny, microscopic creatures are well adapted to most environments throughout the world. They inhabit every continent with the exception of Antarctica.
Recognition is difficult because they cannot be seen with the naked eye. They look like a tiny white bug under the microscope, measuring only about ¼ of a millimeter. They have eight legs and are technically an arthropod rather than an insect.
The house dust mite life cycle consists of the egg, larva, 2 nymph stages and adult. They only have 3 pair of legs in the larva stage but end up with 4 as an adult. They length of development from the egg to adult varies according to temperatures. In very warm conditions, maturity can be as early as 17 days. However, slightly cooler temperatures can double the time of development. A female dust mite can produce an average of 66 eggs during her lifetime of approximately one month.
House mites feed on dead human skin, fungi and pollen with sloughed human skin being the preferred diet. Bedding, clothing and stuffed furniture have the highest concentration of human skin. They can easily and quickly spread throughout the house.
The most effective method of prevention and control of house dust mites is sanitation. This includes periodic dry cleaning of drapes, vacuuming and cleaning of upholstered furniture and shampooing furniture, rugs and carpet.
Lowering the humidity level to 60% or less is also an effective method of control. This can be accomplished with strategically placing dehumidifiers and improving of ventilation in crawl spaces, attics and living quarters.
Rottler Pest and Lawn Solutions is available to inspect your home, free of charge, and help to determine the best ways to control dust mite populations in your home.