House dust mites

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Identification

  • Colour Off-white to cream
  • Size About 0.33 mm long
  • Description Their body is soft, oval and flattened.
  • Notes Can usually only be seen with a microscope.

General Facts

Habitat and Behaviour

Feeds on shed human skin (expelled skin is most often found in areas where humans spend the majority of their time sitting or lying for extended periods). Excrement may trigger allergic reactions and asthma in some individuals. Feeding may also occur on spilled food and fungi. Prefer areas of high moisture (if less than 60% relative humidity, these mites are not able to thrive).Young are known to resist drying up for some period.

Lifecycle / Reproduction

Goes through 5 stages of development: egg, larva, protonymph, tritonymph, and adult. Development, from egg to adult, is greatly dependent on temperature and relative humidity: 16 ºC @ 75% allows development in 140 days whereas 23ºC @ 75% takes 35 days. Averages between 31 and 100 eggs over a lifetime. Average adult lifespan is approximately 100 days.

Why do I have house-dust mites?

House-dust mites prefer areas of high moisture, with at least 60% relative humidity. They feed on shed human and animal skin, as well as fungi and spilled food.

Because of this, house-dust mites live wherever they can find expelled skin, most commonly living rooms and bedrooms.

How worried should I be about house-dust mites?

The excrement of house-dust mites may trigger allergic reactions and asthma in some individuals. Severe house-dust mite infestation can cause dermatitis.

House-dust mites are not easily controlled, but a professional pest control service will give you advice on how best identify them, eradice and prevent them.

How can I prevent house-dust mites invading?

Change bed linen weekly, Vacuum using a HEPA filter, Maintain lower relative humidity, Use dehumidifiers around the home, Choose thread counts above 246, Vacuum mattress and pillow cases frequently, Use dust-mite resistant mattress encasements.

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