11 Dust Mite Facts You Need to Know to Defeat This Tiny Enemy

Here’s a sentence that literally nobody has ever uttered: It’d sure be fun to research some dust mite facts, that will help me find true love and happiness.

Here’s another train of thought that nobody has: Hey, you know what would be awesome? If your home was full of tiny arachnids that you couldn’t see. Wouldn’t that make getting to sleep a night a whole lot easier? Honestly, probably not. But sometimes, the truth is unpleasant. Especially when it comes to dust mites.

So if you’re the squeamish type, this article may be enough to make you break out in a cold sweat. Because dust mites are enough to give anyone the creeps. But the first step to dealing with these creatures is to understand them.

What Are Dust Mites?

The term mites is a little misleading. It sounds almost cute. But in reality, these creatures are anything but. Mites are arachnids, so they have eight legs. They are usually tiny. And some of them are parasites.

Dust mites are definitely tiny. We’re talking about 1/64 of an inch in size, or 0.33 mm if you hate freedom. Small enough that these creatures can live in your home completely unnoticed. Which is not a particularly pleasant thought for anyone.

What Do Dust Mites Look Like?

Dust mites don’t look like anything. At least, not to the naked eye. These pests are so small that they are invisible unless you get them under a microscope.

Once you do, prepare to be grossed out. A dust mite’s body resembles a kind of swollen bag with four legs on either side. The first pair of legs curl forward in front of them, and they have small mandibles surrounding their mouths.

Basically, they’re hideous. You can tell them I said that.

What Color Are Dust Mites?

Dust mites are a kind of whitish cream color. In fact, they’re almost see-through. Translucent, really. As if they weren’t hard enough to see already.

Though it’s hard to talk about color with an animal so small, you can’t even see it without specialized equipment.

How Big Are Dust Mites?

Tiny. As in microscopic. As in, far smaller than even the tiniest grain of sand.

So if you’ve found a pest that’s actually visible to the naked eye, the chances are that you’re dealing with something other than dust mites.

Where Do Dust Mites Come From?

From an alternate universe where terrible creatures run amok. But more seriously, dust mites travel easily due to their small size.

facts about dust mites

They can hitch a ride in people’s clothes, so it’s quite possible for you to catch them from your workplace, a restaurant, bar, movie theater, coffee shop – really anywhere that you would come into contact with people.

Honestly, it’s hard to make jokes about dust mites, because there could be one right behind me RIGHT NOW.

How Do You Get Dust Mites?

Here’s one of the more disturbing dust mite facts. Because they are so small, dust mites travel very easily. You could have lots of them on you without knowing it, and spread them wherever you go.

Typically, they don’t travel on the body, but they will travel in clothes. So unless you’re willing to go naked for the rest of your life, you’re always at risk of bringing these creatures home.

What Do Dust Mites Eat?

If you’ve been finding this article gross so far, hold tight. It’s about to get grosser.

Dust mites eat dead skin. Our dead skin. You may or may not have known that one of the major components of dust is the dead skin cells we cast off every day. If you didn’t know that, you’re welcome for that horrible image.

But it’s true. The average adult sheds around 70 to 140 mg of dead skin every single day. And this provides a banquet for dust mites.

Where Do Dust Mites Live?

Dust mites can live almost anywhere in a home. However, they need a particular environment to thrive. Because they are so small, an average home can provide microclimates that make conditions for these bugs ideal.

These mites like high humidity – 50% or more. As a result, they don’t usually thrive in the carpet, since it is too dry. They are more often found on upholstered furniture and in beds, since this is where people spend a lot of time and shed a lot of skin.

A typical mattress can have anywhere from 100,000 to 10 million mites inside it. That should help you get a good night’s rest tonight.

What Do Dust Mites Do?

When they’re not eating dead skin, dust mites don’t do a whole lot. Basically, they eat, breed, and poop. And as unpleasant as that diet is, it’s the pooping that really makes them a problem. The waste products of dust mites can trigger allergic reactions in some people.

In fact, it’s estimated that around 500 million people worldwide are affected. They have an especially harmful effect on those with asthma.

Are Dust Mites Dangerous?

Dust mites don’t bite. Nor do they burrow into people’s skin. And luckily, they don’t carry any diseases. They are far too small to do us any direct harm.

But the chief danger of these creatures comes from the allergic reactions they can provoke. They can trigger asthma attacks, which can be dangerous. They may even have caused deaths by anaphylaxis in the case of people with severe allergies.

However, those of us not allergic have nothing to fear from these creatures. That doesn’t make them any less disgusting, though.

How Do You Know If You Have Dust Mites?

If you want to know if you’re sharing your home with these creatures, you’re going to need some equipment. To see dust mites, you’ll need something that can give you a minimum of 10 times magnification. So a dollar store magnifying glass probably won’t do the trick.

Instead, you may need a microscope. Even a relatively cheap toy model might do the trick. But the better the magnification you can get, the higher the chances of seeing one of these elusive creatures.

Next, you’ll need to gather some dust. And I don’t mean by sitting very still for an extended period.

Take a sample of dust from around your home. Use some sticky tape to collect dust from various areas of the house. Be sure to take some from the bedroom, including on your pillows and bedclothes. You can also take some from the living room, bedroom, or anywhere else you find it.

Place the strips of dusty tape under your microscope and see what you find. Unfortunately, chances are very good that you will see a dust mite. The vast majority of homes, if not all of them, have at least some of these creatures.

And with that dirty truth ends this article. Go forth and put your dust mite knowledge to good use.

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