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Dust Mites

House dust mites (HDM) are only just visible to the naked eye on a dark background. House dust mite waste products are a cause of asthma and other allergies. How to reduce dust mites and their allergens.

Identifying

Dust mites are tiny microscopic creatures that live in the dust that accumulates in our home. Mites are members of the Acari which include the ticks. They are part of the arachnid family which includes spiders.

These creatures do not bite but feed on dust and other detritus which is largely made up of skin flakes. They are associated with asthma as their faeces contain proteins that seem to aggravate allergic reactions. Most house dust particles are skin cells from humans and animals and the mites feed on this material. The mites are found in our bedding as well as carpets, clothes and furnishings. In fact anywhere dust collects.

Asthma and chronic skin diseases such as eczema have been shown to be linked to the level of dust mites. These diseases are over reactions of our immune systems to some environmental stimulus. It is not the mites themselves cause these diseases but their waste material. The wastes contain proteins that induce the inflammatory responses as our bodies ‘see’ them as foreign.

Solving

Control of dust mites and their strongly allergenic waste products is best achieved by a combination of approaches:

  1. Clean > Wash bedding and pillows in a hot wash. Mites will not survive above 55 degrees C. Using a good vacuum cleaner, preferably with a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter. Such a very fine filter is fine enough to capture mite feces. Vacuum all areas of the house thoroughly and dispose of vacuum bag.
  2. Fumigate > Use NO Bugs Borafume fumigators to reduce house dust mites.
  3. Spray > Use NO Bugs Indoor or NO Spiders.
  4. Ventilate > Lower the humidity in the house by using a dehumidifier, heat pump/air conditioner or improve ventilation. Dust mites prefer humidity above 50%.

Some insecticides and miticides have an effect on reducing mite numbers but should only be used in conjunction with the measures outlined in 1-3.

Did you know

Vacuuming regularly using a vacuum with a fine hepa filter will reduce mite numbers and their waste.
Dust mites are susceptable to dry conditions. Changing the conditions in the home by improving ventilation and/or using a dehumidifier will also reduce house dust mite numbers.

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