Many people do not know the difference between dust mites and dust. You may be asking yourself “how do I know if I have dust mites?” You have come to the right place to find out whether or not you have dust mites.
You may have heard an awful tale about somebody finding that they had an invasion of dust mites in their home and need to see whether you have them as well. Or on the other hand, possibly, you have seen a flare-up of hacking, wheezing, irritated eyes or other hypersensitivity related indications and need to know whether dust mites are the reason.
What is a Dust Mite?
These organisms are so microscopic that the naked eye cannot see them. They are, on average, about 0.2mm to 0.3mm in size. And due to them being so small and a translucent body, it would require 10x magnification to identify one.
Once you put them under the microscope, you will notice that these mites look quite similar to small spiders and belong to the mite family Pyroglyphidae. Although they have eight hair legs and are translucent, they differ from most spiders by not having eyes. Neither do they have antennae.
The primary food source for dust mites is skin flakes that shed daily from humans and animals. Skin flakes are a significant reason why these mites can become so rampant inside your home – they have an endless food supply.
Additionally, since you cannot see dust mites, it is simple for them to move into different parts of your home. A typical path for how they travel? By sticking onto your clothes. And after that, dropping off in different rooms.
The average life cycle of a dust mite is around 65 to 100 days. Throughout their life, they will lay about 60 to 100 eggs. So it is essential to get rid of them before it is too late.
How Can You Know if You Have Dust Mites?
Since the only way to see a dust mite is to use a microscope, there is a simple way to test to see if you have them. First, get your hands on a cheap microscope from a toy or hobby store that has at least a 10x magnification lens. Viewing them through a microscope is less expensive than having a professional come in.
Now what you need to do is collect a few dust samples from around your house using a piece of clear tape. Take samples from dusty, unused spaces like the corner of a room, under a chair, or that shelf you never dust. Also, it is essential to take a sample from your bedding, including your pillow and mattress.
Place the strips of tape under the microscope and look for small spider-like critters that fit the description we mentioned above. Also, look for the feces that have been excreted by these bugs. It looks like tiny brown rectangular pellets. Do this to each piece of tape and take your time.
If you spot dust mites, then the next thing to do it get rid of them. If you do not get rid of them, then good for you, you do not have dust mites. Another sign that might have dust mites is if you start seeing silverfish and pseudoscorpions as they are predators of dust mites. Meaning there is a food source for them. Food would draw them into your home.
What Can You Do to Get Rid of Dust Mites?
If you discover that you have dust mites in your home, the best thing to do is a thorough cleaning of all carpet, furniture, and curtains using a HEPA vacuum cleaner. Then, follow it up by adding a HEPA air purifier to the rooms that you use the most.
The HEPA filter on the vacuum is important because it captures particles as small as 0.3 microns in size, which includes dust mites. Unequipped vacuum cleaners don’t have filters that can trap dust mites.
The air purifier is a great addition to use because it continuously pulls in dust and dust mite particles into a HEPA filter and traps them there. Then, it pushes out clean, fresh air back into the room.
A final step is to line all of your bedding with dust mite proof covers. Dust mite proof will prevent the critters from burrowing themselves into your bed and multiplying. These can easily be picked up at any home goods store or online.