What are Dust Mites?

The House Dust Mite is a tiny creamy white creature belonging to a subclass of arachnida (same as spiders). With an average size of less than 0.5 millimetres, it thrives in warm and wet environments that are found in homes, including kitchens and especially bedrooms.

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The House Dust Mite will feed on human skin flakes that are shed in mattresses and pillows and will derive moisture from our breathing and perspiration. Knowing that a person will shed about 1.5 grams of skin cells and flakes every day, or approximately 0.3 to 0.45 kg per year, this represents enough resource to sustain a huge population of dust mites in every mattress.

The house dust mite survives in all climates, even at altitude. They survive well in mattresses, carpets, furniture and bedding, with figures around 188 animals/g dust. Even in dry climates, house dust mites survive and reproduce easily in bedding (especially in pillows) because of the humidity generated by the human body during several hours of breathing and perspiring.

A mated female dust mite can live up to 70 days, laying 60 to 100 eggs in the last 5 weeks of its life.

Source: Wikipedia (2009)

 

Dust Mites: Common Hiding Spots

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The diet of the house dust mite includes shed skin flakes, pollen and fungal spores. It prefers warm, humid and dark environments. Common hiding spots around the home include mattresses and bed linen, upholstered furniture, shag-pile or long-fibred carpets and soft toys.

Dust Mite: Physical Characteristics

  • Less than half a millimetre in length
  • Wingless, oval shaped body
  • Light coloured body with fine stripes
  • Life span of around two months