How to get rid of Dust Mites

dust mites arachnida how to get rid of

Dust mites might be small arachnids, but they can have a big impact on your life. Due to the fact that they are widespread and they can easily cause allergies, dust mites are quite a nuisance for every household. They can quickly multiply, as females lay up to 100 eggs in their lifespan of 80 days, so their population growth can easily lead to an infestation in no time. They normally feed on dead skin cells and flakes, so they do not bite. However, the negative aspect of their presence, the allergies they cause, come from their faeces and the substances found in them. These allergies can cause symptoms such as sneezing, itching, wheezing, watery eyes, skin rashes and even chest congestion. Getting rid of dust mites is important, especially if you are prone to suffer from these allergies.

dust mites arachnida how to get rid of

Control measures around the house

It might be difficult finding dust mites, as they are almost invisible to the naked eye, however, their presence will be felt through the allergic reactions they will cause. Especially in fall and winter when windows are closed, their presence gets known due to their higher concentration. Also, in poor ventilated rooms, or with higher humidity and temperatures, dust mites will thrive and make their presence know.

Fumer insecticides for Mites control:

Fumer insecticides are mostly used together with a contact based one. While the fumer irritates the pests and makes them come out of hiding, they come in contact with the sprayed solution, which then eliminates them.

You can fight them with several methods of control, starting with keeping a high level of sanitation all over your house. As the mites will prefer rooms like the bedroom, where they will find most of the skin humans shed, be extra thorough when cleaning that area. The bed is itself a prime habitat when it comes to these bugs, as they prefer the moist and warm surface of a mattress. When noticing you might be facing such a challenge, the most important thing is to thoroughly wash your bedding. The area where most mites are concentrated will always be the bed and mattress, and washing the bedding at high temperatures will put an end to both the adults and their eggs. You can also use a hot dryer if you own one, as this will also kill the mites that survived the washing cycle. If your pillows are older than two years, you can also consider replacing them, as after this period, they will be filled with dust mite waste, which is the cause of your allergies.
As mattresses are harder to wash, it’s better to just wrap them with allergenic covers. Plastic covers are also handy, as dust mites can’t pass through them. A mattress protector will act as a barrier between yourself and their faeces and decaying body matter of the mites. It will also protect you from the allergens found in areas with large clusters of dust mites. Also, you can trade your classical feather pillows for some hypoallergenic synthetic ones instead. They will be easier to clean, air and even wash.

It is also important to constantly air your bedding, as mites love a moist environment. Instead of making the bed in the morning, you can leave the pillows and covers out to air, and this way you will prevent the development of a dust mite population. Besides airing your sheets, you also need to control the temperature and humidity from your home. Air your rooms every day, and use a dehumidifier if needed. Dust mites love temperatures between 75°F and 80°F (24°C and 27°C) and a humidity of 70-80%. Keeping a different temperature or a lower level of humidity will not kill them, but it will make them uncomfortable and slow down their breeding. Try keeping the humidity around 50%, and make sure air is constantly circulating through your house.
Sanitation is also very important. Avoid having pets indoors, and if you do keep a dog or a cat, try not to bring them into the bedroom. Mites thrive on pet dander, not only human skin flakes. Brush the fur of your pets before bringing them inside, because this will also keep away other fur-loving insects, such as lice. Constantly vacuum your home, so that you can discard not only of adult mites, but also their even smaller eggs. The best type of vacuum would be one with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, known to be the most effective in the fight against these microscopic critters. If your home has old carpets, you should consider changing them with linoleum, hardwood or floor tiles. Carpets are a perfect breeding place for dust mites, so eliminating such an environment would be the best option. If you are unable to replace them, you can treat your carpets with Diatomaceous earth. Sprinkle this organic powder onto them, let it sit to make sure you give the mites the opportunity to come into contact with it, and them thoroughly vacuum the carpet. You can also use it on rugs, mattresses, bedding and pet beds. Leave it for a few hours or even overnight, and then vacuum everything in order to eliminate the adult mites and their eggs. The sharp razors of fossilised algae will pierce the exoskeleton of the mites and cause them death by dehydration. DE is safe for humans and can be used around pets as well, as it is a food-grade powder which is highly used in the fight against many types of insects found around the house. Baking soda can also be used the same as DE, as it will have a similar effect and kill the mites from your carpets and mattresses.

After taking care of the carpets in your house, be aware that your curtains, furnishings and cushions can also cause trouble. As their fabrics retain moisture and dust, mites can also find a good home between your cushions or inside the crests of your curtains. When dragging them open or when sitting down on such a mite infested cushion, all the allergens and debris caused will easily be disturbed and released in the air. When dusting around your house, remember to use a damp cloth, as a dry one will only stir up the dust and mite debris or allergens will flow freely through the air. For cleaning things like curtains, cushions, furnishings, and also plush toys, you can use a steam cleaner, as the high temperatures used will eliminate the adult mites and their eggs as well. Steam cleaners are the best solution for items that you cannot clean in the washing machine. Besides killing mites, they also eliminate bacteria, so that is another positive aspect you can consider. Airing toys can also help, or, if they fit, you can also put them in a plastic bag and keep them in the freezer for at least 24 hours. Cold temperatures will kill the mites, just as well as the hot ones do.
Avoid having clutter in your house. Remove any unnecessary items, where dust gathers, keep surfaces clear and clean. Dust can easily be found in ornaments, picture frames or on stacks of books. The same thing applies to ornamental pillows and cushions. Dust and dust mites will easily gather and you will just have to clean more places and items around your house. Keep it as simple as possible, as this will help you clean your house easier and faster. Do not forget to also wipe the dust off of your plants, because it can easily gather on their leaves as well. You can even choose to keep plants that are considered to be air-purifying, such as Peace Lilies, Golden Pothos, Philodendron, Gerbera Daisies, Areca Palm, Bamboo Palm and Dracaena.

Dealing with allergic reactions

Even if you are careful to implement most of the methods described above and, thus, are successful in keeping house dust mite populations under strict control, chances are that you will never be fully, one-hundred-percent rid of these tiny pests – and, if you are a particularly sensitive individual, you may find that you will still have occasional allergic reactions. In this case, we recommend that you contact a doctor. Most likely, you will be prescribed medicine (be that in the form of pills, aerosol insecticides, etc.) aimed at reducing inflammation, together with other symptoms, depending on your allergy and its unique manifestation. As you can see, though, this solution only aims to treat the effect of the allergy, making its symptoms more bearable and your life easier and more enjoyable.
The only current method of treatment that is aimed at the cause of the allergy is called allergen immunotherapy, also known as desensitisation or hypo-sensitisation. This involves a gradual exposure to standardised allergen doses (in this case, house dust mites, administered either subcutaneously or sublingually) that steadily increase. In time, your body will develop a tolerance for the allergen in question, and it will not react as violently in its presence. Studies have proven this treatment’s efficiency, claiming that its success rate is as high as 70%. Although it is a long treatment (with people able to call themselves ‘cured’ only after 3 years), patients have reported noticing improvements as early as the first year. Secondary effects are rare and largely inconsequential, consisting merely of small digestive problems, arising in the first few weeks of the treatment and disappearing soon after. Therefore, the only real issue that may stand in the way of the treatment is the patient himself; if you lose your hope or your patience and give up before the treatment is considered to be complete, either because you have yet to see results or because you consider yourself to be cured, the allergy can very easily return, and the time and effort that you have put into the whole ordeal will have been in vain.

As mentioned, before you choose a particular course of action in regard to your allergy and your treatment options, we strongly encourage that you consult with a medical professional. And even though all the changes you need to make in your house can seem expensive, keep in mind that it is healthier to eat, sleep and live in a clean, fresh environment. If you make sure your house is thoroughly sanitised at all time, such issues like a dust mite infestation will not occur. To be able to ‘Prevent infestation with Dust Mites’, check our related article, and find out more ways in which you can keep these little critters away.

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