What are dust mites?
Dust Mites (Dermatophagoides farina) live off of dead skin cells shed from humans and pets and make their homes in mattresses, couches, and other frequently used furniture or carpeting. One square meter of a rug can contain as many as 100,000 dust mites and your bed may be housing as many as 10 million. A two year old pillow can be composed of up to ten percent dust mite feces and carcasses. Dust mites favour a warm, almost moist surrounding - the condition of your mattress and pillow while you are sleeping on it.
Dust mites are microscopic and cannot be seen with the naked eye. Unless you have an allergic reaction caused by the dust mite’s waste droppings, you’d probably never know they were there.
On average a single dust mite is able to produce approximately 20 waste droppings each and every day. It’s these droppings that typically cause allergic reactions in humans
As humans tend to shed approximately 5.5 grams of dead skin a week, the dust mites are never lacking for food. When you add in pets to the household, the dust mites surely are in heaven.
Dust mites are not dangerous to anyone, however, if you are allergic, reactions will often include watery eyes, runny nose and sneezing, nasal congestion, itching, coughing, wheezing and difficulty breathing, headache, fatigue and in more severe cases, asthma attacks. If you notice these symptoms, you will want to talk to your doctor or allergist.
How do dust mites live?
Dust Mites have a life cycle of 10 to 70 days. Females which have mated typically live for 50 - 70 days. And the average life cycle for a male is just 15 days.
Female dust mites will typically lay 75 - 100 eggs in the final weeks of her life cycle. Once an egg hatches a larva with six legs is produced. The dust mite larva then transforms into a nymph with eight legs. After the nymph stages, an adult is produced with eight legs. At this point it looks like a microscopic spider.
Symptoms of Dust Mite Allergies
Dust is one of the most strongly allergenic materials found in the average household. This allergy is often made a lot worse by the addition of the dropping and carcasses of dust mites.
Since dust mites thrive mainly by embedding themselves into carpet, clothing, and other fabric fibres, they cohabitate well with humans. As the colony of dust mites grows, so does the amount of decaying body parts and fecal waste left behind from them and this is what most human allergies stem from.