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Tips for Controlling a Dust Mite Problem in Your Home

May 22, 2008
The simple little dust mite might not seem to pose much a problem. It is so small that you can't even see it, even though it is an insect of the same scientific class as the spider. The dust mite is white and round and only shows up under a microscope when it is on a dark background. So how does this tiny creature cause such a problem?

For years doctors of patients with asthma have been telling them to eliminate the dust mites in their homes. The prime area is the bedroom. They do give them tips to help them in this regard. These tips include:

* Covering mattresses and pillows with airtight covers
* All bedding must be washed at least once a week in water hotter than 130F.
* Children should not have stuffed animals in their bedrooms.
* Try not to have upholstered furniture in the bedroom
* Remove cushion from the beds
* Try to have hardwood or laminate flooring rather than carpeting
* Do not allow pets, such as cats and dogs in the bedroom or on the beds.
* Wet mop the floors when cleaning
* Vacuum carpeting and rugs regularly. Although the norm is once a week, in homes where children and adults have asthma, it is advisable to vacuum more frequently than this.
* Ventilation is important to let fresh air into the room. This means opening the windows whenever the weather is suitable.
* Do not use humidifiers.
* Install a dehumidifier to reduce the amount of humidity in the home. Dust mites cannot survive when the humidity is below 50F.
* Heating vents should have filters placed over them
* Heating ducts should have air efficiency filters
* Air cleaners help remove the dust and dust mites from the air.

Why is there such a concentration on the bedroom areas of the home when speaking of dust mites? It is because this is the prime area for these insects to live and breathe. They like to live in warm, dark and moist areas and the mattress and pillows provide the perfect homes. The mites burrow down into the layers. Females live for about 10 weeks and one female can lay as many as 200 eggs.

Carpeting provides warm areas as well, especially if the subfloor is concrete. The space between the carpeting and the concrete provides a moist space for the mites to live.

So where do these mites come from? They come from dust and eat dead skin cells and pet dander. They also excrete waste. It is not the dust mites themselves that cause allergies, but the waste they leave behind. They do not have a stomach and the food need to be digested before they consume it. They do this by secreting a fungus on the particles of food and when they do not eat all of it, this fungus remains behind.

Diligent cleaning is the key to eradicating these pests from the home even though you can't see them. When you sweep or vacuum. You do spread dust particles into the air, and most of these particles are mites. They settle down again in another location. You can't really help but have them in your home, but you can take steps to limit where they live.
About the Author
For more information on the dust mite and how to keep dust mites at bay visit www.dust-mites.org.
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