The Different Mites Living in Your Home.
By Alicyn West
Mites are everywhere. There are mites in your skin, in your sheets, and even on your eyelashes. Don’t google it if you want to sleep tonight. Some mites get a bad rap and get blamed for contact dermatitis. Although there is no dire health risk to having mites in your home, some mites, like dust mites or scabies, can cause skin irritation; especially if you’re allergic to them. Here are some of the mites that might be a nuisance in your home.
Unlike dust mites, you can see clover mites with the naked eye. They have eight legs and are the color of red clover flowers(hence the name). They usually appear after heavy rainstorms, or in the spring and fall, this mite is “parthenogenetic” which means they don’t need a man to multiply. The stains they leave behind are the biggest irritant as they are bright red. But don’t worry, it isn’t blood. These mites only feast on flowers and over fertilized lawns. But they’re still no fun to have in the house.
What’s in a name? Everything for this little guy. These mites mostly feast on insects but they’ll take a nibble of human if you hang out where they live: in straw, hay or grasses. This little mite isn’t to be confused with scabies mites, which we’ll discuss later on. They can’t survive indoors for very long and would much rather eat bugs. They can’t live indoors for very long but try not to include hay or straw in your fall decor. If you have to have that rustic aesthetic, leave it outside for the itch mites.
House Dust Mites
Dust mites get a bad rap. They’re not as bad as cockroaches, whose dander causes a similar reaction. Plus, you can’t even see the millions upon millions of them crawling all over the place(except you, they only want you for your skin). Most people allergic to dust are actually allergic to the remains and poop of dust mites themselves. Those feces can also carry outdoor allergens like pollen or pet dander. Roaches, who are much worse, and dust mites tend to trigger asthma. These symptoms worsen during the winter because we, as humans, like to stay indoors and be warm where the dust mites are. Many lingering allergic reactions during this time are because of their remains.
If you haven’t been itching, you might when I tell you about scabies. On animals scabies cause mange(along with some other types of mites). They can be contracted from person to person or from animal to person, or from person to animal. It can take up to four weeks to know you are infected. Just like a viral infection, you can still spread these mites without showing symptoms. Scabies can’t be seen with the naked eye and needs medication once the poison-ivy like rash appears. Most animals will scratch off the fur near the infection site. If you think you have scabies you should definitely get to the doctor for a proper diagnosis and a topical solution for you and anyone else in your home.
How to kill mites in your home
Hopefully we haven’t grossed you out enough for you to leave, because we do have a solution to all of these mites. At least, the ones that don’t require a visit to the doctor. The Department of Public Health states that vacuuming is one of the best remedies for a mite population. But to add to that, UVC light inactivates the mite’s ability to reproduce. To kill dust mites in your sheets and washables, wash them at 130°F. If you have a bagged vacuum, remove the bag right away after vacuuming.
However, if you want to save time you could always invest in an allergen vacuum. Allergen vacuums are a niche subset of vacuum that have HEPA exhaust filtration and usually some germicidal feature.