Dangerous cohabitation: house dust mite

Dust mites (otherwise known as house dust mites) are present in every room where a person lives or visits. These synanthropic insects simply cannot live without people, since the main food products of these creatures are dead cells of the human epidermis. In our article we will take a detailed look at what dust mites are and what they look like, and whether they bite people. We'll tell you what methods are best to get rid of them and what preventive measures to take to prevent their further spread.


Dust mites are very small insects (type - arthropods) belonging to the class of arachnids. But this does not mean that they are like a spider in everything. Their limbs are not so long, they are poorly developed, but meanwhile, their strength is enough to move freely. They crawl slowly, constantly looking for provisions, which, in most cases, are dead cells of the human epidermis or the skin of domestic animals.

What do dust mites really look like? Most of all, they resemble bugs if their wings are torn off and their legs are shortened. A special difference is that they do not have a clear division of the body into segments. Their entire carcass, if you can call it that, is a solid “cutlet” (in a reduced form, to a size of 0.1-0.5 mm), slightly narrowed towards the stigma and thickened towards the back of the abdomen. In the front part, the stigma has a pair of small processes, reminiscent of hypertrophied mites, with which the insect sends the edible it finds into its mouth. Some compare them to hippos reduced to microscopic size. This is what a dust mite looks like in the photo, magnified many times over.

They live from 60 to 80 days, during which they manage to go through their entire life cycle, that is, to eat and copulate, after which the female lays up to 60 eggs.

What do house dust mites look like and where do they live?

Due to the size of a dust mite, you can only see it in person under a microscope or a powerful magnifying glass. And as you can see in the photo, it doesn’t look very pleasant: claw-like paws are attached to the pest’s large body; where the head should be there are a kind of mini-pincers.

There are a great many species of this arthropod - about 150 are named, and the parasite is classified as an arachnid. The insect lives for over two months, during which time the female manages to lay up to 60 eggs. Like ants, dust mites form peculiar colonies numbering from 10 to 10,000 mites per 1 g of dust .

An acceptable concentration is considered to be when this amount of dust contains hundreds of parasites. If there are 5 times more of them, this can already cause an asthma attack in a person, and an even larger number will make life very difficult for allergy sufferers.

Dust mites belong to organisms called synanthropic, i.e. those that are adjacent to people. They are comfortable at a temperature of +22–26 degrees and a humidity level of 55%. They feed on dead scales of the human epidermis and the woolen lint of things. The most common places where dust mites live are places with a large accumulation of dust:

  • upholstery of upholstered furniture;
  • bedding items: mattresses, pillows, blankets;
  • carpets;
  • fluffy soft toys;
  • clothing and soft indoor shoes;
  • “rookeries” for pets;
  • sub-baseboard cracks;
  • vacuum cleaner dust bags.

What is dust and why do dust mites live in it?

This will come as a shock to many, but more than 20% of room dust consists of particles of the dead upper layer of skin, called the epidermis, flying off us. Moreover, the more people live in an apartment, the richer the content of skin flakes in the overall mixture will be. In addition to them, the household dust suspension contains:

  1. smoke particles (soot) 3%;
  2. fibers of various fabrics and paper – 12%;
  3. various types of mineral particles – 34%;
  4. flower pollen – 6%;
  5. other pollutants (fragments, flakes of animal hair, fluff, etc.) – 25%.

In winter, accordingly, there is less flower pollen, but there is more clothing, and therefore this 6% migrates to what falls off from winter outerwear. This is what dust looks like under a microscope.

Favorite places to live

The more carpets, upholstered furniture and other textile decorations and interior items there are in the house, the more and faster dust will form in it. For example, carpets are a favorite habitat for dust mites. A huge amount of “provisions” always settles on them. The next photo shows dust mites that feel great among carpet textile fibers.

Separately, it is worth mentioning feather and down pillows, as well as mattresses. Scientists managed to have a hand here too, calculating that up to two million dust mites constantly live in an ordinary average double bed. And feather and down fillings, if there is a lack of food, can themselves become food for these microscopic creatures.

Household and other appliances deserve a special mention. Old monitors, stereos and DVD players are potential cities and breeding grounds for dust mites. There is always a lot of dust among the microcircuits, capacitors, resistors and other radio equipment, but if there is a lot of dust, and no one cleans it out for a long time, mites live in it especially freely.

How to get rid of dust mites in an apartment

The choice of control methods depends on how much the parasite annoys a person and worsens his well-being. It is impossible to completely exterminate all ticks in the house. Even the cleanest apartment has them. Basic control methods are more aimed at reducing the number of parasites to a safe level.

Remedies for dust mites

On a note!

In the first place is cleaning the house - superficial and general. It is necessary to reduce the number of interior items and accessories where dust can accumulate and where mites can live. Get rid of curtains, soft toys, artificial flowers, carpets, etc. Wipe off dust on furniture and floors. Add a pinch of salt and a couple of drops of any essential oil to the water.

The next method of control is to create unfavorable conditions for the development and reproduction of dust mites. Parasites love warmth and high humidity. It is necessary to regularly ventilate the room for at least 20 minutes every day. If this procedure does not help, you need to buy a special device to reduce air humidity.

Pay special attention to bedding and beds. Pillowcases, sheets, and duvet covers need to be changed every 2 weeks, and if you have an increased tendency to allergies - every 7 days. Wash at high temperature, dry in fresh air, iron with steam. Replace feather pillows with silicone ones, old mattresses with orthopedic ones. Every 2 years it is recommended to dry-clean blankets and mattresses or take them out into the cold or heat.

Destruction of dust mites is a complex effect of different methods, methods, and means. There are modern drugs and devices that can reduce the number of parasites in an apartment or house.


When allergies to dust and mites began, I changed the interior of the house. Now I have a minimum of fabric surfaces, no carpets, upholstered furniture covered with leatherette. I do wet cleaning every week. I ventilate for 20 minutes every day and keep the house clean. Life has become easier. Ksenia, Tver

Can dust mites be seen with the naked eye?

When asked what a dust mite looks like with the naked eye, we will answer that these creatures cannot be seen even under a magnifying glass. On average, the size of ticks is 0.2 mm, which means that without special equipment these creatures simply cannot be detected. And the way dust mites look under a microscope causes horror and disgust for many. These are pests with a repulsive appearance, and from their very appearance it becomes clear that nothing good can be expected from them.

Dust mites from a medical point of view

Let's now look at the problem from a medical point of view: what is a dust mite? And how to get rid of it? And in general, is this possible? Let's start with the first question. Doctors warn that dust mites are harmful pathogens of bronchial asthma. They can often be carriers of other dangerous infections. In addition to bronchial asthma, they can also cause:

  • conjunctivitis;
  • rhinitis;
  • respiratory allergy;
  • allergenic dermatitis;
  • Quincke's edema.

Any reaction of the human body to the effects of mites and the enzymes they secrete is summarized under the single name “mite sensitization.”

Do dust mites bite?

We have already seen what dust mites look like. From the photos provided, it becomes clear that they do not have “biting” organs as such. In everyday life, we are used to calling a bite - pricks with a sting (for example, a mosquito), pinching the skin with the front claws on the snout (some spiders, forest mites, meadow mites, beetles), etc. But this does not apply to dust mites. Even if they have a hole with some kind of mandibles, with which insects absorb all the same scales of the upper layer of the epidermis that once fell off a person, then they are simply not able to bite the skin tissue with them.

They will not be able to pinch her in any noticeable way. These creatures are so tiny that any of their mechanical effects on the epidermis will be unnoticeable from an anatomical point of view. By their effects on skin tissue, they will not be able to excite more than a single nerve receptor in the human body, regardless of its location.

Plus, dust mites can only digest particles of dead epidermis. Living skin is not food for them. In scale and biological proportions, a tick bite can be compared to what it would be like for a person to want to bite the thigh of a boar that is 100 times larger in size. Firstly, the material is too rough - not suitable for human teeth, and secondly, the surface tissue of a boar's thigh will not be suitable for food.

But some may protest, they say, we’ve all seen what dust mite bites look like, so where do they come from if mites don’t bite?

What is a dust mite bite?

Dust mite bites are popularly known as redness that appears in places where human skin has been exposed to the enzymes they secrete, which permeate the feces of microscopic insects. Each tick can “go to the toilet in a big way” 20 times per day, so on the scale of a double bed this will be a real disaster for a person in whom this enzyme can cause an allergic reaction.

Usually people have a strong immunity to this substance. But there are still exceptions. In addition, there are many varieties of dust mites themselves, and it is possible that feces of a certain variety may not be “suitable” for some person.

Where do dust mites come from?

The tiny house dust mite entered the human home thousands of years ago with bird fluff and animal fur; it is easily carried with food particles, clothing, shoes, and pets. Microscopic organisms find refuge in bedding, books, soft toys, carpets, folds of upholstery, and in crevices under baseboards. Dust mites love room temperatures ranging from 18-25°C with a humidity of 55%.

Dust mites in mattress

You can almost always find house dust mites in our mattresses. This is explained by the optimal conditions for life that are created in a human bed. Under the blankets there is always a stable temperature and percentage of humidity; here, most of all, there are remnants of dead skin particles - the favorite food of small parasites.

Dust mites in pillows

Horny pieces of epidermis accumulate in large quantities in pillows consisting of soft fabric and bird feathers, so dust mites often create huge colonies in beds. Knocking out and processing in autoclaves will not completely destroy these dangerous neighbors. Experts recommend that people prone to allergies replace pillows with down and feathers with bedding consisting of hypoallergenic and antibacterial materials - bamboo fiber, microgel, holofiber.

Who should be most concerned about dust mites?

People with asthma and children are most often susceptible to tick-borne sensitization. If a child, for no apparent reason, suddenly starts coughing and develops a runny nose, and there are no outbreaks of diseases around, most likely the reason is the baby’s body’s reaction to the presence of too many dust mites in the home.

Also, symptoms of dust mite allergy in children are pronounced redness on the child’s skin (dermatitis) that appears out of nowhere. There is no need to be afraid of such irritations, since modern medicine has easily learned to cope with such allergic manifestations. A photo of dust mite bites on a person’s body looks quite unpleasant.

If you notice similar irritation on your child’s skin, this means that the number of insects has exceeded all permissible limits and it’s time to take house cleaning seriously, arranging a real Armageddon for uninvited roommates.

Dust mite repellent

Acaricidal drugs will help destroy the parasite. Active substances disrupt the functions of the parasite’s nervous system, causing paralysis and death. The effect against dust mites lasts from 1 to 6 months.

On a note!

You can destroy dust mites at home with any insectoacaricidal agent that is used to exterminate harmful insects indoors.

But there is one “But!” If you are allergic to dust mites, you may also be allergic to a toxic drug, so you need to use special products. They are produced in the form of a spray, aerosol, concentrate. Used for cleaning carpets, wiping surfaces, treating the entire room, and adding to laundry. Acaricides kill parasites but do not harm humans.

Anti-dust mite products

  • Oreck Full Release Allergen Control Carpet Cleaner. Trichlorometaphos-3 emulsion destroys house dust mites in a few minutes and remains effective for up to 6 months. Used for processing carpets. Dilute in hot and cold water in the proportions specified in the instructions. Apply to the pile and leave to dry. The anti-tick product does not require rinsing. The anti-dust product is made in the USA. You can buy it online. Price about 3000 rubles.
  • Acaricidal aerosol produced in Poland. Active substances - transpermethrin (1%), pyriproxyfen (0.05%), benzyl benzoate (0.7%). The spray is sold in a 400 ml bottle in finished form. Shake the can well before use. Destroys dust mites at different stages of development. Spray around the apartment on any surface and leave to act. The dust effect lasts up to 7 months. The cost of an aerosol is within 2000 rubles.
  • EASY AIR. The drug is made in Poland. It is an air purifying spray. The acaricidal drug is sold in a large 1 liter bottle. Before use, shake the can several times and spray into the air in the room. Protection against dust mites lasts about 2 weeks. Recommended for use after wet cleaning of the house. The price of the product is 1700 rubles.
  • ACARIL ALLERSEARCH. The product destroys dust mites during washing. Add to washing machine. Made in the USA, you can buy it on the website. A 240 ml bottle is enough for 12 washes. Active ingredients: tea tree oil, methyl salicylate. The cost of an effective dust remover is 2,700 rubles.
  • MILBIOL. Spray made in Switzerland. Used for processing carpets, furniture, and interior items. Spray in areas where the greatest accumulation of dust is observed. Bottle volume 250 ml. The action lasts for 14-30 days. The cost of the drug against dust mites is 170 rubles.

Anti-dust mite medications


I have a terrible allergy to mites. Constant cleaning of the house, wiping furniture every day, changing bedding every week. Friends recommended Allergoff. This became my salvation. I cleaned up the apartment and have been living peacefully for six months now. I clean the house, but not so manically, not so often.

Irina, Moscow

Destruction measures

In a specialized store you can find a wide variety of products that can help get rid of ticks that have multiplied in your home. In most cases, these products are sprays that are completely safe for humans, but at the same time, lethal for hated insects.

They should be used to treat mattresses, pillows and blankets. The removed bedding can be soaked in hot water so that all the creatures nesting in it can die. The most comfortable temperature for these insects is 15-25 °C. Frost or high temperatures are fatal to them.

Special cleaning products in the form of concentrated shampoos are produced for treating carpets and rugs. If you wipe floors and other surfaces with a solution of such a product, as well as clean carpets, all the pests inhabiting them will certainly go to the next world.

Be that as it may, no remedy will help you get rid of dust mites 100%. But it is possible for humans to reduce the insect population to a safe minimum.

Preventing the reappearance of parasites

The most important and simple rule in the fight against dust mites is cleanliness.

  1. We wash the floors well at least once a week.
  2. We vacuum 2 – 3 times a week. It is advisable to use vacuum cleaners with an Aqua filter so that parasites do not spread throughout the apartment, flying out from the back of the vacuum cleaner.
  3. You need to vacuum not only carpets and floor coverings, but also chairs, beds, and upholstered furniture.
  4. Clean your closets well of old fur hats, coats, fur coats, unnecessary clothes and shoes. This is all an accumulation of dust, which means a “nursery” for dust mites. The closets should be spacious and clean.
  5. You need to wipe all shelves and cabinets, computer desk, notebooks, books with a damp, clean cloth.
  6. Treat lacquered furniture with polish.
  7. Bed linen should be changed every week, washed in hot water.
  8. It is necessary to store clean laundry in a dry place, as a humid environment promotes the appearance of dust mites.
  9. Featherbeds, feather and down pillows, if you cannot throw them away, then have them cleaned on time, at least 2 times a year. There the feathers are washed, treated with special solutions, and sewn into new pillowcases. This prevention will save you from parasites.
  10. Use dust mite repellents. Such preparations are sold for spraying in the room (aerosol) and for adding to the washing machine.

But the best recipe for defeating invisible tenants - dust mites - is still regularly cleaning your home and observing the rules of personal hygiene. It is necessary to arrange your apartment so that household dust does not harm our health.

Simple rules that will help fight dust mites in this video:


To prevent pests from breeding again, basic preventive measures should be followed. Here is a list of actions that will help keep the dust mite population under control:

  1. A general wet cleaning should be carried out weekly in each residential area. If you don’t want to spend money on special products, you can splash a little vinegar essence into a basin or bucket of water. The smell will go away within an hour, but the creatures will die with even greater intensity.
  2. All upholstered furniture must be thoroughly vacuumed. The disadvantage of ticks is their light weight and clumsiness. They don't run away from a vacuum cleaner like rats. Moreover, due to their underdeveloped minds, they will not at all understand how such a cruel relocation to a landfill befell them. They nest mainly in the upper layers of upholstered furniture, since there is no food for them inside the upholstery. Therefore, a larger number of their “personnel” will definitely be collected with a vacuum cleaner.
  3. In the summer, take pillows, blankets and mattresses out to dry in the sun. Not only that, insects will die from excessive overheating, but ultraviolet radiation itself is also destructive for them. In a few hours of such a “sunbath”, your bedding will get rid of the lion’s share of the total number of ticks nested in them.
  4. In winter, in sunny, frosty weather, your laundry taken out into the fresh air will be completely free of every single tick. If the sun was unable to penetrate inside a down or feather pillow in the summer, then the frost will certainly penetrate it to the ground.

We should not forget that the fewer stale things, carpets and other products, small parts, hard-to-reach cracks and old household appliances in the apartment, the less number of breeding grounds you will have that produce ever new hordes of mites. Get rid of everything unnecessary, and you, without any doubt, will breathe easier, and this was said in the literal sense of the word.

How to withdraw?

BE CAREFUL! The more dust there is in the house, the more dust mites there are.

House dust mites always live in bed , since the habitat they need is located there - both humidity and temperature are maintained by the person himself.

  1. It is better to replace feather pillows with pillows with synthetic filling - latex, eco-fiber or bamboo fiber filling. All pillows with natural filling contain potential danger.
  2. Regularly carry out wet cleaning of the house.
  3. Wash floors with disinfectants.
  4. Be sure to throw away all collected debris from the vacuum cleaner.
  5. In winter, after washing, it is advisable to “freeze” the bed linen by hanging it outside, loggia, or balcony.
  6. In the summer heat, be sure to take pillows, blankets and mattresses outside into direct sunlight. Dust mites are afraid of heat; it is advisable to heat the laundry.
  7. Modern vacuum cleaners, thanks to their high power and excellent filtration, cope well with house dust mites.
  8. It is recommended to wash bed linen only in hot water, 70 - 80 degrees.
  9. Mattresses and pillows are the most “favorite” habitat for dust mites; change them every 7 years.
  10. Synthetic pillows filled with synthetic padding are washable.
  11. Regularly wipe off dust with a damp cloth or wash children's toys, even if they are just standing on the shelves in the nursery.
  12. Dishes that are very rarely used are always stored in the walls and sideboards, collecting dust. It is recommended to wash it with hot water from time to time or treat it with boiling water if it is glass or crystal.
  13. Bookshelves and bookcases should be wet cleaned regularly, at least once a week.
  14. Be sure to wash curtains and curtains at least once a month - they accumulate a lot of dust.
  15. The apartment should have as few carpets as possible, especially those that cover the entire floor.
  16. Carpet is especially dangerous. The surface must be hygienic: parquet, linoleum - something that can be wet cleaned.

RECOMMENDATION! The most effective remedy for dust mites today is the Fresh Air air purifier. After a day of operation of the air purifier, more than 50% of this pest dies.

You can completely get rid of dust mites in three days . The effectiveness of modern air purifier technologies has been proven by laboratory studies by German and American scientists.

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