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Mites are somewhat similar to ticks and therefore belong to the same order: the ‘Acarina’. They are very small, white, spider-like insects that mainly live outdoors: you will find them on grass, flowers and bushes. Most mites hitchhike into your home via pets. Mites cause severe itching in pets as well as humans. Their droppings cause allergic reactions, as well as scabies, eczema and infections. Combating mites is therefore definitely an issue.
The house dust mite is the most common type of mite in our country. About 10% of the Dutch population is prone to allergic reactions to house dust mites. The critters are barely visible to us, as they are only 0.3 to 0.4 mm long. House dust mites feel best at a temperature around 25 degrees and high humidity.
Mite infestation? These are the main symptoms:
Mites feed on human and animal dander. Therefore, they prefer to hide in our house dust, mattresses and carpets. Nice dusty, dark and warm places where lots of dander can be found. Their feces contain antigens that can accumulate in our carpets and beds. When people come in contact with them, allergic reactions can occur. Common symptoms of house dust mite allergy include:
- asthma attack
- tranching eyes
House dust mites are especially active in early autumn. People often experience allergic reactions more severely at night than during the day because the critters are mostly hidden in mattresses.
Where do mites come from?
Mites can be found throughout the house, but your mattress is a favorite place to live. After all, it is warm, dark and moist, and there are plenty of dander to be found there. A typical mattress can contain up to 2 million dust mites. In that case, fighting the mites is the only solution, as they can cause quite a nuisance.
What not to do:
Don’t put off fighting mites! Before you know it, the mite infestation will be too big for you to handle by yourself. Also, don’t recklessly start using poisons and chemicals that can be potentially dangerous, especially on your mattress or furniture.
What can you do?
Mites are so small that they are almost impossible to spot with the naked eye. In addition, they are white in color and therefore even harder to spot in their favorite place: your mattress. There are special tests for sale that measure how much dust mite allergen your mattress, comforter, carpet or sofa contains. But of course, the best way to get a definitive answer is to get professional help. Pest controllers can not only tell you how big your mite infestation is, but also control the mites right away. Just know that mites can be found in most mattresses. This does not have to be a problem, as long as it does not get out of hand and you do not exhibit allergic reactions.
How to prevent mites
Since mites love high humidity (above 50%), it is important to adequately ventilate your living spaces. Good bed hygiene can also prevent a lot of misery, so change your bedding regularly. In addition, it is advisable not to make the bed, but leave it unfolded so that it can be adequately aired. Keep your bedroom clean and vacuum your carpets, curtains and upholstered furniture regularly. Choose a bed on high legs and also leave the space under the bed clear. This will allow your mattress to air better and it is also easy to vacuum and keep clean.
Another option is to invest in a special hypoallergenic comforter, mattress and/or pillows that mites cannot penetrate. There are also beds with their own climate control system, where temperature control and ventilation ensure that the humidity in the bed always stays below 50%. Thus, the bed is no longer an attractive home for dust mites.
Fighting mites? Follow these 5 tips:
- Fight mites in your bedding is done by washing everything regularly at 60 degrees. Do this at least every six weeks so that the eggs do not have time to develop into adult mites. In doing so, also wash the comforter and pillows regularly.
- Replace your mattress. This should be done every 10 years anyway, because by then the mattress has already lost a lot of resilience. Moreover, it has become unhygienic after such a long period.
- Replace your carpeting with a smooth floor, such as laminate or tarp.
- Keep pets out of your bedroom. Ideally, don’t let them sleep on upholstered furniture either. Animal dander and hair are a feast for dust mites.
- Load stuffed animals in the freezer for several days to kill the mites. Then you can wash them at a temperature lower than 60 degrees.
Let the mites be controlled by a professional
Mites are so stubbornly hidden that fighting mites can only be done with a special crack and surface treatment. Therefore, contact professionals as soon as possible and always have mite control performed by a pest controller.
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