Mites look a bit like ticks and belong to the same order: the ‘Acarina’. They are very small, white, arachnid-like insects that live mainly outdoors: you can find them on grass, flowers and shrubs. Most mites hitchhike into your home with pets. Mites cause severe itching in pets, but also in humans. Their droppings cause allergic reactions, but also scabies, eczema and infections. Controlling mites is therefore definitely an issue.
The house dust mite is the most common type of mite in our country. Approximately 10% of the Dutch population is susceptible to allergic reactions to house dust mites. The bugs are hardly visible to us, because 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 nuisance? These are the main symptoms:
Mites feed on human and animal dander. That’s why they prefer to hide in our house dust, in our mattresses and in carpets. Tasty, dusty, dark and warm places where many dander can be found. Their droppings contain antigens that can accumulate in our carpets and beds. If people come into contact with them, allergic reactions can occur. Common symptoms of house dust mite allergy are:
- astma attack
- transcending eyes
House dust mites are especially active in early autumn. People often experience allergic reactions at night more severely than during the day, because the bugs are mainly hidden in mattresses.
Where do mites come from?
Mites can sit all over the house, but your mattress is a favorite place to live. After all, it is warm, dark and humid and there are plenty of skin flakes to be found. An average mattress can contain up to 2 million dust mites. In that case, controlling the mites is the only solution, because they can cause a lot of nuisance.
What not to do?
Above all, do not postpone controlling mites! Before you know it, the mite infestation has become too big to cope with on your own. Don’t be reckless with 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. Moreover, they are white in color and therefore even more difficult to see in their favorite spot: your mattress. There are special tests available that measure how much house dust mite allergen your mattress, comforter, carpet or sofa contains. But the best way to find out is of course to call in professional help. Pest controllers can’t just tell you how big your mite infestation is, they can control the mites as well. Do know what mites can be found in most mattresses. This doesn’t have to be a problem, as long as it doesn’t get out of hand and you don’t show any allergic reactions.
How can you prevent mites?
Because mites like 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 open so that it can be ventilated sufficiently. Keep your bedroom clean and vacuum your carpets, curtains and upholstered furniture regularly. Choose a bed on high legs and leave the space under the bed free as well. This allows your mattress to air better and it is also easy to vacuum and keep it clean.
Another option is to invest in a special hypoallergenic comforter, mattress and/or pillows, where mites cannot penetrate. There are also beds with their own climate system, where temperature control and ventilation ensure that the humidity in the bed is always below 50%. In this way, the bed is no longer an attractive home for house dust mites.
Controlling mites? Follow these 5 tips:
- Controlling mites in your bedding is done by regularly washing everything at 60 degrees. Do this at least every six weeks, so that the eggs don’t get time to develop into adult mites. Also wash the comforter and pillows regularly.
- Replace your mattress. This should be done once every 10 years anyway, because then the mattress has already lost a lot of resilience. What’s more, after such a long period of time it has become unhygienic.
- Lay cuddles in the freezer for a few days to kill the mites. Then you can wash them at a temperature lower than 60 degrees.
Let the mites be fought by a professional
Mites are so stubbornly hidden that mites can only be combated with a special crack and surface treatment. Therefore, contact professionals as soon as possible and always have mite control carried out by a pest controller.