Dust mites are microscopic creatures that are too small to be seen with the naked eye. Measuring only 0.2 to 0.3 mm in length, these pests feed on dead human skin cells and thrive in warm, humid environments. Their translucency makes them even harder to detect, so it's impossible to spot them without a microscope. If you think you can see one with the naked eye, then it's not a dust mite.
Knowing where they like to live and under what conditions can help you keep them at bay and avoid suffering the consequences of long-term exposure. To check for dust mites, collect a few dust samples from around the house with a piece of clear adhesive tape and examine them under a microscope. The table above shows how an antimicrobial treated polyurethane mattress foam works against dust mites over time. The total number of dust mites found in the untreated foam was 20 to 30, while only 8 mites were recovered from the foam treated with Ultra-Fresh.
The lifespan of dust mites is only one to two and a half months; however, they reproduce very quickly, making them a difficult pest to eliminate in your home. The Petri dishes containing the foams were sealed to prevent the mites from escaping and were incubated at 25°C and a relative humidity of 75% for 8 weeks. Most dust mites die in conditions of low humidity or extreme temperatures, but they leave behind their corpses and debris that can continue to cause allergic reactions. If you notice itchy arms or legs, take a sample from there as well, as this may be a sign of dust mites on your skin.
The way to control your population is to keep pace and clean surfaces and areas where excess dust accumulates. If you think you're being bitten by dust mites, you might want to investigate the difference between mites and bed bugs through this great article from Terminix. Dust mites may be invisible to the naked eye, but they can still have an impact on your health if left unchecked. To prevent this, make sure your home is kept at temperatures between 20-25°C and humidity levels of 70-80%.
Regularly cleaning surfaces and areas where excess dust accumulates will help keep their population under control.