There are many allergens present both inside structures and the outside environment. These allergens can be something as natural as pollen or as manmade as latex. The intent of this article is to shed some light on a tiny arachnid which lives in virtually any home. Commonly known as a dust mite, it lives and thrives where we sleep and watch TV. Ever present though invisible to the naked eye, this mite sheds it’s skin as it grows. These skin sheds are known allergens and can pose a serious problem to those who have an allergy to these sheds. Along with their feces, dust mites are second only to plant pollen as the most common allergen to man.
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Before we proceed, the author feels it is important to outline the basic topics this article will address. Our company is a supplier and distributor of chemicals and equipment. Though most of what we sell are related to more traditional pests like ants and roaches, dust mites are a very real problem needing both know how and the right products to solve problem infestations. By minimizing dust mite populations within the home, those who reside there who are allergic to dust mites can live much more comfortably. The important thing to understand is that dust mites represent only one kind of allergen. The fact is that someone could be allergic to dust mites along with several other common household objects. This fact is paramount to understanding dust mite treatments. In general, the products and procedures outlined below apply to dust mite problems.
Now if you are certain you or someone in the structure you intend on treating is having a dust mite issue, following our treatments will help to minimize dust mite allergen exposures. In fact, most of our products will actually help resolve issues with many other allergens commonly found inside. However, due to the complexity and extent of compounds which can cause allergies, don’t “hope” or “think” you have a dust mite issue until it has been diagnosed by a medical professional. Furthermore, if several applications over a period of a few months are not helping the problematic allergic reactions and discomfort, you will need to get another medical opinion. Since it is so common for an allergy sufferer to have multiple allergies, addressing each allergen is vital for creating an inside environment to fit their individual needs. This can only be obtained when all major allergens for that individual have been identified.
DUST MITE PROBLEMS
Dust mites can be found in any home around the world. They are more closely related to spiders and ticks and are similar in look to spider mites or chiggers. However, dust mites are small. So small are dust mites that they cannot be seen with the naked eye. Dust mites live their lives on objects like couches, chairs, bedding, mattresses, stuffed toys and clothing. They need high humidity to survive – generally in excess of 60% – and a lot of food.
If you are unsure of local humidity levels, get one of our HUMIDITY MONITORS. It will keep track of both temperatures and humidity keeping records of lows and highs over time. This is very helpful when needing to identify problem locations in the home. Dust mites live on dander which is shed skin from people and pets. Furniture and beds are key places where dander accumulates and it is in these areas where dust mites prosper. It is not uncommon for a pillow to add over 10% of it’s weight in just 2 years due to live dust mites and their sheds!!! Furthermore, populations can exceed 10 million dust mites on any one mattress in less then 3 years! Though small as an individual, the accumulative impact the sheds of dust mites can have is well documented.
DUST MITE ALLERGY
Allergies and allergic reactions to dust mites vary from person to person. Clearly, some people are not affected by their presence; for others dust mites pose a very real problem. Though it is believed an acute exposure to dust mites at a young age can have a life long impact, many adults can be suddenly affected. Reactions include but are not limited to sneezing, itching, watery eyes, wheezing, headaches, fatigue and depression. Though not common, some people may develop a red rash. Most important is the fact that dust mites are impacting over 50% of asthmatics. These are people who need pure and allergen free air to breath. The fact that dust mites and the stuff on which they feed can easily get air borne makes them so much more of a threat to anyone that suffers from respiratory disorders.
DUST MITE BIOLOGY
Dust mites live a relatively short life. They will immediately begin feeding once they hatch from their egg. During the next month they will molt at least twice. Their skin sheds are a major allergen if not the most important. Clearly their feces are important as well since they can accumulate over time.
In their feces lies a very potent digestive juice which is thought to be another contributor or known allergen. Once adulthood is reached, female dust mites will lay 50-100 eggs over a 1-2 month life cycle. Dust mites will migrate throughout the home taking advantage of furniture, pet bedding, carpeting, blankets and mattresses. They do this by hitching a ride on ones clothing which is another prime living location.
Remember, dust mites need dander – basically human and pet skin – to live. This dander is most commonly found on furniture, carpeting and bedding but due to it’s light weight, dander will float around to most any part of the home. In fact, over 75% of the “dust” one sees in a sunbeam shining through any window is dander. People shed over 1/5 of an ounce of dander WEEKLY so there is an ever replenished supply of the very food dust mites need to live. For this reason it is conceivable that most any room could harbor populations. However, only the rooms with ideal humidity and heat will allow for rapid and advanced populations.
DUST MITES MYTHS
Like most any insect or animal, there are a lot of unfounded fears and misunderstandings about dust mites. Knowing what is and is not important when dealing with them inside the home will better enable you to address the key issues when you want to reduce their populations.
FALSE: DUST MITES THRIVE IN AIR DUCTS. Generally speaking, dust mites do not like the temperature, humidity or lack of food which is pretty much a constant in any normal and healthy air duct system. Don’t waste your time getting them cleaned out if your intention is to get rid of dust mites. The only viable reason for cleaning air ducts is to remove mold, mildew and other problematic fungus growth or spores which could certainly pose a problem. Just don’t do it for controlling dust mites.
FALSE: DUST MITES CAN BE VACUUMED OUT OF THE HOME. Again, not true. A good vacuum can reduce dust, dander, dust mite sheds, dust mite feces and other known allergens which will help people sensitive to such matter. However, dust mites are generally not out in the open. Remember, they thrive in mattresses, furniture, carpeting and other locations where vacuums will have little impact. Trying to reduce dust mite allergens by vacuuming is probably a waste of time. However, keep vacuuming! But do it for the purpose of keeping the structure clean and helping to reduce that which the mites need – dander. And if you really want to have a big impact, use a vacuum which has a liquid filtration system. Such designs are much better at filtering out the known allergens compared to typical paper filters.
FALSE: SPECIAL AIR FILTERS WILL REMOVE ALL DUST MITES. Again, not true. Though HEPA filters will remove many types of allergens, they will not address the most important part of dust mite management: dealing with them at their source. Filters are definitely an asset and should be installed in homes where individuals can benefit from the extra filtration. But install them for just that reason, not for removing dust mites. It’s not going to happen.
FALSE: SPRAYING FOR DUST MITES IS A WASTE OF TIME. Again, not true. It is easy to kill a dust mite and the few products which are labeled for dust mite control do a good job. However, as explained earlier, the real problem is the skin sheds and feces of the dust mite. If in fact there is a dust mite problem in the home, it will take more then just spraying for them to get the desired results. However, killing off as many dust mites as possible will certainly help the problem and is part of any well integrated dust mite control plan.
DUST MITE CONTROL
There are several things which can be done to help minimize the impact dust mites can have on the occupants of any structure. Keep in mind that the overall goal of any program should not be dust mite elimination. This cannot be achieved. However, reducing and minimizing both live dust mites and their known allergens will certainly help to create an environment which is both more comfortable and healthier. Furthermore, the products and devices used for dust mite and dust mite allergen removal will work on many other allergens. This means your efforts will be impacting several variables any one of which could be just as much if not more important then the dust mite factor itself.
DUST MITE TEST KIT
First, try to isolate just where the dust mite population is highest. Though the most common areas are sure to be beds, pet bedding, furniture like couches and chairs, curtains, carpets and other objects in the home which can accumulate dander, it is quite common to overlook a key location or two. Missing just one location can prove to be a big problem.
The use of DUST MITE TEST KIT can help to identify key locations. Furthermore, it is advisable that you test dust mite populations prior to treating and implementing control programs and then retest in the future so you are able to monitor the results of your efforts. This feedback will let you focus your attention to where it matters the most.
Dust Mite Test Kit: http://www.bugspraycart.com/equipment/testing/dust-mite-test-kit-2pk
DUST MITE SPRAY
Second, attempt to minimize dust mite populations. By keeping their numbers in check you can minimize their allergens. Remember, there are many areas where dust mites will reside. However, the bedding of people and pets are classic hotspots and need to be treated with STERIFAB. Spraying Sterifab on bedding, furniture and just about any object on which dust mites want to live will immediately kill current populations.
This is a more practical approach for the treatment of large dust mite populations since you can get immediate control with a lot less effort then Steaming. Use a PUMP SPRAYER and set the nozzle at a fine mist pattern for best results. Be sure to treat any known or suspected location where dust mites may be present. Steaming needs to be done as often as needed which could be once or twice a week. The application of Sterifab will not be needed as much and treatments can be done about once a month after control and dust mite populations are in check.
Pump Sprayer: http://www.bugspraycart.com/good/pump-sprayers
DUST MITE ALLERGY SPRAY
Now that control measures are in place to help minimize dust mite populations, you need to minimize the dust mite and other allergens which are commonly found in homes. Though vacuuming will help, it is much more effective to address the allergens with agents that essentially neutralize the allergens invasive characteristics. Remember, allergens only impact people and pets because we either eat, touch or breath them.
Common household allergens most readily impact the people who reside there by floating around and ultimately getting inhaled. There are several products which can help to “block” or prevent allergens from getting airborne. By stopping them from getting into the air we breath, we can reduce the exposures. This approach is very effective and there are many products to use for the different objects which may be generating the allergens.
ALLERGEN SPRAY is a liquid which is applied like the Sterifab. Using a Sprayer like the one featured above, apply it to furniture and other locations where allergens are present. Stay off treated surfaces for least 3 hours and then vacuum. Allergens will be denatured and much easier to remove. Apply every 60 days for the best year round results.
For carpeting and bedding, use the ALLERGEN GRANULES. Like the spray, this product works by denaturing the allergens. Allow it to sit for 3 hours before vacuuming it up. However, this product only needs to be re applied every 90 days. It does cost more to use but it will work on more surfaces and lasts longer.
DUST MITE DETERGENT
Lastly, don’t forget to change out bed linens and wash them weekly. Dust mites love sheets, pillow cases, towels, and just about any natural fabric. They will target such fabric – especially when it contains dander – and live amongst the fibers. The most common way dust mites migrate in the home is by hitching a ride on our clothing. Furthermore, curtains and drapery tend to attract and hold dander flakes quite well. Dust mites will readily thrive on them so they need to be washed on a regular basis.
When washing any fabric or clothing which you suspect may be harboring dust mites, be sure to use ALLERGEN DETERGENT. Like the other allergen denaturing products, the Detergent works by ionizing contaminants which enables them to release from the fabric. Allergens are washed away from any type of material in any water temperature which really helps to minimize exposures. Regular washing with this Detergent should be done as a part of the complete program.
In summary, dust mites pose a very real and impacting pest in the home. Their skin sheds and feces are strong allergens which can impact children and adults. In fact, many pets are allergic to these very same allergens. To reduce the impact dust mites will have to the occupants of any structure, follow our guidelines for both dust mite and dust mite allergen reduction. This should help reduce local populations of dust mites and in turn, allow residents to live both happier and healthier lives.
Give us a call if you need further help. Our toll free is 1-800-877-7290 and we’re open Monday through Thursday, 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM. On Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM and on Saturday, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time).
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