Dust Mites are a cosmopolitan group of arthropods that refer to a number of species which are normally found in the home. The most common species in Penrith is Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus from the family Pyroglyphidae.
Dust mites live in the fine layer of minute dust particles that continually settles on household items. They are found almost worldwide but their numbers are considerably reduced at high altitudes and dry climates.
Due to theirlight weight,dust mites can become
airborne during activities such as bed making, and in this way can be distributed throughout the room or house.
Adult mites are described as white to a light tan in colour; they are difficult to see with the naked eye, as they measure only 0.5mm in length, and the developmental stages are smaller.
There are five stages in the life cycle of a dust mite;from the egg, the larvae stage, then two nymphal stages, and finally the adult. The whole life cycle from egg to adult takes approximately one month to complete;mature female mites canlay from 1-2 eggs per day.
Adult mites can live up to two months but this is dependent on the levels of humidity and temperature of their surrounding environment.
House dust mites have been known to be associated with allergies since the 1960s and have become a focus over recent years for their involvement with respiratory ailments, particularly as a trigger for asthma.
Constant contact with these allergens can tr igger respiratory and dermatological complaints,which may include allergic rhinitis, childhood eczema, various other allergies,as well as asthma
It is virtually impossible to eliminate all dust mites from a household, but areas where mites tend to congregate can be targeted. Wall to wall carpet should be reduced, and replaced where possible with smooth hard surfaces that are easy to clean.
Upholstered furniture should be avoided, mattresses and pillows should be encased in especially manufactured encasements that aid in the exclusion of mites. Bedding and curtains should be selected on their ability to withstand frequent laundering.Thorough vacuuming on a regular basis,including all mattresses, especially the seams and framework of the bed, will also help to reduce dust mite populations and a build up of the allergens.Steam cleaning can readily kill the mites and therefore subsequently reduce the allergens. A reduction in humidity levels by increased ventilation throughout the house, and the use of air conditioning, will assist in maintaining mites at a lower level.