10 Ways To Control Allergen Causing Dust Mites

House Dust MitesYou cough! You sneeze! Your eyes water so much it’s difficult to even see! I’m talking of course about allergies, and one of the leading causes of allergies in the United States happens to be a microscopic bug called a House Dust Mite.

While some people experience seasonal allergies caused by high pollen in the air, many people experience year round allergies that are frequently caused by these dust mites. In fact, some 35 million people suffer from dust mite allergies.

Read More About The Worst Allergy Cities In The Country

What can you do about dust mites? Even the most zealous housekeeper cannot completely eliminate dust mite populations, but there are a few steps you can take to help control these teeny-tiny pests.

Sleeping With The Enemy: Dust Mites In Your Bed

Before you can control dust mites, you have to understand one important characteristic. If you are the least bit squeamish, do not read what I’m about to say next. You’re sleeping with dust mites! Yup, right on top of them in fact. You bed is their favorite hiding spot, and the majority of them are in your mattress. They crawl on you while you sleep… In and out of your nose and ears, feeding on the dead skin and dander that you shed.

It gets worse. After only two short years of owning your mattress, some 10 Million mites can call it home. The longer you own your mattress, the more dust mites it can have. Yuck!

10 Ways To Control Allergen Causing Dust Mites

clean bedding1. Dust mite covers. Look for dust mite covers that are allergen-impermeable at any high end department store. Encase your mattresses, pillows, and box springs with these covers. Replace mattresses every 3-5 years for severe cases.

2. Hypoallergenic pillows. Just like dust mite covers, these pillows can be found at most department stores in, and will help with all types of allergies, including dust mites.

3. Frequently wash bedding. All of your sheets, pillow cases, blankets, mattress pads, and even comforters need to be washed at least every two weeks. Opt for hot water above 120 degrees for best results.

4. Vacuum. Frequently vacuum your home, especially carpeted bedrooms, to remove unwanted dust and mites. I’m talking vacuuming every day if necessary until your symptoms subside. You may look to invest in a vacuum with a HEPA filter attached. Empty your vacuum frequently. If your vacuum requires bags, opt for backs that are double the thickness.

5. Dust. I know, this tip seems obvious, but dust mites live in dust. Just one particle of dust can contain over 42,000 mites. Keep all areas of your home, especially the bedroom, dust free. I recommend wearing a mask while dusting, and leave the room for at least 20 minutes after you finish cleaning.

6. Air purifiers. You’ll be surprised how effective a HEPA air purifier is at removing all types of allergens in your home, including house dust mites.

Allergy Pollen HEPA Air Filter 7. Install allergen filters. Install allergen-trapping filters in air conditioning and heating systems inside your home. If you sleep with a CPAP, make sure it has a filter as well. Regularly change out these filters.

8. Blinds not curtains. If your bedroom has cloth or fiber curtains or draperies, look to replace them with decorative and stylish wood-slated blinds or shades. Also look to remove any fabric-based wall décor inside your home.

9. Wood or tile flooring. Dust mites love your fibrous carpets. Give these pests one less place to hide by switching out carpet for wood or tile flooring.

10. Wood, leather, or vinyl furniture. For extreme cases of dust mite allergens, get rid of all upholstered furniture. Like your carpet, dust mites love these areas. Opt for wood, leather, or vinyl furniture instead. Think about using dust mite covers on your furniture as well as your bedding.

House Dust MiteHouse Dust Mites

In the United States, the House Dust Mite is one of the leading causes of asthma, eczema, and allergic symptoms. Their effect on human health is significant. The gross thing is that it’s not the actual dust mite that causes asthma and allergic symptoms… It’s their feces!

House Dust Mites are actually related to spiders; in the class Arachnida. These adult mites are pale in color, have eight legs, no antenna or wings, and only have one body segment. Dust mites feed on the dander shed by both humans and pets. They also will eat feathers, mold, and fungus.

Another problem with these pests is that they are nearly invisible to the naked eye, measuring a mere 1/100th of an inch. They can be almost anywhere. However, these tiny pests do need high humidity, above 60%, to survive. Avoid using humidifiers in your home if you are allergic to dust mites.

Are you living with a dust mite allergy? We’d love to hear your story!

How to Identify Common Bug Bites

I often receive phone calls from people truly distressed by itches, who say, “bugs are biting me.”  Most of the time the callers are correct and they are suffering from insects we can take care of:  bed bugs, fleas, or bird mites. If itching isn’t caused by any of these household pests, and mosquitoes are not suspected, then the problem might be scabies or lice.

Identifying Bug Bites

Bedbug BitesBed bug bites often appear as red itchy welts in groups of three. Bites will be located in the areas of the body most easily accessed in a sleeping person: neck, arms and legs, the sides of the back. Some people have extreme reactions to bed bug bites and may experience very large welts. Thirty-percent of people do not react to bed bug bites at all.

Flea bites typically result in very small raised, itchy welts below the knee. In a residence with a high flea infestation, bites may be encountered on any part of the body, but still mostly confined to areas of exposed skin.

Bird mite bites usually appear as multiple small (pin-point sized) red lesions on the extremities. Bird mite bites may cause intense itching and irritation even when there is no visible sign of a bite.

Bed bugs, fleas, and bird mites can be exterminated by a pest control company.

Human itch mites (scabies) burrow into the skin, often between the fingers, or the bend of elbows, knees, and groin. This is considered a medical problem and is easily diagnosed and treated by a doctor.

Bites of a head lice

Head lice cause itching to the scalp and neck. The diagnosis of head lice infestation is best made by finding a live nymph or adult louse on the scalp or hair of a person. A fine-toothed louse comb is a very helpful tool for finding lice or louse eggs. Head lice respond to home treatment.

Now and then, however, a caller will suffer from an invisible itch—an itch caused by something we can’t see. While there are only half a dozen insect species likely to cause itchy bites, there are hundreds of household products, environment factors, and health-related conditions that can make you itch.  An excellent list of these itch triggers is found in “Invisible Itches: Insect and Non-Insect Causes,” from the University of Kentucky.

Itching is real and causes real distress. We hate telling someone we can’t find evidence of bugs. With a bug infestation there is a clear protocol for control, and for itch relief. When confounded by itching without a known source, consider non-insect causes.

Pest Control News: Weekly Links Round-Up

Pest Control News: Weekly Links Round-Up

 

Green Lacewing
Green Lacewing

What is that little red bug? Is it a spider? An Ant?

If you have little red bugs all over your side walk, or on the side of your house, you could possibly have Clover Mites. More…

A Different Approach to Pest Control

Smart pest control begins with prevention. There are a lot of ways you can make small changes to your home that will help keep pests out. More…

Masonry Bees

Here is some information from Graham Pest Control about Masonry bees; including appearance, biology, and importance. More…

How to Keep Cicada Killers or Digger Wasps Away

Here’s a great video on digger wasps of Cicada killers that includes the best ways to prevent them. More…

How Did I Get Fleas And What Can I Do So I Don’t Get Them Again?

The most common way you get fleas is from stray cats and opossums. As they run through your yard, they drop off fleas and flea eggs. Then while spending time in your yard the fleas jump on you or your pet, and are unwittingly brought into your home. More…

Brown Recluse Infestation: Extreme Spiders Require Extreme Measures

Brown recluse spider bites are well documented to be very horrific. There are treatment methods that exterminate these dangerous spiders. They include: direct contact treatment, exterior treatments, crack and void treatments, and spot treatments. More…

Pest Of The Week: The Green Lacewing

 

Green Lacewing
Green Lacewing

This week’s pest of the week is not actually a pest at all, but a very beneficial insect. The green lacewing is an all natural exterminator that feeds on garden pests like mites, aphids, and lace bugs; exterminating as many as 100 a week. In addition, these beautiful flying insects also feed on plant nectar, pollen, and honeydew. Gardeners prefer green lacewings because they offer a safe, non-chemical alternative for naturally controlling garden and plant pests.

Green lacewings are usually bright green to greenish-brown in color, with compound eyes that are noticeably golden in most species. The wings of the green lacewing are translucent, with a slight iridescence. Some may have green wing veins, or a cloudy brownish wing pattern. These insects are also nocturnal; extremely active at night.

 

Links Roundup: Pest Control News For The Week

Links Roundup: Pest Control News For The Week

 

Weekly Links RoundupInsects That Look Worse Than They Are

Bugs like the praying mantis, dragonfly, spider, and scarab beetle all look menacing. These insects’ bark is worse then their bite. They are actually quite beneficial. More…

Beware The Bug: Fire Ants – The Dangerous Home Invader

Fire ants pose a serious health risk, particularly to small children or family pets. They are known to have a strong, painful and persistent sting that often leaves a pustule on the skin. Left untreated, fire ant bites can become infected and in a few extreme cases, have been reported fatal. More…

Pest Control Tip: Beware Of Mites!

The microscopic mite can be found almost anywhere, just not outdoors. The house dust mite is the most common, but there are several other types of mites that can cause itchiness and skin irritation. More…

Pest Control: Mosquitoes

With the warmer weather just around the corner, the West Nile carrying mosquito will be making it’s dreaded appearance  Here are some tips for dealing with the annoying pests. More…

Pest Control Tip: De-Grub Your Lawn

It is estimated that grubs cause more than $234 million in property damages every year. Grubs are the offspring of Japanese beetles. Before they set up shop in your trees, they lay their eggs underground. The white c-shaped larvae hatch and immediately begin feeding upon the root system of your turf. More…

 

Pest Of The Week: The Wolf Spider

 

Burrowing wolf spider defending its egg sac.
Burrowing wolf spider defending its egg sac. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the more common spider pests in the United States is the wolf spider. These spiders garnered their nickname not because of their large, hairy, wolf like appearance, but because they were once thought to hunt in packs like wolves. Wolf spiders are excellent hunters. They do not build webs, but patiently wait in underground burrows for an unsuspecting cricket or cockroach.

Wolf spiders are brown in color, and can reach lengths of well over an inch. Their appearance is well known because of the Union Jack (British flag) impression on their backs. Although intimidating in appearance, wolf spiders don’t usually bite unless they are in danger or provoked. Wolf spiders are venomous.

Homeowners will frequently see these wolf spiders in their homes during the cooler months of the year. They enter homes looking for other insects to eat, and refuge from the elements. Even though the wolf spider’s venom is not lethal, their bites can cause health concerns. Traditional spider control methods are need for wolf spider elimination.