When it comes to dust mites, the two most common questions people have about these bugs are:
- Can you see dust mites?
- How to know if you have dust mites?
Maybe you’ve heard a horror story about someone discovering that they had an infestation of dust mites in their home and want to find out if you have them too.
Or maybe, you’ve noticed an outbreak of coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, or other allergy-related symptoms and want to know if dust mites are the cause.
In this article, we’ll answer both of these questions for you.
You’ll find out if you can actually see dust mites walking around on your furniture, and if not, then how do you know if you have dust mites.
Can You See Dust Mites?
Are dust mites visible?
The answer to the first question is quite simple.
No, you cannot easily see dust mites.
The reason being is because these organisms are so microscopic that they can’t be seen by the naked eye.
Dust Mite Size
Dust mites average about 0.3mm in size (source HouseDustMite.com).
Since dust mites they’re so tiny, it requires a microscope in order to actually see them.
Once you put them under the microscope you’ll notice that these critters look quite similar to small spiders and belong to the Arachnid species (source Wikipedia).
Although they have eight hair legs and are translucent, they differ from most spiders by not having eyes. Neither do they have an antenna.
The main food source for dust mites is dead skin that’s shed daily from humans and animals.
This is a major reason why these pets can become so rampant inside your home—they have an endless food supply.
Also, since you can’t see dust mites, it’s easy for them to move into other areas of your home.
A common way for how they travel is by clinging onto your clothing and then dropping off in other rooms.
A lot of people are surprised when they realize that they have a dust mite infestation in their bedroom and can’t understand how they got there – and now you know why.
How Do Know if You Have Dust Mites?
Now that you know the answer to the question about if you can see dust mites, which you can’t, we’ll now move onto answer the next question, “How do know if you have dust mites?”
And the answer is actually a lot more simple than you may think.
How to Check for Dust Mites
As we mentioned in the answer to the first question, “Can you see dust mites”, the only way to actually see dust mites is by using a microscope.
If you can get your hands on a cheap microscope from a toy or hobby store that has at least a 10x magnification lens, you can find out once and for all if your home has dust mites in it.
In order to check for dust mites, all you need to do is collect a few samples of dust around your house using a piece of clear tape and examine it under the microscope.
Take samples from dusty spaces like the corner of a room, under a chair, or even straight from the fabric of a couch.
Also take a sample from your bedding, including a pillow and mattress.
If you notice any itching on your arms or legs, take a sample from there as well, since this may be a sign of dust mites on your skin.
There’s really no fancy detective work for how to find dust mites.
How to Identify Dust Mites
Now comes the fun part of how to identify dust mites.
Place your strips of tape under the microscope and look for small spider-like critters that fit the description we mentioned previously: translucent, eight legs, and no eyes.
Also, look for the feces that have been excreted by these bugs. It looks like small brown rectangular pellets.
There’s really nothing more to it for how to know if you have dust mites. This simple test will tell you everything you need to know.
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What Can You Do to Get Rid of Dust Mites?
Once you discover that you have dust mites in your home, the best thing to do is a thorough cleaning of all carpet, furniture, and curtains using a HEPA vacuum cleaner.
Then, follow it up by adding an air purifier to the rooms that you frequent most.
The HEPA filter on the vacuum is important because it captures particles as small as 0.3 microns in size, which includes dust mites.
Unequipped vacuum cleaners don’t have that much power.
The air purifier is also a great device to use because it continuously pulls in dust and dust mite particles into a filter and traps them there.
Then, it pushes out clean, fresh air back into the room.
Air purifiers drastically cut down your need to vacuum or dust inside your home. Check out our review of the best air purifier for dust mites.
A final step is to line all of your bedding with dust mite proof covers.
This will prevent the critters from burrowing themselves into your bedding and multiplying.
These can easily be picked up at any home good store or online.
How Do You Get Dust Mites?
Traveling is the most common way to get dust mites and bring dust mites into your home. Also, having other people over for a visit can give your house dust mites.
Going to hotels, motels, restaurants and even using public transportation can bring you into contact with dust mites.
Dust mites can travel on people’s clothing and belongings, and then latch onto another person’s garments and travel into their home with them.
Does Everyone Have Dust Mites?
While dust mites are found all over the world, these creatures tend to favor hot and humid climates.
If you live in a cold-weather area, then you may not have as many dust mites as in a hot-weather climate.
However, nearly 100,000 dust mites can live in one-square-yard of carpet and up to 10% of the weight of a 2-year-old pillow can be composed of dead mite and their droppings.
Dust mites prefer to make their nests areas where dead skin cells are most likely to accumulate. This includes places in the home like bedding, upholstered furniture, carpeting, rugs, and even stuffed animals.
What Kills Dust Mites Naturally?
Eucalyptus oil, in specific concentrations, has been scientifically proven to naturally kill 99.99% of dust mites.
Keeping the relative humidity level below 50% in your house can also kill dust mites naturally.
For further reading about dust mite removal, check out our post on how to get rid of and kill dust mites.