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Acarina:  Pyroglyphidae, Dermanyssidae, Mesostigmata, Pyemotidae





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French Translation



       In the latter part of the 20th Century it became recognized that mites living in dusty environments of structures caused varying allergic responses to persons living or working in such areas.  By 2016 over 23 mite species have been found to be involved, with the most frequently encountered being Dermatophagoides pteromyssinus, or "European house-dust mite," and Dermatophagoides farinae, or "American house-dust mite," and Euroglyphus maynei, with worldwide distribution (Service 2008).


       Dust mites are very tiny and can be found in carpets, mattresses, clothes and other dusty areas.  Female mites oviposit up to 3 eggs daily, and these hatch about 6-13 days later with a larva that has six legs.  The larva passes through two nymphal stages before adulthood, with the complete cycle taking around three or four weeks.  Service (2008) emphasized that the most important breeding sites are in beds.  The mites rely on fungi that occur on the floors and mattresses and other organic debris, where they require high humidity for survival.  Adult mites can live up to two months during which they may lay 80 eggs.  Because of their small size they are not easily viewed and they can be spread locally when bedding is shaken into the air.  Inhalation of the mites and their feces causes allergic symptoms that can lead to asthma, eczema and rhinitis.




       Many other mites attack birds, mammals, livestock, insects and humans.  The grain mite, Pyemotes tritici that parasitizes beetles and moths, also attacks humans that are working nearby.  The chicken mite, Dermanyssus gallinae, rat mite, Ornithonyssus bacoti, and tropical fowl mite, O. bursa also sometimes attack humans.  Service reported that bites from these species may cause dermatitis and irritation.  Other mites that infest rodents, such as Liponyssoides sanguineus, transmit Rickettsial pox (Rickettsia akari) and with mites can also vector Q Fever (Coxiella burnetii) to humans.  Service (2008) lists other mites occurring in food products frequently cause allergies and dermatitis as well as bronchitis and asthma in people who accidentally encounter them.




       Control is difficult or almost impossible for some infestations.  Mite population densities can soar to five-hundred or more individuals per one gram of dust.  Mites cannot be removed from carpets with a vacuum because of their firm clinging capacity.  Washing clothing and bedding in hot water or dry cleaning kills mites, but the applications of miticides to mite-inhabited areas have been used with only limited success.  The use of allergy medications may provide some relief from respiratory problems associated with exposure to the mites.


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 Key References:     <medvet.ref.htm>    <Hexapoda>


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Boner, A., L Pescollderungg & M. Silverman.  2002.  The role of house dust mite elimination in the management of childhood asthma:  an

     unresolved issue.  Allergy 57 (Suppl 74), pp. 23-31.

Cameron, M. M.  1997.  Can house dust mite-triggered atoic dermatitis be alleviated using acaricides?  Brit. J. Dermatol. 137:  1-8.

Cloosterman, S. G. M. & O. C. P. van Schayck.  1999.  Control of house dust mite in managing asthma: effectiveness of measures depends on

      stage of Asthma.  Brit. Med. J. 381, p. 870.

Colloff, M. J., J. Ayres, & F. Carswell  1992.  The control of allergens of dust mites & domestic pets: a position paper.  Clinical & Expt. Allergy

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Fain, A., B. Guerin & B. J. Hart.  1990.  Mites and Allergic Disease.  Varennes en Argonne, Allerbio, France.

Harvey, P. & R. May.  1990.  Matrimony, mattresses and mites.  New Scientist 3: (March): 48-49.

Herron, M. D., M. A. O'Reilly & S. L. V. Ganderhooft.  2005.  Refractory Demodex folliculitis in five children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia

      Pediatric Dermatology 22:  407-411.

Krantz, G. W.  1978.  A Manual of Acarology, 2nd ed., Oregon St. Univ., Corvallis.

Lovik, M., P. I. Gaarder & R. Mehl (eds.).  1998.  The house-dust mite: its biology and role in allergy.  Proc. Internat. Scien. Workshop, Oslo,

      Norway, 4-7 Sept. 1997.  Allergy 53 (Suppl. 48):  1-135.

Matheson, R. 1950.  Medical Entomology.  Comstock Publ. Co, Inc.  610 p.

McDaniel, B.  1979.  How to Know the Mites and Ticks.  W. C. Brown Publ, Dubuke, Iowa.

Mumcuoglu, Y.  1976.  House dust mites in Switzerland: I.  Distribution and taxonomy.  J. Med. Ent. 13:  361-373.

Owen, S., M. Morganstern, J. Hepworth & A. Woodcock.  1990.  Control of house dust mite antigen in bedding.  Lancet 335:  396-397.

Rosen, S., I. Yeruham & Y. Braverman.  2002.  Dermatitis in humans associated with the mites Pyemotes tritici, Dermanyssus gallinae,

     Ornithonyssus  bacoti and Androlaelaps casalis in Israel.  Med. & Vet Ent. 16:  442-444.

Service, M.  2008.  Medical Entomology For Students.  Cambridge Univ. Press.  289 p

Siebers, R., H. S. Nam & J. Crane.  2004.  Permeability of synthetic and feather pillows to live house dust mites and house dust.  Clinical &

      Expt. Allergy 34:  888-890.

Walter, D. E. & M. Shaw.  2005.  Mites and disease.  IN:  Biology of Disease Vectors, 2nd edn.  Elsevier Acad. Press.  pp. 25-44.

Wharton, G. W.  1976.  House dust mites.  J. Med. Ent. 577-621.