HOUSE DUST MITES & Other Mites
Acarina: Pyroglyphidae, Dermanyssidae, Mesostigmata, Pyemotidae
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HOUSE DUST MITES
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.
OTHER MITE SPECIES
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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