Any pest in the home is a total nuisance, and can wreak havoc on your health as well as your psyche. Bed bugs and dust mites are two common pests, but they differ.
Bed bugs are small, oval insects that do not fly and can live anywhere in the home. These pesky pests take up residence in various areas of the home, including cracks in furniture, in any type of textile and most commonly, in beds, where they thrive in the mattress, box springs and bed frames.
They’re most active at night, sucking blood from humans and animals to stay alive. They aren’t known to spread diseases, but can be a major annoyance as they cause itching, which can result in loss of sleep. The itching can cause a rash that increases secondary skin infections.
Along with the sign of a bite, which is a slightly swollen and red area, you may notice fecal stains, egg cases and shed skins of bed bugs in crevices and cracks close to beds. You can identify the bug with the naked eye, but you’ll need to know what to look for. Adult bed bugs are roughly the size of an apple seed, and have small, flat, oval-shaped brown bodies.
Dust mites differ from bed bugs because they do not actually feed on the blood of humans and pets. These microscopic pests, which are relatives of the spider, feed on the flakes of skin that people and pets shed daily. Thriving in warm and humid environments, they live on mattresses, bedding, upholstered furniture, carpets and curtains, much like bed bugs.
Dust mites may be the most common trigger of year-round allergies and asthma, yet they may not be easily diagnosed because they’re not easy to pinpoint. And no matter how clean a house is, they can’t totally be eliminated. However, they can be significantly reduced with these cleaning tips.
You can also cover mattresses and pillows with zippered dust-proof covers, wash your sheets and blankets in hot water weekly, put roll-type shades on your windows instead of curtains, invest in a HEPA-filter-equipped vacuum cleaner, wash rugs in hot water whenever possible, keep the humidity in your home to less than 50 percent and use a HEPA filter with your forced-air central furnace and air conditioning unit.
People who should be most concerned are those with a dust mite allergy. Sneezing, a runny nose, itchy red or watery eyes, stuffy nose, itchy nose, mouth or throat and itchy skin are all symptoms.
The best bet for keeping both types of these pests at bay is lots of cleaning! And while you can completely eliminate bed bugs, remember that dust mites are the pest you’ll have to coexist with, but only to a certain extent.