Six types of mites commonly affect humans; these include scabies mites, straw itch mites, bird mites, chigger mites, clover mites and dust mites. A common misconception about mites is that they are insects. According to North Carolina State University, mites are not insects but more closely related to arachnids, such as spiders. The Illinois Department of Health claims that most mites do not make any contact with humans, but mites that do come into contact with human skin can cause mild to severe reactions.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Tick repellent
- Vacuum cleaner
See a physician immediately if you are experiencing symptoms such as a rash or severe itching that may indicate a mite infestation. A doctor may need to prescribe an insecticide lotion for the skin of an affected person. Mites may affect other household members. If you are living with someone being treated for mites, you should also seek treatment.
Kill mites with tick repellents as the two insect-like creatures are similar. Spray repellent on clothing to kill mites.
Clean the home thoroughly as some mites can live off a host for a number of days. This creates an ongoing infestation problem. Vacuum often and thoroughly. Vacuum carpets and mattresses, as well as any other upholstered furniture daily for several weeks.
Wipe hard surfaces with a cloth dampened with alcohol. This will kill any mites that are too small to see but may crawl along these surfaces.
Change disposable filters on air-conditioners and furnaces, or clean air filters often to inhibit dust mites from infesting the home. You can also place filters inside of heater grates for added protection and cleanliness. These filters will catch dust and dust mites that may enter through the vent system.
Place pillows and mattresses inside plastic zip-up coverings to prevent mites from nesting and breeding in bedding. Clean infested mattresses with the upholstery attachment on a vacuum cleaner. Clean pillows and other bedding in the washing machine.
Tips and warnings
- Removing host-animals, such as birds and rodents, from the home may reduce the risk of mite infestations.
- Use tick repellents on clothing (especially shoes and pant legs) when walking through heavily weeded areas that may contain mites. Chiggers are known for living in the same densely weeded areas that ticks are typically found in.
- Avoid the use of chemical insecticides when trying to rid the home of dust mites. According to the North Caroline State University Department of Entomology, dust mites can cause respiratory irritation and pesticides may aggravate respiratory conditions.
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