Dust Mites

Facts, Identification, & Control

Scientific Name

  • European House Dust Mite: Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus
  • North American House Dust Mite: Dermatophagoides farinae


What Do They Look Like?
  • Body: Their body is globular shaped and has a light or whitish color.
  • Legs: Dust mites have eight legs.
  • Size: House dust mite adults are about 500 microns long, the immature stages are even smaller, which means they can be seen only by using a microscope.

How Did I Get Dust Mites?

Well-adapted to indoor life and small enough to enter through almost any crack, dust mites live in many houses. Temperature and moisture also affect these pests. Warm, humid houses are often more prone to dust mite problems.

Since the pests eat tiny flakes of skin on fabrics, getting rid of their food sources entirely is impossible. Studies have concluded that one gram of shed skin separated from a person’s body can feed thousands of mites. Therefore, in the typical household, an absence of house dust mite food just doesn’t exist. Even the cleanest homes can have an infestation.

How Serious Are Dust Mites?

House dust mites are non-blood feeding mites that do not bite and do not live on people. Problems that arise include allergic reactions created by the pest presence in the home. While many people are allergic to seasonally-related pollen and molds, those allergic to house dust mites tend to have allergies consistently throughout the year. Depending on the severity of someone’s allergies, homeowners may barely notice the pests or find them an unbearable cause of allergic reactions.

How Do I Get Rid of Dust Mites?

What You Can Do

Seeking the assistance of a professional who has experience and success in dust mite control is always the best bet. However, in an effort to reduce dust mite populations, homeowners are encouraged to:

  • Reduce and keep the relative humidity in your house below 60-70 percent and the interior temperature as cool as possible. Dust mites are very susceptible to the environmental factors of low humidity and cool temperatures.
  • Encase mattresses, box springs, and upholstered furniture in mite proof coverings. Also, it might be helpful to remove carpets and replace with wood or tile flooring.
  • Use drapes and other household fabrics that can be washed frequently.
  • Ensure your household vacuum has a HEPA filter.
  • Use HEPA filters in the home’s ventilation system.
What Orkin Does

Your local Orkin technician is trained to help manage dust mites and similar pests. Since every building or home is different, your Orkin technician will design a unique program for your situation.

Orkin can provide the right solution to keep dust mites in their place…out of your home, or business.

Behavior, Diet, & Habits

What Do They Eat?

House dust mites are very different than many species of mites that are blood feeders. Since these mites are microscopic they don’t eat much. The sources of foods needed to energize them and sustain life include:

  • Animal dander shed by pets
  • Pollen particles
  • Skin shed by people during their sleep or everyday activities
Where Do They Live?

The common habitat for house dust mites is dust that occurs throughout the home found in:

  • Beds
  • Carpeting
  • Curtains
  • Fabric covered furniture
  • Pillows

Life Cycle

The life cycle consists of four developmental stages:

  1. Egg
  2. Larva
  3. Nymph
  4. Adult

While the time needed to complete their life cycle varies depending upon temperature and humidity, it generally takes about three to four months. Depending upon the favorability of their habitat, adult mites will live about one month.

More Information Do Dust Mites Bite? Dust Mite Symptoms What Do Dust Mites Look Like? Where Do Dust Mites Come From?