What are mites (acari)?
They are invisible micro-organisms that are only visible by using a microscope. Arthropods belonging to the class Arachnida, they are living in our houses, no matter how clean they might be. Bedrooms can offer an ideal environment for growth of dust mites and especially the inside of the mattresses, as well as carpets and living rooms, since places like these have the right temperature, humidity and food they need. Ideal mite nests have also proven to be pillows, blankets, textile tapestries, etc. Female mites produce 25-30 eggs and a new generation is being bred every three weeks. This makes it easy to understand why mattresses may contain huge amounts of mites, dead cells and allergens.
Mites are being fed with human dandruff (dead skin cells that daily fall off our body), need the warmth of human body and seek moisture because their body is consisted by 75-80% of water.
Traces of hazardous protein named guanine that can be found in their excreta, along with decomposed parts of their bodies, are the main source of allergies that are being caused when house dust is being inhaled, causing allergic rhinitis.
In Greece, dominant mite species are Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (found in mainland) and Dermatophagoides farinae (found in islands). Concentration levels of mites usually rise during summer and early autumn due to higher percentage of humidity. Lowest concentration levels are observed during periods of the year with the highest possible temperatures and lowest percentage of humidity.
In order to cope with them, a thorough cleaning must take place at least once a year. Allergies related to inhalation of the proteins found in their excreta will not be dealt with unless mites are completely removed, but in such a way that will not contaminate further the staying environment.
“Internal dust” mite’s excreta are hard to be removed from a mattress using the traditional way of cleaning with a vacuum cleaner. There could also be further contamination of the staying environment due to the lack of specific filters that can only found on specially designed vacuum cleaners, used for this reason. Also, friction will cause static electricity, raising density of mites’ population and thus making them more difficult to remove. For their proper control, a thorough bio-cleaning must take place, bringing desired results in an easy and quick way. Lowering mite activity and allergenic dust by up to 99,99% along with the reduction of “microbe burden” caused by mildew bacteria and other micro-organisms, will offer a contamination free environment.
WHAT FACTORS AFFECT THE PRESENCE OF HOUSE DUST MITES INSIDE A HOME?
It’s been verified that permanent carpeting (placed wall to wall), hosts a large number of mites. Also an important role in this has the pile size of the carpet, in which mites usually prefer high piles with loose ends.
Other factors that should be taken into account are the age of the mattress or carpet as well as the presence of pets. Mattresses still remain the ideal environment for mite’s growth. A 5 year old mattress may host 5.000 to 15.000 mites per cm².
Acari allergens are mostly coming from their excreta and when inhaled by sensitized patients, will make them suffer from allergy symptoms.