The linen mite is in most cases the common name for dust mites, small synanthropic arthropods found in most apartments and houses around the world. They do not bite people like ticks or bedbugs, but feed only on exfoliating particles of human skin and domestic animals, that is, they do not directly harm people.
However, dust mites cause severe allergic reactions and chronic diseases of the respiratory tract, including bronchial asthma. Linen they are called by mistake due to the fact that very often they massively multiply in bed and under bed linen, where dandruff from the head and nuggets of skin from the body accumulates. For the same reason they are sometimes called bed mites, which is also not entirely correct.
Less commonly, linen mites call the following insects in everyday life:
- A linen louse that settles in the seams and folds of underwear and causes serious inconvenience to the constant bite, accompanied by severe itching;
- Bed bugs, which are sometimes referred to as linen, because they are often found on bed linen.
All these undesirable human neighbors are quite different from each other. For example, the photo below shows house dust mites in a carpet at high magnification:
And so look bedbugs (adults and larvae):
The photo below shows how laundry louses look on clothes:
In addition to obvious differences in the shape and color of the body, these creatures are significantly different in size: they all belong to different “weight categories” (dust mites are only 0.2-0.3 mm in size, and bugs are larger than about 10-15 time). In addition, all these arthropods lead different lifestyles, are to a different extent associated with humans, and therefore not only harm them in different ways, but are also differently removed from the premises.
Dust mites in pillows and bedding
Dust mites - these are microscopically small synanthropic arthropods of the arachnid class, the main habitat of which is human habitation.They received their name for the fact that they are found in the largest amounts in dust accumulations, where their main food is located - skin flakes exfoliated in people with feet, hands, head and other parts of the body.
The amount of dry skin that one person loses during the day is enough to feed several thousand ticks, and therefore, under suitable home conditions, these pests multiply in an apartment very quickly.
It is interesting
Dry, crumbling human skin is the main, but not the only food for dust mites. As an additive to the diet, they can eat molds, if not all species that can grow in the apartment. However, in the absence of people or pets, mites cannot live in a room, even if there is a large amount of mold.
Dust mites are very small (among the considered “linen mites” are the smallest representatives). An adult individual reaches a length of 0.2–0.3 mm, and having a translucent body, it is hardly noticeable even against a dark background. However, if you take a good look, ticks can be seen in large clusters even with the naked eye: they look like tiny whitish dots.
The photo below shows dust mites in the carpet:
It is rather difficult to see dust mites on white bedding - it is better to see dust accumulations under the bed.
Eggs of dust mites, nymphs of different ages, remnants of cuticles after shedding, and also excrement are even smaller, and it will not work out to examine them in detail with the naked eye, without a magnifying glass and microscope.
These pests can live indoors almost anywhere where new remnants of human skin accumulate and regularly appear. These can be the corners of rooms, the space under the tables, the gaps between the mattresses and the bed frame, the folds and joints of the soft details of the sofas, the pillows and the blankets, the fabric of which has sufficiently large pores so that the skin flakes and the mites themselves fall into them. It can also be a gap between the parquet boards, behind baseboards and under furniture, pile of carpets and carpet paths.
The less often the house is cleaned and the more dust accumulates here, the more likely the appearance and mass reproduction of dust mites here.
On a note
Studies by acarologists show that signs of the presence of dust mites are found in all apartments and houses without exception.These creatures are easily brought into the house on shoes, with things, with dust, sometimes - even with the wind from the windows. They multiply here, or not, will depend only on how favorable the conditions in the room are (humidity, amount of food, temperature, frequency of regular cleaning).
Dust mites do not bite a person and do not suck his blood. The main damage they cause is the release of a certain amount of specific digestive enzymes with their excrement. These enzymes are biochemically very active, it is they that ensure the normal digestion of generally difficult-to-digest food — the dry remnants of human skin. And due to the high chemical activity of these enzymes can cause highly pronounced allergic reactionsif it enters the human respiratory tract with dust.
Since the mite excreta themselves are very small and have a diameter of only a few hundredths of a millimeter (and, after drying, they also crumble into smaller parts), they very easily rise into the air, and then they are inhaled by humans (especially if these “linen mites” left them on the pillow or sheets).
See also article about dust mites in pillows.
To a lesser extent, allergies are caused by remnants of the integument of ticks, which decompose in different parts of the apartment after the death of these creatures.
Studies show that up to half of cases of chronic rhinitis worldwide are associated specifically with allergies to feces and residues of dust mites. If a person constantly and for no apparent reason lays his nose, a runny nose appears regularly at night, then dust mites are likely to be the cause. In many cases, such chronic rhinitis develops in people into bronchial asthma. According to the results of the same research, it is the dust mite excrement in homes that is the most common cause of asthma in the world.
It is clear that the most dangerous is the accumulation of ticks on bedclothes (especially in pillows). Here, it is easiest for a person to inhale or excrement residues, or the mites themselves, but here they are less noticeable, and if they settle under linen, on a mattress or in the folds of a sofa, they are fairly well protected from destruction — sofas and mattresses are rarely washed and cleaned, and such unwanted neighbors are flourishing here.
A natural question arises: how to find out if there are dust mites in the apartment? And how can you find them at home, for example, directly on the bed, if they are very small and blend in color with the mattress or sheet itself?
For this there are special test systems operating on the principle similar to the principle of pregnancy tests. Water is poured into a special container and the dust collected in one or another place of the room is poured. Then an indicator paper is dropped into the container, which, in the presence of tick antigens, assumes a certain color. By comparing this color with the color on the scale, one can find out whether there are dust mites in the sample of dust, that is, whether these pests live in the place from which the dust was collected.
Dust samples can also be viewed under a microscope, but such a search will be more laborious.
Linen lice - These are bloodsucking ectoparasites of a person. They settle in clothes, in underwear, in folds and on the seams of fabric, from where several times a day they crawl on a person's body, bite him and suck blood, and then return to clothes. It is these parasites that are most often mistaken for a “linen tick”, which leaves bites on the skin.
The photo below shows the bite marks of these insects:
And in this picture - the louse itself with a significant increase:
More strict and accepted in science the name of this insect - a louse wardrobe. It more specifically indicates that these insects settle in clothes, and not in bedding, since only on clothes do they have almost constant access to the human body — the food source.
In everyday life, there may be completely different versions of the names of these insects - from “clothing” to “rag”.
It is interesting
It is believed that a clothes louse is a species formed only at the expense of the neighborhood with a person. Scientists believe that her ancestor is head lousepermanently inhabiting the scalp. For many thousands of years, during which people used clothes, part of the lice adapted to life in clothes, developed anatomical features that allow precisely here to feel most secure (for example, a certain shape of legs), and so distant from the original form that the present moment in normal conditions do not interbreed. In the laboratory, the offspring obtained from the hybrids of both ward and head lice is quite fertile, which indicates their very close relationship.
Many researchers even believe that clothes louse is not a separate species, but only a head lice morphotype, which only with time in the future will be able to acquire such pronounced differences that it can be recognized as an independent taxonomic unit. If this hypothesis is true, then it is the people and their clothes that created the clothes louse as it is. People would not wear clothes - and such a view would not appear in principle.
Linen lice most often settle on the clothes of those people who do not follow the basic rules of hygiene. If the clothes are washed at least once a week and have 2-3 shifts so that the same set is at least a week in the closet, then the lice simply cannot live here. These insects die in the water, and even if they miraculously survive the wash, they will then die of starvation, since they cannot live without food for more than 3 days.
Therefore, to live, develop and multiply they can only on clothes that a person wears for months on him without changing and without washing.
On a note
Louse found on the bed - a rarity. As a rule, an insect that has fallen from clothes or from its head will almost certainly die, because of its inability to move quickly, it is unlikely to be able to climb onto a person again.
Obviously, in this case, such “clothes mites” are most often the problem of people leading an asocial lifestyle: homeless people, vagrants, refugees, as well as prisoners in third world countries.
People who follow clothing and follow hygiene rules are rarely bothered by these parasites. Even children who are not particularly inclined to order, but controlled by their parents, are usually not touched by laundry lice.
Linen lice bites not painful, but itchy, sometimes quite strong. Reddish spots remain on the bite sites, but skin punctures themselves, and even more so, blisters usually do not appear. Only people with high sensitivity of the skin, or allergies can develop more severe symptoms - swelling, a rash around the places of bites, and sometimes even fever.
In areas with a poor epidemiological situation, body lice can tolerate typhoid and some other life-threatening infectious diseases. A person who has become ill after biting without timely treatment may die. However, today both typhoid and other diseases carried by lice are relatively rare, especially in the civilized world.
Lice - well marked, albeit small insects. The length of the body of an adult individual is 3-4 mm, that is, it can be considered without additional devices. And if the louse is nourished, and there is a drop of blood in its abdomen, the parasite becomes even more noticeable.
The photo below shows an adult clothes louse (unlike ticks, it has 6 legs, not 8):
In addition to lice, on the clothes you can find their eggs - nitswhich are firmly glued by the females to the fibers of the fabric or to the pile. They look the same as nits on a person’s hair:
The most important feature of lice lice is that nowhere, except in clothes, they can not live. They do not settle in bed or in sofas, cannot live in dust or on their hair, which is what distinguishes them from other arthropods, which are sometimes referred to as linen mites.
Bed bugs sometimes called mites simply by mistake - they stick to the skin and suck blood like forest mites, and these parasites can often be found on bedclothes.
At the same time, bedbugs have little in common with true mites. For comparison:
- The bedbug bites many times during a single outing, the blood sucks not for long, and after a quick saturation hides in a shelter. Ixodic tick bites only once, and sucking, sucks blood for several days, and only then disengages;
- Bedbugs have 6 legs, and ticks have 8;
- Bedbugs live only in human habitation (with rare exceptions — for example, they sometimes live in caves inhabited by bats), and ixodid ticks live in the wild.
Habitat bed bugs in the apartment may be very different. Bedbugs hide in sofas, beds, under the upholstery of upholstered furniture, under the outgoing wallpaper, behind baseboards, under cabinets, found in electrical outlets, household appliances, flower pots. Here you can meet the so-called "nests", where a large number of insects collect, accumulate the eggs, chitinous integuments, excrement.
At the same time bed bugs rarely settle in underwear and clothing. Random parasite may be here, but if a person put on such clothes - the insect will try to retreat as quickly as possible, so as not to be at risk of being found and killed.
Thus, in any case, the term "clothes mite" is erroneous.How to understand what kind of parasite or pest was found at home and what can be done to reliably get rid of it - let's understand ...
We identify the parasite at home
So, if there are no insects in the house, but at least one person constantly has an unreasonable nasal congestion, especially if it is chronic and gets worse at night, then you can be suspected of having dust mites in the apartment. To make sure that they are there, it is enough to buy a test system and analyze the dust collected under the bed linen, near the baseboards and under the bed. If the result is positive, then it will be necessary to fight with dust mites.
When a blood-sucking insect is detected, it can be identified at home as follows:
- If the parasite is found on clothing or on the body, while it can not quickly escape, has light yellow skin and a length of 2-3 mm, then it is most likely a hanging louse. For reliability, it is worth examining clothes - if other similar parasites are caught here - these are exactly lice;
- If an insect is found on a bed or on a floor in a bedroom, it has a body length of 3-5 mm, runs fast enough, and when crushed it leaves blood stains - this is a bed bug.In this case, you need to inspect the sofa and bed, remove the casing, inspect all the cracks and folds of the fabric - if other brothers are found, black dots (excrement of bedbugs), white eggs, then these are exactly bed bugs.
In itself, the presence or absence of bites is not a clear diagnostic sign, since a certain number of people practically do not feel bedbugs bitesneither lice bites, and on their bodies there are no obvious signs of parasite attacks (because of this, by the way, even the erroneous opinion is widespread that bed bugs do not bite everyone in the apartment, but only certain people).
On a note
An important caveat: head lice can bite all day long while a person wears infected laundry, and bedbugs bite mostly at night when a person is sleeping.
Sometimes in the laundry you can find other parasites. For example, after a walk in the woods under an underwear, an Ixodes tick may be found, and on a bed after sleep you can see fleas moving from domestic animals. But hardly anyone would call them laundry mites.
Destruction of dust mites
To get rid of dust mites in the apartment, despite their microscopic size, it is relatively easy to even independently, without calling disinsectors and without special equipment.If the premises regularly carry out a thorough wet cleaning, carefully shake out carpets, walkways, mattresses and blankets, wash bed linen, then these relatively simple measures will succeed in destroying most of the pest population in just 2-3 weeks.
If you continue to maintain a strict cleaning schedule, then the mites will gradually almost disappear, since most of the food for them will be removed from the room, and the surviving pests will be regularly eliminated with each subsequent cleaning.
More radical methods of struggle:
- Cleaning of floors, carpets, beds, baseboards with the help of special vacuum cleaners from dust mites. An example of this type of device is the Philips FC6230 / 02 Mite Cleaner, which is convenient for cleaning beds, pillows, and upholstered furniture. It allows you to get rid of dust mites in a short time;
- Treatment of the premises with chemical acaricides is a laborious process, to some extent associated with the risk of poisoning the person himself. This method is very effective, although in most cases there is no need for it;
- Thermal extermination of dust mites - treatment of their habitats with hot steam from a steam generator, removal of sofas and mattresses in the winter in the cold, heating of pillows and bed linen in the sun.
For more interesting nuances, see also a separate article on this topic: How to get rid of dust mites in the apartment.
On a note
It is also believed that quartz treatment helps against dust mites. Ultraviolet itself is not particularly frightening for them (considering that they are hiding, including in places well protected from light), but ozone generated when air is irradiated with ultraviolet rays from a quartz lamp is dangerous for dust mites as well as for any other animals. Nevertheless, there is no unambiguous data on the possibility of the rapid destruction of dust mites by means of quartz treatment.
These methods allow you to more quickly and efficiently destroy house dust mites, but in general they can be considered redundant. If you once poison the pests and forget about regular cleaning again, after a few months dust mites will still appear and multiply in the house. If, however, the harvesting is carried out regularly, then the population of the tick population will decrease to non-hazardous values and without such radical measures.
Effective measures to combat lice
Given the specifics of the lifestyle of lice, you need to deal with them somewhat differently than with dust mites.First of all, you should wash all clothes, especially underwear, at a maximum temperature, and not only what is worn on a person, but also what is stored in cabinets. Before washing things can be treated with special aerosols, for example, means A-Par.
On a note
You can also freeze clothes on the street in the winter or ignite them in the car, left in the sun in the summer.
Secondly, you need to pickle the lice on the body and in the hair. With a certain probability, a person who allowed the reproduction of body lice can also be infected with head and pubic lice. To combat them apply a variety of pediculicides, widely represented in pharmacies:
- Lice Sprays (Pediculen-Ultra, Pair Plus, Paranit, Here);
- Shampoo (Parasidosis, Pedilin, Hygia);
- Creams (NixNittifor);
- Combs, allowing to comb out lice and nits without treating the hair with chemicals;
- Ointments that allow treatment for pubic lice (mainly based on benzyl benzoate).
Folk remedies - kerosene, turpentine, alcohol, vinegar - it is better not to apply, because if mistreated, they can be dangerous and cause severe chemical burns of the skin.
For maximum reliability, you should also wash all bed linens - sheets, pillowcases from pillows, duvet covers.
For more tips on getting rid of lice, see this article.
If all these procedures are carried out carefully, then there will be no lice and nits on the laundry and on the body.
Fight against bedbugs
With bed bugs fight the hardest. This is primarily due to the fact that they can hide in a room in almost any place, even in such, of the presence of parasites in which people do not even suspect.
Secondly, it is difficult to get rid of bedbugs thermal and by mechanical methods - freezing the entire apartment is difficult without the risk of damage to communications, and it is possible to warm the room to high temperatures only with the use of specialized equipment (this procedure is long and involves the risk of deformation of the plastic interior elements from high temperatures). Mechanically transfer or vacuuming all the parasites in case of severe contamination of the room also does not work.
You can quickly and effectively destroy bedbugs with insecticides.With such means, all the places in which bugs can hide and where they can move are processed. Sometimes you have to disassemble the sofas, tear down the baseboards and raise the flooring. If this is not done, then some of the parasites will survive, and persecution, if it gives any result, will be only temporary.
More information about the destruction of bedbugs in the apartment, see a separate article on this topic: Get rid of bed bugs in the apartment quickly and efficiently.
Also do not forget about preventive measures, because if the bugs have all the neighbors, then over time the parasites can again enter the apartment.
Visual video: dust mites crawling in the pillow ...
Linen (underwear) lice under the microscope