Wonder how I was led to look for redeeming qualities of the dust mite? It was quite by accident! My daughter was watching Charlotte's Web when Charlotte, the spider, announced how much better off the world is because of all the insects spiders eat. Otherwise, said Charlotte, the world would be overtaken by insects.
Even though spiders are not my favorite insect, it was reassuring to know that these little creatures - regardless of how irritating, and yes, sometimes frightening they are - help with the "big picture" by doing something good for the world.
This started me wondering if the dust mite was really getting a bum rap, and does, in fact, also do some good in the greater scheme of things! Here's the scoop.
The household dust mite, nicknamed by allergists as HDH, is able to be seen only with magnification, and is considered to be one of the most common allergy and asthma triggers know to the world. The mite flourishes indoors in places like your bedroom, bathroom or under the kitchen sink, and are killed when exposed to direct sunlight, temperatures over 140 degrees or below 32 degrees.
The male lives anywhere from 20-30 days, while a pregnant female can live up to 10 weeks, and produce as many as 60 to 100 eggs. They are so prolific that they can cause a significant health threat.
And if this isn't discouraging enough, having a clean house will not eliminate the problem. Bleach and even industrial-strength soaps have little effect, and they take up residence in mattresses, carpet, and pillows where they climb down low enough to avoid sunlight, or the vacuum, but climb up again to feed off dead skin cells, dander, or dust.
So, unfortunately, the answer to the question is No--the dust mite does not have any redeeming qualities! Here's how to deal with it.
If you are diagnosed with a dust mite allergy, the only solution is to minimize the number of mites making themselves comfortable in your home. Since dust mites can easily become airborne from normal activities in your home, one sensible approach is buying a HEPA air purifier to control dust mites.
While an air purifier may not be able to kill the mites or rid your house of them entirely--and nothing can--an air purifier significantly reduces the amount of food available to the mites, decreasing their numbers in your home. How?
A purifier works by taking the room air in and passing it through a series of filters, trapping not only the pesky dust mite, but dust particles, pet dander, and other allergens that would trigger your allergy and/or asthma and that also serve as potential food for the mites.
The purifier would be a constant solution and not one that would need to be reapplied or remembered. After all, shouldn't you be the one to choose who's sharing your pillow and your mattress?