The Difference Between Bed Bugs and Dust Mites

Bed bugs and dust mites are just a few of the most common unwanted guests in our home. They might be the cause of the little red bites that you can see all over your body. That’s not only itchy but it doesn’t look good too. So, what is the differences between these two?

Dust Mites vs. Bed Bugs

image of bed bug and dust mite

Dust mites are so small they are often microscopic. They are insect-like pests that commonly lives in the house. They usually feed on the shredded skin of people and pets. Dust mites loves a warm and moist environment and often thrive at temperatures between 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity of at least 70 to 80%. The temperature at home is just right making it the ideal place for them to stay. They often find their way into the inner layers of your favorite furniture, carpets, bedding and even stuffed toys.

Meanwhile, bed bugs are small, oval, brownish insects that are visible to the naked eye. These insects live on the blood of animal and humans. Adult bed bugs often have a flat body but after feeding it swells and becomes reddish in color. Bed bugs do not fly but are fast crawlers and can move fast between walls, ceilings and floors. Bed bugs hides on luggage, clothing, mattresses and sofas. They often stay on the headboard or on the bed itself so that they have easy access to people when they feed.

Symptoms of Dust Mites

Like bed bugs, Dust mites is also considered as an allergen because it triggers an allergic reaction. Dust mites may die on the extremes of temperature, but their waste and bodies stay behind. Once a person inhales them or touches their skin, this can trigger an allergic reaction. Dust mite allergy may also trigger your asthma. Common dust mite allergy symptoms are the following:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy, red or watery eyes
  • Stuffy nose
  • Itchy nose, mouth or throat
  • Itchy skin
  • Postnasal drip (A flow of mucus at the back of your nose that goes through the throat)
  • Cough

Symptoms of Bed Bugs

scratching bed bugs bites on legs

The bed bugs can bite anywhere on an exposed skin. They often bite the neck, face, hands, shoulders, arms and legs as they are not covered by clothing. People do not feel the bite itself until they develop symptoms such as:

  • A burning or painful sensation
  • Raised itchy bump with a clear center
  • Red itchy bump with a dark center and swollen sides
  • Small spots of blood from bites often dried or stained onto sheets or bed clothing

The symptoms of bed bugs depend on the individual characteristics of the bug’s bite and the person who was bitten by it. It may also cause serious reactions and might require medical attention.

Treatments

putting anti-itch cream on hand

You cannot control how your body reacts to the allergen like the bed bugs or dust mites. It is still important to be ready when the need of medication arises. There are certain over-the-counter medications that may help reduce the reaction cause by the bites of the dust mites and bed bugs.

Antihistamines – these are readily available at the drug store and has a variety from pills to liquids and nose sprays. Antihistamines helps relieve the sneezing and itching of the nose and the eyes. It also reduces the mucus production therefore, lesser nasal stuffiness.

Anti-itch Cream – these are topical medications that helps lessen the redness and inflammation caused by the dust mites or bed bugs’ bites.

Decongestants – these are effective in relieving the nasal stuffiness. It helps shrink the lining of the nasal passages therefore making it easier for you to breathe through your nose. Some decongestants can make you feel sleep and might increase your blood pressure as its side effects.

If none of the medications above can relieve the symptoms you are experiencing, you might need to consult with the doctor to be given the appropriate medications and treatment.

Prevention

vacuuming under the bed

1. Cover your mattress with tight-fit fitted sheet and pillows qin zippered dust-proof covers. The materials of these are capable of preventing the dust mites and bed bugs to pass through. Meaning, it is allergen impermeable. Bed bugs are able to live for a year without feeding so make sure that you cover your mattress for at least a year to make sure all the bed bugs are dead.

2. Wash your bed sheets and linens regularly in hot temperature. Extremes of temperature can eradicate the dust mites and bed bugs that are lingering on them.

3. Use certified filter vacuum cleaners. Not all vacuum cleaners are effective against dust mites and bed bugs. Buying the right type of vacuum filter can help keep the mites and bug’s waste from getting to the air. Make sure to immediately place the vacuum cleaner bag in a plastic bag and dispose it.

4. Get rid of the clutter that surrounds your bed. Vacuuming and washing of sheets is not enough. Clean your surroundings first as to not invite more insects that can possibly pester you and live in your home. Also, a large amount of dust mites and bed bugs may be staying on the chairs, cabinets, pillows and carpeting so make sure you remove or clean anything that they can stay on.

How To Get Rid Of Dust Mites

Did you ever wake up in the middle of the night because of the bite marks all over your body? Did you try changing your bed linen but still to no avail? We listed down the most effective ways on getting rid of dust mites that will probably change your sleep forever!

What are Dust Mites?

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, one of the most common triggers of allergies and asthma attacks at home is the dust mites. Dust mites are tiny bugs that commonly lives on house dust. They are close relatives of ticks and spiders and cannot easily be seen by the naked eye. Dust mites fed on the shredded skin by the people and thrive on warm environment. This makes the bed or your mattress the ideal place for the dust mites to hide.

Dust mite allergy is a common problem of people with sensitive body. Symptoms of dust mite allergy include sneezing, runny nose, wheezing cough, red eyes, and even difficulty of breathing. These are common signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction.  Most often than not, the allergic reaction caused by dust mites can be reversed by your anti-allergy medications but if it persists, you may need to visit the doctor immediately.  

Ways to get rid of Dust Mites

Lower the Temperature and Humidity

Dust mites thrive on a warm and moist environment. Dust mites like it when the humidity of the room/house is greater than 50%. If it’s less than 50 percent, they may have a hard time living in the comfort of your home. The ideal room temperature is between 65 to 72 degrees Farenheit. Make sure to keep the humidity of your home low. You might want to consider buying a dehumidifier if necessary, to further decrease the humidity of your home.  

On days when the weather is dry, you may open your windows to allow good ventilation of your room. Aside from keeping your room smell fresh, opening your window also helps in reducing the humidity of your room.

Cleaning is your Best friend

As much as you love or hate cleaning, this might be your best friend when it comes to stopping the dust mites from thriving at your home. Cleaning your house thoroughly and dusting the areas that are often exposed at least 1-2x weekly will help in eradicating your enemies. You might also consider using a damp cloth to avoid spreading the dust mites in the air when you are dusting. Make sure to wash the cloth at high temperature or dispose it after use.

Hot Temperature is Recommended

As dust mites cannot survive in temperature more than 130 degrees Fahrenheit, you may want to wash your beddings at high temperature. This will ensure that the dust mites that might be present on your cushions, linens or rugs will be eliminated and washed away by the heat of the water. Also, adding a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil to the wash will help remove at least 99% of the dust mites that are present in the beddings.

Freeze Them!

Some fabrics cannot be washed on high temperature like silk or stuffed toys. But this should not hinder you from eliminating the dust mites that are thriving in them. If these items can fit in your freezing, you might want to try this hack. Place the items on a container or a zip lock and freeze them for a day. Dust mites doesn’t love an extremely high temperature. The freezing temperature is enough to kill each one of them. After freezing it, use a vacuum and thoroughly clean each item to remove what’s left on them. If possible, you can still wash them in low temperature.

Diatomaceous Earth can do Wonders

Diatomaceous Earth is a naturally occurring, soft, siliceous sedimentary rock that can easily be crumbled to a fine white sand. It is often used as a pesticide as it absorbs the oils and fats from the cuticle of an insect’s exoskeleton causing them to die. It also has sharp edges which are abrasive and is not harmful for humans but deadly for insects – such as the dust mites!

You may sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth powder on carpet rugs, mattresses, beddings and sofa to better eliminate these unwanted visitors. Leave it for a few hours or better, overnight before cleaning it up using a vacuum. You can use it as often as you want.

Keep your Houseplants to a Minimum

Having houseplants does not only make your house feel and smell fresh but also keeps the air clean. Not all houseplants are recommended because some can trigger allergic reactions. You might want to consider on investing on air-purifying plants such as Peace Lilies, Golden Pothos, Philodendron, and Dracaena. Fun Fact: It can also help you have a better sleep at night!

Essential Oils

Essential oils are compounds extracted from plants that captures the plants scent and flavor. It is more commonly used as an aromatherapy treatment either via inhaling them or applying it on your skin.  These essential oils have anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties which can be used in eliminating dust mites. Make your own mite spray by using tea tree oil or eucalyptus oil and mix it with water. Spray them on areas where dust mites hide. The smell is not only refreshing but is also relaxing for the body.

Vacuum!!

Vacuuming is more important than you think it is. It is a great way of reducing the dust mites and also makes it easier for you to clean the house. Here are some tricks that can make cleaning with a vacuum easier:

  • Choose a vacuum cleaner that has HEPA filter to decrease the dust emission from it.
  • Vacuum at least 2x a week and thoroughly clean areas where dust often accumulates such as under the bed or near the door.
  • Wear a mask when cleaning to avoid inhaling the dust that was dispersed. If you are allergic to dust, hire someone who does not have allergies.
  • Wet vacuuming or steaming is effective in removing mites and their dropping on rugs and carpets.

Benefits of Waterproof Mattress Protector

coffee spilling on waterproof matress protector

Ever experienced having tick bites all-over your body after a good night sleep? Or did your child pee while sleeping and you woke up in a smelly and wet bed? Worry not because we just found the perfect solution for saving your well-loved mattress.

What is a Mattress Protector?

Mattress protectors are used as a barrier around your mattresses to protect you from almost everything. The warm mattress is a good thriving environment for allergens like dust mites which can trigger asthma or eczema attacks. The mattress protector prevents you and your bed from waking up on a pool of pee and from having itchy tick bites all-over your body. Aside from that, waterproof mattresses also prolong the mattress’ life. It is a good investment because it ensures that you will have a comfortable sleep after a tiring day at work.

 Types of Mattress Protectors

mattress protector

Fitted mattress protectors – This type of protectors is easy to use. It is like a bottom sheet, so you just need to tuck them around the mattress. It is easy and quick to remove especially when it needs cleaning or changing.

Waterproof mattress protectors – this type of protectors is recommended as a protective cover for your child’s bed. It’s waterproof quality offers protection against any kind of spills and stains. Also, it reduces the ability of the molds to grow on your mattress prolonging its life.

Polyurethane mattress protectors – This mattress protector is soft and fine. Some of it has a waterproof option, depending on which style or brand you’ll buy. It is made with comfort in mind because of its breathable reverse which does not cause sleep interruption that is caused by other waterproof protectors.

Polypropylene mattress protectors – This mattress protector may be the lightest of all the others. It also provides the same use as the others and but its advantage is its low moisture absorption which makes it easier to clean and remove stains.

Choosing a Waterproof Barrier

Getting a waterproof protector may be life changing especially for first-time parents. It will lessen your laundry and also saves your mattress from drowning from your child’s pee. In purchasing a waterproof mattress protector, these are things you should consider:

  • Mattress pads with a vinyl barrier

This type of waterproof mattress cover is often not breathable but is much cheaper. Cleaning it may take more time than usual because of its design and also it is quite hot to sleep on because it has high moisture absorption. It also makes a squeaky sound or feeling when you move on the bed.

  • Mattress pads with a urethane barrier

This type of waterproof mattress barrier may cost more but it is the most comfortable as it allows heat transfer which means that it stays cool on summers and warm on winter. It doesn’t also make a sound when you move on the bed unlike the vinyl type. Cleaning it is easy as it is washed fast and dries quickly. Lastly, its quality ensures you that it will last for a long time.

Why buy a Waterproof Mattress Protector?

bed bugs bites
Bedbug bites

Protection against Soiling

Waterproof mattress protectors does not only provide a water-proof environment for your bed but also acts a barrier against dirt. Its designed to prevent invasion of the bed from bed bugs, bacteria and dirt that may cause you harm.

Allergy Control

Waterproof mattress protector is beneficial for people who have sensitive skin and is asthmatic because it limits their exposure from possible allergens. People who often wake-up with red tick bites all over their body will definitely benefit from this as bed bugs and dust mites flourish on areas where people live and thrive on shredded skin. For best protection, buying a waterproof mattress cover that provides total encasement of the mattress is recommended.

Cushioning

Waterproof mattress protectors are designed to provide extra cushioning and support to the sleepers. There are different materials that is used for waterproof mattresses like cotton, cotton cover with silk, feather and synthetic fibre filling. Quilting these mattress covers helps hold the filling in place and prevent occurrence of uneven padding. Remember that waterproof mattresses that provides extra cushion should not be washed on the laundry but should be dry cleaned only.

Prolongs the Mattress’ Life

Waterproof mattress cover provides extra protection for your mattress and prevents it from wear and tear. Hence, extending its life. Also, it prevents the fluids from going into your mattress which may cause damage on the coil springs and the like inside your mattress.

What Scents Keeps Bed Bugs Away?

Did you ever experienced waking up in the middle of the night because of itching? In the morning, you’ll see little red bumps all over your body because of the bites that you got the night before. This might be because of the bed bugs that has been living on your bed for quite a long time. Here are some proven ways on how to keep bed bugs away from you and your bed:

What are Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are small brownish insects that are oval in color which lives because of the blood of animal and humans like us. Unlike other bugs, they do not fly and goes around quickly because of their multiple legs. Bed bugs are a great traveler, they can go with you literally everywhere. They tend to latch on suitcases, clothes and linens causing them to spread more easily.

Where do Bed Bugs hide?

When bugs are not feeding, they usually hide in a variety of places where it is usually dark and tiny spaces.  Bed bugs are warm-blooded hosts that are attracted to a warm, moist environment (usually the skin of a mammal). Their usual hiding places are the following:

  • On the tags of the mattresses and box spring
  • Near the piping
  • On the cracks of the bed frame or headboard
  • On the seams of the chairs and couches
  • In between the folds of curtains
  • In drawer joint
  • On appliances and electrical plugs
  • Behind loose wall papers and hanging decors
  • Above your ceiling
  • Storage areas
  • On upholstered furniture and fixtures

When do Bed Bugs Bite

Bed bugs are active at night and bites people when they are sleeping. They feed for about 3 to 10 minutes from by piercing through a person’s skin and drinking the blood of a person using its elongated beak. Once they become full and engorged, they crawl away unnoticed. They often bite exposed areas of the body such as the ankles, arms and legs.

Scents that Bed Bugs Really Hate

There are many known ways of dealing with the problem of bed bugs. You may opt to hire a pest control or look for a natural alternative that can help you remove these unwanted visitors on your bedroom. Here are some natural alternatives that you can use to eliminate these bugs completely without the threat of health that chemical products have:

Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree Oil is a popular oil extract nowadays at it is the most effective essential oil there is. It is readily available and can even be purchased online. Aside from being an effective face regimen, it is also known as a bug repellant. It is a natural oil that has strong antibacterial properties and more than that it has a smell that bed bugs hate.

Just combine the Tea Tree Oil extract with some water then put on a bottle spray. Spray the solution all over your mattress, chair or cushion to send away the bed bugs. Do this on a daily basis.

Lavender Oil

Lavender Oil is the most efficient bed bug repellant available on the market. People love the aroma of lavender while bed bugs hate it. You can just freely spray the oil at home or in areas infested by bugs to help eliminate them. The smell and taste of it will surely be hated by bugs enough for them to go away. Aside from that, the scent of Lavender also improves a person sleep so you can be sure to have a bite-free night ahead of you.

Diatomaceous Earth

Unlike the first two, Diatomaceous earth is a form of powdered and fossilized algae. It is often use by pest control as it does not only cover bed bugs but also cockroaches and ants. The powder causes these pests to die due to dehydration and also destroys their waxy exoskeletons, harming their body. Its poignant smell is disliked by the bugs. Just sprinkle the powder all over the place infested by the pests and you will surely eliminate these unwanted bugs.

Powdered Pepper

This one is sure to sit on your kitchen cabinet. It is often used in cooking to add a little bit of texture to the food. But aside from cooking, powdered pepper can also be used in the household to control bugs. Just sprinkle the pepper on sites where the bugs hide and the aroma of this will surely drive them away.

Lemon Juice

Lemon is not only a fruit that is filled with a lot of health benefits, but it can also be used at home. Lemon juice has an astringent property that is harmful to bed bugs. A freshly squeezed lemon juice is preferred when eliminating bugs. If you think the lemon is too concentrated, you may add a little bit of water. 

References:

www.epa.gov/bedbugs/how-find-bed-bugs

www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/guide/bedbugs-infestation#1