Dust mites and bed bugs: both are pests that can take up residence in your bed, but they have major differences. Today, we’re talking dust mites versus bed bugs!
Keep reading to learn about these pests, including what they look like, how to tell which is in your bed, and how to get rid of them.
What Do They Look Like?
House dust mites are essentially invisible to the naked eye. Adult dust mites are half a millimeter long, while young dust mites are even smaller. You’d need a microscope to see them! Under magnification, they look like spiders (they’re part of the arachnid family).
Since dust mites are so small, any bug that you find in your bed wouldn’t be a dust mite. It could be a bed bug (or something else).
Bed bugs are much larger than dust mites. Adult bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed, with a flat body and smaller head. They have six legs and antennae and are reddish-brown in color. Juvenile bed bugs are smaller than adults and can be translucent or yellow-white in color. Bed bug eggs are white and about the size of a pin-head.
How Can You Tell Whether You Have Dust Mites or Bed Bugs?
Homeowners sometimes confuse dust mites and bed bugs, not because they look alike, but because of the physical systems of an infestation. If you don’t know much about dust mites or bed bugs, you may confuse a dust mite rash with bed bug bites. Here’s how to tell whether you have dust mites or bed bugs.
Dust mites aren’t capable of biting humans or pets. They primarily feed on shed skin cells and dander from humans and animals. Dust mites can be found in any room in the home.
While dust mites are generally harmless to your health, some people have an allergy to them. For those with a dust mite allergy or sensitivity, an overabundance of dust mites can cause symptoms like:
- Itchy mouth, nose, throat, or eyes
- Runny nose and sneezing
- Worsening asthma symptoms, such as difficulty breathing and chest-tightening
Unlike seasonal allergies, a dust mite allergy will cause symptoms year-round. If you have allergy symptoms that last all through the year or that get worse when your home is humid, consider seeing a doctor to test for a dust mite allergy.
Bed bugs, unlike dust mites, do bite. They are parasites that feed on the blood of people and pets. Bed bug bites look like a typical red, swollen insect bite (similar to mosquitoes, spiders, etc.). Bed bug bites are often found in clusters, and they might be itchy and irritating. Like dust mites, bed bugs can also cause allergic reactions in some people, leading to symptoms like hives and difficulty breathing.
However, not everyone who is bitten by a bed bug will get a red, irritated welt or rash. Bed bug bites affect everyone differently: some people will see bite marks, and other people will have little to no reaction at all.
Fortunately, there are other signs of bed bugs. Because this bug is much larger than a dust mite, you might see the bugs themselves on your bed, couch, or other piece of furniture. You can also look for signs like:
- Blood stains on your sheets or other upholstered furniture
- Dark spots (from bed bug fecal matter) on your sheets
- Egg casings or shed skins on your mattress, couch, or other furniture
- A sweet, musty odor in your room
Bed bugs are adept at hiding, so it’s likely you’ll see one of the signs above before you see an adult bed bug crawling around. When looking for bed bugs, be sure to check the mattress, box springs, and bed frame, as well as any cracks in wood floors and under the edge of carpet.
While bed bugs often live in bedrooms, they can be found in any room in your house (especially if the infestation is large).
How Do You Get Rid of Them?
It’s unfortunately impossible to get rid of dust mites completely; however, you can greatly reduce their numbers.
We recommend taking the following measures:
- Vacuum and dust your home at least weekly
- Use allergen-blocking covers on your mattress, box spring, and pillows
- Wash your bedding weekly
- Use a dehumidifier to lower humidity levels in your home (since dust mites don’t survive well in low humidity)
- See an allergist if dust mites are causing concerning allergy or asthma symptoms
Unlike dust mites, you can—and should—get rid of bed bugs completely! Bed bugs are a disturbing pest that no homeowner wants.
Instead, bed bug infestations require a multi-pronged approach that includes:
- Washing and drying your bedding and clothing on the hottest setting
- Using a steam treatment on couches and chairs
- Vacuuming rugs and carpets
- Professional home treatment, like Heatigation
Need Help with Bed Bugs?
ScherZinger Pest Control has decades of experience helping homeowners just like you to get rid of a bed bug problem. If you suspect your home has bed bugs, we’re here to help!
Contact Scherzinger Pest Control, a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton, OH, and now Columbus, OH. We’ve been pioneers, engineering new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-877-748-9888 or through our website, Facebook, or Twitter.