Difference Between Dust Mites and Bed Bugs
Dust Mites vs Bed Bugs
Do you see red, itchy spots on your skin when you wake up every morning? It is possible you’ve been bitten by mosquitoes. But if these spots or welts appear almost every morning, it’s highly likely you’ve become food for bed bugs. Bed bugs can be found in any home in any condition. And since their bites are similar to mosquito bites people get confused.
Many people also confuse bed bugs with dust mites. You find people enquiring whether they have been bitten by bed bugs or dust mites. But dust mites don’t bite; they rather cause other issues that are equally unpleasant.
Both bed bugs and dust mites belong to the phylum arthropoda and both are commonly found in human dwellings. This is where the similarity ends. They are categorized in different classes under phylum arthropoda. The former belong to the class insecta while the latter belong to the class arachnida. To put this in simple terms, you can consider bed bugs as tiny insects and dust mites as microscopic spiders.
Feeding habits of bed bugs and dust mites
Bed bugs feed on the blood of warm blooded animals. Cimex lectularius, or the common bed bug, feeds on human blood. Bed bugs pierce the skin with their two hollow tubes, known as rostrum. Through one of the rostra an anesthetic is injected to kill pain and an anticoagulant is injected to make the blood flow freely. The other rostrum is used to suck in the blood.
Dust mites, on the other hand, feed on flakes of skin that humans shed. If you are surprised by this statement then you should know that a major portion of the dust in homes is comprised of dead human body skin cells. Considering the microscopic size of dust mites they get to feast royally every day.
Bed bugs can be predominantly found in crevices of beds, curtains, nightstands and mattresses and so on. They get their name because of their affinity to stay in the crevices of beds.
While dust mites can survive in all climate types they prefer indoor environments that are moist and damp. Dust mites also prefer pillows, sofas, carpets and mattresses – basically all the places where there is an abundance of food.
Bed bug bites are easy to identify – when you wake up in the morning you can see red spots or welts that are caused by the anesthetic released by these bugs. These spots are similar to mosquito bites in appearance, but tend to last longer. One of the major problems with bed bug bites is that many humans don’t show any symptoms so they are blissfully unaware. But the bites can cause skin infections and scars when scratched.
Dust mite symptoms are also hard to identify at times because they are often confused with asthma or cold. The most common symptoms are runny noses, sneezing and red and watery eyes. Among the most common causes of asthma are the allergens produced by dust mites.
Since these bugs are heat sensitive, cleaning bed linen and curtains in hot water and steaming them can kill them. After cleaning, ensure that you spray an insecticide and caulk all crevices in your bed. If worst comes to worst you may need to change the mattress, the pillows and the bed linen and get your bed thoroughly treated to remove bed bugs.
The best preventive measure for keeping dust mites away is to use an air conditioner or dehumidifier to keep the relative humidity below 50%. Synthetic bedding materials are better than feather or wool materials to keep these mites away. Bare floors and walls instead of carpets help remove dust mites. Damp clothes should be used to get rid of the dust. A lot of vacuuming and weekly washing of bed linen in hot water also remove these mites.
Bed bugs are tiny bugs while dust mites are microscopic arachnids.
Bed bugs feed on warm blood while dust mites feed on flakes of skin that humans shed.
Bed bugs are most commonly found in the crevices of beds and curtains while dust mites are found in damp areas of mattresses, pillows, sofas and carpets.
Bed bugs cause skin irritations while dust mites cause allergies including asthma.
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