House Dust Mites

Mites can sensitize and induce atopic disease in predisposed people and are an important deteriorating factor in patients with allergic rhinitis, asthma, and atopic dermatitis. The house dust mites are common aeroallergens, colonizing beds, sofas, carpets, and any woven material. Some species of mites with strong vitality not only live freely, feeding on a wide variety of food, but also exist in animals or human intestines, urinary tract, lungs, and ears.

Pyroglyphid house dust mites of the genus Dermatophagoides are important sources of allergens in the indoor environment of human dwellings, causing allergic diseases such as asthma, rhinitis and atopic dermatitis, in millions of people worldwide. The most important pyroglyphid mites include Dermatophagoides farinae and D. pteronyssinus, because of their cosmopolitan occurrence and abundance in homes. They are a major source of multiple potent allergens, and are sometimes associated with sudden infant death syndrome. Changes in the living environment such as an increase in the number of apartment households with central heating, space heating, tighter windows, and fitted carpets have provided better conditions for mite growth.1

Cheyletus eruditus is a predatory mite that commonly lives in bulk food stores such as granaries. It is also often found in animal feed, bedding, house dust, poultry litter, and mammal and bird nests. Stored food mites have been also associated with human dermatitis and other diseases.


The acaroid mite infestation is a well-known problem for stored grain, foodstuffs, and herbs. Acaroid mite can survive in many environments including the storehouse, human and animal bodies. Its infestion in human can cause acariasis in several organs including the lung, intestine and urinary tract, and ear canals. Incidence of various forms of intestinal and urinary acariasis caused by the ingestion of mite-infested food is unusually high in China. Signs include abdominal pain, diarrhea, burning sensation around anus, abdominal cramps, blood in the urine, pain on urination, and cloudy urine. The mite species observed in stool samples included Acaridae, Glycyphagidae, Carpoglyphidae, Pyroglyphidae and Tarsonemus and are transmitted through living environment and stored foods. The respiratory infection through the polluted air may also be an alternative pathway. Some mites in dust or in air might invade intestine through mouth, or nasal cavity.4,5

Sneezing cat

Pulmonary acariasis is infestation of human lungs by free-living mites. Free-living mites can invade animal lungs and live in the respiratory tract. It has been suggested that asthma in house dust mite-sensitive patients may be caused by recurrent inhalation of live dust mites that are able to live for some time in the bronchioles of the lung. Patients with mild cases exhibit cold-like or bronchitis-like symptoms. Patients with severe cases often appear to have tuberculosis, pleurisy, or asthma, exhibiting symptoms such as cough, increased sputum volume, chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, fever, irritability, blood in sputum, and coughing blood. A few patients have a severe cough in the morning and evening, accompanied by back pain, headache, dizziness, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Thus, pulmonary acariasis is often misdiagnosed as bronchitis, hilar lymphadenopathy, lung fluke disease, tuberculosis, or pleurisy. Treatment for pulmonary acariasis includes organoarsenic drugs like carbarsone and acetarsol, as well as drugs like hetrazan, thiodiphenylamine, emetine, and some antibiotics.6

Mite Control

Control of house dust mite is usually done by three different approaches: the first is a physical method such as exceptional cleaning standards. Implement mite avoidance measures, such as washing bedding in hot water, encasing mattresses and pillows in allergen impermeable covers and woven material covers. Removing carpets and vacuum cleaning can also reduce exposure to mite allergen. Recent study concluded that air-conditioner filters can enrich dust mites major group allergen. The air-conditioner filters shall be cleaned or replaced regularly to prevent or reduce accumulation of the dust mites and its allergens.

Air sterilizers or ionizers may offer a simple, efficient and inexpensive way to reduce allergen levels in the domestic environment. The product of corona discharge, the process by which ionizers produce ions, was reported to destroy the major house dust mite allergen. Negative corona produced a greater percentage reduction in allergen concentration when a higher voltage was applied. Many types of ionizers are now available that have improved efficiency to reduce airborne allergens and clean the air. Negative ions produced by an ionizer kill dust mites and can be used to reduce natural mite populations on exposed surfaces such as floors, clothes, curtains.3

The second method is maintaining room humidity below 50% relative humidity. The third method is reducing allergens by effective acaricides. Although good control was obtained by the currently used synthetic acaricides (benzylbenzoate and tannic acid), the risk to human health would be a potential problem. The use of plant-derived acaricides has drawn attention and has been considered as a promising alternative to chemical acaricides which include clove, matrecary, chenopodium, and fennel.2


  1. Group 1 Allergen Genes in Two Species of House Dust Mites, Dermatophagoides farinae and D. pteronyssinus (Acari: Pyroglyphidae): Direct Sequencing, Characterization and Polymorphism Rubaba Hamid Shafique, Pavel B. Klimov, Muhammad Inam, Farhana Riaz Chaudhary, Barry M. OConnor PLoS One. 2014; 9(12): e114636.
  2. Acaricidal activities of some essential oils and their monoterpenoidal constituents against house dust mite, Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (Acari: Pyroglyphidae) El-Zemity Saad,†,1 Rezk Hussien,2 Farok Saher,2 and Zaitoon Ahmed2 J Zhejiang Univ Sci B. 2006 Dec; 7(12): 957–962.
  3. Effect of a commercial air ionizer on dust mites Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus and Dermatophagoides farinae (Acari: Pyroglyphidae) in the laboratory Suhaili Zainal Abidin* and Ho Tze Ming Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. 2012 Feb; 2(2): 156–158.
  4. Role of Predatory Mites in Persistent Nonoccupational Allergic Rhinitis Paloma Poza Guedes, 1 Inmaculada Sánchez Machín, 1 Víctor Matheu, 2 Víctor Iraola, 3 and Ruperto González Pérez 1 Can Respir J. 2016; 2016: 5782317.
  5. Acaroid mite, intestinal and urinary acariasis Chao-Pin Li, Yu-Bao Cui, Jian Wang, Qing-Gui Yang, and Ye Tian World J Gastroenterol. 2003 Apr 15; 9(4): 874–877.
  6. When mites attack: domestic mites are not just allergens Yubao Cuicorresponding author. Parasit Vectorsv.7; 2014




Home Contact RSS