Feeling itchy? Scratchy? Uh oh… unfortunately, you might have a pest problem. As unpleasant as it may be, identifying the issue will be the first step toward solving it. Common infestations are pests like dust mites and bed bugs, both of which cause discomfort and irritation. But if you don’t know the difference between the two, it will be hard to know which method will be the most effective. Before you contact an exterminator, consider the problems you are experiencing. These will provide key clues that will point to whether or not bed bugs or dust mites are responsible. While both are frustrating little bugs, they are both very different.
It seems like the news always has a story about bed bugs in every neighborhood. Bed bugs are creepy, crawly and easily recognizable— they are a brown-red color, and are visible to the human eye because they are about the size of a sunflower seed. These unseemly bedmates hide in crevices and corners of beds, bedframes, mattresses, baseboards, curtains, dressers and other furniture. They feed on blood from mammals, and will leave behind irritating, inflamed bites that can itch for days, although they do not cause allergic reactions themselves. Nobody likes them, but you can prevent them from creeping into your bed by making sure you use a mattress encasement that is designed to keep them from burrowing into tight spaces to hide.
Dust mites are quite different, although they can be just as annoying. Dust mites are practically invisible. They are a microscopic breed of spider that feeds on dead skin cells. These nasty little things hide in damp, dark places where they can easily find a food source, such as mattresses and pillows. While not as visibly unsightly as bed bugs, dust mites make a huge impact by causing allergic reactions, asthma attacks, and sinus inflammation (also called rhinitis). Because they come in close contact with the skin, they can also further exacerbate skin problems like eczema or psoriasis, leaving you feeling itchy and icky. Fortunately, even though they are invisible, dust mites can be blocked from your bedroom by using hypoallergenic coverings for your mattress and pillows, which prevent allergens from creeping through the tightly woven fabric. If you suspect you have dust mites, or just have allergies in general, it is also a good idea to regularly vacuum, and to always wash your pillows and blankets in hot water.
Dealing with a Infestation
If you have dust mites or bed bugs, don’t be embarrassed. It is a common problem, and while these pests sure are a nuisance, there are ways to get rid of them. If you think you have a dust mite or bed bug infestation that just won’t seem to go away no matter how much you clean, get in touch with an exterminator so you don’t have to share your bed with some unwelcome visitors.