Bed Mites

Often people use the term “bed mites” when they are actually referring to either dust mites or bed bugs.  These are two distinctly different creatures with totally different characteristics, so it is important to know the features of each in order to effectively control them.


Dust mites are microscopic creatures that exist in every home.  While they may sounds disgusting and distasteful, these creatures are essential to life.   Their function is to clear away the dead skin cells which our human bodies slough off at a rate of up to an estimated 40,000 each minute of every day.  If you have pets in the home, such as a dog or a cat, you can add expelled fur dander as well.  Innumerable dust mites live in just one mattress, feeding off from these dead cells, which is the reason that many people can be heard referring to them as bed mites.  As opposed to many mites, however, these arthropods do not bite humans or animals.  In fact, the majority of humans are not affected by their existence whatsoever.  Some, however, may acquire an allergy to a protein that is contained within the droppings of the dust mite.

While it is impossible to completely eradicate the presence of the so-called “bed mites”, their effects can be controlled.  Since the droppings and the dust mite skin that has been shed combines with other dust in the air and is the major cause of the allergens to people, cutting down on dust as much as possible is crucial.  Using plastic dust covers on pillowcases and mattresses, thorough vacuuming, regular washing of sheets and pillowcases in hot water, keeping bedrooms cool and dry and the use of an air purifier are the best defenses against the presence of these mites.


Bed bugs have also been called “bed mites”, but are not arthropods at all.  In contrast to the dust mite, bed bugs do bite and feed upon human blood.  Although tiny, they are visible to the human eye with adults measuring around 1/8 of an inch.  They will usually begin searching for food about an hour before sunrise, although this is not inclusive.

Piercing the skin with two tubes on their mouthpiece, these insects inject their saliva which contains an anti-coagulant to allow blood to flow freely.  They will feed for around 5 minutes until full, and will then retreat to a hiding place it has developed; often on ceilings or high on walls.  The bed bugs, or bed mites, may not feed for another 10 to 15 days, and can actually survive for up to a year or more without feeding.  Bites will begin to itch within a few hours, and are accompanied by red bumps.

While no type of arthropod is called bed mites, often people confuse the term with either dust mites or bed bugs.  To control either of these, it is important to know the correct term to identify the creature so that control of the problem can begin.