Difference Between Dust Mites and Bed Bugs — What Bit You?

Bed bugs vs Dust mites — What Bit You?

Bed Bugs

Size: Up to 5mm. Can be seen with а naked eye.
Diet: Feeds on your blood. Bites you at night while you sleep.
Habitat: Lives near your bed. It may be in your mattress or spring box.
Health hazard: Does not transmit diseases but allergic people can have a reaction towards their bites.
Visible to the human eye: Bed bugs can be seen with a naked eye. They are just very small.

Dust Mites

Size: Up to 0.5mm. Microscopic creatures that you’ll never be able to see with a naked eye.
Diet: They feed on house dust and your dead skin cells. And your pet’s dead skin cells.
Habitat: They can live in your mattress, upholstered furniture, carpet.
Health hazard: Not a direct thread. They don’t bite people. Problems may occur when you breath in their dried faecal matter and a protein from their body parts and they get in your lungs and irritate them, which may cause asthmatic symptoms.
Visible to the naked eye: No, you cannot see dust mites with a naked eye.

Are Bed Bugs or Dust Mites Parasites?

First of all, what is a parasite? The definition states that this is an organism that lives and benefits from another organism at its expense. Parasites can use the other organism for shelter, for food, and for reproduction. Either way, the parasite needs a host to survive.

Bed bugs fit the definition of parasites. They do not stay attached to the host, but live near it and feed on the host’s blood at regular intervals.

Dust mites, however, do not fit the definition. They do not need a host to survive and feed on. Dust mites are incapable of biting people or animals. They feed on the dead skin cells we all shed, but they do not have direct contact with another organism.

What are the Differences Between Symptoms of Bed Bug Bites and Allergic Reactions to Dust Mites? Are They Dangerous?

As a difference number one, we can say that dust mites DON’T bite. They can’t. Dust mites don’t have teeth or a mouth to bite you with. It is not dust mites bites that you get allergic reactions from. It’s from their faeces and a protein from their bodies that you breathe in that cause health problems.

Bed Bugs Bites

Bed bugs will bite you and not only once. They feed on you every couple of days. Rarely do they cause major health problems but to people susceptible to allergies they can have some influence and cause skin irritations, blisters, asthma or other breathing problems.

More often you will notice red welts but they can appear days after the biting. With bed bugs bites the symptoms and problems differ from person to person. Some people don’t even show symptoms or have welts.

You may not feel the bed bugs biting you but you will feel the bite marks when and if they appear. The bed bugs bites will be itchy but you should avoid scratching them as much as you can. If you scratch the itchy bed bug bites or skin eczema caused by an allergic reaction to dust mites, they may turn into scars. But if you leave them be and go away on their own, you won’t have problems with scars.

If the welts look like they are in a line, a cluster or some kind of a pattern, then you have bed bugs bites.

Dust Mite Allergic Reactions

If you are experiencing a dust mite allergy, the symptoms to be aware of are skin eczema, dermatitis, rarely hives or rashes. You can also have a runny or stuffy nose, cough, sneeze a lot, or have difficulty breathing or asthma.

If you are not allergic to bug bites or dust mites, the bite marks and skin problems should go away on their own in a couple of weeks

What To Do In Case You Have an Allergic Reaction to Dust Mites?

Neither bed bugs nor dust mites transmit diseases to people. However, they can cause a number of serious health problems to people with allergies.

You should also avoid dust and dust mites if you are pregnant because a study shows that if dust mite remnants get into the mother’s organism they may reach the baby and increase the risk of the baby developing an allergy.

The symptoms can be mild to severe. If the symptoms are mild and go on for more than a week, visit your doctor to determine if it is a dust mite allergy or a regular cold.

Mild Symptoms of Dust Mite Allergy

  • Runny or stuffy nose. Which gets worse in the mornings and evenings.
  • Watery or red eyes.
  • Nasal congestion or postnasal drip.
  • Coughing or sneezing.
  • Rarely skin redness or hives.
See also:  10 Interesting Facts About Bugs and Pests (Number 5 May Surprise You)

Severe Problems of Dust Mite Allergy

These symtomps are more likely to occur to people who already have asthma or allergies to dust mites.

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Severe asthma attacks
  • Pain or tightness in the chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing or whistling while exhaling

Risk Factors for Developing a Dust Mite Allergy

  • Having allergic people in your family.
  • Being exposed to dust mites on a regular basis and at high levels.
  • Children and young adults are more susceptible to developing an allergy.

How to Check for Bed Bugs?

  • Inspect the room and house for bed bugs.
  • Look for faecal matter from bed bugs. It will look like black dots on your bed linen or mattress.
  • Shed skin or eggshells from bed bugs is also a tell-tale sign of bed bugs. Look for them near your bed.
  • If you can catch an individual, bring it to a specialist to determine the species of the bug.
  • Vacuum thoroughly the bedroom and around your bed.
  • Wash all of the bed linen at high temperatures and if you have a dryer, use it.

What Not To Do?

  • Don’t panic if you find out that your home has bed bugs.
  • Don’t go sleeping in another room.
  • Don’t throw away your mattress unless the infestation is severe.
  • Don’t use bug bombs or other pesticides.
  • Don’t try DIY methods for dealing with the bed bugs.
  • Don’t wait too long before calling a professional exterminator.

Will Any of the Pests Attack Your Pets as Well?

Bed bugs will feed on your pets if there is no human nearby. Bed bugs are drawn to the carbon dioxide that people and animals exhale and that’s how they find you. If they are searching for food and your dog or cat is the only one near them, bed bugs will feed on them.

Dust mites feed on the dead skin cells of animals as well.

Is It Possible That Just One Person Gets Bitten?

No. Bed bugs don’t have preferences in blood types, like it is believed that mosquitoes do. They search for food and find the nearest host to feed on.

The fact that only some people get symptoms such as welts and red blisters means that their bodies react to the bites. Every person’s body has a different reaction to the bites.

It is more likely that everyone is bitten but not everyone’s body shows a reaction to the bites.

Protect Your Home from These Pests

How to Keep Dust Mites Away

  • There’s really no way to keep your home 100% mite-free. But with regular cleaning of the entire home, you can reduce their number.
  • Vacuum your mattress, carpets, area rugs, upholstered furniture, even curtains regularly.
  • Dust daily and keep humidity levels low because the mites thrive in humid areas.
  • If you are more sensitive you may encase your mattress.

How to Keep Bed Bugs Away

  • Regularly vacuum of the upholstered furniture, carpets and mattress.
  • Washing bed linen weekly at high temperature can help reduce their population.
  • Be careful when you are travelling. Keep your luggage safe and inspect the hotel rooms you are staying in.

Not sure if you have bed bugs or dust mites?


9 Ways To Get Rid of Dust Mites Naturally (Quick and Easy)

How do you get rid of dust mites naturally? At one time in my life I had the same question. In fact, a few years ago I didn’t even know what dust mites were.

I’ve learned a lot since I was diagnosed with severe dust mite allergy and I intend to share my best ways to get rid of dust mites naturally.

At first I was devastated, I hadn’t heard of dust mites but I certainly felt sick. I had felt ill for many years. I thought allergies came from things outside like grasses, trees, weeds, and pets like dogs.

I hadn’t realized it before I was tested, but it made sense. I woke up every morning feeling tired with itchy eyes, nose, mouth, and ears (sounds obvious now).

I often felt itchy after falling asleep on the couch and sitting on the carpet. When fans were in the house my eyes would start watering profusely. Strangely I felt better when I was outside.

Some of my allergy symptoms included:

  • Extreme fatigue (I’d sleep 10 hours and wake up exhausted)
  • Rashes on face and skin
  • Rhinitis (stuffy and itchy nose)
  • Conjunctivitis (red itchy eyes0
  • Watering eyes
  • Dry skin
  • Itchy ears and mouth

The allergy symptoms that stand out the most are fatigue and rhinitis. I grew up always being tired so I assumed it was natural.

I tried not to compare myself to others because I was my own person, but I always wondered “should I feel this tired”. I had a lethargic personality but I preferred to use the term “laid back”.

My nose was always stuffed up to the point where I was a mouth breather. Yep, a mouth breather. I’d wake up in the mornings with chapped lips because breathing at night dried out my mouth.

Once I started improving my allergy symptoms, I stopped having a stuffed up nose. I started sleeping better and I had way more energy – no more afternoon nap!

How To Get Rid Of Dust Mites Naturally

Number Method Natural (no chemical) Cost
#1 Mattress and Pillow Cover Yes $$
#2 HEPA Vacuum Yes $$$
#3 HVAC Allergy Filter Yes $$
#4 HEPA Air Purifier Yes $$$
#5 Carpet Removal Yes
#6 Pets Outside Yes
#7 Organic Spray Yes $
#8 Control Humidity Yes $$
#9 Use Swiffer Yes $

How To Get Rid Of Dust Mites Naturally

Well, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that using “natural” methods to get rid of dust mites are the most effective and practical strategy.

The natural methods are numerous while non-natural methods are fairly limited. Natural methods for dust mite protection include:

  • Mattress and pillow covers
  • HEPA vacuums
  • HVAC allergy filters
  • HEPA air purifiers
  • Remove carpets and dust collectors
  • Keeping pets outside
  • Organic sprays
  • Keep an eye on humidity
  • Easy-to-use Swiffer

Employing natural methods is the best way to reduce dust mite populations and minimize the use of costly medication like nasal sprays and anti-histamines.

Mattress and pillow covers will even protect your bed by keeping it looking new while HVAC allergy filters can actually improve your home indoor air quality.

If you take a few simple steps to improve your household environment you can begin to reap health benefits quickly – it worked for me and I don’t suggest these things unless they worked for me.

Now the bad news. Getting rid of dust mites is almost impossible since they are microscopic, reproduce quickly, and feed on our body waste.

Although they can’t bite us, they enjoying living close-by to eat dead skin and benefit from our body heat and sweat.

Beds are the most common spot for dust mites. It’s gross to think about but dust mites are meant to clean up after us, not to harm us.

For some reason, our bodies react to these microscopic creatures when they pose no threat to us. We’re supposed to live in harmony with dust mites.

Below are a few tips that should help reduce dust mite presence in your home. If you’re allergic, these tips can also minimize dust mite allergy symptoms!

How To Get Rid Of Dust Mites Naturally (9 Easy Ways)

No. 1 Improve Bed Hygiene

For allergy sufferers, this is extremely important! Wash your bedding regularly and take steps to minimize skin contact with dust mites.

A barrier between your skin and dust mites can help reduce allergic skin rashes and asthma.

Ideally, wash your bedding with hot water and a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil. The heat and essence oil will kill the dust mites. If you use essential oil you don’t even need a hot wash.

Without a doubt, you’ll want to purchase a dust mite mattress cover. The cover will keep dust mites from colonizing the mattress, and protect you from the dust mites inside. As another benefit, the cover will help the mattress stay looking like new!

There are covers that protect from moisture (bed wetters) and high-quality dust mite covers made of 100% cotton – so tightly weaved that dust mites and bed bugs can’t penetrate it (pictured at right).

Dust mite pillow covers are another easy option to protect yourself, especially since the weight of older pillows can be made up of 10-15% dust mites and their feces (Yuck!).

If your dust mite allergy symptoms are problematic, consider a dust mite mattress cover and/or a mite-proof comforter.

No. 2 Maintain cleanliness with HEPA filters

We know this is obvious, but our paramount recommendation is to clean regularly. Our bodies shed skin 24 hours a day amounting to 8.8 lbs of skin per year. For a family of 4, this equates to the constant production of dust mite food!

We know you’re busy with work and school, but make cleaning a priority. Or hire someone to do it if you don’t have time.

This means dusting, sweeping, vacuuming on a weekly basis to avoid the build-up of dust. Even though it may sound gross, most of the dust on our floors is actually our dead skin (and hair).

If you reduce their “food”, you’ll also reduce dust mites! Try to vacuum with a HEPA vacuum at least once a week because ordinary vacuums just blow dust mites and pollen around.

The best HEPA vacuums use a special filter (High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestance).

A standard filter won’t capture dust mites, only a HEPA filter will capture the things you can’t see with the naked eye. This includes cat and dog danger, pollen, mold, and sometimes bacteria. Allergic individuals need products with HEPA filters.

No. 3 Utilize central air/heat filters specific for allergy

Did you know that home air quality is a major problem in the United States? When air circulates, dust mites (also known as bed mites) and their feces are blown into the air and inhaled. Even from a fan, dust mites can stay suspended in air for hours.

When you’re dusting and vacuuming the house always turn the HVAC vent on. This is my personal trick and the HVAC will suck up all the allergens that are blown into the air.

When I vacuum the HVAC vent is always on, helping me clean the air while I clean the floor. Using an allergy filter for your HVAC will capture the smallest particulates from the air.

But if you just use the basic filter from the home improvement store, it won’t help much for allergies.

This recommendation is often overlooked and extremely important in winter and summer when you’re using the heater and air conditioning! You can tell the quality of the HVAC filter by the color after use.

If you have a high-quality filter and are using the HVAC regularly, you’ll notice a color difference after only 1 month (yep 1 month). Many households neglect to:

  1. Use high-quality allergy filters
  2. Change them regularly (3-6 months depending on ac/heating use). For people with allergies change the filters more regularly – I change every 2 months.

Cheap filters do little to catch dust mites. Paying a few dollars more for quality filters will ensure your family is not breathing dust mites, as well as other aeroallergens.

Write the date on the filter when you install it, otherwise, you might forget how long you’ve been using it!

No. 4 Use Air Purifiers (HEPA)

Air purifiers have a mixed reputation. I remember my family bought one years ago – I can confirm that it did nothing.

If you buy an air purifier without a HEPA filter, then expect your allergies to remain the same. At that time I didn’t know the difference between filters and I didn’t even know what dust mites were.

In the past few years, especially with all the air pollution in major cities, air purifiers have become important for sensitive households.

In addition to allergens like pet dander, pollen, and dust mites, we keep chemicals in our homes and they can also cause problems.

There are a number of awesome air purifier options available. Dyson, Rabbit, Honeywell, and Alen are top rated air purifiers. They all use a replaceable HEPA filter and a few also use a carbon-based filter that captures chemicals and odors too.

These air purifiers can be purchased for the whole home (large) or for single rooms to keep the air clean while you sleep. For large homes, a few HEPA air purifiers placed throughout the house can run 24 hours, 7 days a week and filter all the air in the home multiple times a day.

No. 5 Reduce carpeting and rugs

If you’re seriously concerned about dust mites, getting rid of carpeting is a big step to reduce their presence. Dust mites love carpets, especially if you don’t vacuum often and have pets.

The carpet is a cozy, warm place to live and eat because carpet effectively traps dirt and dust.

Yes, the carpet will catch and hold onto dust and dirt. You might think you’re cleaning by vacuuming or using a carpet shampooer but it won’t be thorough.

When I was diagnosed with dust mites my family ripped out our carpets of 12 years. We vacuumed regularly but when we removed the carpets, what we found underneath was disgusting.

So much dirt and dust.

If you can’t change your flooring, vacuum frequently and use a carpet shampooer once every 2 months. The combination of vacuums and shampooer will wash and clean carpet the best way possible.

If you have rugs, routinely wash them and/or take them outside and beat with a stick – just beat it.

No. 6 Limit animal presence indoors

Lastly, a good step to reducing indoor allergies is to reduce animal presence indoors.

It might be hard to part with your furry creatures, but their skin and hair provide a delicious meal for dust mites. Indoor pets might contribute more food for dust mites than you!

Although your pet might not like the idea of spending more time outside, it might be the best option for your family’s health! If your pet can’t be moved outside, be sure to clean its sleeping area often and wash or replace their beds every couple months.

No. 7 Use a Dust Mite Spray

Don’t worry we’re recommending a natural spray. Actually, it’s a DIY homemade spray that will kill dust mites on contact and freshen up your home.

We’ve tried a few different dust mite sprays and settled on a spray that uses essential oil, water, and a bit of vodka.

Why vodka! Well, vodka helps disperse the essential oil and helps preserve it so it lasts longer in your spray bottle. The alcohol is also a natural disinfectant that won’t breed bacteria.

We also tried another essential oil recipe by substituting baking soda instead of alcohol, the baking soda clogged up our spray nozzle so we don’t recommend it. Natural sprays are just another option how to get rid of dust mites.

No. 8 Keep An Eye On Humidity

Humidity plays a major role in dust mite population. Without at least some humidity, dust mites would wither up and die.

Scientists have found that dust mite populations at high and dry elevations (Denver, Albuquerque) hardly exist.

The reason for this is dust mites absorb their moisture needs from the air – they don’t “drink” water, rather they absorb it. In humid parts of the U.S., like the Mid-West, East, and South, dust mite populations tend to skyrocket in the summer.

Dehumidifiers can be a huge resource to homeowners to lower indoor humidity and discourage dust mite population booms. If you have a basement, humidity can also increase the chance of mold growing (another harmful allergen).

If you have dust mite allergies don’t let your bed, couch, carpet become moist.

When I lived in the Southern U.S. my allergies became much worse in June and July. At the time I didn’t have a dehumidifier and I didn’t know what my allergies were. I was miserable and knowing what I know now it was due to dust mites!

In summer seasons, some dehumidifiers can remove liters of water from the air in a single day. It’s hard to imagine but dehumidifiers work great and can help make us more comfortable in the summer.

No. 9 Easy-To-Use Swiffer

If you already have hard flooring (linoleum, wood, or tile) you’re at a huge advantage for getting rid of dust mites. Dust mites hate hard flooring because it’s not usually warm, there is less food and humidity, and lacks hiding places.

In my home I don’t spend much time vacuuming because there is less to clean up, however, I use our “Swiffer” multiple times throughout the week. If you’re not familiar with Swiffer, it’s like a duster for the floor.

As you go over the hard floor, it catches and holds onto the dust (check Swiffer price).

This is what makes it much better than sweeping. Sweeping actually stirs up dust mites and other allergens. Sweeping your floors can cause allergens to become airborne and because they are so lightweight, they can stay in the air for hours (literally hours).

Using the Swiffer keeps dust on the ground and attached to its cloth.


Knowing how to get rid of dust mites naturally isn’t a difficult thing to do if you follow some simple steps to clean your home regularly, protect your bed, and improve the indoor air quality.

These steps could help you reduce dependency on medicines as well and help you sleep better at night.

I can vouch that using these steps helped me improve my symptoms. I always use a mattress and pillow allergy cover. I even travel with a dust mite pillow cover.

I also use high-quality HVAC filters and a nice air purifier for my bedroom.

If these steps aren’t enough, consider making an appointment with an allergist/immunologist to test for allergies and get allergy shots. Allergy shots are the best way to effectively cure allergies and are a final step for people suffering from allergies.

I had good success with allergy shots and I recommend them to anyone suffering from their symptoms. I urge you to not accept feeling poorly – make lifestyle changes and visit an allergist.

Confident in how you can get rid of dust mites naturally? We hope this article helped! If you want more reviews and dust mite allergy products, visit us as Dust Mite Solutions!


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