3 Things You May Not Want to Know About Dust Mites
01
September

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , /


As you probably have noticed from your existence
on the planet as a human, there’s dust everywhere. It’s probably around you right now, and you
might have heard that it is made of human skin cells. But that’s not quite true.
Some studies have found that more than 60% of household dust comes from outdoors, like
pollen and dirt and sand and even tiny particles of meteorites!
But the rest IS mostly dead bits of you floating around, along with lots and lots of feces
from dust mites. Like, uh, like lots.
And, fair warning, after learning about this, you may never want to, like, get in your bed
again. [Intro] Dust mites are nearly microscopic arachnids
that hover on the border between visible and invisible, with an average length of about
0.3 millimeters. Despite their tiny size, dust mites are all
over. There are two main species: the American dust
mite and the European dust mite, and in the U.S., one study found that 84% of households
had a detectable dust mite population. The good news is, they aren’t technically
parasites because they don’t feed off of the live parts of humans. But I specify “live
parts” because they do eat human tissue. Our dead skin cells are their favorite meal.
The average human sheds about one million skin cells a day, and some of those inevitably
come off in the tossing and turning of sleep. So mattresses and pillows tend to be full
of those human skin cells, making them an ideal dust mite home.
And since a female dust mite will usually lay up to a hundred eggs in her lifetime,
the mite population tends to grow pretty fast. There are, on average, a hundred thousand
dust mites living in the typical mattress. Now, that may be kind of gross, but eating
dead skin cells doesn’t do any humans harm, I mean, it’s just dead skin! Just let it go.
It’s when the dust mites, you know, excrete it, that’s the problem. Mites use digestive
enzymes, called proteases, that can cause allergic reactions in humans.
And there’s plenty to go around – your average mite excretes about 20 fecal pellets per day.
Multiply that by the hundred thousand dust mites in your mattress, and that’s – that’s
a lot of fecal pellets. They’re very small, though!
Those little pellets end up in your pillows and your mattress and get spread through the
air, and when they’re breathed in by someone who’s sensitive to the enzymes, they can cause
wheezing and sneezing and itching and all sorts of not-fun asthma and allergy symptoms.
So killing dust mites isn’t easy, but they do have a weakness: humidity, or the lack
of it. Dust mites don’t drink water; they have to suck it out of the air, so they need
at least 50% humidity to survive. If the humidity drops below that, they go into a sort of panic
mode. When this happens, a lot of mites will gather
together in one spot to try and decrease the surface area of their bodies that’s exposed
to air, so they lose less water. They basically try to form one giant mite-ball, like a Megazord
mite. And if the humidity gets too low for even
that to work, the young mites, called nymphs, will latch on to whatever material’s available,
like carpet fibers, and basically hibernate until the humidity increases again.
That’s why some people find that their dust allergies are seasonal. The dust mite population
decreases in colder months when the humidity is lower and comes back when the nymphs emerge
from hibernation and resume… crapping all over your house.
This survival method is so effective that there’s really no way to completely get rid
of a dust mite colony. There are some ways to decrease their numbers, though, like frequently
washing sheets and pillows in very hot water, using polyester pillow cases and mattress
covers to create a barrier, getting rid of carpet, and using vacuums with special filters.
But most of us will continue to play host to these mostly harmless, but probably unwanted,
house-guests. At least now you know exactly who – or what – you’re sharing your bed with.
Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow, especially to our Subbable subscribers who
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100 thoughts on “3 Things You May Not Want to Know About Dust Mites

  1. i slept my hole life whit those things why should i be scared now.
    just give them some love hug them or somthing.
    naaahhh i am joking just trow your matres and your pilow on the ground and do it over and over and over and over.
    just don't be scared of them

  2. If you are worried about these particular mites they live on many kinds of fabric but do not permanently reside on human skin, At least from what we know. The eyelash mites, on the other hand, do live within our hair follicle openings.

  3. I don't believe you! Somebody ordered you to make this video to force me to clean my room. Illuminati confirmed.

  4. When I first heard about it when I was in grade 5 …………I felt like taking a SHOWER EVERY SINGLE 15 MINUTES

  5. I hate dust mites and quite allergic to them, just like most people that feel congested or tired in the morning.
    I am using BetterAir probiotics purifiers that disperse PROBIOTICS all over the mattresses and the living spaces and the problem is completely solved!!!
    Probiotics are powerful solution for our bodies and environment

  6. I actually kind of like the idea of those tiny eyelash mites. 😄 I like that they're eating things off of me and keeping my eyelashes clean.

  7. i recently moved from america to europe and now i wake up every morning with a stuffy nose & watery eyes, i must not have an immunity to the european kind or something. please somebody tell me what i can do, it makes getting up in the morning really difficult and i've nearly been kicked out of college for being late so much bc of these guys 🙁

  8. He warned me that it might be icky….. I continued to watch on my bed eating….. That probably wasn't a good idea

  9. I actually think that these are kinda cute… I mean they are harmless and I am not alergic so I dont mind. They are only eating away skin so they are actually kinda usefull. I feel about them the same way I feel about most spiders, I dont love them but on the otherside they are harmless and semi-usefull.

  10. another thing about dust mites they can get into game boxes, discs and old game cartridges which is so fucking annoying to clean.

  11. Since the outer skin layer of ourselves is technically skin (Update: I meant dead. Since our outer skin layer is technically dead.), why aren't they like… consuming our flesh right off of our bodies?

    Side Note To Vent: The only reason this grosses me out is honestly because they could be like, on me, whenever I touch stuff. This has always been a problem with me. I don't really care about spiders, or ants, or any other average suburban bug thingy, until it starts crawling on me. Just the thought on some else living on ME is infinitely disturbing… the only reason I'm fine with bacteria is I know they're like microscopic and literally EVERYWHERE. But still, like, just the thought that there's little animal things all around is just… *shudders.* Is there any way you could think of that I could stop it? I've thought about thinking how my outermost layer of skin is technically dead that it's actually like protection and they aren't on me, just like on my "shell", but then that makes doing stuff through my skin really really creepy, so idk.

  12. i am never sleeping in my bed again. I hate bugs but I got that curiosity that pops up in every ones head and despite his warning I watched this video anyway. I am really stupid. lol

  13. awwwww cute dust mite has only one hair on its fat head and it only eats dust. Poor baby. I want to put some nappies on it and read it a book about pumpkins

  14. So everyone saying "get a humidifier" to relieve non-seasonal allergies are full of crap? Lower the humidity to around 40% with a DE-humidifier and suddenly mold spores have a much harder time gaining a foothold and dust mites have a much harder time existing. Those are the only two things I'm allergic to.

  15. Hello, I have been constantly harmed and under attack by dust mites for a year now. there are thousands of them hiding everywhere in homes, everything I read and watch about them not true, as they constantly bite me everywhere, day and night on my body, they also bite me on my penis which is the worse, it feels like a needle prick going into your skin, it's so painful, it leaves nasty red blisters that pops. They're so annoying, I feel them jump and leap on and off me all the time, they leap into my ear, my hair, face, totally annoying. I have been wearing loose tops on top of my shirts and pants to slow down and stop their bitings, it's been effective for the most, but some still able to bite me through the clothes. they are so tiny and so many of them and move extremely quick, but one thing for sure Dust mites are very very harmful and hurtful based on personnel experience and researches of other people dealing with the same problem. those stupid online forum and blogs about dust mites not harmful to people need to be revised immediately.

  16. I'm seriously considering writing my masters about these things just so I can name it "Dust mites around the world – dermatophagoides Pter and Far."
    What do you mean it's not correct scientific notation? Do you have any idea how annoying it is to come up with latin puns? XD

  17. These dust mites are more luckier than us, they can see a hot chick changing clothe and sleep with them

  18. Only vacuums/ air purifiers that use water filters actually work as for the removal of dust mites and indoor air pollution as wet dust cannot fly. The water filter never clogs either so your system will never loose airflow through your intake enabling you to remove all outside dirt and pollen also self created dead skin aka dust mite buffet and poop city. Not to mention thousands of dollars in savings because of never having to refurnish your home or replace ac filters.

  19. Ah! Dust everywhere always! And wow… dust mites. Yeah, they are nasty little vermin. This is great information, if a little terrifying. I suffered for years from allergies. All sorted now with some great bedding covers.

  20. Excellent! I intend to show this vid to the kid downstairs. Offered him a lovely single divan but on account of the fact I had an attack of bed bugs once (all gone now) he doesn't want the bed. Neither does he want the bedding I also offered him. His own bed consists of three filthy mattresses piled on top of one another and an equally filthy, torn duvet. He sleeps on the mattresses without sheets or duvet covers. I've lived here 3 years n his bed has always been like it. Plus his room stinks of piss (caught him recently pissing out of his bedroom window). I think he's thinking that bed bugs are dust mites…
    Incidentally, I rid my home of the bed bugs using Cimexa powder. It works! Thank God!

  21. actualy dust mites CAN become parasetic. ive just seen a video of dust mites living inside someone's ear canal, nibbleing their eardrum !

  22. Safe to say no matter what I’ll always want to get back into my bed BUT im also watching this because I’m waiting on my sheets to dry lol

  23. Shameless plug: Many people have had great success with our DeMite Laundry Additive product especially if washing your bedding in extremely hot water does not sound like a fun idea.

  24. I am allergic to dust mites but since I have protected my mattress with a good dust mites ProTech allergies cover, I have no more symptoms. They can be ordered on www.protechallergies.com

  25. Ever notice how an old mattress is so much heavier than a new one? The difference in weight is the steady accretion of years worth of dust mite feces and exoskeletal remains. A kind of proto dust mite coral reef or limestone cliff face.

  26. Well no point to worrying, the only way to stop them is to go live in the middle of the arctic and use a bed only once and then burn it

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