Two of the most common pests found in homes across the country are bed bugs and dust mites, but while both can make you miserable, the similarities between them end there. Proper home maintenance plays a key role in keeping them at bay.
How Proper Home Maintenance Can Help Prevent Pests
What is a Dust Mite?
Dust mites are microscopic creatures that are related to spiders. Their feces can cause a number of symptoms in those who suffer from allergies or asthma including: nasal congestion, coughing and wheezing. Their main diet consists of dead skin cells, and they thrive in dark, moist environments where there is a continuous food source, such as upholstered furniture, bedding and carpets. While it is impossible to eliminate them entirely, you can significantly reduce their numbers with these tips:
- Vacuum regularly using a HEPA filter
- Wash linens frequently in hot water
- Encase pillows and mattresses with zippered, mite-proof covers
- Maintain an indoor humidity level between 30 and 50 percent
How to Identify a Bed Bug
Bed bugs are insects that resemble the size, shape and color of an apple seed, with six legs and no wings. They are most active at night and tend to hide in dark crevices, mattresses, baseboards, or headboards, and most often enter the home on items such as suitcases, clothing, or pillows. Bed bugs survive off of human blood, and their bites are often itchy, swollen and painful. Prevention is the key to a bug-free home, because once you have bed bugs, they can be tough to get rid of. Proper home maintenance includes keeping your surroundings clean, and carefully inspecting luggage and other items upon returning home from traveling.
Reduce the number of unwanted pests in your home by being aware of how each one affects your health and surroundings. Bed bugs and dust mites can cause irritation, allergic reactions, asthma attacks, discomfort, and even psychological damage if not dealt with. Home maintenance tips to prevent or eliminate these creatures include:
- Opt for hard flooring rather than carpeting.
- Replace upholstered furnishings with wipeable materials such as leather.
- Swap out draperies for blinds.
- Water must be at least 140 degrees to kill dust mites. While hot water is recommended for bedding and other fabrics, frequent washing may cause them to deteriorate more rapidly. Consider using allergen covers on pillows and mattresses which provide a protective barrier.
- Dust frequently using a microfiber or electrostatic cloth, working from the top of each room downwards.
- Inspect luggage, used furniture and other secondhand items carefully before bringing them into your home.
- If you suspect you have bed bugs call for professional assistance as soon as possible.
Sleep easier and prevent or eliminate your symptoms with these tips for a pest-free home. For more expert advice on proper home maintenance, check out these articles: