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Have you noticed signs of bugs in your home? Are you wondering what kind of pest might have moved in with you? If so, we’ve got you covered, especially when it comes to dust mites vs bed bugs.

If you think you might have an infestation in your home, it is crucial that you know the difference between two of the most common household pests: dust mites and bed bugs. 

Both bugs are small but can be a nuisance. But, what are the key differences? Keep reading, and we’ll explain everything you need to know when it comes to dust mites vs bed bugs. 

What Are Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are notorious parasites that feed on human blood. These pests are very small (about the size of an apple seed) but are still visible to the naked eye. 

Bed bugs look different depending on both how old they are and how recently they have fed. Baby bed bugs, also referred to as nymphs, can be less than one millimeter in length but take only several days to grow to adult size. 

Most often, bed bugs will be brown, black, or translucent. However, when a bed bug has recently fed, it will be bulbous and red in color.

Bed bugs typically hide out in mattresses, couches, office chairs, and other furniture around the home, as these insects prefer to stay out of sight in warm areas. 

When bed bugs feed on humans, the bites can irritate the skin and cause allergies. Bed bug infestations can grow extremely quickly and are nearly impossible to control without the help from pest control experts. 

What Are Dust Mites?

Dust mites are a common allergen found in American homes. These pests are living creatures, but contrary to popular belief, they are not classified as insects. Dust mites are actually part of the Arachnid family, which also enompasses spiders, ticks, and chiggers. 

Dust mites differ from bed bugs in several key ways. Most notably, dust mites don’t bite or feed on human blood, making them mostly harmless to humans. Instead, mites primarily feed on dead skin cells that cling to both clothes and furniture. The mites’ feces, however, can potentially cause rashes and other symptoms of an allergic reaction. 

These pests are also much smaller than bed bugs and can often only be seen under a microscope. 

Dust mite feces are hidden in most household dust, clinging to your clothes, mattresses, and carpets in order to feed on dead skin cells. Their survial largely depends on high humidity and moisture within a home. 

Dust Mites vs Bed Bugs: What an Infestation Looks Like

Let’s break down the differences between bed bug and dust mite infestations, so you can better distinguish which pest you’re dealing with.

Bed Bug Infestations

Bed bug infestations leave more visual clues behind than dust mite infestations do. You can tell that you probably have a bed bug infestation by looking for a rash on your skin and little patches of blood on your sheets. 

Bed bugs also leave behind droppings, eggs, and dead shells, all of which are visible to the naked eye.

You may also occasionally spot a bed bug in motion, although this is rare. Bed bugs are great at hiding, and you will probably only spot a live bug if you search carefully at night. 

Dust Mite Infestations

Dust mite infestations can also cause rashes on your skin. However, because dust mites do not feed on human blood, you will not find any bites or blood on your sheets from dust mites. 

When you have a dust mite infestation on your hands, you may experience common allergy symptoms. These symptoms include a runny nose, sneezing, an itchy nose and eyes, and general congestion. 

Not everyone has a dust mite allergy, which is why not everyone notices dust mites in their home. If you experience allergy symptoms when it’s not peak allergy season or after moving into a new place, you may have an overabundance of dust mites.

How to Prevent Infestations

The best way to prevent bed bugs is to carefully inspect new items that enter your home. Buying used furniture, especially from a garage sale or other outdoor event, can be especially risky. 

When you travel, you should inspect your hotel room for bed bugs. You should also inspect your clothing and luggage before you re-enter your home. 

Bed bugs are great hitchhikers, so the best way to combat them is to keep a close eye on everything that you bring home.

Dust mites are harder to prevent than bed bugs, as dust mites are present in most homes. However, the best way to minimize your risk of a dust mite problem is to cut clutter, wash bedding weekly, dust and vacuum frequently, and keep humidity levels low in your home. 

The less dust you have in your home, the less likely you are to experience dust mite allergy symptoms. 

What to Do When You Have an Infestation

The best way to kill bed bugs is to use a freeze treatment, such as Cryonite freeze. Heat treatments can also affectively kill bed bugs but are often more laborious and expensive. 

Dust mites require two treatments: one treatment for your home and one for your allergy symptoms. 

If you have a dust mite problem, you should take medication for your allergy symptoms. Although you can’t completely eliminate dust mites, you can take some steps to reduce them, including replacing carpets with different flooring, covering your bed and pillows with dust-proof covers, and washing all of your fabric-covered materials in hot water. 

Keep Your Home Pest-Free

Now that you know all about spotting dust mites vs bed bugs, you can keep your home safe from these pests. If you notice bites, allergies, or any other telltale signs of an infestation, don’t wait to take action!

If you notice any signs of an infestation, call a pest control expert as soon as possible, so they can clearly identify what pest is causing your infestation. 

The sooner you address a pest problem, the sooner you can go about your life without worry! 

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