House dust mite

House dust mites (HDM, or simply dust mites) are mites found in association with dust in dwellings.[3] They are known for causing an allergy.

House dust mites (Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus).

Dust mite faecal pellets that can be small as µm 10 (0.01 mm),[1] but can be prevented with anti-mite fabrics of a denser pore size.[2]



The currently known species are:[4]

  • Dermatophagoides farinae (American house dust mite)
  • Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (European house dust mite)
  • Dermatophagoides evansi
  • Dermatophagoides microceras
  • Dermatophagoides halterophilus
  • Dermatophagoides siboney
  • Dermatophagoides neotropicalis
  • Dermatophagoides alexfaini
  • Dermatophagoides anisopoda
  • Dermatophagoides chirovi
  • Dermatophagoides deanei
  • Dermatophagoides rwandae
  • Dermatophagoides scheremeteroskyi
  • Dermatophagoides scheremetewskyi
  • Dermatophagoides simplex
  • Euroglyphus maynei (Mayne's house dust mite)
  • Euroglyphus longior
  • Hirstia domicola
  • Malayoglyphus carmelitus
  • Malayoglyphus intermedius
  • Pyroglyphus africanus
  • Sturnophagoides brasiliensis
  • Blomia tropicalis


The dust mites are cosmopolitan members of the mite family Pyroglyphidae.


A scanning electron micrograph of a female dust mite

House dust mites, due to their very small size and translucent bodies, are barely visible to the unaided eye.[5] A typical house dust mite measures 0.2–0.3 mm in length.[6] The body of the house dust mite has a striated cuticle.

House dust mite faecal pellets range from 10–40 µm.[1]


They feed on skin flakes from humans and other animals, and on some mold. Dermatophagoides farinae fungal food choices in 16 tested species commonly found in homes was observed in vitro to be Alternaria alternata, Cladosporium sphaerospermum, and Wallemia sebi, and they disliked Penicillium chrysogenum, Aspergillus versicolor, and Stachybotrys chartarum.[7]


The predators of dust mites are other allergenic mites (Cheyletiella), silverfish and pseudoscorpions.[8]


The average life cycle for a house dust mite is 65–100 days.[9] A mated female house dust mite can live up to 70 days, laying 60 to 100 eggs in the last five weeks of her life. In a 10-week life span, a house dust mite will produce approximately 2,000 fecal particles and an even larger number of partially digested enzyme-covered dust particles.


Dust mites are found worldwide, but are found more commonly in humid regions.[10] The species Blomia tropicalis is typically found only in tropical or subtropical regions.[11] Detectable dust mite allergen was found in the beds of about 84% of surveyed United States homes.[12] In Europe, detectable Der p 1 or Der f 1 allergen was found in 68% of surveyed homes.[13]

Health issues


Tropomyosin, the major allergen in dust mites, is also responsible for shellfish allergy.[14][15]

Oral mite anaphylaxis

Dermatophagoides spp. can cause oral mite anaphylaxis (AKA pancake syndrome) when found in flour.[16][17]

See also

  •  Arthropods portal


  1. "House dust mite excrements/ faeces HDM excrements". Citeq Biologics. 1 October 2018.
  2. "Best Fabrics to Exclude Dust Mites". Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  3. Denmark, H. A.; Cromroy, H. L. (April 2017) [October 1998]. "House dust mites—Dermatophagoides spp". Featured Creatures. Department of Entomology & Nemotology, University of Florida, and Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry. EENY-59. Originally published as DPI Entomology Circular 314.CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  4. "House Dust Mites: Ecology, Biology, Prevalence, Epidemiology and Elimination". Retrieved 25 May 2021.
  5. "Why study the major cause of allergy, the house dust mite?". Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  6. "The House Dust Mite: Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus". MicrobiologyBytes. 2007. Archived from the original on 16 May 2007. Retrieved 24 January 2019.. Note that the video is gone.
  7. Naegele, Alexandre; Reboux, Gabriel; Scherer, Emeline; Roussel, Sandrine; Millon, Laurence (1 April 2013). "Fungal food choices of Dermatophagoides farinae affect indoor fungi selection and dispersal". International Journal of Environmental Health Research. 23 (2): 91–95. doi:10.1080/09603123.2012.699029. ISSN 0960-3123. PMID 22774849.
  8. "House dust mites: Agents of allergy". Archived from the original on 29 December 2010. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  9. Miller, J. D. (23 June 2018). "The Role of Dust Mites in Allergy". Clinic Rev Allerg Immunol: 1–18. doi:10.1007/s12016-018-8693-0. ISSN 1559-0267. PMID 29936683.
  10. Madden, Anne A.; Barberán, Albert; Bertone, Matthew A.; Menninger, Holly L.; Dunn, Robert R.; Fierer, Noah (2016). "The diversity of arthropods in homes across the United States as determined by environmental DNA analyses". Molecular Ecology. 25 (24): 6214–6224. doi:10.1111/mec.13900. ISSN 1365-294X. PMID 27801965. Lay summary.
  11. Dutra, Moisés S; Roncada, Cristian; da Silva, Guilherme L; Ferla, Noeli J; Pitrez, Paulo M (2018-05-04). "Mite Fauna Assessment in Houses of Two distinct Socioeconomic Groups From Southern Brazil". Journal of Medical Entomology. 55 (3): 620–625. doi:10.1093/jme/tjx239. ISSN 0022-2585. PMID 29281052.
  12. Arbes, Samuel J.; Cohn, Richard D.; Yin, Ming; Muilenberg, Michael L.; Burge, Harriet A.; Friedman, Warren; Zeldin, Darryl C. (2003-02-01). "House dust mite allergen in US beds: Results from the first national survey of lead and allergens in housing". Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 111 (2): 408–414. doi:10.1067/mai.2003.16. PMID 12589364.
  13. Luczynska, Christina; Svanes, Cecilie; Dahlman-Hoglund, Anna; Ponzio, Michela; Villani, Simona; Soon, Argo; Olivieri, Mario; Chinn, Susan; Sunyer, Jordi (2006-09-01). "Distribution and determinants of house dust mite allergens in Europe: The European Community Respiratory Health Survey II". Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 118 (3): 682–690. doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2006.04.060. ISSN 0091-6749. PMID 16950288.
  14. Lopata AL, Kleine-Tebbe J, Kamath SD (November 2016). "Allergens and molecular diagnostics of shellfish allergy: Part 22 of the Series Molecular Allergology". Allergo J Int. 25 (7): 210–18. doi:10.1007/s40629-016-0124-2. PMC 5306157. PMID 28239537.
  15. Prester L (August 2016). "Seafood Allergy, Toxicity, and Intolerance: A Review". J Am Coll Nutr. 35 (3): 271–83. doi:10.1080/07315724.2015.1014120. PMID 26252073. S2CID 1154235.
  16. Barrera, OM; Murgas, IL; Bermúdez, S; Miranda, RJ (June 2015). "[Oral anaphylaxis by ingestion of mite contaminated food in Panama City, 2011-2014]". Revista Alergia Mexico. 62 (2): 112–7. PMID 25958374.
  17. Sánchez-Borges, Mario; Suárez-Chacon, Raúl; Capriles-Hulett, Arnaldo; Caballero-Fonseca, Fernan; Iraola, Victor; Fernández-Caldas, Enrique (1 January 2009). "Pancake Syndrome (Oral Mite Anaphylaxis)". World Allergy Organization Journal. 2 (5): 91–6. doi:10.1186/1939-4551-2-5-91. ISSN 1939-4551. PMC 3651046. PMID 23283016.
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