Mites - All you need to know


What are mites?

Mites are a species of arachnids. Already 50,000 species are known to "acarologists" (mite specialists). With 546 families the mites belong to the most species-rich in the group of arthropods. Due to their many different ways of life, mites are increasingly different from each other. Their size ranges from the smallest mites and measured 0.1 mm to the 3 cm large ticks. Mites can be found in many habitats. Half of all mite species live in the ground, with several hundred thousand mites per square metre. But mites also find good conditions for a life at home in their own four walls. House dust mites feel very comfortable in carpets or beds. They feed on dead skin tissue and love warm and humid areas.


Mite species

House dust mites: The house dust mite is 0.1 to 0.5 mm in size. Hairy bristles protect the body.  House dust mites feed mainly on fallen skin scales. Of which humans lose 0.5 to 1 gram per day.  Mites prefer older skin flakes. In addition, males are significantly smaller than females. The latter lay their eggs over a long period of time. The lifespan of the females is between 30 and 100 days. The house dust mite's habitat is found exclusively in the human four walls. The highest population is found in mattresses and pillows.

Rune mites: The rune mite is a freshwater mite. Males measure 0.8 mm in size, females 1 mm. The body outline is oval. A leathery and yellow to brown coloured skin on the back makes these animals recognisable. The rune mites live near rivers and are very common. They are dependent on summer cold waters. The Lebertia glabra is a predator and non-swimmer.

Varroa mite: The varroa mite is a mite that is about 1.1 millimetres long and 1.6 millimetres wide. This species lives by infesting bee colonies. This important bee pest is named after the Roman scholar Marcus Terentius Varro (116-27 BC).  

Grave or itch mites: Grave mites live as parasites in the skin of mammals. There they make burrows and carry out their egg deposition. The turtle-like body is oval and flattened on the abdominal side. The short legs are hardly visible. The males live on skin surfaces or tunnels. There copulation also takes place and they die. During their short life the mites lay about 50 eggs.

More about mite species


Do dust mites bite and sting actually?

It depends on the type of mite. The itch mite likes to lay its eggs under the skin of humans. For this it bites its way through the skin. The house dust mite, on the other hand, is a harmless mite. It feeds mainly on skin scales lying around. Only the faeces left behind by the house dust mite can become a problem in humans due to the protein content it contains. However, this is only the case if there is a mite allergy.

More about mite bites


Mites and humans

- House dust mites

- Grass mites

- Digger and ditch mites

- Hair follicle mites

More about mites in humans


Can mites cause diseases in humans?

- House dust allergy

- Scabies

- Rosacea


How to fight mites effectively

There are a variety of methods to make the living conditions of mites as difficult as possible. Just follow the rules below.

- Air out your home for several minutes every day

- Avoid carpets and use smooth floors

- Use encasings for duvet, mattress and pillow. These ensure that you do not inhale the mite excrement.

- Change your mattress and bedding every few years.

- Vacuum your home regularly

More about controlling mites