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Bed Bug Bite vs. Dust Mite Bite


Dust mite drawing showing anatomy of a dust mite

     Let me start off by clarifying this rumor. There is NO such thing as a dust mite bite.  If there were, we would all be in trouble; because dust mites can never be completely eliminated, whereas bed bugs can. Yes, they really can and it's not as difficult as you may think.  Later in the article I'll discuss methods of eradication that really do work.   Don't throw away any furnishings or mattresses until you try these methods first.  Dust mites do not bite humans.  Bed bugs bite humans. Dust mites live off of skin flakes. Bed bugs live off of blood.  Unfortunately, usually ours.  That's why they bite us in the first place.  We are their life blood or sustenance.  So if you're being bitten while asleep you can rule out dust mites right now. If it's just one or two bites it could be a spider.  If you have clusters of several tiny bites, it could be bed bugs, as they are known to be making a comeback.  Check out the link at the bottom of the page for bed bug bite photos to help identify whether or not it is bed bugs.

     Bed bugs cause a lot of grief.  Some people are allergic to the bites which can cause swelling, inflammation, even scarring and also fatigue in sensitive individuals.  Some people have extreme mental anxiety from practicing various elimination techniques that don't work.  Some extremes I have heard of are throwing away or burning mattresses, furnishings, clothing, and other personal belongings.  Sleeping on floors or in bathtubs or even deserting homes or apartments including all belongings.  You can see why this would cause mental anguish.  Just the expense alone is overwhelming. Not to mention those who have spent thousands of dollars on pest control companies, sometimes with no results.  So if these people are not left with physical scars, many are left with emotional scars and unable to get a good nights rest for fear of the bed bugs returning. 
     You need to first determine how bed bugs may have gained entry into your home or dwelling.  Have you or anyone done any traveling or stayed in other people's homes recently?  Have you purchased any used or even new furniture, pillows, mattresses, towels, or clothing?  Not only have bed bugs been sweeping the countryside infesting motels, but also many popular furniture and clothing stores as well.  Or what about a pet that has just made a trip to a kennel?  Bed bugs are on the rise due to lack of awareness, increased resistance to pesticides, bans on pesticides that previously eradicated them, and increased international travel.

     If you suspect it could be bed bugs the next step is identification.  Quickly throw back the sheets on your bed upon arising to hopefully see at least one before they have a chance to scurry away.  If you have been bitten several times and you don't see any actual bugs, you quite possibly can identify their remains.  Check out the link at the bottom of the page for bed bug photos.  It also shows photos of their offspring and eggs. Get out your best flashlight and even a magnifying glass if you have one. Search for tiny brown or reddish specks, their excrement, and/or  tiny clear nymphs, the babies of the adult bed bugs.  You also might find tiny eggs or empty shells of any that may have molted as they molt several times throughout their development into adults.

     If you still can't find any evidence, you need to start checking the mattress and bed frame, including the headboard, foot board and legs.  There should be some evidence in or around the bed.  If by chance they have all scurried back to their nesting areas, you will need to search dark areas such as inside corners of drawers and baseboards.  If you have any upholstered furniture in the room, you should check under cushions and inside crevices.  If you have bed bugs, you should have found some evidence by now.

     Starving them out isn't going to work as they can live for several months in warm areas and even up to one year in cooler areas without ever eating.  Sprays and pesticides could kill you long before you kill them.  Heating rooms can kill them, but raising inside temperatures high enough with propane heaters is risky and dangerous.  If you don't accidentally burn down your residence using heat treatment with some type of heater, you still risk ruining wood furnishings and floors that may dry out and crack from lack of moisture.  The rooms also need to be sealed off to prevent the bed bugs from escaping into cooler areas of the dwelling. This treatment is obviously better off left to professionals as well as any gassing treatments, both of which can be very, very expensive.  Some people have heard of steam treatments and attempted it themselves with negative results.  Steam treatments need to be done with commercial steamers that produce less than 5% humidity.  Do-it-yourselfers using store bought steamers run the risk of ruining many items saturating them with steam.  This is because every single area of the room needs to be steamed in order to ensure complete elimination of the bed bugs. Once again, this type of treatment is best left to professionals if you can afford it.

     So here comes the most effective and simple treatment for ridding your home of bed bugs.  All you need is some diatomaceous earth also known as DE. Does diatomaceous earth kill bed bugs?  Yes it does! It is a white powder composed of millions of tiny microscopic fossilized shells of algae.  These tiny skeletal structures are very sharp and when the bed bugs or most any other bug crawls through the powder their bodies are cut and pierced causing not immediate, but eventual death. Diatomaceous earth benefits are many.  Where to buy diatomaceous earth?  There are many uses for diatomaceous earth so you have to be careful.  Some diatomaceous earth sold in garden centers or pool supply stores contain chemicals. You need to buy food grade diatomaceous earth to avoid these chemicals.  This can be found at agricultural stores as it is sometimes used in animal husbandry or you can purchase it online. One other precaution that must be mentioned is that it is very important not to breathe the powder into your lungs.  The fine particulates are difficult for the lungs to expel as well as sharp to the delicate tissues.  Let me repeat.  It is HAZARDOUS to inhale this powder.  You should always wear some sort of dust mask when applying this powder such as the one in the photo below.  Is diatomaceous earth safe for pets?  Yes it is as long as they aren't stirring up large quantities creating a dust to breathe, it is not harmful to pets.  Some people use it as a dewormer for animals.

      Now I'll begin by explaining how to use diatomaceous earth as well as various ways of how to apply diatomaceous earth for bed bug elimination.   For the first application, start by placing the legs of your bed into small containers such as cups or bowls, and place a thick layer of the diatomaceous earth powder in the cups surrounding the legs of the bed.  Bed bugs don't fly around the room. They have to crawl up the legs of your bed to feed on you at night after you retire.  That's assuming there aren't already some in your bed before you retire.  If you haven't already done it, whether old or new, your pillows and mattress should be encased in zippered bed bug proof protectors.  If any adults, nymphs, or eggs are inside they will die as they cannot escape for feeding.  Now to continue the application of the DE powder you need to carefully apply a thick, but narrow layer along the baseboards of the entire room. A good method of application for this is a plastic squeeze bottle with a nozzle end. Now carefully search out other areas where you suspect they may be hiding such as inside or beneath furniture, corners of drawers as well as the tracks the drawers slide on etc.  Some severe infestations of bed bugs have been reported of bed bugs burrowing into the wood of furniture.  Check for seams and cracks that may need to be treated with a sprinkling of DE.

     If at all possible sleep in a different area for several nights up to two weeks to allow the DE to do its job.  If you can't sleep elsewhere use freshly laundered bedding every night until the bed bugs are gone.  Some people use DE in their bedding, but I am not going to recommend it, because of the previously mentioned issues with inhalation.  Perhaps a small amount at the foot of the bed beneath the fitted sheet would help a little and not cause breathing issues.  Otherwise, just use fresh bedding each night.  Rest easy.  It won't be long and your worries will be over and life will be back to normal once again.  Be sure to check the Quick Reminder Chart at the top of the page for helpful hints.


     Amazon is selling cups to place under the legs of your bed to make it easier to prevent bedbugs from crawling up the legs of your bed.  You can make your own using two different size cups or just order these.  Make sure to check queen or king size beds for extra legs touching the floor in the middle of the mattress.  Also, be sure to place diatomaceous earth in the inner ring.


Bed Bug Photos
Bed Bug Bite Photos

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