Jul 27, 2010
I am sure many have been reading about the new fascination with and outbreaks of bed bugs (dust mites). Here is some good news for ridding your bed of these ugly little creatures, although I am not sure it really is good science.
Failing to make your bed in the morning may actually help keep you healthy, scientists believe, because research suggests that while an unmade bed may look bad it is also unappealing to house dust mites.
A Kingston University study discovered the bugs cannot survive in the dry conditions found in an unmade bed. The minute bugs feed on scales of human skin and produce allergens which are easily inhaled during sleep. The warm, damp conditions created in an occupied bed are ideal for the creatures, but they are less likely to thrive when moisture is in shorter supply. The scientists developed a computer model to track how changes in the home can reduce numbers of dust mites in beds.
Mites need humid conditions to thrive and cannot survive in very dry conditions. Something as simple as leaving a bed unmade during the day can remove moisture from the sheets and mattress so the mites will dehydrate and eventually die.
The average life cycle for a male house dust mite is 10 to 19 days. A mated female house dust mite can live for 70 days, laying 60 to 100 eggs in the last 5 weeks of her life.
A good idea is to always wash sheets and pillowcases in hot water, even though you wash your others things in cold water. Another way is to use high heat in your dryer.
PS - It is commonly believed that the accumulated detritus from dust mites can add significantly to the weight of mattresses and pillows, but there is no scientific evidence for these claims. Also, a 1996 study from the British Medical Journal has shown that polyester fiber pillows contained more than 8 times the total weight of fine dust than feather pillows. Sleep tight tonight, don't let the bedbugs bite.