What Does a Dust Mite Look Like? – Do These Insects Bite?

Just what do dust mites look like? Well, contrary to single-color images that often show a menacing-looking beast, dust mites actually resemble blobs of moisture with sharp appendages, which is one of many aspects that you might not know about dust mites.

Does dust get so thick in your home that you’re sure you see dust mites? Have you noticed red spots on your skin, thinking insects were biting you? Do you want to eliminate dust mites?

Facts and Fallacies about Dust Mites

Prior to getting into correct details about dust mites, let’s investigate some misconceptions about dust mites, such as the fact that some people claim they can see dust mites. Smaller than 1/100th of an inch, the only way you’re seeing an insect this small is through a microscope.

Another fallacy is that if you clean the heating/cooling ducts of your home, you eliminate dust mites. Humidity is important to these insects, since they don’t drink water, yet prefer 70 percent humidity, so the drying effect of your heating ducts is too hostile for dust mites.

Perpetual clean freaks claim that their homes do not have these types of insects, which is usually not the case, since dust mites reside in almost all homes of the world, seeking the warmth where moist human bodies reside, which is on beds, pillows, comfortable chairs, and sofas.

Mention the word “mite” and some people incorrectly think that dust mites scratch and burrow deep into human skin and sensitive nasal membranes, but they do not. These insects are usually found in the fabric of places where we sleep.

Finally, dust mites unlike some, do not bite, since they feed primarily on dead skin. Their feces and body fragments are small and become airborne, mix with dust, and are inhaled by us, making people allergic to the insect's stomach enzyme mistakenly think the allergy is an insect bite.

What do these Insects Actually Look Like?

Dust mites belong to the subclass acari, under the class arachnid, or spider. Unlike insects, which have three body segments and six legs, dust mites, like their spider, scorpion, and tick friends, possess two body segments, eight legs, and no wings nor any antennae.

Creamy white in color, the bulk of the insect's body is globe shaped, and their mouths and legs come to distinct and finite points, which, with an occasional hair added to their physique, give off an odd, macabre, alien-in-a-horror-movie appearance.

Most of the insects' photos, such as this one on a University of Nebraska Extension publication, are taken with an electronic microscope in one color, or as a monochrome image. Dust mites look meaner than they really are in a one-dimensional monochrome photo.

A better representation of how these bugs appear is in a color-enhanced photograph tied to a BBC article about dust mites. Their translucent bodies in this photo look more like skinned white grapes, instead of human skulls that the bugs resemble in the monochrome photos.

Located in the middle of this YouTube video are excellent microscopic videos of these insects, showing you not only how they move about, but their motions while feeding on dander or dead skin flakes.

How to Protect Yourself from Dust Mite Bites

Dust mites aren't like other pests that can be eliminated using an easy pest control methods , which they can be trapped and eliminated. If you are allergic to dust mites, you might not be able to completely eliminate them, but through a diligent house cleaning regimen, your dust mite population can be reduced in this non-chemical manner advised by the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service.

Purchase zippered dust-proof and allergen-resistant covers for pillows, box springs, and mattresses, and cover all sleeping devices with these covers. Wash all bedding, such as blankets, sheets, and pillow cases, every other week in water that is at least 130°F (55°C).

Remove fabric hangings, such as pennants and tapestries, take out carpets, only using hard flooring like tile or wood floors, which dust mites dislike, while replacing cloth drapes with plastic window shades, and upholstered chairs with wooden furniture.

Perform daily cleaning with a high-efficiency purifying air (HEPA) filtered vacuum and throw away vacuum bags, or the contents of the vacuum, immediately after finishing vacuuming, since dust mites can escape the vacuum after you are finished cleaning.


What do dust mites look like? They resemble fat, clear spiders, but in a microscopic size. You cannot eliminate dust mites, but the following steps will reduce them:

  • Cover the items you sleep on with allergen-resistant pillows, box springs, and mattresses.
  • Every two weeks, wash bedding in 130°F (55°C) hot water.
  • Remove fabric hangings, drapes, and carpeting from the bedroom.
  • HEPA vacuum daily and immediately throw out the vacuum bag, or the vacuum’s contents.

Hope this blog article was of great help? Thanks for visiting the Attic Pest Authority website