Microscopic Bugs? It might be mites. Mould mites and Booklice under the Microscope!

Mould, dust, cheese mites and Booklice are under the Microscope this month!

Dust mites in a pillow.

It is quite common for UK houses to experience mould patches, which homeowners may wipe away without further thought. It is worth considering that these mould patches are food sources for pests, including Mould mites and Booklice. Whilst Mould mites and Booklice do not spread disease, the presence of an infestation can be unsettling and upsetting for homeowners.

Identification

Mould mites (Tyrophagus putrescentiae https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyrophagus_putrescentiae), as the name suggests, are tiny mites that feed on mould as their main source of food. They will also help themselves to stored foods, especially if high in fat and protein. As these mites are very small, around 0.3 mm in length, individually they are barely visible to the human eye.

Homeowners have described opaque specks in their kitchens. However, if environmental conditions are favourable mould mites reproduce quickly, and can soon be detected by the disruption they cause in your home including infesting dry food stuff rendering them inedible. A sign of infestation is grey or brown dust on or near a stored food product, which is in fact dead and alive Mould mites, their shed skins and faecal matter.

Brooklice (Psocids) are small cream-coloured insects, measuring around 1 mm in length. They are fast moving and fast developing, requiring around two weeks to reach full maturity. Like Mould mites, Booklice also feed on mould and thrive in damp conditions. It is believed that these insects gained their name as they have a tendency to feed on tiny moulds that grow on the glue of book bindings.  This mould also grows on damp cardboard, damp food, and surfaces close to damp plaster.

Microscopic Bugs? It might be mites. Mould mites and Booklice under the Microscope!

Microscopic Bugs? It might be mites. These are of the cheese variety.

Preventative Measures

To help keep your home free from Mould mites and Booklice it is important to reduce the moisture on which they thrive and the mould on which they feed.  This is also important as mould produces allergens, and frequent, long-term exposure to mould can cause health issues, including respiratory infections, and trigger allergic reactions in some people. All the more reason to banish that mould!

  • Remove any infested food, books, etc., wipe away visible mould and ventilate the area the pests were located. If it is difficult to ventilate the area, consider using a dehumidifier and heat the area; these pests do not thrive in dry heat.
  • Use mould removing products on walls etc. For a more environmentally friendly approach, use undiluted white vinegar which can kill up to 82% of mould species, including black mould – remember to always wear protective gloves, eyewear and a mask when dealing with mould, to help prevent detrimental health reactions to mould spores.
  • Fix any leaking pipes, roofs and guttering that increase moisture levels and water damage in your home.
  • Ventilate any rooms identified as susceptible to mould growth, e.g., keep kitchen and bathroom doors closed and the window open when cooking, bathing, and showering.
  • Keep dry foods in airtight containers in dry, cool, well ventilated conditions. Wiping down cupboards regularly, and leaving them to dry completely before restocking your shelves can be helpful.

For a heavy infestation, Avon Pest Control recommend contacting a professional pest control company to remove the pests for you.

Mithered by mites?  Call Avon Pest Control today on 01926 632 929 or 01789 293 463, or click here to request a call back.