There’s no place like your own bed. However, there’s probably thousands of dust mites enjoying your warm, cosy bed alongside you.
A bed can host up to 10 million dust mites. In case that wasn’t gross enough, they also poop around 20 times a day. Although they are just a quarter of a millimeter in length, up to 10 percent of your pillow’s weight could be made up of dust mites and their poop.
Dr. Lisa Ackerley, a home hygiene expert, explained why the bed is such a perfect home for dust mites to the Daily Mail. First of all, the bed is a warm and humid place; the perfect environment for them to live and multiply. Secondly, beds are abundant in human skin cells.
We shed around 3.9 kilograms (8.8 pounds) of skin cells over the course of a year. A lot of this inevitably ends up where we spend a third of our life; our beds. Unfortunately, this is the dust mite's meal of choice, making your bed somewhat of an "all you can eat" buffet.
Dust mites alone are pretty harmless to humans. However, their droppings and body fragments can trigger allergic reactions.
Dr. Ackerley added: “They can cause rhinitis, a cough, dry eyes. They can disturb sleep. People with other allergies can have them made worse. People might think they just have a cold the whole time. Dust mites really are an issue.”
This video from Ohio State University Acarology Lab gives an up-close look at thousands of these little mites.