Guest Post: Help, I Have Mold Mites In My Home!
A couple of weeks ago, I realized that my son sneezed over and over again when he sat on a certain sofa to watch television. I vacuumed and dusted that room too death trying to figure out what was causing it. I knew it had to be a dust allergy because the minute he went outside or got in the car, the sneezing stopped and the stuffy nose was gone. Finally, one day, when doing yet another thorough cleaning, I noticed that there was moisture around the windows. Since it was summer, the outside humidity was high and had caused a bit of moisture the corners around the screens and window sills. When I opened the window to clean what I thought was dirt, I noticed that there were all of these tiny little white bugs crawling around mold that had grown.
In mentioning this to a friend, her response was “Those sound like mold mites and he is allergic to them.” My first thought was that he has a dust mite allergy so this this is something similar. I had to find out what they were and here is what I learned.
What are Mold Mites?
Mold Mites are a type of mite that feeds on mold. Chances are that if there is any kind of mold in your home, there are mold mites lurking as well. They are, for the most part, harmless as they do not bite or cause any structural damage to a home or furniture. However, they do contribute to indoor allergies when airborne. They have long hairs (setae) that break off and float into the air which sparks indoor allergies just as dust mites do.
What Causes Them?
This is fairly easy. They typically feed on mold that comes from excess moisture such as that in my window sills, a leaky pipe, or some other area where small amounts of moisture seep into your home. With the right conditions (wet and damp), their population explodes.
How Do You Spot Them?
If you have an area of a room or window or anywhere that has been damp for a while, then more than likely there are mold mites. When you see them, you see a swarm of them. They are tiny and white/tan. It is not appealing to see them and, usually, there are a ton of them.
There were enough in my window sill that I thought the wood was just dirty and needed to be cleaned. The minute I sprayed the bleach cleaner, they got out of the way which was very unnerving to see them fly away.
How Do You Get Rid of Them?
Getting rid of them is also fairly easy. No treatment is necessary. For those you see, simply take a damp cloth and wipe them up. When you reduce the moisture, the mold mites go away.
Typically, when there are mold mites, you must find out why there is mold. In areas of the warmer areas of the country where humidity is high, it is important to keep your home well ventilated with air conditioning. This keeps the indoor humidity down so that your home doesn’t get damp and moldy.
While mold mites are creepy crawly insects, they are harmless. The biggest issue is figuring out why there is moisture. For my problem, there was an easy fix. I sprayed them too death with bleach cleaner as I do any kind of bug that comes inside. Once the window was fixed to securely close, there was no moisture and the mites when to someone else’s home.
Shannon Ryan is a freelance writer and mother of two. She is the online community manager for the Nusite Group, a specialty trades basement waterproofing and mold remediation company.