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Do Dust Mite Bites?

Do Dust Mites Bite?

Dust mites do not bite in the sense that they do not inflict a wound to obtain food. Dust mites feed exclusively on the dead skin cells that we shed every day in the form of dandruff and other flakes and particles. They are essentially scavengers, not predators or parasites. They cause dust mites allergies which are controlled by using dust mite covers.

Something Bit Me!

Many wounds are frequently misdiagnosed as “spider bites” or “bug bites,” despite the fact that the victim never saw any animal inflict a bite. Because our own individual immune systems react differently to irritations and bites, it is exceedingly difficult for the medical community to interpret the symptoms expressed, let alone identify the possible agent that caused a given inflammation. Believe it or not, ingrown hairs are one of the leading “causes” of “spider bites.” Fleas, lice, ticks,bed bugs, and “kissing bugs” do bite people, and these creatures can occur in bed, too, at least on occasion.

Dust Mite Jaws

Dust mites have “chelicerae,” the scientific term for the paired, pincer-like mouthparts in arachnids and crustaceans. Indeed, the jaws of dust mites may be compared to two pairs of pliers or nutcrackers, arranged side by side, designed to bite off food particles and grind them into smaller chunks that can be ingested. Each chelicera can move independently, and only the lower “arm” of each chelicera is articulated, hinged to the upper, fixed arm.

Chew and Swallow

Scientists have different terms for mite mouths, too. The oral intake in mites is called the prebuccal cavity. Once the jaws tear off a particle of food, it goes in there. The lower lip, called the labrum, helps close the mouth since it fits beneath and between the jaws and the hypostome (a projection that equates to the upper lip). Once inside the mouth, food is partially dissolved by salivary secretions, then actively drawn into the esophagus by an internal organ called the pharyngeal pump. Swallowing is accomplished by muscular contractions of the pharynx surrounding the length of the esophagus.

Digestion

The digestive system of mites is divided into three parts:

Foregut
Midgut
Hindgut

The foregut is composed of the reasonably elastic esophagus, enveloped by the muscular pharynx. The two act in concert to move semi-liquid food and large particles to the midgut. The midgut secretes digestive enzymes that begin working on the food as it nears the end of its journey through the foregut. The remainder of the midgut (which functions much like our stomach and colon) completes the digestive process.

Excretion

The hindgut extracts water from the remaining, indigestible food mass, and packages the waste in a kind of envelope. The finished waste product is then shipped to the anus where it is discharged as a fecal pellet. It is a certain protein in this fecal pellet that is the major allergen responsible fordust mite allergies.

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