All you need to know about the house dust mite
Dust Mite Studies

Bugs in the gut of the mite

As long ago as 1989 scientists noted that 'rickettsia-like' bacteria were infesting the gut of the mite, but how they gained access has never fully been explained. In 2008 an explanation emerged, and more recently, some species described.
As long ago as 1989 scientists noted that 'rickettsia-like' bacteria were infesting the gut of the mite and that some of these strange microorganisms were able to detach and float into the canal that forms the mite's droppings. Considering the fact that adult mites have a very short life that can be measured in days, the presence of a mature and mobile colony of bacteria in the gut of the mite is a wonder.

In 2008, Dr Mike Service, from Cambridge, noted that, once hatched from its egg, the larvae of the mite will eat before proceeding through two further nymphal stages of development before becoming an adult. Mindful that mites consider mite droppings as food, a question should be asked: During the mite's early developmental stages is it possible for ingested 'helpful' bacteria to have time to establish a colony?

Scientists have previously described such symbiotic relationships between bacteria and animals and note that they are important for survival. These bacteria, or their products (ie.endotoxins) may be a cause disease in sensitive humans and dogs.

Text taken from Dr Service's book, 'A female house dust mite may lay 1 to 3 eggs a day. After 6 to 12 days the egg will hatch producing a six-legged larva which will feed then pass through 2 nymphal stages before emerging as an adult'.


Medical Entomology for Students, Dr Mike Service, Cambridge University Press, 2008, ISBN 0521709288, 9780521709286.