Information on common indoor pests and ways to prevent them.

Dust Mites

Dust mites are tiny bugs that feed on human skin flakes. They are found in mattresses, pillows, carpets, upholstered furniture, bedcovers, clothes, stuffed toys and fabric-covered items. Exposure to them and their droppings can trigger asthma in individuals with allergies and can cause asthma in children who have not previously exhibited asthma symptoms.

Follow these simple steps to reduce or prevent dust mites:

  1. Wash bedding in hot water once a week. Dry completely.
  2. Vacuum carpets and furniture weekly
  3. Wash stuffed toys in hot water regularly and keep off beds
  4. Use dust proof covers on pillows and mattresses

Learn more about controlling dust mites and other asthma triggers on the EPA website.

Roaches

Cockroaches and their droppings can trigger an asthma attack in some individuals.

Follow these simple steps to prevent roaches:

  1. Keep counters, sinks, tables and floors clean and free of clutter.
  2. Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink or on the counter.
  3. Clean up food spills right away.
  4. Store food in airtight containers.
  5. Seal cracks or openings around or inside cabinets.
  6. Use safer pesticides like roach traps and gels.

Learn more about controlling roaches from the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC).

Bed Bugs

Your risk of exposure to bed bugs increases the more time you spend in places with high turnovers of nighttime guests, such as hotels, hospitals, camps, or homeless shelters. Bed bugs, like those featured in the image above, are small (no bigger than an apple seed) and great hitchhikers. There are steps you can take to reduce the risk of bringing them into your home.

  1. Inspect your room for signs of bed bugs
    • Pull back the bed sheet near the head of the bed and look for bed bugs or stains left by them.
    • Inspect under the mattress tag and along the seams of the mattress
    • If possible look behind the head board
  2. Inspect the luggage rack then place your bag on it. Do not place your luggage on the floor.
  3. Inspect the drawers and closet before placing shoes and clothing in them

Bed bug resources:

General Resources