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Allergy. 1998;53(48 Suppl):13-7.

Life cycle and reproduction of house-dust mites: environmental factors influencing mite populations.

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Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester, Gloucs, UK.


An understanding of the life cycle of house-dust mites, as well as environmental factors influencing mite populations, can be exploited in mite control. The most important limiting factor for house-dust-mite populations is air humidity. House-dust mites osmoregulate through the cuticle and therefore require a high ambient air humidity to prevent excessive water loss. In addition, the supracoxal glands actively take up ambient water vapour, and the protonynph stage of the life cycle is resistant to desiccation. Larger house-dust-mite populations are found when the absolute indoor air humidity is above 7 g/kg (45% relative humidity at 20 degrees C). Consequently, ventilation by air-conditioning systems is being developed as a means of control. A number of other aspects of the domestic environment are also being manipulated in an integrated approach to render the habitat less suitable for mites. The potential exists for developing models for house-dust mite populations, environmental characteristics, and the effects of various approaches to control.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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