Slang Mites

A Greek word came to Latin as acărus and then, in Spanish, it became a mite. Mites are animals that belong to the class of arachnids and are usually parasites.

More than fifty thousand species of mites have already been recognized, although scientists believe there are many more to discover. They are generally very small creatures, measuring a few millimeters.

Mites can live on land or in water. Their bodies are divided into two sections or tagmas and allow them to develop skin or tracheal breathing, as appropriate.

Among the mite food, numerous plant species appear. This means that certain mites are considered pests, capable of causing great damage to crops. Mites can also settle on the bodies of animals or build nests in droppings or rotting wood.

It is very common for mites to inhabit. So-called dust mites, which live on pillows, mattresses, bedding, and couches, eat the flakes of skin that naturally come off people. When the environmental conditions present a humidity level higher than 70% and a temperature of more than 20 °, the mites find the ideal environment for their development.

It should be noted that mites can cause allergies and complicate an asthma condition. In this situation, it is common for doctors to recommend that asthmatics reside in mountain areas, since mites do not live beyond 1,100 meters in height.

Demodex folliculorum

The mite called Demodex folliculorum is very small (its body has an extension less than 0.4 mm) and inhabits the hair follicles and pores. It can usually be found on the forehead, chin, cheek, nose, and even the eyelashes. Its appearance is similar to that of an earthworm and has stumps as limbs.

Demodex mites live in hair follicles and head down. Regarding her diet, she focuses on dead skin and secretions. Females can lay around 25 eggs per follicle. During their development, the young cling firmly to the hair; once maturity is reached, the mites look for a new follicle to reproduce, and the entire cycle lasts for no more than 18 days.

To eat, Demodex mites have a fine-tuned, needle-like structure and small claws that they use to pick up and swallow dead cells. It should be noted that they do not have an excretory opening, since their digestive system generates almost no waste.

Although the term mite is not well regarded, Demodex in particular is not considered harmful to health; on the contrary, since it is in charge of eliminating dead cells from our body, it could be said that they benefit us. On the other hand, it is known that they can cause different disorders in our epidermis, and in fact science is not sure that these mites just feed on dead cells.

Some scientists point out that when Demodex mites ingest the cells of our skin they destroy the barrier that prevents the entry of certain pathogens, thus giving rise to problems of varying severity. Veterinary medicine has recognized several pathologies related to this mite, such as demodectic mange.

In the case of humans, when too many mites settle in the same follicle, infections and inflammations can appear on the face. This can also lead to conjunctivitis and an abnormal increase in the fall of the eyelashes.