Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Quinn. Quinn Wonders, “why are dust mites so small” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Quinn!
Do you like to sit outside on sunny days? It can be fun to play with friends, picnic with family, or even just lie in the grass. If you lie down, though, watch out! You could come face-to-face with a big bug! For some, that’s their worst nightmare!
Many people don’t realize that there are bugs crawling on their skin all the time. Is that an unsettling thing to hear? There’s no reason to worry! It’s perfectly natural, and in fact, many of those bugs are helpful to us.
Most of the bugs on our bodies are mites. You can look as closely as you’d like, but you won’t see them with the naked eye! Mites are microscopic. The smallest one is only one third as wide as a human hair. Experts estimate that around 1.5 million of them live on the average human body.
Mites are part of the arachnid family. That means they’re related to spiders and scorpions. Don’t let that scare you—mites aren’t venomous like some of their cousins. Experts say there are between three and five million species of mites, and they live everywhere. They’re in the water, soil, and on the bodies of every mammal on Earth.
Mites live all over the body. However, they most heavily populate the nose, eyebrows, and eyelashes. Every square centimeter of your face houses one or two mites. They stay hidden most of the time, but they move around at night when you’re asleep. That’s when they move across your skin to lay eggs in your pores. But hey, they’re not all bad! Demodex mites clean away harmful bacteria from your face. They help you stay healthy.
For the most part, mites are our friends. However, more harmful bugs like to live on humans as well. Lice, ticks, fleas, and bedbugs are just a few to avoid. They carry many diseases and can spread them to humans. In fact, fleas are to blame for the Black Death.
To keep the bad bugs away, practice good hygiene. Washing regularly helps keep your body’s mite population under control. It also stops lice, ticks, fleas, and bed bugs from making you their new home. It’s also important to keep your home clean and self-check for unwanted bugs after you’ve spent time outdoors.
So yes, there are bugs on your body right now. Hopefully, it’s just a million or so mites! Does the idea of being covered in bugs still give you goosebumps? We hope not. Remember, you don’t have much to fear from these critters.
Standards: NGSS.LS4.C, NGSS.LS4.D, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.9, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.W.7, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.SL.2