Mold mites can be a pesky problem, especially when they find their way onto your computer. These tiny creatures thrive in humid environments and feed on mold, making electronic devices like computers that may have some dampness an ideal breeding ground for them.
Getting rid of mold mites on your computer is not only essential for maintaining a clean and healthy workspace but also for ensuring the proper functioning of your device. By addressing the underlying mold issue and cleaning the computer thoroughly, you can effectively eliminate these unwelcome guests and prevent their return.
Understanding Mold Mites
Biology and Life Cycle
Mold mites, also known as Tyrophagus putrescentiae, are tiny creatures that feed on mold and fungi. They are commonly found in damp and humid environments, where mold growth is prevalent. A mold mite’s life cycle consists of four stages:
The entire life cycle takes around 12-19 days to complete, depending on the environmental conditions and availability of food.
Mold mites prefer environments that are high in humidity and rich in fungal biomass. They are typically found in:
- Tropical and subtropical regions
- Damp and humid indoor spaces
- Areas with poor ventilation
Their ideal living conditions are:
- Temperature: 20-25°C (68-77°F)
- Relative humidity: > 75%
Mold mites become an issue when mold growth occurs due to increased humidity or water leakage in a building. Computer equipment, such as keyboards and cases, can trap moisture and provide an ideal environment for mold mites and mold to thrive. To prevent mold mite infestations:
- Keep relative humidity below 60%
- Properly clean and dry any damp or wet surfaces
- Increase ventilation in the affected area
Food sources for mold mites include spores, fungi, and other organic materials that can be found in or around your computer. Reducing the availability of these food sources can help keep mold mite populations under control.
|Mold Mite Favorable
|Mold Mite Unfavorable
|< 20°C (68°F) or > 25°C (77°F)
|Mold, fungi, organic materials
|Limited organic materials
Taking these steps to control the environment around your computer can help you prevent mold mite infestations and protect your equipment from potential damage.
Signs of Mold Mites On Computers
Mold mites, also known as computer mites, are tiny pests that can infest your laptops, keyboards, and LEDs. Here are some signs to watch for:
- Gray or brown dust: These mites can leave a powdery substance on your devices.
- Visible mites: You may see tiny, white or translucent mites crawling on surfaces.
Mold mites can also cause health issues, especially for those with allergies or asthma. Symptoms may include:
- Allergic reactions: Allergens from the mites can cause sneezing, itching, watery eyes, and runny nose.
- Skin rashes and itchiness: Some people may experience skin irritation from contact with mite-infested devices.
- Sore throat: Breathing in allergens from mold mites can lead to throat irritation.
Here’s a comparison of mold mites and dust mites, which are often confused with each other:
|Found in damp, moldy environments
|Primarily live in bedding, carpets, and furniture
|Feed on mold and fungi
|Feed on human skin cells
|Leave a gray or brown powdery residue
|Rarely leave visible traces on surfaces
|Can cause allergic reactions and skin irritation
|Can cause asthma and allergy symptoms
If you encounter mold mites on your computer, try the following steps:
- Keep devices clean and dust-free
- Maintain a dry and well-ventilated environment
- Use an air purifier or dehumidifier, if needed
By identifying mold mites and addressing their presence, you can protect both your devices and your health.
Preventing and Eliminating Mold Mites
Removing the Food Source
To prevent mold mites on your computer, start by eliminating their food source: mold. Mold growth occurs in humid environments and can be found in places like electronic devices, fabrics, and household plants. Keep humidity levels low by using a dehumidifier, fixing any leaks, and avoiding the use of humidifiers.
Examples of food sources for mold mites include:
- Computer towers
- LED or LCD TVs
Once the mold problem is addressed, clean your computer and surrounding area to eliminate mold mites. Use a microfiber cloth for the exterior, and pressurized air to clean internal components like computer towers and laptop internals. Avoid using bleach, borax, or lemon, as they may damage electronic devices. Instead, opt for a solution of equal parts water and vinegar.
Some cleaning methods include:
- Rubbing alcohol for exteriors
- Pressurized air for internals
- Vinegar solution for overall cleaning
In addition to cleaning, maintain a dry, cool environment to prevent mold mites from returning. Control humidity by using fans or air conditioning, and keep your work area clean and free of debris. Some electronic devices, such as portable room heaters and central air vents, can contribute to high humidity, so use them with caution.
Steps to control the environment:
- Use a fan or air conditioner
- Clean and maintain work area regularly
- Limit the use of humidity-contributing devices
In summary, preventing and eliminating mold mites on your computer involves removing their food source (mold), employing proper cleaning methods, and maintaining a controlled environment. By following these steps, you can keep your computer mold mite-free and create a healthier work or home environment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can mites get in electronics?
Yes, mites can enter electronics, including computers and laptops. They are attracted to the warmth and humidity generated by these devices.
How do mites get in laptops?
Mites may enter laptops through vents, openings, or by hitching a ride on your clothes or belongings.
Do computer mites bite?
Generally, computer mites do not bite humans. However, some mite species like the cheese mite (Tyrophagus putrescentiae) can cause irritation if their population explodes.
What are some signs of bed bugs in laptops?
- Small, dark fecal spots on the laptop surface
- Tiny, pale yellow eggs or shed skins around the device
Bed bug laptop treatment options:
- Vacuum the laptop and surrounding area
- Use a portable bed bug heat treatment chamber
Do bug bombs affect electronics?
Bug bombs can potentially harm electronics due to the chemicals used, so it is not recommended for treating laptops.
What can be used to repel mites from laptops or computers?
- Keep your device clean and dust-free
- Store it in a dry, cool area
- Regularly vacuum around the laptop
To get rid of mites on computers, take the following steps:
- Remove the food source: Mites typically feed on dust, skin cells, and other organic matter. Keep your computer and surroundings clean.
- Clean surfaces: Wipe down your laptop or computer with a damp cloth, avoiding any openings.
- Dehumidify: Lower the humidity levels in your environment as mites thrive in humid conditions.
- Call professionals: If the infestation persists, contact a pest control expert to address the issue.
Different kinds of computer mites:
- Cheese mites (Tyrophagus putrescentiae)
- Flour mites (Acarus siro)
Pros of using a dehumidifier to repel mites:
- Reduces humidity, making it less suitable for mite infestation
- May also reduce other issues related to high humidity, e.g., mold or mildew
Cons of using a dehumidifier:
- Requires regular maintenance
- May increase energy consumption
Comparison table between vacuuming and using a dehumidifier:
|Removes dust and mites directly
|Needs frequent repetition
|Creates unfavorable environment
|Increased energy costs
Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.
Letter 1 – Computer Loving Mites
My laptop’s infested!
About two weeks ago, crawling down the screen of our (immaculately clean, less than a year old) laptop, was a speck barely a millimetre across. I though, How cute! There’s a living thing on our laptop! Now, I love insects and do not give in to urges of wanton annihilation. So I usually, and peacefully, show them the way out the window. However, this morning I woke up to find scores of these animated specks doing the locomotion on our monitor! Lately the screen has been giving us the occasional, brief flicker. Were these incidents manifestations of our animated friends crawling over, and shorting, the circuit boards? I want them gone! I’m attaching photos. Sorry about the fuzziness, but there’s only so much a macro lens can do. Remember these creatures are all less than 1mm across. What are they? Where do they come from? What do they feed on? Why did they get into our monitor? How do we get them out without breaking the computer apart? Your advice is anxiously awaited.
We suspect your computer loving critters are a species of Mite. The question, and the root of the eradication, is why are they after the computer? Sadly, we don’t have an answer. We suspect they might be in your dwelling for another reason. They could be Bird Mites or Rodent Mites, of just Predatory Mites. Sadly, the photo isn’t detailed enough for us to give you an exact identification, and we are not experts in the order Acari even if the photos were tack sharp.
Hello, thank you very much for your reply! Since then we have discovered them everywhere in my tiny 3m x 2.5m study. On books, papers, other bits of furniture or equipment… Now we live in a fairly new apartment, built entirely out of stone. The study has one ventilator leading to the outside, which is protected by a plastic grill on the outer wall. So I guess that would eliminate both rats and birds as a possible source. I’ve called over a pest control technician. He said that they’re wood mites (?) and that they need moisture to survive. Now this being a new place, and with this winter having been particularly wet (and also, with Malta being a small island in the Mediterranean), we’ve had problems with excessive humidity. The technician suggested installing a dehumidifier in the room, and he said that once we bring humidity down, the mites will die on their own. There must be some truth in what the technician said, in that I’ve discovered fairly large concentrations of mites on the covers of hardback books without dustjackets, which seem to be more prone to humidity (in fact one was going mouldy without my realising that it was… and this in the space of just three weeks since I had last used it). We have now installed a dehumidifier, which is kept on all the time, but still, the mites keep coming out…
Update from Barry M. OConnor (05/23/2006)
Computer loving mites (1/3/06). This is a species in the family Acaridae, genus Tyrophagus. One of the most common mites found in homes or other buildings, Tyrophagus putrescentiae, sometimes called the "mold mite" will feed on a wide range of organic materials. They are white, somewhat oblong in shape, and have long body setae. They can be part of the normal "house dust fauna" and may be a minor source for house dust allergy. They’re fairly desiccation tolerant as mites go.
Letter 2 – more Computer Loving Mites
Infested New Monitor
We received about 12 new Dell computers at our company a few weeks ago. While getting the first couple setup, I noticed small reddish brown "dots" moving around the flat screen monitors. After a little investigation, I found they seemed to be coming from an infestation inside the monitors. In particular, two monitors. Their shipping boxes had pinched burned or blacked corners, which probably occurred during shipping. I visited with Dell, and they are replacing the monitors. They claim their warehouse facilities are "clean" and inspected. As we have never had this happen previously, I will take their word this time. However, even a visit by Orkin and a bug bomb in the room where I had been working on the monitors….didn’t kill the creatures. They are probably around 1 millimeter in size….if I’m guessing correctly. They seem to look like some sort of mite. I was finally able to track down a good macro lens today, and take a couple of pictures. They move relatively fast, though they do not jump and they have a soft shell body which squishes fairly easily. Orkin did bag several to send off to an extension of Texas A&M for identification. I’m still awaiting the news. Here are the two pictures of the "critters". Any help on identification and suggestions on eradication, would be greatly appreciated.
Robert (in West Texas)
This is a Mite, but we are not sure what species. This is not the first report we have gotten concerning Computer Loving Mites. We are curious if you get a proper identification from Texas A&M, Please let us know what you find out.
Update from Barry M. OConnor (05/23/2006)
"More computer loving mites" 3/21/06. This is a "clover mite", Bryobia praetiosa. This is one of the spider mites, but Bryobia species don’t make the silk webs most often associated with this group. Bryobia are plant feeding mites that are rather non-specific and often feed on plants growing in lawns or otherwise around homes. This species is unusual in that it overwinters as adults and seeks out warmer places in the fall. They commonly enter houses or other buildings. The spider mites belong to the order Trombidiformes, like Anystis and Balaustium, and many, like Bryobia, are also red in color. The dark material seen in the photo is ingested plant material. These are harmless to people, but will leave a red mark on the wall if you squish them!
Letter 3 – Possibly Computer Loving Mite
Subject: Lice? Bed bug? Flea????
Location: Denver Colorado
August 9, 2017 7:26 pm
Hi! I’ve been seeing these strange things crawl across my iPad or iPhone screen for the past week or so. They are brown in color. Quite small. I’ve had my phone on a bed or couch when they seem to show up. What is it?????
Signature: Disgusted in Denver
Dear Disgusted in Denver,
Though your image lacks important critical clarity, we suspect this is a Mite. We have several postings in our archive devoted to computer loving Mites.