In order to survive, dust mites need a warm, damp and dark environment. They require limited sun exposure. They live on the skin scales that are naturally shed by humans along with other debris. They feed on the debris and then eliminate waste. They then can re-ingest the waste droppings for further sustenance. Mites live in nests and can travel between nests by clinging to fabric, people or pets being moved from place to place.
The average dust mite can live for two to three months. They experience five life stages and it can take approximately one month to reach the final breeding stage.
Dust mite eggs develop for five to eight days. The larva feed for three to ten days before moving to the next stage, protonymph, which lasts four to seven days. Tritonymphs grow for five to eight days while feeding, and then the dust mite reaches the adult, or breeding, stage.
A female dust mite, in the breeding stages, produces 30 to 100 eggs at a time. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, a gram of dust contains an average of 100 to 500 dust mites. However, the dust could hold up to 19,000 mites. The reproduction rate increases with high temperatures and humidity.