Dust bunnies………are they really harmless little house pets? ;)

Today has been a spring-cleaning day of note, even though it’s winter here. Now that my eyesight is scarily near perfect, I can suddenly see all sorts of little details that I’d rather not. 😉 Wrinkles aside, there’s also the matter of how many pesky corners there are in the average house, not to mention the floors underneath the beds which one doesn’t normally get down to examine in minute detail.  This reminded me of a post I did a couple of years ago about some lucky guy In England who’d discovered a priceless Michelangelo painting, which had been stashed behind the sofa in his lounge for a good few years. Some of my fellow bloggers mentioned that all they could find behind their sofas were ‘dust bunnies.’

Is it true that we bloggers spend so much time on the blogs, that we don’t have the time to clean house properly?  Surely not!

Dust bunnies are of course those harmless little bits of fluff that accumulate under furniture, particularly those pieces that are difficult to move, or clean underneath. Other names for these bunnies are, ‘beggar’s velvet,’ and ‘sluts wool.’ Do you by any chance recognise this pic? 😉

They often go unnoticed and are left alone to breed in peace and quiet,but if a dust bunny is left to hibernate, it can quite possibly grow into a dust bear, which is of course quite a bit bigger. This bear loves to sleep, so it’s best not to disturb it, as a disturbed bear is far more ferocious that a bunny. They can be very unpredictable and it’s wisest not to ‘rattle their cage’ with such things as vacuum cleaners and feather dusters. It’s definitely inadvisable to try to remove the dust bear, unless absolutely necessary. You do not want to awaken a dust bear, as they can be very scary, so my advice is to just forget about them.

This laziness on our part, can however, have scary repercussions, because if your dust bunny/ bear is left to hibernate undisturbed for long enough, it can evolve into a dust devil which is neither harmless nor sleepy.

These are dangerous balls of accumulated debris which are made up of all sorts of household detritus, such as, hair, lint, dead skin, spider webs, dust, crumbs, and other bits and pieces dropped on the floor and not swept up. All this is held together by static electricity and can harbor dust mites and parasites.

Just look at this microscopic view of the contents of a dust devil.

These household pets have been around for centuries, living quietly alongside us, and have become quite domesticated. Unlike most other pets, they are very low maintenance, not requiring vet’s visits or inoculations, and they’re also able to find their own food. Maybe this why they’re so popular. 😉 They’ve even been known to turn vegetarian, so if you don’t want them eating your house plants, it’s best to wipe off the leaves occasionally. They do reproduce at an alarming rate, and although they seek out quiet, dark spaces, such as under beds, sofas and dressers, they do sometimes get curious about the outside world, and have been known to make an appearance on warmer days when the ceiling fans are switched on, and they come out to dance in the sunlight. Some of you are now going into summer, so watch out for them.

Suzanne Proulx, an American artist, has created and sculpted dust bunnies from her own household dust and lint etc.. She even adds other elements of her family’s lives, like toenail clippings, hair and flakes of skin. Don’t they look cute?

Anyway, be that as it may, and not meaning to alarm you at all, quietly lurking within these cute little dust bunnies, are creatures too small to see with the naked eye. Dust mites are arachnids, the class of arthropods which includes spiders, scorpions and ticks. They feed on dead skin flakes and crumbs, and live their whole lives hatching, growing, eating, defecating, mating and laying eggs. It’s their droppings which make us itch and wheeze. A single dust mite produces about 20 waste droppings each day, each containing a protein to which many people are allergic. There can be 100.000 of them living in one square meter of carpet. Many people develop severe allergies to these droppings. If you lie on a rug where they live, you might get little red itchy lumps on your skin. Breathe in the dust, and you may develop more serious symptoms, like difficulty breathing or even a severe asthma attack. Yikes!

Well, this started out as a lighthearted look at our pet bunnies, and ended up on a more serious note. I’m off now, to finish vacuuming underneath the beds. 😉

Have a great day everyone. Chat again soon.