Kitchen

The environmental conditions of the kitchen usually favour the establishment of a large community of arthropods. In kitchens, dust may not gather as in other rooms due to the lack of soft furnishings. Dust may accumulate in cupboards and behind heavy electrical equipment such as fridges, freezers and washing machines. Extractor fans reduce the concentration of mite allergen in the kitchen, bedroom and in the living room. This effect is linked to a reduction in the relative humidity of the home environment (Luczynska et al. 1998).

Comparing the rooms of 134 houses in Chile, the highest prevalence of dust mites was found in the kitchen (Franjola and Rosinelli 1999). The most abundant and prevalent species was Glycyphagus domesticus, followed by Tyrophagus putrescen-tiae and G. destructor. The highest density was recorded in bedrooms caused by Pyroglyphidae mites. But the number of mite positive samples from houses might be significantly higher than the number of mite positive samples from kitchens of the same houses (Ezequiel et al. 2001). The kitchen might be considered as a habitat with the potential of being a source for re-colonization of the entire house. A study in Brazil showed that of the 190 mites collected in pantries, 141 (74%) belonged to the family Acaridae, with the stored product mite species Tyrophagus putrescen-tiae predominant (Binotti et al. 2001). The other mites observed belonged to the families Tarsonemidae (7%), Pyroglyphidae (3%), Glycyphagidae (3%), Cheyletidae (2%), Eriophyidae (2%), and also to the order Mesostigmata (8%) and the order Oribatida (1%).

In the United Kingdom, mites were counted in 14% of 727 kitchens (Turner and Bishop 1998). Booklice are one of the most expected inhabitants of flour or grain products stored in kitchen cabinets. With the sole aim to collect psocids from domestic cupboards, two surveys were conducted using bait traps (Turner and

Maude-Roxby 1989). Nevertheless, the mites were the predominant fauna. Of the whole mite collection, 55.5% constituted Tyrophagus putrescentiae, followed by Glycyphagus domesticus accounting for 25%. The remaining 19.5% included 10 species of which the skin feeders belonging to the family Pyroglyphidae made only 5.7%. The species collected in British kitchen cupboards included Carpoglyphus lactis, Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus, Euroglyphus maynei, Acarus siro, Lepidoglyphus destructor, Euroglyphus longior, Glycyphagus privatus, Cheyletus eruditus, Dermatophagoides farinae and Dermanyssus sp.

Cereal based foods stored in a kitchen for 6 weeks after purchase contained a predominance of Acarus siro (49.6%). Just one species of pyroglyphid mites was recovered, Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus, increasing the numbers by only 1.2% (Thind and Clarke 2001).

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