After a couple of years of suffering from all the lovely flora and fauna that Okinawa has to offer, we thought it was a good idea to do a series of health and home articles on what to do when the flora is not so friendly! If you live on or off base, you are likely to encounter several critters that you maybe wouldn’t at home. Whether it’s the guiness book winning cockroaches or huge spiders, you are bound to come across something you either need to evict or kill at some point!

We’re starting off with Dani which are Japanese dust mites. At this time of year, they’re not prevalent but when it starts to get hot and humid again, you may start noticing bites and irritation especially from sofas or beds. They normally live in Tatami mats, which most of you won’t have at home but they are also capable of living within any soft furnishings.

Dani - Japanese Dust Mites

Dani – Japanese Dust Mites

The temperature and humidity of Okinawa make it a perfect environment for them.

So the question is, if you think you have the little critters how do you prevent or get rid of them:

1. Ventilate your apartment daily. Keeping the humidity down not only reduces the chance of mould but also reduces the nice friendly atmosphere for dust mites. Also consider a de-humidifier, locally sold ones are now small and pretty effective. We’ll do a future article on links to Amazon on which ones to buy.

2. Vacuuming. Dani can be sucked up by a regular vacuum cleaner, so get sucking and clean the apartment regularly. Don’t forget to hoover curtains, sofas as well as carpets.

3. Bedding. This is probably the most important. Whether you have Japanese futons or a regular matress it’s important to air it regularly. Dust mites and mould will still grown beneath a regular matress in Okinawa unless its aired regularly.

Finally, get hold of some Dani insecticide if you need it. Ask for dani sacchuzai in the drug store or supermarket. You can also identify the correct chemical as the can has a small metal nozzle for inserting into tatami mats. Apart from the spray there are also paper sheets with chemicals to put between carpets and other soft furnishings and powders.

So if you feel a scratch in the night or wake up with lumps and bumps then Dani might be the cause!