Why did Charles Naspitz recently vacuum the heads of 38 Brazilian children? Naspitz, an allergist at the Federal University of São Paulo, and Enrique Fernández-Caldas, an expert on parasites at Leti Laboratories in Madrid, were curious to know whether house-dust mites--minute scavengers of human skin flakes that infest carpets, beds, clothes, and even cuddly toys- -might also take refuge on a child’s scalp. Apparently, no one had thought to look there before, but the question is important because proteins in the mites’ fecal pellets trigger asthma attacks. Using a handheld vacuum cleaner, Naspitz hoovered the heads of 29 asthmatic children and 9 children without allergies. All had freshly washed hair. Among both groups, some scalps turned out to be mite-free; others had as many as 30 mites of the species Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus, shown here grazing on a dandruff flake. Fernández-Caldas thinks the mites migrate from infested pillows and mattresses onto the children. I suggest the first step to control the presence of mites on the head, he says, is to control mites in pillows and bedding.