Can Chiggers Live In Your Bed? Unbelievable Facts About Chiggers
Chiggers are immature and tiny mites, often confused with jiggers – another type of flea. Chiggers’ favorite habitat is a moist, grassy, and humid environment.
These pests can give intensely uncomfortable and irritating bites. And they often land on hikers’ skin, where they spend approximately three days before moving on.
Chiggers don’t usually spread disease. But when an infected one bites you, it can transfer orientia tsutsugamushi, the bacteria responsible for scrub typhus.
Chigger bites can be very irritating. You may break your skin via intense scratching in an attempt to stop the discomfort.
So, having chiggers on one’s bed can be a huge risk. But the question is can these pests reside on mattresses? Read to find out.
Can chiggers live in your bed?
Yes, chiggers can live on your bed, but they won’t find it comfortable. Thus, they won’t live long on your bed.
What chiggers normally do is to attach themselves to a person’s skin, where they live, and feed for 3 to 4 days before progressing to the next stage of their life cycle.
So, between 1 to 2 days, expect chiggers latching onto your delicate skin to fall off. You’ll eventually scratch them off when the constant biting and discomfort starts.
Keep reading to get more information on this topic on chiggers.
What Chiggers Are
Chiggers are mites that belong to the family Trombiculidae. They are immature mites and are known by various names. These include berry bugs, red bugs, harvest mites, bush mites, or scrub-itch mites.
Chiggers are quite tiny. But one thing about these arachnids is that their bites can make someone extremely uncomfortable.
How these arachnids latch onto people’s skin is incredible. They boast claws that help attach them to worms and even people’s skin (moist patches on the skin).
What makes chiggers bites so itchy? They release saliva every time they bite their hosts. But that’s not all. The saliva released does contain digestive enzymes that encourage the liquefaction of skin cells.
How Can You Identify Chiggers Bites?
Chigger bites can be difficult for most people to identify. The reason is that their bites often resemble that of bed bugs.
But keep this in mind. Despite being highly irritating, nothing should scare you about chiggers’ bites. Why? You won’t experience any health risks.
You’ll only have cracked skin, thanks to constant scratching. An infection could still get into the injured skin, nonetheless.
Now, how can you tell you were bitten by chiggers? Firstly, understand that chiggers move in groups. And because of these mites’ microscopic nature, it’s impossible for our naked eyes to spot them.
However, chiggers would only latch on to a person’s body for a couple of hours or days. It depends on how long you waited before hitting the shower or scratching and finally getting the mites off your skin. e
So, how can you recognize chigger bites?
#1: You’ll find raised but small pimples that appear dark red on the skin.
#2: Your skin would be itchy after chigger bites, and this itching would increase as time progresses.
#3: Chiggers are often present in clusters in parts of the body where your clothes appear tighter. These include the area under the sock line and an underwear’s elastic material.
A Handy Tip: The reaction to chigger bites may vary from person to person. Some people may react strongly to their bites.
However, you can also notice chigger bites as they heal. Take a close look at where you felt the itching. You’ll discover the middle portion boasts a cap, and when you scratch, it will start oozing.
How Long Chiggers Bites Last
How long you’ll feel the effect of chigger bites depends on several factors. These include your exposure, including how long the mites lived on you.
Please bear in mind that if chiggers only latch on your skin for a short while, you may only experience mild symptoms, which can last for a few days.
However, if these pests remain on your skin for long, especially when you’re asleep, the symptoms you might experience could take weeks to clear off.
A Handy Tip: Once bitten by chiggers, the itching people experience results from the parasite’s stylostome. And the itching will also become more intense after one to two days.
The stylostome is solidified saliva that extends from the parasite’s mouth part and is variously shaped.
How Do Chiggers Get To Your Bed?
Chiggers are not like bed bugs that prefer life indoors. They prefer to live outside.
They may only live on your skin for a few days. After feeding on a human host for some days, chiggers may want to return to their natural habit – outdoors. They prefer a moist, shady and humid environment.
So, how do chiggers find a way into your bed? It is simple. These parasites live in every country. And their preferred environment includes moist and grassy areas such as forests and fields.
Chiggers can also live on your lawn, near lakes or streams. But because of their small nature, you won’t notice these parasites on your body until they strike by biting you.
Now you understand how these parasites travel from their natural habitat into your home and then your bed. When hiking in wooded areas or grass fields, you may likely return home with chiggers on your clothes.
Chiggers can also find their way to your body from your lawn. From there, they may invade your home.
Do Chiggers Feed On Human Blood?
Chiggers bite. It’s how they feed. But on the contrary, they won’t feed on your blood. However, bed bugs feed on people and animals’ blood.
What do chiggers feed on, by the way? They feed on skin cells. When they bite your skin, they release digestive enzymes, which help to disintegrate skin cells.
Where Can You Find Chiggers?
Chiggers are present in every country. But they prefer to live in specific places. Watch out for these parasites during the spring and fall months. They’re most common during these periods.
Here are places where chiggers are most common.
- Among weeds
- Under rocks
- Berry patches
- Areas where humidity is high
- Grassy places around rivers and lakes
- Places where a huge number of rodents reside
- Overgrown and long grasses in gardens and forests
How Can You Prevent Chiggers From Invading Your Bed?
Do you know chiggers have claws? Yes, they do! They can use these claws to hold onto your skin. Without knowing, you may end up transporting a cluster of chiggers into your home.
So, how can you prevent chigger invasion? It is quite simple. Just do the following.
#1: Don’t expose your body when hiking:
If you want to prevent chiggers from latching onto your skin, you should cover it up properly. Always wear long sleeves and long pants. Cover up your skin nicely.
We mentioned areas where chiggers are abundant. So, if you plan on visiting any of them, which is normal when hiking, consider putting on the right clothes.
#2: Don’t wander into long grasses:
Chiggers enjoy spending time on long and overgrown grasses. They’re always there in clusters, waiting for the right opportunity to get their claws on a host.
So, avoid passing through long and overgrown grasses with your body touching the leaves. Instead, search for paths and mowed areas. If you can’t find one, use a different route.
#3: Wash your clothes the moment you arrive home:
Pull off your clothes and wash them the moment you get home. Do this whenever you visit the likely habitat of chiggers.
You can use hot water to wash your clothes. It would eliminate chiggers fast. Just ensure the water isn’t too hot, so you don’t hurt yourself.
#4: Take a hot shower when you get home:
The first thing you should do when you arrive home after visiting places where chiggers are common is to take a hot shower.
When you take a hot shower, the water knocks off chiggers that haven’t latched onto your skin.
Can chiggers live in your bed? Yes, they can, but not for long. These mites prefer moist, shady, and humid environments. They may only feed on your skin cells for a few days before metamorphosing to another stage of their lifecycle.
We mentioned that chiggers’ bites don’t cause any health risk. Their bite will only make you extremely uncomfortable. You may also mistakenly break your skin due to constant scratching.
So, when hiking in the woods or areas with tall and overgrown grasses, remember to take precautions against chiggers. You should also not forget things you need to do before and after visiting places where chiggers are more predominant.