Chigger Bites VS Bed Bug Bites – Are Bed Bugs and Chiggers the Same?
Information on the difference between the bites of chiggers and bed bugs, and whether or not they are the same.
We know all about bed bugs, right? It’s something we talk a lot about, and are common knowledge for the vast majority of the general public. There’s even that old saying, “Good night, don’t let the bed bugs bite!” which we are taught from a young age.
But what about chiggers?
Chiggers are something that we talk less about and can often be confused for bed bugs. But what are they, and what is the difference between the two? Are their bites really that similar?
Read on for information on the difference between the bites of chiggers and bed bugs, and whether or not they are the same.
The Difference Between Chiggers and Bed Bugs
First things first, we’re going to be sorting out some of the basic differences between chiggers and bed bugs.
A small, raised group of bumps on the skin is an indication you have been bitten by a bug. The two most obvious culprits? Bed bugs or chiggers. These parasites literally live off the blood of humans and animals.
Their bites do look similar; however chiggers live in a very different environment to that of bed bugs. The bites of both chiggers and bed bugs, although extremely irritating, do not tend to be dangerous to the overall health of the average person.
Bed bugs will live near to the sleeping quarters of people. If you notice brown or red spots on your sheets, then this could be an indicator that you have bed bugs. Furthermore, you might actually notice a sweet and musty smell if you have bed bugs close by to you.
Chiggers, on the other hand, tend to group together in clusters. When they do attach to your body, they will usually feed on it for several hours or days at a time, if you don’t take action in either scratching or washing them off. It might be the case that you feel them on your skin rather than see them, as they are microscopic and difficult to spot with the naked eye.
The Differing Symptoms of Being Bitten by a Bed Bug, VS Being Bitten by a Chigger
Next up, we’re going to be taking a look at the comparative and differentiating symptoms of being bitten by a bed bug, VS being bitten by a chigger.
Let’s take a closer look then, shall we?
The Symptoms of a Bed Bug Bite
First of all, we’re going to be taking a more in – depth look at the classic symptoms of a bed bug bite.
The physical symptoms of a bed bug bite tend to occur from a few days up to two weeks after the bite taking place, and can look like the following:
- They actually resemble bites from other pests, such as fleas and mosquitoes.
- They tend to be slightly raised and inflamed, as well as being red in colour.
- They are itchy.
- They are usually assembled either in clusters, or in a zig – zag line on the skin.
- They will show up on whatever skin you leave exposed while you are sleeping.
In some cases, you might actually find that bed bugs will cause some of these symptoms also:
- Feelings of anxiety.
- Skin becoming irritated.
- Having trouble getting to sleep.
Remember that not everyone will feel the same following a bed bug bite, and the symptoms will usually differ from person to person.
For people more sensitive to bed bugs – and those who may even have an allergy – their symptoms will be more severe than those who aren’t.
The Symptoms of a Chigger Bite
Next up, we’re going to be taking a more in – depth look at the classic symptoms of a chigger bite.
The physical symptoms of a chigger bite tend to look like the following:
- They will appear as small pimples, which are dark red in colour and tend to be raised.
- They cause the skin to become itchy, and it only becomes more itchy over time.
- The bites tend to be grouped in clusters around the areas of the body where you wear tight clothing. A prime example of this would be the elastic around the waist line of your underwear, or around the lining of your socks.
One noticeable thing about chigger bites, is that they may change while they are healing. The centre of the bite tends to have a cap, and when scratched, it can ooze.
As is the case with bed bug bites, the severity of reactions can differ from person to person, and therefore symptoms can vary.
What is the Time Frame of the Reaction Usually Like for Both?
Another way in which the bites of chiggers and bed bugs tend to differ, is in their reaction time.
Let’s take a look at these and compare them, shall we?
The Reaction Time of a Bed Bug Bite
First up, we’re starting with the bed bug again.
A lot of the time, you might not even realise that you’ve been bitten by a bed bug at all at first, and you may only find this out if you spot evidence of there being bed bugs where you have slept.
The vast majority of the time, you won’t even feel yourself being bitten by a bed bug. The reason for this, is because when they bite, they actually release a substance that numbs your skin, and actually stops the blood from running out of the bite area. Waste not, want not, ey!
The Reaction Time of a Chigger Bite
Next up, we have the chigger.
The time range of a chigger bite is a little more complex, because the bite can actually last for a large range of time, depending on your exposure to the chiggers, and how long they actually stay on your skin for.
If you only have the chiggers on you for a short amount of time, then it’s likely the symptoms are going to be mild, and will only last for a matter of days.
However, if the chiggers stay on you for a longer length of time instead, for example while you are sleeping, then you may experience some more severe symptoms that could last for a few weeks.
If I Have been Bitten by a Bed Bug or a Chigger, How Should I Treat the Bite?
Last of all, but by no means least, we’re going to be taking a look at how you should treat both of these bites, and when you might have to see a doctor.
First up, we’re looking at the home remedies for treating bed bug and chigger bites.
The first thing you should be doing with both bites, is avoiding scratching them at all costs. You should leave them be as much as you can.
You should also be sure to wash the affected area with warm and soapy water – particularly when it comes to chigger bites. This will also ensure no chiggers stay on your skin.
To relieve itching and swelling, applying a cool compress to the bite is a good idea.
In some cases, you might need to use some over – the – counter treatments on the bites you’ve encountered.
You could try using some pain relief medications, such as acetaminophen, or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, also referred to as NSAIDs. These can help to calm down the itchiness and uncomfortableness associated with insect bites, and can relieve inflammation too.
Other over – the – counter treatments such as topical creams and ointments can soothe the itch of the bite. You should also look at some of the creams with steroids in them, such as hydrocortisone.
If the area of the bite continues to get worse as time goes on, it might be the case that you actually need further medical treatment, such as antibiotics.
When Might I Need to See a Doctor, or Seek Medical Attention?
In some rarer cases, it might be the case that someone needs to see a doctor or seek medical attention when having a more severe reaction to the bite.
You should ring a doctor immediately, if:
- You have symptoms that seem to get worse and worse over time, or do not start to heal after a few weeks.
- You develop other symptoms such as body aches, fever, and chills, as well as the physical symptoms of infection on your skin.
- You experience an allergic reaction with exaggerated symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, or swelling on certain areas of the body, particularly your throat.
If you experience the third point of exaggerated symptoms, then you may be having a severe allergic reaction and going into anaphylactic shock. If this is the case, then waste no time, and call the emergency services immediately. This kind of reaction can put your life at risk, and seeking immediate medical attention is vital.
Thanks for reading!
Frequently Asked Questions
Only the larvae of the chiggers bite humans. They tend to choose warm, moist areas of the body. Chiggers have claws that help them grab onto the skin. The chigger then attaches its mouth to the skin and injects saliva. The saliva contains an enzyme that breaks skin cells down to liquid form.
Chiggers through a complete metamorphosis life cycle and contain four separate and distinct states: egg, larva, nymph, and adult. The adult female mites lay one to five eggs per day in a leaf litter, vegetation and lawns. After five to seven days, the eggs hatch into six-legged chigger larvae.
There are different ways to prevent chigger bites. You can use insect repellent such as DEET. Wear long sleeves and pants treated with permethrin and tuck your pant legs in shoes or boots. Shower as soon as you get indoors since chiggers can wander on the body before attaching themselves.
Chiggers are barely visible to the naked eye. They are red biting mites. They are small and can only be seen with a magnifying glass.
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