Do you suddenly wake up at night and feel something crawling, something you can’t see? Also, do you have some mysterious bites and rashes? If your answer to these questions is “yes,” it’s very likely that some invisible microscopic bugs that bite have attacked you.
What are those microscopic bugs that bite? There are various species of microscopic bugs that bite. Among them are the following:
1. Body lice
3. Insidious flower bugs
4. Scabies mites
6. Pirate mites.
This article will discuss what are the possible microscopic bugs that have been biting you, how to get rid of them, treat their bites, and other possible causes of skin irritations in case of doubt.
How Will I Know What’s Biting Me?
To know what’s biting you, consider the following:
- First, know the characteristics and habitats of these so-called invisible bugs.
- Second, remember where you last sat, stand or lay down before you felt the pain. Some bug bites can take effect minutes later, and sometimes even hours or days.
- Lastly, know the symptoms and marks caused by different bug bites.
What Could Be Biting Me That I Can’t See?
The following are some microscopic species that could be biting you:
1. Body Lice
Scientifically known as Pediculus humanus humanus, body lice are one of the three kinds of human lice.
They can be found on your clothes and on you when you’ve visited an unhygienic area during the summertime. They’ll look like a speck of tiny black bugs on skin. These wingless insects can also transmit bacterial diseases, such as epidemic typhus and trench fever.
What Do Body Lice Bites Look Like?
Also called body louse, body lice feed on human blood, and their bites cause itching and severe skin irritation. Their bites are clusters of tiny red dots that may later expand with a pink bump.
They are usually seen in warmer parts of the body, such as the back of the head and behind the ears.
Chiggers are larva forms of parasitic species that are commonly found in damp areas, forests, and grasslands. Although animals such as rodents are their natural hosts, they also attack humans.
Chiggers don’t suck blood. Instead, they drill very tiny holes on your skin and inject a digestive fluid so they can suck liquefied cells as their food.
What Do Chigger Bites Look Like?
Chigger bites usually start to become itchy red bumps or flat patches 3 – 6 hours after the initial bite. They are usually found in ankles, armpits, groin, waist wrists, and thighs.
If not treated immediately, they can become bigger and itchier. Longer exposures to chiggers are very likely to cause longer healing of the bites.
3. Insidious Flower Bugs
Insidious flower bugs are considered beneficial predators and are species of the minute pirate bugs.
These nearly invisible microscopic bugs are called such because they prey on mites, aphids, and other small insects, and their eggs as well. These winged bugs bite but don’t suck human blood, inject venom or saliva.
What Do Insidious Flower Bug Bites Look Like?
Scientifically known as Orius insidiosus, an adult insidious flower bug measures about 1/16th inch long. These winged bugs don’t suck human blood or inject venom or saliva. They also don’t transmit diseases. However, their bite is painful and very itchy.
4. Scabies Mites- What invisible bugs biting me on couch?
Scabies mites are invisible bugs that look like lint and bite. They burrow into the upper layer of human skin scrapings, where they live and lay their eggs.
These tiny insect-like organisms don’t suck blood or transmit any disease. Scabies is not an infection but rather a highly contagious infestation, especially in crowded environments.
What Do Scabies Bites Look Like?
Scabies bites cause rashes that appear as small blisters or pimple-like bumps and are very itchy, especially at night.
They are found in almost all parts of the body, including armpits, elbow, waist, wrist, and areas between the fingers. Aside from direct contact, scabies can also be transmitted through clothing or beddings.
Thrips are microscopic, cigar-shaped insects that are about 0.5 to 2 mm long. They are little tiny yellow bugs that bite humans. From black to yellow, there are a variety of colors of thrips found in nature.
Thrips belong to the order of Thysanoptera, which is known for having two pairs of fringed wings. These tiny yellow bugs that bite are mostly attracted to white or blue, so avoid wearing clothes of these colors. They may also bite pets but very rare and not intentional.
What Do Thrip Bites Look Like?
Generally speaking, these little yellow bugs that bite- thrips, are not dangerous to humans, and they don’t carry diseases. Thrip bites cause minor irritation to exposed skin, but they can be very annoying.
However, they are very temporary and don’t usually have visible marks. In very rare cases, the bite marks might be composed of tiny pink dots.
6. Pirate Bugs
Pirate bugs are tiny bugs that bite and are rare cousins of insidious flower bugs, and they are also beneficial predators. Scientifically known as Anthocoridae, minute pirate bugs are most active during late summer.
These very tiny critters occasionally feed on crops, but their favorite foods are plant pests such as corn earworms.
What Do Pirate Bug Bites Look Like?
Pirate bugs don’t feed on blood, and they don’t carry or transmit diseases. These bug bites are surprisingly painful and can cause swelling. However, not everyone bitten by pirate bugs will have the same reaction. Some of them may experience red marks, while for others, there is no reaction at all.
How to Get Rid of Invisible Biting Bugs and Treat Their Bites?
1. Borax and Boric Acid
Also called sodium borate, borax is a salt and boron compound that is widely used as a cleaner. This white, powdery mineral is also an ingredient in some household products such as cosmetics and paints.
Boric acid can kill microscopic insects such as dust mites. However, it cannot kill aphids, flies, ticks, and lice.
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Ivermectin is an oral antiparasitic agent that has been proven effective in treating humans with symptoms of parasitic infestations such as head lice.
But although there were shreds of evidence showing that it is safe and effective against scabies, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet approved it for this purpose.
Several people claim that Listerine is effective as an insect repellent, can eliminate mosquitoes, and treat itchy chigger bites. This antibacterial mouthwash has eucalyptol, thymol, menthol, and methyl salicylate. However, mosquito experts noted that the effect is very limited because Listerine will evaporate quickly.
4. Permethrin Cream
Permethrin Cream (5%) is another drug proven effective in scabies treatment. According to the FDA, this synthetic pyrethroid is safe for treating scabies in humans at least two months old.
And just like Ivermectin, this drug is also not available “over-the-counter,” You cannot buy one without a doctor’s prescription.
Windex is a famous brand of cleaning products, especially for cleaning glass windows and hard surfaces such as furniture. Apparently, it contains ammonia, an effective chemical in eliminating pests, insects, and microscopic biting bugs. However, you should spray it on surfaces only and not directly on your skin.
Natural Remedies/Solution for the Invisible Biting Bugs
Here are the remedies that can help eliminate or treat bites for microscopic bugs:
1. Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
Diatomaceous earth is a chalky-white powder made of fossilized aquatic organisms called diatoms. This powder has been proven to have many useful purposes, including food processing, skincare products, and insecticides. Pesticides with DE are known to be effective in eliminating microscopic insects such as lice and thrips.
- Diatomaceous earth-based powder is a highly effective ant killer;...
- Kills insects by ingestion/dehydration within 48 hours indoors or...
- Also for bed bug, cockroach, flea, earwig, silverfish, cricket,...
- Insects cannot develop an immunity to this product unlike...
- Formula contains 100% Diatomaceous Earth
2. Enzyme Cleaners
Enzyme cleaners are non-toxic cleaning products that are known for removing pet stains and foul odor from cat and dog urine. Nonetheless, enzymes are also proven effective as natural pest control. They can eliminate bugs, lice, and scabies by cracking the cuticle of their exoskeleton, which acts as their protective shell.
- STAIN AND ODOR REMOVER: Bac-Out safely works wonders on pet...
- PREFERRED BY PROFFESSIONALS: Bac-Out is the preferred choice of...
- BIO ACTIVE FORMULA: A unique blend of live enzyme cultures...
- PLANT BASED CLEANER: Bac-Out uses a plant-based, eco-friendly...
- NEVER TESTED ON ANIMALS AND MADE IN THE USA: Biokleen products...
3. MSM Cream
MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) is a sulfur-containing compound found in humans and animals and can be made in laboratories. It is known for treating a very long list of medical conditions such as osteoarthritis. Nevertheless, many people claim that it also has helped them treat skin irritation due to insect bites.
- Great for your skin
- Refreshing scent
- Put it on anything that hurts!
If Skin Irritation Is Not Caused by Arthropod Bites, What Could It Be?
Normally, you will immediately conclude that your skin is itchy because some microscopic bugs bit you. However, not all skin irritation problems are always caused by arthropod bites.
So if you have no clear evidence of insect bites, here are the other factors that can also cause similar effects on your skin:
1. Physical Irritants
Some household products such as soap, detergent, perfume, cosmetics, and paper may also cause skin irritation. Some clothing fiber and fabric materials that contain fire retardants can also give you rashes.
Air pollution is the best environmental factor that can also cause skin problems. This includes dust, smoke, and other airborne chemical contaminants such as ammonia. In fact, they can also cause dizziness and headache.
3. Health-Related Conditions
Skin irritation may also occur if you have diabetes, as well as liver and kidney diseases. Pregnant women may also experience rashes during their last trimester. Likewise, your skin will also be irritated if you are allergic to some foods.
4. Medicines and Drugs
Some medicines such as amphetamines and antibiotics can also cause insect-bite-like bumps on your skin. This is normal for elderly people taking multiple medications. On the other hand, illegal drugs can also cause the same sensations.
Microscopic bugs bite humans, but some of them are not harmful, and their bites don’t carry diseases. In fact, some of them can be avoided by simply having good personal hygiene or not disturbing their habitat. But for your own safety, consult a doctor before you take any medicine or apply anything to your skin.
List of Sources
Waldvogel, M., et al. (2020). Mites That “Bug” People – Biting and Stinging Pests. NC State University.
Insidious Flower and Minute Pirate Bugs. Iowa State University.
Parasites – Scabies: Medications. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Bunch, T., et al. (2013). Diatomaceous Earth: General Fact Sheet. Oregon State University.
Jacobs, S. (2006). Is Something Biting Me? The Pennsylvania State University.