Can Chiggers Live in your Bed

Here's a young lady's situation, that nobody would want to experience:

While sleeping in bed at night, some type of critter is eating me alive.  I have really itchy bites for at least 5 days now, and have more than 50 bites on me!  I have searched and searched the bed, and my room, but can't find anything!

At first, I thought I had bed bugs, but after reading more about them, the bites look different, and I am not able to find any on my mattress or bed.  So now I'm leaning toward chiggers!  But I don't know, I didn't think Chiggers live indoors.   We do have dogs, maybe they brought them in?

I'm not sure, but I'm tired of these things having an all-night party and feast on my body!

This was a post we ran across on social media.  The poor young lady was desperate.  There is so much misleading information about chiggers, bed bugs, ticks, fleas, etc it's hard to tell what is what, and she was clearly very upset and confused.

If you're having a similar issue, or just worried about Chiggers being able to get in your bed, we're going to clear up this whole issue for you.

The short-answer is: Yes, Chiggers CAN live in your home, and in your bed.  But it's not that simple, and requires a longer answer.   Fortunately it's not very common either.

So, let's dive in and explore Chiggers in your home and in your bed a little bit more.

What's a Chigger Anway?

Chigger

Photo by: Hansell F. Cross, Georgia State University, Bugwood.org

First, let's talk real quick about what a Chigger is exactly.   Chiggers, also frequently called red bugs, are the larval stage of the Trombiculidae mite.  The Trombiculidae mite has multiple stages, but the larval stage is where they feed on human skin.

Wait, they feed on human skin?

Yea, we know ... gross but true.   See, Chiggers wait for a live person or animal to walk by, jump on them, and then find the first area of open skin they can.  

Using the clawlike legs, they rip your skin open and insert a straw-like appendage called a stylostome. Using the stylostome they put their saliva into the hole.  

Their saliva contains an enzyme that begins breaking down the softer portions of your skin, and then they drink it.

Chiggers require this "liquid skin" diet in order to progress to the next state of the Chigger lifecycle and become an adult mite.

Chigger Bites

The unfortunate side effect of this whole feeding process is that a few days later, that enzyme, combined with the damage from the bite causes severe skin inflammation.  

This results in incredibly intense and uncomfortable itching on your skin for up to a week.  For those even more allergic, up to two weeks!

The "chigger bite" locations looks like very read, and irritated pimples.   They generally don't get infected, unless you break the skin by itching.  There is not easy way to get rid of them, you can only treat chigger bites to lesson the discomfort.

Even worse, Chiggers normally get on your skin in groups, and can "bite" you multiple times, before becoming engorged and dropping off your body.   The result is often many many bites in the same area, resulting in even more intense itching and discomfort!

Ugh right?

Can Chiggers Live in your Bed and Home?

Chiggers in bed

Now that you know what Chiggers are, and why their "bites" itch so bad, let's jump to the core of why you're here and answer the question: Can Chiggers Live in your Bed and Home?

Yes, they can, but not for long, here's why ...

Remember, Chiggers are just the larval form of the Trombiculidae mite.  They feed and engorge themselves, then drop off your body and move to the next stage in their lifecycle, where they do not feed on people.

Chiggers additionally like tall grass, and heavily planted areas, that are damp and moist.   They prefer to stay out of the heat and direct sunlight and prefer being outdoors, where food for their adult stage resides.

Be sure you have Chiggers, and not other critters

If you are being bitten by chiggers at night while sleeping.  The first thing you need to do is make sure you're being bitten by chiggers.    There are many other bugs it could it be, including:

and many others. 

One problem with Chiggers is that they are VERY difficult to see, due to their small size.   Generally smaller than the periods used in this article.   They do however have a pretty signature bite pattern.

If you aren't sure, consult your physician or a local pest exterminator, who can often provide inspection and identification services.

What to do if you have Chiggers in your bed?

Chiggers in your bed

If you do have Chiggers, you'll want to find the source.   They are most likely getting into your bed by:

  • You bringing them in from the outside - This is common if you come in from outside, don't shower and lay on your bed or go to sleep
  • Your pets are bringing them in and laying on your bed.
  • You have a chigger infestation directly around your home, and they are coming in through a gap or opening, such as an open window near your bedroom.

You'll first want to eliminate the source of the Chiggers in your Bed by doing the following:

  • When coming in from outdoors, immediately remove ALL of your clothing in the washroom, and wash your clothes in your washer with detergent.  
  • Immediately head to a hot shower, and wash vigorously with soap to remove any Chiggers on your skin.  Be sure to wash your hair as well.
  • When venturing outside, if you are commonly plagued by Chiggers, always wear a Chigger Repellent, like ChiggAway.  Additionally always wear boots, long pants, and long sleeves when going into areas that may have Chiggers.
  • If you suspect you have Chiggers in your yard, you'll want to follow the steps in our How to Kill Chiggers Guide.

Before sleeping in your bed, do the following:

  1. Remove all linens, and immediately wash them in the washer with detergent.
  2. Thorough dry them in your dryer on the highest heat setting.
  3. While the linens are washing and drying, spray your mattress, boxspring, and floor with a Chigger Spray - We highly recommend EcoRaider's spray, which is all natural and green.
  4. Let the spray dry, then vacuum the mattress, box springs, and carpet - Preferably with a HEPA vacuum or HEPA filter.

Wrapping Up

Who wants any type of critter in their bed with them, especially when it's Chiggers ??

If you've ever been bitten by Chiggers, you'll understand exactly what we mean.  Chiggers are miserable and just plain gross, especially in your bed.

The good news about Chiggers is that they don't generally live or stay long in your bed.  

Once you address the source that is bringing them into your bed, you'll no longer have to deal with them, and their painful bites!  You'll finally be able to get a good nights rest, knowing that you'll wake up in the morning, Chigger Bite free!