Home About Chiggers What do Chiggers Look Like? – Points of Differentiation

What do Chiggers Look Like? – Points of Differentiation

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You might have heard about chiggers or, if you are one of those unfortunate souls, might have gotten bitten by them as well. Such people can easily describe in detail their unfortunate encounter with these tiny yet dangerous insects. However, for many others who still don’t know what chiggers are, here is a detailed insight for them. 

What do Chiggers look like?

You’ve seen plenty of insects in the world and all of them look different. It can be difficult keeping track of which insects are biting you and which are not. Chiggers are found all over the world and love to feed on humans.

Chigger

If you’re here you’ve likely heard of chiggers before but aren’t sure what they are and what they look like. I’m here to help you figure that out.

Chiggers are easy to identify. Because they are easily found you could go out and find plenty of them in the wilderness once you feel comfortable identifying them.

Chigger Picture
Photo By: Susan Ellis, Bugwood.org

Chiggers are nearly invisible to the human eye. They are roughly 1/150th of an inch in size. Though you can see them without a magnifying glass you should probably use one if you want to really see what they look like. Chiggers are tiny and red in color making them vibrant against whatever they’re walking on.

Chiggers are just the juvenile form of mites. Adult mites have 8 legs whereas the juvenile form of mites (Chiggers) only has 6 legs.

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The important thing to know is that chiggers usually hide in berry bushes, thick grass, or brush. They are small and red and nearly impossible to see. If you’re out hiking try to stay on the trails if you don’t want to get bit. If you want to play it safe try using a Chigger Repellant.

What are Chiggers?

Also known as berry bugs chiggers are the small larva form of the adult arachnid known as mites. Though the adults don’t drink blood the larva does. They are hungry for blood and eager to bite anyone willing to wander too close to the brush they’re hiding in.

Adult Chigger Mite

Chiggers are members of the class Arachnida. Their scientific name is Trombiculidae but they are more commonly known as chiggers and berry bugs.

They’re usually found hiding in berry bushes, thick brush, and grass. They aren’t very strong so they prefer to bite you on weaker parts of your skin such as any folds or wrinkles.

Chiggers tend to get bored when feeding so they change spots quite frequently. This is why when you find bites they are generally clustered together in a concentrated area.

When they bite a host they inject their host tissue with an enzyme that destroys and hardens the host skin.

You won’t be able to feel the bite at first because chiggers have a numbing agent in their saliva very similar to what fleas, mosquitoes, and bed bugs have.

The hardening of the host skin provides a feeding tube called a Stylostome. The Stylostome acts like a straw and allows chiggers to suck their host blood without drawing too much attention until irritation begins.

Other parasites and what they look like:

There are a lot of parasites out there and it’s easy to confuse them. I want to list some of the more common pests to help you have a better understanding of what each parasite looks like.

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What are Fleas?

Fleas are small and about 2.5 mm in size. They are dark in color usually red or brown. When looking at fleas from a distance they look like small black dots.

What makes fleas unique from other parasites on this list are their 6 incredibly strong legs giving them the ability to jump up to 7 inches vertically and 13 inches horizontally.

Fleas usually bite you around your ankles and feet because they can only propel themselves so high and so far. They also enjoy hiding in warm, moist areas like your socks.

What are Ticks?

This is a potentially dangerous form of the parasite. Ticks are flat and tend to be grayish-white color, reddish-brown, or yellow in color. They have eight legs and the more they feed the bigger they get. When at their biggest they become a milky white color.

Ticks aren’t able to fly, jump, or drop. They climb up your body from the ground and bite into you so they can feed. Most tick bites are caused by female ticks because males usually die after mating. Ticks feed during all stages of their life but adult ticks require blood meals to live.

Ticks can transmit harmful diseases such as Lyme disease. This is why careful tick extraction is crucial. When ticks bite they bury their heads into their host body and continue to feed until they are extracted or become full.

What Are Bed Bugs?

A very infestation is bed bugs and they can cause a real mess if they get into your home. Bed bugs measure from 4mm to 5mm and are red-brown in color. From a distance, they look similar to ticks.

Unlike ticks, though bedbugs infest your home and when they bite they don’t bury their heads into a host body and continue to feed. Instead, they bite multiple times in a straight line.

Millions of years ago bed bugs infested the nest of birds and other animals but have since evolved. They now live in the homes of humans. They can sometimes live in large groups and feed one host while they sleep.

Conclusion

Chiggers are the mites that belong to the Trombiculidaefamily. However, they infect a person in a far painful way. This is the reason why you need to differentiate them from other mites in the clan. And we hope that this article has given you clarity.

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