Let’s face it. Most bug bites almost look the same. Red itchy lumps show up in different parts of your body.
But some bugs bite in patterns like clusters or a line or specific places on your body.
In this guide, you’ll find out bugs that bite in clusters. And, most importantly, you’ll also find out where these bugs that bite in clusters hide in your home.
Plus, there’ll be tips and information on how to get rid of these bugs and the precautions you need to take to prevent further bites.
- Why Do Bugs Bite In Clusters
- 5 Bugs That Bite In Clusters
- Fleas Bite In Clusters
- Bed Bugs Bite In Clusters
- Chiggers Bite In Clusters
- Rat Mites And Bird Mites Bites In Clusters
- Marks Of Fire Ant Stings Appear In Clusters
- Head Lice Bite In Clusters
- Bugs That Don’t Bite In Clusters
- How To Treat Bug Bites From These Bugs
Why Do Bugs Bite In Clusters
Bug bites are no fun, especially when you can’t see what’s biting you.
But the best part is that bites from these bugs that you’re about to find out don’t cause any complications unless you’re highly allergic to bug bites.
Before you find out about the bugs that bite in clusters, let’s find out why on earth these bugs bite in chunks in multiple places of your body.
There are two reasons for it.
The first reason is that these are bite marks from multiple bugs.
Biting bugs that are tiny or microscopic are never in small numbers in your home.
As these bugs are hard to spot, their numbers increase fast because you don’t take steps to get rid of them when the infestation is minor.
These biting bugs multiply fast too. It’s because your home has the coziness, hiding places, and the perfect temperature that enables them to breed.
And given that most of these biting bugs, irrespective of the fact that they bite in clusters or a line, are attracted to the carbon dioxide you exhale, your sweat and body odor land up in your bed and soft furnishings where you’re stationary.
These biting bugs can end up in your bed or other soft furnishings like couch and carpet.
It’s because these places are suitable for them to hide.
And the carbon dioxide that you exhale while you’re asleep, your body odor, and your sweat attract these bugs to the places where you spend time by remaining stationary.
The second reason is these bugs are unsuccessful in sucking out your blood on the first bite.
Yes, that’s true. The bugs’ mouths may not penetrate the skin on the first bite.
So, they’ll try multiple times, in different places, to have their blood meals. And that leads to numerous bite marks on your body.
Some bugs, which you’ll find out later in the post, have their blood meals simultaneously. That also leads to clusters of bite marks or bite marks in a line.
5 Bugs That Bite In Clusters
There are six bugs in your home that leave bug bite marks in clusters or lines. These are –
- Bed bugs
- Rat mites
- Bird mites
- Fire ants
- Head lice
Let’s dive into why each of these bugs that bite in clusters and how you can stop them from biting.
Fleas Bite In Clusters
Fleas are parasites that are anatomically designed to bite mammals and humans.
Fleas‘ mouthparts have three tiny needles—one on the right and left side of the mouth and one at the center.
When fleas bite you, they’ll insert two needles (the one on the right and the left) into your skin.
When these two needles find the blood vessel underneath your skin, they’ll spread the bitten area a bit to make way for the center needle to penetrate.
The fleas then inject the center needle into the blood vessel and start to suck blood.
While having their blood meals, the fleas‘ salivary glands release an anticoagulant to prevent the blood from clotting. That anticoagulant ensures that blood flows smoothly from your body to theirs.
This saliva or anticoagulant is responsible for flea bites which are red lumps, skin rash, and intense itching.
But fleas are not successful in finding the blood vessels on their first bite. That makes them bite in multiple portions within a few square inches of your body.
That’s what makes flea bites appear in clusters and, at times, in a straight line in threes too.
The more fleas bites, the more the number of bite clusters on your body.
Flea bites are more common on the lower portion of your body. Fleas are one of the bugs that will bite you in ankles, feet, and on parts below your knees.
How Do You Get Flea Bites Inside Your Home?
The most common place where you can get flea bites is your bed. Other places are any soft furnishings that include your couch and carpet too.
So, how do fleas reach inside your home?
There are two ways.
The first way is when fleas latch onto your pets, and your pets carry them home.
When pets spend time on bed or couch, some fleas drop off from their bodies and hide in these places.
Lack of accessibility to your bed makes the fleas bite humans in bed.
There are signs of fleas in bed that you need to look out for if you’re getting flea bites.
The second way is to introduce fleas inside your home unintentionally.
That happens when you walk among tall grasses or bushes outdoors.
Outdoors, fleas live in places like these. Fleas will hide in tall grasses and bushes in moist areas.
And if you walk through these places, fleas will latch onto your clothing, especially in the portions below your waist.
When you get back to your home and keep these clothes with fleas on your bed or elsewhere, fleas get transferred to your home.
That’s how pets get flea infections most of the time. Either they get fleas from other pets or spend time in places outdoors where there are fleas.
The worst part is that fleas can also hide in furniture and on wooden floors.
However, there are many home products that you can use to get rid of fleas inside your home.
Bed Bugs Bite In Clusters
When it comes to signs of bug bites inside the home, bed bug bites are the most common.
Bed bugs survive only on human blood. That’s the reason why these pests are the nastiest biting bugs you can ever have in your home.
Bed bugs‘ mouthparts have features that enable them to suck blood. Their mouths consists of a beak, also known as proboscis, that they insert into your skin to suck out blood.
Other parts in the mouth also include pumps for injecting the saliva and sucking out blood.
But bed bugs have a strange habit of biting. They like to move from one place to another on your body to get their blood meals.
It means that they won’t suck out their blood from one place in your body despite having no problem sucking out the blood.
A single bed bug can bite 2-3 times in one night. That’s the reason why bed bugs‘ bites appear in clusters of red bumps. Each bite mark can be a few inches away from the other.
It takes 3-10 minutes for the bed bugs to finish their blood meals.
The saliva they inject to prevent the blood from clotting causes itchy welts and redness on your skin. On some people, the bed bug bite marks can be flat too.
Once the bed bugs finish their blood meals, they’ll crawl back to their hiding places in your bed.
More than the adult bed bugs, it’s the baby bed bugs that bite more often.
It’s because, without the blood meals, the baby bed bugs can’t molt. In other words, they can shed their skin to accommodate their growing exoskeleton.
An adult bed bug bites once every 5-10 days.
In contrast, baby bed bugs or nymphs need blood meals at least once a day.
Unlike fleas, bed bugs don’t have a preferred place to bite. Bed bugs will bite you anywhere where they can access your skin.
But flea bites and bed bug bites look different.
Flea bite marks are more reddish than bed bug bite marks. Also, the cluster of flea bites is denser than the cluster of bed bug bites.
Another difference is that you’ll notice a red halo at the center of flea bite marks. The halo is not present in the bed bug bites.
Most Common Way To Get Bed Bugs Inside Your Home
The most common way to get bed bugs inside your home is through travel.
Bed bugs spread from one infested place to another by latching onto anything that they can latch upon.
So, the likelihood of bringing in bed bugs from places like hotels, motels, and neighbors’ homes is the highest.
Bed bugs will latch onto your clothing, luggage, and furniture that you introduce to your home.
There have been instances where people have found bed bugs in their cars and even in their babies’ car seats.
Inside your home, bed bugs will hide in places where their hosts, which is you, spend most of the time being stationary.
So, beds and couches are the common places where bed bugs can hide. But that’s not all.
Bed bugs can also hide in dresser drawers and even in wooden furniture.
Bed bugs will hide in the tiniest and thinnest of gaps on your bed frame, mattress, headboard, and box springs. And these bed bugs are nocturnal.
So, it’s pretty hard to notice bed bug activities during the day. However, you can check out for bed bugs during the day too.
To get rid of bed bugs, heat treatment, pesticide treatment, or a mix of both is essential.
But as professional bed bug treatment is pretty expensive, there are ways to get rid of bed bugs on a low budget.
But to get rid of bed bug cheaply, you’d need to notice the signs of bed bug infestation when the infestation is still in the early stages.
Chiggers Bite In Clusters
Chiggers are tiny bugs that can bite you, but you can barely see them. Chiggers are a type of mite.
Unlike bed bugs and fleas, chiggers are not the bugs that feed on your blood.
Instead, they feed on the dead, dry skin cells.
In the US, chiggers are active all around the year, except in the winter months.
Chigger bites look like bed bug bites, and chigger bites also appear in clusters. Chigger bites also cause skin irritation and skin rash, which are very similar to bed bug bites.
But there’s one significant difference between chigger bites and bed bug bites.
Bed bug bites appear on exposed skin. In contrast, chigger bites appear in clusters in areas of your body where your clothes are pretty tight.
So, clusters of chigger bite marks can appear around your waist, neck, and even on the ankles because of tight socks.
The bite marks from chiggers look like red itchy lumps forming in clusters on places where the clothing is too tight on your body.
Inside your home, chiggers hide in your bed and other soft furnishings.
So, after every outdoor activity, it’s always best to put your clothes straight into the washing machine rather than keeping them on your bed or elsewhere in your home.
The chiggers that bite humans are not adults. They’re baby chiggers that feed on human skin.
These baby chiggers have eight legs and are tinier than adult chigger mites. The adult ones have ten legs.
How Do You Get Chiggers?
Fleas and chiggers share the same habitat: long and thick grasses and bushes in the moist areas. And chiggers get into your home in the same way that fleas do.
But chiggers don’t latch onto pets.
Chiggers will latch onto your clothing while you walk through dense vegetation. And they’ll remain in your clothing till they reach your skin.
Chiggers don’t survive for long if they don’t get to feed on your skin. Most chiggers die within 50-70 days because of starvation.
Also, after feeding on your skin, the chiggers drop off your skin. They need to molt to grow after feeding.
To ensure that you don’t bring chiggers home, avoid contact with wet long grasses and shrubs while you’re outdoors.
Wearing skin-friendly insect repellent creams or sprays, tucking your trousers inside your socks, and inserting the sleeves of your shirt inside a long pair of gloves are proven ways to prevent chiggers and fleas latching onto your clothing.
Rat Mites And Bird Mites Bites In Clusters
Now bites from these mites are rare unless you’ve had rat infestation or bird’s nests in your home and property. Rats and birds bring them into your home.
Rat mites and bird mites are parasites on rats and birds, respectively.
They will feed on their host’s blood, and they hide in their nests. Some of these mites are left behind when you get rid of rats and birds’ nests from your home.
In the absence of their primary, they’ll look for an alternative host to get their blood meals.
And that alternative host is you and the people living in your home.
The bites from rat and bird mites look more like red pimples in clusters than swollen red lumps.
Both rat and bird mites can bite you anywhere as long as they’re getting access to your skin.
Their bites are intensely itchy, and constant scratching can cause swelling in the bitten area. You can also develop skin conditions like dermatitis on the bitten area.
Both of these mites can travel for more than 100 feet in search of their hosts. So, despite getting rid of rats or birds’ nests from your home, these mites can lurk in different areas in your house.
So, it’s essential that after you remove rat infestation or a birds’ nest from your home and property, you clean their nesting places with a disinfectant to eliminate any hiding mites.
Both rat mites and bird mites are also tiny, and it’s hard to spot them with a naked eye.
Marks Of Fire Ant Stings Appear In Clusters
And finally, the last bug that can leave bites in clusters and chunks on your body is the red fire ant.
Out of all the bugs in the list, the red fire ants‘ sting is the most painful and, the worst part, causes a burning sensation on the sting site.
Red fire ants are very aggressive. And if anyone stomps on their nest, or tries to destroy it, hordes of ants attack at one go.
They’ll latch onto the skin with their strong mandibles and sting multiple times at random places on the skin.
Fire ants inject a toxin named solenopsin while biting, which causes an intense burning sensation.
The bite marks from fire ants are like red-hive-like lesions on the skin that appear in clusters.
A typical sign of fire ant bite is the bitten portion developing blisters within a few hours after the bite.
Fire ants are invasive pests, and settlers from South America introduced them to the US. These ants are now common in most parts of the US, barring the northern US.
They’re pretty widespread in Florida and Texas. Homeowners in these states often find them and their nests’ in their yard and garden.
Fire ants have a habit of sneaking inside homes searching for food and shelter after heavy rains or when the weather outdoors is too hot.
Head Lice Bite In Clusters
Head lice are tiny biting bugs that bite on the head, around the neck, and even in other hairy parts of the human body.
The bite marks from head lice are small reddish lumps on the scalp and the neck.
The bitten area causes intense itching, especially during the night. If there are lice in the head, their eggs, which are tiny and white, also show up.
Head lice look like tiny brown insects in the shape of a sesame seed crawling on the scalp.
Head lice can be tricky to remove. And the best course of action is to see a doctor for help if you notice those tiny red clusters in your scalp and neck.
Bugs That Don’t Bite In Clusters
There’s a lot of misinformation around about the bugs and their bites.
Now that you know the bugs that bite in clusters, it’s time to determine which bugs don’t leave bite marks in chunks or groups.
Here are the top 6 bugs that most believe leave bite marks in clusters, but they don’t.
Tick Bite Marks Are Not In Clusters
Ticks are nasty biting bugs that bite humans. They also spread different diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
The black-legged tick is the one that spreads Lyme disease. These ticks are pretty common in the North Eastern United States.
The bite marks from ticks are not in clusters.
The tick bite mark is a vast bulls-eye bite mark that looks like a circular skin rash around the bite.
Tick bites also cause muscle and joint pain, headache, and fever. Some people also show signs of fatigue after the bite.
Black Widows And Brown Recluse Spiders Don’t Bite In Clusters
Spiders bite humans only when they feel cornered or threatened.
Two spiders that are pretty widespread in the US are the brown recluse spiders and the black widow spiders.
And these spiders have bitten humans when they’re trying to get rid of them, or they’ve stepped over them accidentally.
Handling these spiders without the proper precautions and gear can also cause them to bite.
Black widow spider bites are like two red dots on the bitten portion. These dots look like puncture wounds.
The bite from black widow spiders will rarely cause any rashes on the skin.
But black widow spiders have venom. And their venom affects the nervous system.
Common symptoms after the bite are muscle pain, vomiting, nausea, fever, and sensitive people like the elderly and children can also face difficulty breathing.
If a brown recluse spider bites, then the symptoms are as same as the symptoms of the bite from the black widow.
The strange thing is that the brown recluse‘s bite symptoms can take hours to show up. And their bites are painless.
But the bite marks of the brown recluse spider are different from the bite marks of black widow spiders.
The bitten portion turns into bluish-black with a halo of red rash around the bite. Necrosis, death of skin cells, is the cause of this symptom.
Mosquito Bites Don’t Appear In Clusters
Some people believe that mosquito bites also appear in clusters. But it’s false.
Mosquito bites are isolated bite marks on the skin. Neither these bites appear in clusters nor a line.
But mosquito bites look pretty similar to bed bug bites.
Red lumps, itching, skin rashes are also common signs of mosquito bites, which are also the signs of bed bug bites.
Mosquito bites look like red lumps, rashes and also cause itching like the bed bug bites.
But the mosquito bite marks are pretty far away from each other.
Mosquitoes spread diseases like the West Nile virus and dengue. But neither of them has shown up in the US in recent decades.
Scabies Mites Don’t Appear In Clusters
Scabies mites are terrible bugs. And more than biting, they cause a terrible skin infection.
Rather than appearing as clusters, scabies mites infection on your skin appears as visible tubes.
These mites burrow in your skin, and they lay eggs inside. The will continue feeding inside your skin which causes intense itching and many other types of skin complications.
If you’ve got scabies mites infection, then consulting a doctor is your best course of action.
How To Treat Bug Bites From These Bugs
There are many over-the-counter creams and lotions available to treat these bug bites. Calamine lotion and hydrocortisone cream are two of them.
If you notice these bug bites in clusters, wash the red welts and skin rashes with normal water and use an antiseptic cream to relieve the itching and pain.
In some people, bug bites can trigger severe allergic reactions like nausea, difficulty breathing, headache, fatigue, vomiting, body chills, and a bit of muscle pain.
If you experience any of these symptoms, especially trouble breathing, then please see a doctor asap.
This guide revealed seven bugs that leave bite marks in clusters.
You’ve also found out what causes these bugs, the reasons that these bugs bite, and the bite symptoms.
Also, there’s a list of bugs that don’t leave bite marks in clusters, but many people believe that they do.
The best way to protect yourself from bug bites is to take suitable measures to prevent an infestation in your home.
We are Mark and Jim. We dabbled with bugs and pests for most of our lives. And we provide information and hacks that work in making your home pest free.