Not all bugs that bite you are as easily recognizable as bed bugs or fleas.
Some biting bugs are so tiny that even bed bugs, fleas, and ticks are more prominent than them.
These bugs are known as microscopic bugs.
Some of these microscopic bugs are parasites on humans. And some are outdoor bugs that sneak inside your home to bite you and hide inside your home.
In this guide, you’ll find a list of 9 tiny and almost invisible microscopic bugs that bite.
To help you recognize them easily, we’ve classified these bugs by the color they’re found. This guide also reveals 5 tiny black bugs that bite and itch.
Plus, you’ll also find out the easy solutions for the invisible biting bugs.
So, to find out what’s biting you that you can’t see, keep reading.
Microscopic Bugs That Bite – An Introduction
Do you wake up with bug bites? Or do you feel something crawling on your back and neck while you’re on your bed?
You wonder, “what’s biting me but I can’t see?”
You think it’s bed bugs, fleas, ants, and mosquitoes. So you check every inch of your home.
There are chunks of bite marks on your body but there are no signs of bugs.
In the pest control world, these types of invisible bugs are known as microscopic bugs.
And yes, you’re right. They bite too. And their bites itch like crazy.
These microscopic bugs, which are known as arthropod pests that bite, can be dangerous too.
They drill themselves into your skin to live and breed. It leads not only to itchy and painful bite marks but also to a severe skin infection.
This condition of being parasitized by biting microscopic bugs is known as parasitosis.
Most microscopic bugs that bite infest human skin and clothing. But some don’t.
You’ll find out later in the guide how to protect yourself from microscopic bugs that bite.
For now, let’s find out what these microscopic bugs are.
The bugs are differentiated based on their color. Unfortunately, these bugs are almost invisible, so you might need a microscope or magnifying glass to view them.
Microscopic White Bugs That Bite
There are two microscopic white bugs that bite –
- Scabies Mites.
- Body Lice.
Let’s have a look at each of them.
Sarcoptes Scabiei, or scabies mites, are whitish-brown and only half a millimeter long. These mites cause an infection in humans which is known as scabies.
But that’s an infestation rather than an infection.
It’s because scabies mites burrow in the outer layer of your skin and they breed and lay eggs underneath, just like how termites infest wood.
Before burrowing, these microscopic bugs bite on your skin. But they’re so tiny that they’re invisible to the naked eye.
That’s why you don’t see any sign of bugs even if you look at the bitten area at the very moment when they bite you.
The symptoms of scabies mites’ presence inside your skin take a long time, four to six weeks, to show up.
The symptoms are intense itching and pimples like rashes.
By looking at the symptoms, you might misinterpret them as symptoms of mosquito bites or acne.
But the most compelling evidence of scabies mites’ presence inside your skin is relentless itching.
And you’ll also see track-like burrows underneath your skin, which lead to rashes.
This condition of constant itching and presence of adult scabies mites and their eggs underneath your skin is known as scabies.
Once inside your skin, female scabies mites lay up to 10 to 25 eggs. If left untreated, newborn scabies will spread underneath your skin and multiply.
The most common body parts where scabies mites attack are webbing between your fingers, on your wrists, elbows, and knee folds, near the waistline, at the navel, genitals, neck, face, and palms.
At a time, there can be 10 to 15 mites scabies mites inside your skin.
To confirm scabies mites, doctors scrape the skin from the infected person and observe it under the microscope.
If scabies mites have infested the person, then doctors can easily spot adult scabies, their eggs, and fecal matters from the scraped skin.
But things can get worse.
The more sinister form of scabies is crust scabies which are also known as Norwegian scabies.
In this condition, tens of thousands of scabies burrow inside the human skin.
The eggs and overpopulation of scabies mites inside the skin make the skin appear as a crust.
Crust scabies is a very critical scabies infestation, and it’s highly contagious that needs immediate medical intervention to prevent an outbreak.
Scabies mites spread from skin to skin when a healthy person comes in contact with an infected person.
For example, sexual contact with a person with scabies, sharing personal items like clothes, towels, and bedsheets is why scabies mites spread from one person to another.
Scabies mites cannot fly or jump. They can only crawl.
Scabies mites have eight legs, and they use their mouth to dig a tunnel on your skin.
Crowded places, child and daycare centers, hospitals, and institutional care centers are prone to have scabies mites. In addition, given the weak immune system of the elderly, scabies mites can wreak havoc on them.
But, children, because of their soft skin, are also an easy target for scabies mites.
Pets can also have scabies.
But those mites, known as mange, that cause scabies in pets are ineffective on humans. Neither can they burrow in the human skin, nor can they survive on humans.
If you’ve been observing scabies symptoms like constant itching and rashes, go to the doctor asap.
Repeatedly itching on the infested portion creates open sores that lead to severe and dangerous bacterial skin infections known as impetigo.
Another microscopic mite is the hair follicle mite. These mites live in the hair follicles, and they’re harmless.
The worst that hair follicle mite can inflict on you is acne.
There’s one reason for this microscopic bug to exist, and that’s unhygienic living conditions.
Body lice infest and lay eggs on the seams of dirty clothes. Like bed bugs, body lice need to feed on human blood to survive.
But the best part is body lice are not associated with everyday living conditions.
You’ll find these microscopic biting bugs in utterly dirty places with crowded living conditions.
As per CDC, “In the US, you’ll find body lice infestations in homeless people who do not have access to clean living conditions, daily bathing, and clean clothes.”
Symptoms of body lice are intense itching and rash.
Plus, repeated biting by body lice on the skin causes the skin to thicken and discolor. This condition is known as vagabond disease.
Body lice infestation is unlikely to be on a hygienic person who bathes daily, has access to clean clothes, and has a clean living place.
An adult body louse is whitish-grey, has 6 legs, and only grows up to 4 mm in size. It only crawls on the human skin when it needs its blood meal to survive.
Post feeding, it moves back to the cloth where it hides.
The point to note is that the lice found on the head and scalp are head lice. Head lice are different from body lice.
Unhygienic living conditions caused by war, natural or artificial disasters, and civil unrest creates an ideal situation for the body lice to spread.
Under these unsanitary conditions, body lice also cause diseases, such as typhus and trench fever.
Body lice also spread through direct physical contact with people who have them or using personal items like the infected person’s clothing.
But body lice infestations in the US are limited to homeless people who don’t have access to basic hygiene like regular bathing, clean clothes, and clean living conditions.
In very rare cases, you’d notice tiny black bugs on skin in summer. These bugs are body lice.
They’ll latch onto you and on your clothing if you’ve been to an unhygienic dwelling in the summer months. Body lice will look like specks of tiny black bugs on your skin.
Not taking measures to get rid of them from your clothing and skin will cause severe bites from body lice.
Microscopic Red Bugs That Bite
Chiggers are tiny parasitic microscopic red bugs that bite humans, birds, and mammals. They’re the larvae of mites belonging to the Trombiculidae family.
Chiggers are also known as berry bugs, harvest mites, red bugs, and scrub-itch mites.
Measuring only 1/150 inches in length, you’d need at least a robust magnifying glass, if not a microscope, to see the chiggers.
When chiggers are born, they’re either red or orange. On humans, they feed on the human skin.
After feeding, chiggers turn yellow or yellowish.
Chiggers’ body shape is oval, and it has six legs that make them effective crawlers.
Contrary to popular belief, Chiggers don’t burrow themselves under your skin. Nor do they suck your blood.
When chiggers bite your skin, it injects its saliva into your skin. The saliva breaks down the skin making your skin edible for them.
The bitten area of your skin will develop red welts with a white spot in the middle of the lump. You’ll face severe itching within hours of chiggers’ bite.
The itching gets worse if you don’t treat it, and it can last for weeks.
Do not repeatedly scratch the welts as it’ll lead to infection. Instead, use any itch-relieving lotion or balm on the itchy area and visit a doctor.
Chiggers are outdoor bugs and live in damp and shaded places in your yard or garden. During the spring and summer months, it’s pretty common to find chiggers in shrubs, bushes, potted plants, and grass lawns.
Chiggers latch onto your skin when you walk in these places. Once they’re onto you, they move to areas where clothing fits tightly onto your skin or where the skin is delicate and loose.
So, chiggers bite you on places around the waistline, genitals, ankles, in the folds of elbows and knees.
Are Chiggers And Clover Mites The Same?
Given the similarity in the looks of chiggers and clover mites, many people think they’re the same.
There’s a lot of difference between the two. The only significant difference is that clover mites don’t bite humans.
But presence of clover mites can cause allergic reactions. And to asthma patients, clover mites can trigger asthmatic attacks.
Many people also think that clover mites, chiggers, and spider mites are the same arachnids.
But each are different.
Another bug that people confuse it with clover mites and chiggers is the spider mite.
Spider mites are also microscopic bugs but they’re plant damaging bugs. They don’t generally bite humans.
Thrips – Microscopic Yellow Bugs In Your Garden That Bite
The bug that you’re about to find out isn’t typically microscopic, but it’s tiny.
And these bugs are thrips. These tiny yellow thrips’ size ranges from 0.5 mm to 5 mm.
Thrips plant bugs or outdoor bugs, and there are different colors of thrips.
The yellow ones are the tiniest, and these yellow thrips’ types are known as Frankliniella Occidentalis. They’re tiny enough for you to overlook them.
Many other types of thrips come in different colors like black (these are the biggest thrips), off-white, and yellow.
Thrips are the microscopic yellow bugs that bite humans.
Thrips feed only on plant matter, and they accidentally bite humans.
When thrips land on you, they probe with their mouth, which causes them to bite, to find out if you’re edible or not.
On biting when they realize that you’re not it’s food, they get off your body.
Thrips don’t inject anything inside you when they bite. You can get bite marks that are similar to rashes and lumps.
6 Tiny Black Bugs That Bite And Itch
This guide wouldn’t have been complete had there been no disclosure of tiny black bugs that bite and itch
There are 5 tiny black bugs that bite and itch –
- Pirate bugs
- Insidious flower bugs
- Fungus gnats
All the 5 tiny black bugs leave a nasty bite that cause severe itching on the skin.
Though they’re not typically microscopic, but they’re tiny enough to escape your eye sight.
Given their small size and their ability to hide in thinnest of cracks and gaps, you can easily miss them.
Let’s have a look at each of these bugs and their biting habits.
Pirate bugs are outdoor bugs, and they’re most likely to bite when you’re engaged in any outdoor activity.
They fly in swarms, so many people confuse them with mosquitoes. But they’re so tiny that they look like black dots, if you can see them.
Pirate bugs are active during the summer months, and outdoors, you’ll find them near moist and damp areas.
Pirate bugs bite repeatedly. But they don’t inject anything inside you, nor do they carry any diseases.
They’re looking for a new place to hide and sources of food, and when they land on you, they think that you may be that.
Pirate bugs have a sharp beak-like mouth that they insert into your skin to probe on what they’ve landed on. Their bites are pretty painful, and you’ll get welts and red rashes on the bitten area.
Insidious Flower Bugs
Insidious flower bugs, twice as big as the period at the end of this sentence, is also an outdoor bug that bites humans.
Why they bite humans is still unknown. But the best part is that, like pirate bugs, insidious flower bugs don’t inject anything, nor do they transmit any diseases.
When insidious flower bugs bite you, the only thing they leave behind is bite marks. These bite marks are red welts and rashes that are very similar to mosquito bite marks.
Studies have shown that they tend to bite people when they’re sweating.
And they also have a habit of entering your home through open doors and windows.
Insidious flower bugs are active during late afternoons, starting from the summer to autumn.
Gnats – The Tiny Black Flying Bug That Bite And Causes Itching
Gnats are mosquito look-alikes that live and breed outdoors. These are delicate tiny black flying bugs that bite.
Places like moist soil beds in your yard or garden and pots, compost, potting-mix, and decaying organic debris like foliage and mulch beds are their living and breeding places.
Gnats can enter your home too. And they do, especially when the outdoors becomes too dry and hot for them.
Dry weather will cause the wet debris and soil beds to dry up. That forces the gnats to enter your home in search for cooler and mild places to live.
Once inside your home, gnats will look for damp and cool places to hide. That’s why they end up in places like bathroom and in electrical appliances like refrigerator.
Another reason that brings gnats home is that fungus attracted to light.
Light coming out of your home in the evening hours attracts the gnats.
That’s the reason why gnats can also land up in the swimming pool. It’s because the light around the swimming pool attracts them.
Bringing potted plants home, with gnats in the soil bed of the pot, is also another way to bring gnats inside your home.
Despite being a mosquito look-alike, how would you distinguish between a gnat and mosquito?
The most critical difference between the gnats and mosquitoes is that the gnats are very weak fliers.
They can’t fly as strongly as mosquitoes do. To go from one place to another, gnats tend to hop more than they’ll fly.
Outdoors, gnats will feed on the nectar and pollen of flowers.
But female gnats bite humans. Without blood meals, female fungus gnats can’t lay their eggs.
The bite from gnats is severely itchy, or as itchy as mosquito bites.
So, if gnats are inside your home, these tiny black flying bugs will indeed bite you.
No-See-Ums – Small Black Biting Flying Bug
Another black flying and biting bugs are the no-see-ums. They’re also known as biting midges.
No-see-ums are minute and they’re not that easily visible.
Biting midges are outdoor biting flying bugs. These bugs are a menace for hikers, campers, and trekkers.
Biting midges are so tiny that it makes you wonder that what’s biting you but you can’t see. Measuring up to only 1/8th of an inch, these bugs are greyish-black with white spots of pigmentation on their skin.
No-see-ums or biting midges are common in homes that are near the woods. They’re not that widespread in towns and urban areas.
Like the gnats, no-see-ums too are attracted to light. Inside your home they won’t shy away from biting you.
In the US, no-see-ums don’t cause any severe skin infection or dermatitis. But their bites are pretty itch and cause red rashes on your skin.
Fleas – The Tiny Black Biting Bug That Can Be In Your Bed!
Now fleas are the bugs that bite humans only when their natural hosts, which are your pets and other mammals, are not around.
Fleas are tiny biting bugs that get inside your home in one of the three ways.
The first is that your pet brings them home. Yes, if your pets have fleas, then those fleas can easily jump off to your bed or couch.
This is quite common when your pets spend a considerable time on your bed or couch. And this is how fleas get into your bed.
The second way that fleas get inside your home are through wild life like squirrels and racoons. They can transfer fleas to your home.
The third way is fleas latching onto your clothing when you’re outdoors.
Fleas hide and breed in tall grasses and dense bushes in moist areas. You walk through those grasses and bushes, fleas will latch onto your trousers and socks.
Fleas can live and hide in your bed. They’ll leave behind itchy bites on you while you’re asleep because they need their blood meals to survive.
On your bed fleas look black jumping bugs that bite. And they’ll leave behind flea dirt, which is their feces, on your bed.
Solution For Invisible Biting Bugs
Now it’s time to find out how to get rid of invisible bugs.
You’ve got loads of options to protect yourself from the bites of these invisible biting bugs.
There are many solutions, from using essential oils and diatomaceous earth in their hiding places to over-the-counter balms and ointments on your skin to treat the bites or ward off the bugs.
But the most effective and long-term solution for invisible biting bugs is only four. And you don’t need to hire any pest controller for that. These are –
- Cleanliness in and around your home.
- Controlling the dampness or moisture levels in and around your home.
- Maintaining good personal hygiene and bathing regularly.
- Not letting dirty clothes and linen sit around for days and washing them asap.
- Using bug repelling light bulbs in the outdoors section like in patio and near swimming pool.
Maintaining cleanliness and controlling moisture in your home and property denies food supply and hiding places to these bugs.
And knowing the months when they’re active and breed is also essential.
It’s because many of them can fly in or sneak inside your home through open doors and windows.
During the months when these bugs are active, it’s always a good idea to use window shields with fine meshes and weather stripping to close the gaps in the doors and windows.
Sealing off the cracks and gaps on the walls, windows, and doors with a durable and robust sealant, like silicon-based sealant, denies these bugs entry to your home.
Keep your yard or garden clean and keep them free from pests and bugs.
Ensure that there’s no waterlogging in your yard, there’s no garbage or trash, there’s no trash piled in the trash bins, and most importantly, there are no bugs and pests in the soil bed, firewood pile, and mulch layer.
The vital thing to remember is that some people, especially children and the elderly, can display allergic reactions when these microscopic bugs bite them.
These allergic reactions can range from running nose, burning red eyes, coughing, and sneezing.
In these cases, it’d be best to consult a physician asap.
Maintaining good hygiene, washing your clothes regularly, and regular bathing get rid of these microscopic bugs in your clothes and skin.
Here’s the list of 6 microscopic bugs that bite –
- Scabies mites
- Body lice
- Pirate bugs
- Insidious flower bugs
Scabies mites and body lice are parasitic bugs on humans. These bugs are more commonly associated with unhygienic living conditions.
These bugs are so tiny that you’d need a magnifying glass to see them.
Chiggers, thrips, pirate bugs and insidious flower bugs are outdoor bugs that bite. And they can sneak inside your home.
You can bring them inside your home from outdoors because they may latch onto your clothing.
But the solution for the invisible biting bugs is quite straightforward. Hygiene, cleanliness, and using light bulbs that repel bugs go a long way to keep them from biting you.
To prevent bed bugs, and other tiny bugs, from biting you, check our guide on what to put on your body to prevent bed bug bites.
We’re Mark and Jim. We were serial pest killers for almost all of our lives. Through this blog we spread pest murdering tips to people like you who want to keep their homes pest free.