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 8 invisible microscopic bugs that bite.
To help you recognize them easily, we’ve classified these bugs by the color they’re found.
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.
Some of these bugs’ bites appear in clusters, in a line, or far away from each other.
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.
List Of 7 Microscopic White Bugs That Bite
There are four microscopic white bugs that bite –
- Scabies Mites.
- Body Lice.
- Green Lacewing Larvae
- Straw Itch Mites
- Rat Mites and Bird Mites
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.
Green Lacewing Larvae
Not typically white, but brownish-white, green lacewing larvae are microscopic worms that can bite humans.
The lacewing larvae, also known as aphid lions, resemble alligators but have pincers when observed under a magnifying glass.
It’s a beneficial larva in your garden and yard. It preys on pests that damage plants.
So, pests like aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, thrips, and other soft-bodied pests. The green lacewing larvae also damage the eggs of these pests.
But they don’t shy away from biting humans.
After rains, the larvae can enter your home through the thin gaps and cracks on windows and walls.
And that’s the time when they can bite you because of lack of availability of food.
After biting, they can curl like a donut which is their natural reaction after biting. The lacewing larvae have hairy bristles on their bodies that can also cause itching if they crawl on you.
These tiny biting white worms can also be brown with white patches and spots on them.
Straw Itch Mites
Straw itch mites or hay mites are microscopic white biting mites that are present in hay or grains.
They’re also beneficial mites because they’re natural predators of stored-grain pests.
Cream colored and growing only up to 0.2 mm in length, these microscopic bugs are hardly visible.
But straw itch mites also bite humans. If you are in an area infested with straw itch mites, they’ll attempt to bite you.
Many people who work in grain houses and repositories get bites from these mites. And their bites are intensely itchy.
Bites from straw itch mites are primarily on the abdomen, back, and forearms. However, they’ll bite you on any exposed skin they can get access to.
They’ll bite multiple times, which will lead to the development of welts and itchy rashes on the skin.
Straw itch mites will inject their saliva containing toxins into your skin. That leads to the development of welts and itching.
Straw itch mites inject the toxin into their prey to paralyze them and to feed on them.
But in humans, the toxins don’t have any paralyzing effect. If straw itch mites bite you, then mixing a head lice shampoo with a body wash on the bitten area will soothe the itching and welts.
Also, please do not wear the clothes that you wore outdoors without washing them with hot water.
If you don’t wash them, then chances are these microscopic biting bugs might be latching onto your clothing, which will undoubtedly lead to more bites.
People sensitive to bug bites can experience headaches, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea when bitten by straw itch mites.
If you notice these symptoms, then it’d be best to see a doctor asap.
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.
Rat Mites And Bird Mites
Rat mites and bird mites are parasites on rats and birds.
These mites feed on their blood, and they either latch onto their bodies or hide in their nests.
However, when there are rat and bird nests inside your home and property, these mites can bite you too!
Bites occur when you get rid of the rat and bird nests. The mites will stay back if you don’t clean the nesting places well after removing the nests.
In that case, they’ll look for alternative hosts. And that can be you.
Both rat mites and bird mites are microscopic and are impossible to see with the naked eye.
Rat mites and bird mites are not typically red. When unfed, they can be cream or black. But after their blood meals, their size increases, and they turn red, which can make them visible.
The carriers of these mites, birds, and rats bring these biting mites into your home.
Being microscopic and given their ability to hide in places like the bedroom, they can be hard to detect and eliminate.
So, if you’ve got signs of rats or bird nests in your home, it’s always a good idea to take professional to get rid of them.
Thrips – Microscopic Yellow Bugs In Your Garden That Bite
Thrips are tiny yellow bugs that can bite humans. From yellow to black, there are many different colors of thrips in nature.
The yellow ones are the tiniest, and they’re known as Frankliniella Occidentalis. These tiny thrips are plant bugs and grow up to 1/50th of an inch long. You may notice them, if you’ve got a good eyesight.
These tiny yellow bugs bite humans accidentally. When thrips land on you, they probe your skin with their mouth to find out if you’re it’s food or not.
On realizing that you’re not a plant matter they can’t feed, thrips drop 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.
Solution For Invisible Biting Bugs
The solution for invisible biting bugs are four. 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.
Though these bugs leave itchy welts and bites, the process of getting rid of them isn’t rocket science.
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 sneak inside your home through open doors, windows, and through thin cracks and gaps on the walls.
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, no piling up of organic debris, there’s no trash lying in the trash bins for days, and most importantly, there are no bugs and pests in the soil bed, firewood pile, and mulch layer.
You’ve got loads of options to protect yourself from the bites of these invisible biting bugs.
Some of them are essential oils, diatomaceous earth, and over-the-counter antiseptics to treat the bug bites.
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 eliminate these microscopic bugs in your clothes and skin.
Here’s the list of 8 microscopic bugs that bite –
- Scabies mites
- Body lice
- Green lacewing larvae
- Straw Itch mites
- Rat mites
- Bird mites
Scabies mites and body lice are parasitic bugs on humans. These bugs are more commonly associated with unhygienic living conditions.
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.