7 Microscopic Bugs That Live On Humans (3 Of Them Feed On Human Skin)

Not all bugs infest homes. There are tiny bugs that can infest you.

In this guide, you’ll get a rundown of microscopic bugs that live on humans. Some of these bugs can cause intense itching and discomfort.

And there are some whose presence you won’t even realize.

This guide will reveal how these bugs enter your body and the symptoms of their presence in your body.

Let’s dive in.

Demodex Mites – Microscopic Mites On Face And Eyelashes

Demodex mites face mites eyelash mites

Demodex mites (Demodex folliculorum), also known as face mites or eyelash mites, are microscopic mites that live in every mammal, including humans.

Mites are arachnids which means they’re closely related to spiders and ticks. There are three to five million species of mites in the world, and scientists believe it’s a conservative number.

Most mites are microscopic, and their closest relatives’ ticks are more prominent than them. Most mites live as parasites on humans, animals, and plants to sustain themselves.

And the face mite is no different. Like most mites, face mites derive their food and nutrition from their hosts.

As per NPR, every adult human in the world has face mites. Under the microscope, they look like stubby worms.

These microscopic creatures grow up to 0.3 mm in length, and they’re impossible to spot with a naked eye.

So, how do these mites live on people’s faces and eyelashes?

Face mites live with their facedown in the minute hair follicles on your face and eyelashes. That’s why it’s possible to spot them.

They eat the greasy or waxy oil, known as sebum that human skin produces. Human skin produces sebum to prevent itself from drying out.

The sebaceous glands in the skin produce sebum. The sebum goes to the pores or the hair follicles where the face mites hide from feeding on it.

The areas around your nose, mouth, cheeks, eyebrows, and eyelashes produce the most sebum. That’s why the highest concentration of eyelash mites or face mites are in these regions.

The lifespan of each face mite is two weeks. The mite spends most of its life tucked into the follicles of your face.

It comes out only to breed. After breeding, the mite moves back into the follicles to lay eggs.

These mites are harmless because your immune system stops them from causing any damage.

But people with a weakened immune system can suffer from a condition because of them. Doctors term this disease as demodicosis.

The symptom of demodicosis is a white sheen on the skin. And in this condition, patients can see these mites coming out of the pores.

Another condition is rosacea. It’s a condition where you develop red spots on the face.

But the best part is that both conditions are rare.

Dust Mites – The Mite Species That Feed On Dead Skin

House Dust mites In Your Home

Dust mites are mite species that are active from May to October. These are tiny mites that grow only up to 0.33 mm in size.

So, that makes them difficult to spot.

Inside your home, they live in the dust. They can also live on soft furnishings like bed, couch, and on the hard surface of furniture.

They feed on the dry, dead skin cells of the human body, known as dander. Their feeding cause itching and red rashes on the skin.

The worst part?

Dust mites cause severe allergies, especially in sensitive people like the elderly and children. Allergic symptoms include sneezing, running noses, and at times, dizziness too.

Extensive cleaning of your home is the best way to control and get rid of dust mites inside the house. On noticing the allergic reactions, seeing a doctor for treatment is the right thing to do.

Head Lice – The Microscopic Creatures That Lives In Your Scalp

Head lice - microscopic bugs in human scalp

Head lice are tiny bugs that live on a kid’s scalp. They can also be in adults’ scalps because these minor bugs are contagious.

They hide in the human hair and suck the blood from the scalp, which causes intense itching. The more blood these microbes consume, the more they can lay eggs on the scalp.

The eggs will hatch and produce more head lice which will cause an infestation on the scalp. Intense itching occurs during the night when they tend to feed more.

The adults grow up to 3 mm in size. And they’re either tan or greyish-white. They’ve got six legs that will claw on each leg. The claws allow them to latch onto your scalp.

Head lice don’t spread any disease. But the intense itching can make you scratch your scalp a lot, leading to a rupture in the skin, causing skin infection.

Using a nit-comb is one of the ways to get rid of them. For treatment, consulting a doctor and using prescription shampoos is what experts recommend.

Hookworm – The Parasites That Enters Through Skin And Live In Small Intestines

Hook worm - microscopic worm in human skin

When you walk bare feet on the soil with infected poop on it, the hookworm parasites enter your skin.

A male adult hookworm grows up to 12 mm in size, whereas a female is bigger, which grows up to 15 mm in size.

From the soil, they penetrate your skin, and they can get into your small intestines. But that isn’t a matter of worry. They don’t cause any diseases, and they go away on their own for the most part.

However, the portion of the skin can get itchy and red from where they entered. Allergic reactions like coughing, sneezing, and aching stomach can also ensue.

In that case, see a doctor.

Scabies Mite – The Mites Species That Burrows In Human Skin And Causes Havoc

scabies mites - microscopic bugs that live on humans

Scabies mites, also known as the human itch mite, are parasites that burrow in human skin to feed on it and to breed in it.

Scabies mites are 0.3 mm in size and whitish-brown. They’re invisible to the naked eye.

Under the microscope, scabies mites are oval-shaped, and they look like a tortoise with four pairs of legs.

Scabies mites will burrow in the folding skin of the human body. So, places like armpits, groin, and web between the fingers are the most vulnerable places.

Scabies mite infestation in the human body becomes noticeable when the caves show up on the human skin in tunnels. And the itching they cause is intense.

These parasites are highly contagious and can spread from one person to another. They can also spread if you wear the infected person’s clothes or use his fabric like a bedsheet and towels.

Only a doctor can cure a scabies mite infestation.

Belly Button Bacteria

Your belly button can be home to many types of bacteria. The secretion of oils and sweat from your navel plays a role in keeping many bacteria away, but they also attract many other bacteria.

You can realize the bacteria living in your belly button when it discharges colored liquid or, at times, blood. That is a clear indication of microbes like bacteria, yeast, or fungi infection in your navel.

Dry skin, pungent odor, and itching on the belly button are signs of bacterial infection in the belly button.

The belly button bacteria infections don’t go away on their own. If you’ve got any symptoms, seeing a doctor is the best course of action.

Ringworm – It’s Not A Worm But A Fungus Species

Ringworm on human skin

Ringworm, also known as Tinea infection, is a fungus that can infect any part of the human body. Ringworms can spread by direct skin contact with the infected person or animal.

Fungi are extremely microscopic living organisms that live and feed on the host they infect. They can infest your skin.

Animals can also develop ringworms, and if you touch the infected skin of the animal, the fungus will transfer to your skin.

Petting and grooming animals and pets with ringworms can also cause the spread.

Ringworm infection itches a lot. And if you get ringworms on your head, it can cause hair loss. The portion on your head where you had hair loss will develop a ring shape.

Ringworm infection causes a ring-like pattern that gives it its name. Even animals lose their fur, and the ring-like patterns develop in the infected area.

In humans, ringworms infection can occur foot which is known as the athlete’s foot. When it appears in the crotch, it’s known as jock itch.

If you get ringworms, consult a doctor for a cure.


Seven microscopic bugs that can live on humans are –

  1. Demodex mites, also known as face mites or eyelash mites.
  2. Dust mites
  3. Scabies mites
  4. Head lice
  5. Hookworms
  6. Belly button bacteria
  7. Ringworms

All of these are parasites that live on humans. The presence of these microscopic creatures poses some health risks.

That’s why you’d need to consult a doctor if you get these bugs.

Demodex mites, dust mites, and scabies mites are three microscopic bugs that feed on human skin.

Out of the seven, itching is the most severe when scabies mites are in your skin. These mites bite, and they’re on our list of microscopic bugs that bite. On top of that, they’re highly contagious.

Head lice is another one that can cause itching on the scalp. Dust mites can cause allergies and itching too.

Many other types of bugs and fungi can live in humans. Tapeworm, candida, lactobacilli bacteria are some of them.

Consulting a doctor is the best course of action to deal with these parasites in your body.


University of Rochester Medical Center

UMASS Medical School

MIT Department Of Biology

Stamford University