Finding tiny red bugs in a place meant for rest and relaxation is an unpleasant surprise.
It causes disruption of sleep, panic, and you’re overwhelmed with the fear of property damage and health risks these bugs can bring.
Not to mention, you’ve one more set of household pests to worry about.
You might consider these little bugs as bed bugs. Realizing that the tiny red bugs in bed are not bed bugs can alleviate stress and worry.
But for that, you need to correctly identify those red bugs. And use proper elimination and control methods to ensure a good night’s sleep.
This guide tells you exactly how to do that.
7 Tiny Red Bugs In Bed (These Are Not Bed Bugs)
- Clover mites
- Red flour beetles
- Straw itch mites
- Red spider mites
- Rust mites
- Red chicken mites
(Click on the bugs above to jump over to the specific bugs.)
These tiny red bugs have their own way of getting onto your bed. Some of these accidental landers on the bed.
But some can get onto your bed by latching onto your clothes. That’s also a common way that bed bugs travel.
Clover Mites In Bed
Clover mites are tiny arachnids that are typically red or reddish-brown in color. They’ve got a round body, and they grow between 0.75 and 1 mm in size.
Clover mites have eight legs. The front pair of legs are the longest. That gives a false impression that clover mites have antennae.
Clover mites are close relatives to spiders and ticks. They’re most active during the fall and spring season when the temperature is moderate.
Clover mites start invading homes by crawling through the small gaps and cracks on the windowsills, walls, and doors.
When the temperatures outdoors start to get extreme, or when they run out of food source while their numbers increase, clover mites sneak inside human homes.
Inside the house, clover mites can randomly spread everywhere, including your bed.
Search for food and shelter draw the clover mites to your bed.
Another way that clover mites get inside the bedroom is by latching onto your clothing while you’re outdoors.
Indoor plants with clover mites on them can also cause the clover mites to spill over to your bed.
Clover mites on bed are rare. But their presence can cause panic in many people because they think that these are bed bugs.
But clover mites don’t bite humans. Nor do they feed on your blood.
Clover mites leave behind reddish stains on the bed that can be very hard to eliminate.
Also, their fecal deposits can trigger allergic reactions and respiratory ailments among sensitive individuals.
But clover mites don’t survive for long in the indoor environment.
Chiggers In Bed
Chiggers are tiny arachnids known for their parasitic feeding behavior. They have an elongated and oval-shaped body, with a size ranging from 0.15 to 0.25 millimeters, making them microscopic bugs that are barely visible to the naked eye.
Chiggers are typically orange, red, or yellowish in color, and they have six legs in their larval stage, which distinguishes them from adult mites that have eight legs.
Chiggers live in grassy and wooded areas, such as fields, gardens, and forests, where they reside in vegetation and wait for a host to pass by.
They are most active during warm and humid conditions, typically in the spring and summer months.
Outdoors, chiggers are most active during the daytime.
When you or your pets pass through the dense vegetation with chiggers, they’ll latch onto your clothes, belongings, and onto your pets’ fur.
That’s how chiggers get into your homes, by hitchhiking.
Chiggers inadvertently end up on your bed when you keep clothing or belonging with chiggers on your bed.
Chiggers can also drop off from your pet’s fur and land onto your bed when your pet hops onto the bed.
Chiggers are parasitic and feed on the skin of their hosts, including humans. They bite by attaching themselves to the skin and injecting saliva that contains digestive enzymes.
So, chiggers in the house can also crawl onto your bed while looking for food.
The enzymes break down the skin cells, allowing the chigger to feed on the liquefied tissue.
Chigger bites are typically painless at first but can cause intense itching, redness, and swelling.
Chiggers are known to bite in areas of the body where the skin is thin, and clothing is tight, such as around the ankles, waistline, and groin area.
Chiggers are most active during the daytime when their hosts are moving through infested areas, and they tend to bite exposed areas of the skin.
Red Flour Beetles
Red flour beetles, also known as Tribolium castaneum, are pantry beetles that infest a wide range of stored foods like grains, flour, cereal, dried fruits, nuts, and spices.
Red flour beetles are oval-shaped, with cylindrical bodies. The adult beetles grow between 2 and 4 mm in length. They’re reddish brown with a shiny appearance. And they’ve got six legs.
Red flour beetles prefer warm and dry environments. Warehouses, big grocery stores, storage facilities, and your pantry shelves are the common places where these beetles hide.
They’ve got strong mouth parts that enable them to chew through food packaging and thin plastic storage jars to access the food.
Red flour beetles can get onto your bed if there are infested food items in your bedroom.
If there are too many of them, then they can crawl from the nearby infested areas, such pantry shelves and kitchen cupboards, and find their way to your bed in search of food or shelter.
Red flour beetles are active in the warmer months of the year. But in the heated buildings they can be active year-round.
Stored food in the kitchen pantry attracts them. You can also accidentally bring red flour beetles home by buying food packets with red flour beetles or their larvae.
Red flour beetles do not bite humans. They are primarily scavengers that feed on stored grain products and other dry foodstuffs.
However, they can cause contamination and spoilage of food items. Red flour beetles do not transmit diseases to humans.
Straw Itch Mites
Straw itch mites, also known as Pyemotes ventricosus, are biting microscopic bugs that live in straw, hay, and other plant materials.
Straw itch mites are oval with cylindrical bodies. Their size is between 0.2 and 0.4 mm which makes them extremely difficult to spot with the naked eye.
They’re translucent and light pink or whitish in color. And they’ve got eight legs.
The typical environment for straw itch mites is the outdoors, such as fields, gardens, and farms, where straw or hay is present.
Straw itch mites can also be present in indoor environments, such as homes or barns, where straw or hay is used for bedding or other purposes.
Straw itch mites thrive in the warm temperatures. So, they’re active during the warm days of spring and throughout the summer.
Straw itch mites can get into your home or onto your bed through several means.
The most common way is when you bring infested straw or hay inside your home.
Another way is that these biting mites can crawl into your home through the thinnest of gaps and cracks on the walls, floor, windows, and doors.
And they’ll find your way to your bed looking for food and shelter.
You can also bring straw itch mites homes by bringing in clothing or other items that have met infested straw or hay.
Straw itch mites bite humans. Their bites cause skin irritations that can result in “straw itch” or “hay itch” reactions.
These reactions can include redness, itching, and small, raised bumps on the skin. However, straw itch mites don’t transmit diseases to humans.
Red Spider Mites
Red spider mites, also known as two-spotted spider mites, are small arachnids that belong to the Tetranychidae family.
They’re plant pests that feed on the plant’s sap, making the plant weak if you don’t get rid of them.
Red spider mites are oval shaped with eight legs. They’re red or reddish-brown with two dark spots on their back.
These mites are tiny, growing only up to 0.5 mm in length.
Spider mites can be white, green, or yellow depending on their feeding status.
Red spider mites are common in gardens, greenhouses, and indoor plants. They’re active during the spring and summer when they profusely breed.
Red spider mites feed on the plant’s sap. Signs of red spider mites infection on plants are their physical sightings underneath the plants’ leaves and the leaves turn yellow.
Over time, the leaves and stems wither off causing the plants to die.
Red spider mites can crawl onto your bed from the nearby infested indoor plants.
You can also bring red spider mites into your home if you’ve been to infected areas, and they’ve latched onto your clothes and belongings.
Red spider mites can also latch onto your pet’s fur, and your pet can bring them home too.
Red spider mites don’t bite humans. They don’t spread any diseases either.
Rust mites, also known as eriophyid mites, are tiny arachnids that belong to the family Eriophyidae.
Rust mites are cigar-shaped, with four pairs of legs. They’re tiny, growing around 0.1 to 0.5 mm in length.
Rust mites can vary in color, ranging from translucent to reddish, greenish, or brownish, depending on the species and host plant.
Rust mites are plant parasites. They infest various types of indoor and garden ornamental plants, crops, and most commonly, weeds.
Rust mites hide on the surface of leaves, stems, flowers, or fruits of host plants, and may also inhabit buds, galls, or other plant structures.
Rust mites have mouth parts adapted for piercing and feeding on plant cells.
Rust mites are active throughout the year. Environmental conditions and host plant phenology also impact their spread.
They are most active during periods of plant growth and development, which may vary depending on the plant species and local climate.
Rust mites are not known to infest or inhabit human beds, as they primarily feed on plants and do not typically seek out human hosts.
However, if you have indoor plants or you’ve brought infested plants indoors, you can transport rust mites to your bed and in other areas of your home.
Rust mites do not bite humans, as they are plant parasites and do not feed on animal or human blood.
They do not pose a direct threat to humans or animals in terms of biting or causing irritation.
Red Chicken Mites
Red chicken mites, which are also known as bird mites, are tiny arachnids that are parasites on birds, especially chickens.
They’re known for their parasitic behavior in birds. The red chicken mites feed on their hosts’, which are birds and chickens, blood.
Red chicken mites are oval shaped with eight legs. And they grow only up to 0.5 to 1 mm in size.
They’re translucent. But they turn red or reddish brown if they’ve had their bloodmeals.
Chicken coops, poultry, and bird’s nests are the common places where these mites reside.
Red chicken mites parasitic pests that feed on the blood of birds, including chickens, pigeons, and other avian species.
These mites can fall off the birds’ nests or crawl out of chicken coops and hide in the cracks and crevices of home’s walls, floor, and furniture.
Red chicken mites are most active during the night when their avian hosts are resting.
They are ectoparasites, meaning they feed on the blood of birds while the birds are roosting or nesting.
Red chicken mites hiding in the house will get onto your bed to bite and to feed on your blood.
Many times, when birds’ nests are removed from the property, these mites are left behind.
And they’ll bite and feed on the human blood just to survive.
However, red chicken mites feeding only on human blood can’t survive and breed. So, they never cause an infestation inside the house if their primary hosts, which are birds, are missing.
Bites from red mites can cause skin irritations, such as redness, itching, and small, raised bumps on the skin.
But red chicken mite bites don’t cause any diseases to humans.
How To Eliminate And Prevent Tiny Red Bugs In Bed
The key to eliminate tiny red bugs in bed is to stop them from entering your home and removing their breeding grounds.
Here’s how you can do it, step-by-step.
Seal Cracks And Gaps
The thinnest of gaps and crevices on the windowsills, doors, walls, and floors become the entry points and hiding spots for these tiny red bugs.
Seal them with a quality sealant to prevent these little bugs from invading your house.
Vacuum Clean The Bed
Take your vacuum cleaner and clean the bed if you notice any tiny bugs on the bed.
The vacuum cleaner will suck up the bugs.
But you’ll need to be a bit thorough while cleaning. Don’t skip the mattress seams, the labels on the mattress, and the bed’s headboard and frame.
You’ll also need to clean the box springs to ensure that none of these bugs are hiding there.
If there are any cracks on the bed frame and headboard, seal them too.
Wash The Bedsheets, Pillow Covers, And Other Bed Linen In Hot Water
Wash the bed fabrics in hot water will kill any of the tiny bugs hiding in them.
Dry the fabrics in highest heat, which is safe for the fabrics, to remove any possibilities of tiny bugs left behind in the fabric.
Trim Excessive Vegetation
Many tiny red bugs that get onto your bed, such as chiggers and clover mites, hide in the lush green vegetation outdoors.
Tall grasses and overgrown dense bushes not only house these bugs, but also biting pests like fleas and ticks.
So, it’ll be best that you trim, or in the best case, remove, any excessive and unnecessary vegetation.
Use Plant Safe Insecticide Sprays On Plants
Red spider mites and rust mites are tiny plant pests that land onto your bed, especially when they’re present in the indoor plants.
Use a plant-safe insecticide on these plants to remove these little bugs from damaging plants.
It’ll also ensure that these bugs don’t end up on your bed searching for food and shelter.
Clean Your Kitchen
This step is specifically for negating the possibility of red flour beetles and other pantry pests ending up on your bed.
Clean the kitchen storage, such as pantry shelves, and kitchen cupboards.
And inspect stored foods for any possible red flour beetle infestation.
If you find larvae or red flour beetle in the stored foods, then it’ll be best to throw away the foods as they might have contaminated the foods.
Keep the food in robust airtight jars. And inspect the food packets for any holes before buying them and bring them home.
Scatter Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth is a natural insect killer. It has sharp particles, which are known as diatoms, which penetrates the bodies of insects and kills them by causing dehydration from the inside.
Scatter diatomaceous earth on places like hay or straw beds, grassy lawns, plants, and chicken coops.
And let it rest for an hour or two to do its work.
The diatomaceous earth will kill all the red bugs such as straw itch mites, clover mites, red spider mites, and red chicken mites living in these places.
Pro Tip: You can also scatter diatomaceous earth on your bed and bed mattress and wait for an hour before vacuum cleaning your bed.
Use Proper Landscaping And Yard Maintenance Techniques
Proper management of your outdoors and ensuring that organic wastes don’t pile up are vital in keeping red bugs away from your home.
Also, keep things, such as hay and woodpiles, at least 6-8 feet away from your home’s exterior walls.
That negates any chances of bugs in residing them spilling over from there to inside the house.
Monitor The Bug Activity
All the above steps will give you results if you’re monitoring whether they’re effective or not.
The best way you can do it is by keeping sticky bug traps near your bed. And checking the traps to see if any tiny red bugs are getting stuck on it or not.
If not, then your efforts are bearing fruit.
If you’re still noticing the tiny red bugs on your bed, then it’ll be best to repeat the entire process a few more times before you can see the results.
Many of these tiny red bugs are microscopic and difficult to spot. As they’re tiny, they’re also expert in hiding too.
So, in certain cases, especially when there are too many of them, you might have to repeat the steps a few more times.
Hire A Pest Controller
Hiring a pest controller should be your last resort if you’re waking up with itchy bug bites and your efforts are unable to remove them.
In that case, the infestation is quite severe. And you’ll need an expert hand to find the source to get rid of them.
Hire a pest controller if you’re facing tiny red bugs in your bed despite your best efforts.
Bed Bugs Vs. Tiny Red Bugs In Bed
Bed bugs are quite bigger than the tiny red bugs in bed that are not bed bugs.
An adult bed bug grows up to 3/16 inches in size. And it’s easily visible to the naked eye.
Bed bugs don’t appear as tiny red dots on the bed like these little red bugs do.
Another difference between bed bugs and these red bugs is that bed bugs are flat bugs.
None of the red bugs in the list are flat and completely oval like bed bugs.
Infestation habits also differentiate bed bugs from the red bugs on the list.
Bed bugs thrive in human homes. But for most of these tiny red bugs, your home’s indoors isn’t an ideal habitat for them.
Bugs like clover mites and spider mites won’t survive for long inside the house if they don’t get their food, which is primarily plant matter.
Tiny red bugs in bed that are not bed bugs are not human parasites like bed bugs.
These red bugs are either accidental intruders to your bed or there are their sources in your house that has caused them to spill over onto your bed.
Proper identification of these bugs is vital because, if you don’t, then you’ll choose the wrong elimination methods that can worsen the situation.
This guide revealed how to keep your cool and correctly identify these red bugs.
It explicitly mentioned their physical features that distinguish them from bed bugs.
So, have you noticed any small red bugs on your bed that are not bed bugs? We’d love to hear that from you in the comments section.
Dr. Thomas Orbert, the Microbial Maestro, dances with the tiniest of creatures as an entomologist extraordinaire! With a PhD in entomology, his passion lies in unraveling the secret symphonies of insect-microbe interactions. From minuscule marvels to captivating complexities, Dr. Orbert unveils the hidden world of bugs, igniting curiosity one buzz at a time!
2 thoughts on “7 Tiny Red Bugs In Bed (Not Bed Bugs) And How To Get Rid Of Them”
Hi Thomas, I really need your expertise to identify these bugs in my home. I’ve moved house and they came with me. I can see pink all over the walls but can’t see individual bugs themselves as too tiny. They do bite or at least something does. Please help and I can send you pics and videos too.
Those tiny red bugs are clover mites. And they splash out pink fluids if they get squished. As you’ve moved, they might have latched onto your clothes or luggage from your old home. I also think that you’re sensitive to bugs and you’re getting rashes if they’re crawling on your skin. You may want to thoroughly clean your home, especially your bed to get rid of them. Also wash your fabric like clothes and bed sheets in hot water. Please don’t panic, they’re harmless.