Chiggers in Bed: Here’s What You Need to Know

If you recently encountered chigger mites outside and are concerned about chiggers in bed, then keep reading. Chiggers are the common name for the parasitic larval stage of several mite species in the arachnid class and genus Eutrombicula. 

Unlike bed bugs, you need a magnifying glass to see chiggers. Although they are one of the more popular biting mites, they don’t live long. Getting chiggers in your bed is not common; we will explain why below.

Where Do Chiggers Come From?

Chiggers are the larvae of harvest mites. The adult harvest mites live outdoors and are considered beneficial creatures because they eat mosquito eggs and other harmful insects. Learn more about where chiggers live here. After the adult mite lays eggs, a chigger nymph emerges looking for a host.

You can pick up chiggers from grassy areas, damp areas, wooded areas, and farms. If you do a lot of apple and berry picking, you may encounter chiggers.

Are Chiggers in Bed Something I Need to Worry About?

chiggers in bed

After the chigger mite feeds on your flesh, it drops off to complete its lifecycle. Before reaching adulthood, it will develop through several nymph stages (protonymph, deutonymph, tritonymph).

Can the chiggers drop off and infest your bed? No, they will not survive long in a bed. Furthermore, these pests are not like bed bugs, which can live up to a year without food. Chiggers need a host + food, and they will not stay in bed long enough to cause an infestation.

To reiterate: If you have chiggers on your flesh, and they fall off into your bed sheets, they won’t survive long because the nymph (deutonymph stage) will need to feed on insects and their eggs. As soon as you suspect that you have encountered chiggers, take a hot soapy shower, wash your bed sheets, and vacuum your floors. Doing this will ensure you eradicate any chiggers that fall off your skin and into your bed.

Can Chiggers Infest Your Bed, Like Bed Bugs?

No, chiggers will not infest your bed like bed bugs. Chigger mites are only in their larval stage for a few days and need food from living tissues, such as animals or humans, to survive. Then for the chigger to complete its life cycle, the next nymphal stage needs to feed on arthropods (insects) and their eggs. Without these conditions, chiggers will not be able to complete the lifecycle.

Actual Size: Chiggers in Bed

Chigger under microscope

Unless you have a bunch of chiggers in one area, you won’t see them; they are between 0.15-1.0 mm. According to the entomologists Tim Gibb and Tom Turpin at Purdue University, “half a dozen of them could fit on the period at the end of this sentence.”

How to Deal With Chiggers in Bed

  • Take a hot, soapy shower; this will wash away any chiggers on your skin.
  • Always tuck your pants into your socks when you are outdoors in tall grassy areas.
  • Put all of your clothing on the day you encountered the chiggers through the washer and high-heat dryer.
  • Wash all your bed sheets, which will immediately kill any chiggers that fall off your skin and into your bed.
  • Use a good vacuum all over your house, paying particular attention to any rugs. If it has a bag like the Kenmore below, dispose of it immediately.

Disclosure: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. At zero cost to you, we will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase. The pennies it makes will go into the K9’s treat fund.

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Chiggers vs Bed Bugs: What are the Main Differences?

chiggers vs bed bugs

Size

Chiggers

A chigger is the larval life stage of a mite, and its size is between 0.15-1.0 mm.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs and their nymphs range in size from 1.5mm to 6mm (some can go up to 6.5mm if they just had a blood meal).

Color

Chiggers are red

Bed Bugs range in color from clear/straw (not yet fed) to reddish brown.

How Many Legs Do They Have?

Chiggers

Chiggers are in the Arachnida class, like ticks. However, a chigger is in the larval stage, so it only has 6 legs, whereas the adult mite will have 8 legs.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are in the Insect class and Cimicidae family, so they have 6 legs.

Life Cycle

Chiggers

Egg ➡️ Deutovum ➡️ Larva (the only stage that bites humans and pets) ➡️ Protonymph ➡️ Deutonymph ➡️ Tritonymph ➡️ Adult. A chigger is one stage in the harvest mite lifecycle.

Bed Bugs

Egg ➡️ Nymph (5 stages) ➡️ Adult. The bed bug life cycle can be as short as 7 weeks or as long as months. It all depends on whether or not they can feed.

Behavior

Chiggers

The chigger mite will land on you from outdoors, crawl onto your skin, and look for a place to bite. A chigger pierces your skin, liquefies the cells, and begins to feed on your flesh. These parasites do not burrow into your skin like a scabies mite. Somewhere between a few hours and a few days, the chiggers will drop off, but your skin will itch for longer. Learn more about how long chigger bites will itch from the Purdue entomology department.

Bed Bugs

The bed bugs are hitchhikers, and you can pick them up in various public places. They will make their way to where you spend a lot of time (like beds, chairs, and couches) and begin feeding on your blood every 4-7 days.

What Do The Bites Look Like?

Chiggers

It will appear like an area of hardened skin with a small hole in the top.

Bed Bugs

There is a wide range of skin reactions to bed bug bites, from small welts to large inflamed areas. Plus, some people’s bodies do not show bite marks, despite being fed on. So you can’t diagnose bed bugs based on bites.

Where Do They Live?

Chiggers

The adult mites live outdoors and feed on other bugs and their eggs. The larval chigger stage hatches from an egg and finds a bird, reptile, or mammal to feed on before dropping back into the soil. Keep in mind that the only parasitic stage is the larvae.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs usually live indoors and find a tiny, dark space near a blood source. Read up on how bed bugs can come in from the outside here.

Where Do They Come From?

Chiggers

References to chiggers date back to sixth-century China. However, much of their documentation came after WW II. Chiggers come from an egg, which a harvest mite lays in the soil. The chigger larva will crawl onto a high point of a plant and then fall onto an animal or person that passes by. Furthermore, a chigger cannot move onto the next life stage unless it feeds on flesh. Remember that birds, mammals, and reptiles are all fair game.

Bed Bugs

There are mentions of bed bugs in literature dating back to 350 BC. Check out our article on “where do bed bugs originate from” to learn more. You can get bed bugs from just about anywhere. More importantly, they come from places you visit, crawl onto your clothing, and make their way into your bed.

How Do I Know if I Have Chiggers or Bed Bugs?

You can’t figure this out based on bites alone, especially since there is no way to diagnose bed bugs based on bites, so if you have some unusual itchy spots, it’s best to do a full bed bug inspection at your place. You can do this or hire a professional bed bug inspection company like Doctor Sniffs.

chigger on a plant

First, answer the following questions:

Did you recently go outside hiking, walking in tall grass, or berry picking?

It’s essential to think about where you went over the past week. If you were not outdoors at all, then it’s probably not chiggers.

Are the bites increasing in frequency?

Give it some time to see if they go away within a week. In the meantime, don’t go walking in tall grasses or brush. Then if no new ones appear, they may have been from chiggers. Furthermore, bed bugs will bite every 4-7 days. Therefore if you are the type who reacts to their bites, you’ll experience new bites every week.

Can Dogs Bring Chiggers into the House?

Chiggers can get on dogs and bite them, and once the chiggers are done feeding, they can fall off into your house. However, once the chigger falls off, it won’t live long in the house because it needs to be outside to advance to the next life stage. If you suspect your dog had a run-in with chiggers, it’s best to bathe them with soapy water, wash their bedding, and do a deep vacuuming.

How Long Can Chiggers Live in Your House?

Chiggers live on our skin, feed, and then fall into the soil to turn into nymphs. They will die within a few hours if they are not outside in the ground. If you recently had chiggers on your skin, you’ll want to do a deep cleaning of your house. Sometimes just thinking about these parasites feeding on your flesh is enough to make you itchy. So washing your bedding, vacuuming, and steaming, will help your peace of mind.

How Long Can Chiggers Live on Your Body?

Chiggers live on your body and feed for up to 3 days. However, most will finish feeding within 24 hours. Once the larvae engorge on your flesh, they will drop off into the soil to begin the next phase of their life cycle.

Final Thoughts for “Chiggers in Bed”

In conclusion, chiggers are not common in beds, and if you think you have them on your skin, you must get rid of them as soon as possible.

You may have bed bugs if you think you have chiggers in your bed. Unlike chiggers, which feed on your flesh, bed bugs feed on your blood. Bed bugs are visible to the naked eye and can live in mattresses, box springs, and other areas of your home.

If you have questions or want to learn more about chiggers, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re always happy to help!