Red bugs, also called chiggers are tiny parasitic larvae known to cause a significant level of discomfort to humans.
Such discomfort is seen in conditions like sleeplessness, itchiness as well as restlessness. Contrary to claims being widely circulated, red bugs do not feed on blood. Instead, they feed on human cell tissues.
They gather in clusters to feed, hence the irritations felt by affected individuals. Red bugs are mites at their larval stage. Infestations are most common in late spring to summer.
These parasitic bugs mostly congregate in areas with much vegetation. More on this will be discussed shortly.
Animals are affected too
It’s important to note that humans aren’t the only possible hosts targeted by red bugs. Other animals and livestock are as well.
Examples include birds, domestic animals, wildlife, and poultry among others. Of most concern to us is their feeding activity on humans and domestic animals.
How Red Bugs Feed
To have an idea of the problems posed by red bugs, we’ll need to consider their feeding behavior. The explanation given earlier on their preference for human and animal cell tissues was quite vague or unclear.
When red bugs get onto skin, they find suitable areas of your skin to pierce through.
Such areas are mostly those where clothing fits tightly over the skin. Also, red bugs have a preference for areas of your body having a thin layer of flesh. Such include your armpits, ankles, and back of knees among others.
When red bugs pierce through the skin, they secrete or inject a digestive enzyme.
This digestive enzyme works by breaking down your skin cells. These pests then suck up the liquefied skin cells.
Do Red Bugs Transmit Diseases?
It’s normal for anyone to think red bugs transmit diseases to humans or other hosts through their feeding action.
If you’re dealing with an existing infestation and fear that such a condition could result in the transmission of diseases, there’s absolutely nothing to be afraid of.
While red bug infestations can be very uncomfortable and unpleasant, they aren’t known to cause or spread any diseases. This is quite a relief for persons experiencing red bug infestations.
While this is true, secondary conditions resulting from red bug bites or irritation could cause infections.
How so? When red bugs bite or feed on skin tissue, itchy conditions develop with small red mounds appearing. Due to the itchiness resulting from their bites, it leads to excessive scratching.
With such scratches, bite regions or the red mounds become inflamed and might result in infection.
How did I get Red Bugs on my Body?
When infestations occur, it’s normal to see people oblivious of how the problem came about. Red bugs end up on humans in many ways.
As earlier stated, these bugs are mostly found on overgrown vegetation. Late spring and summer are times of the year where cases of red bug infestations are common.
You’ll find red bugs in many suitable locations including tall or overgrown weeds and grasses as well as in roadside ditches and pastures.
Red bugs are also found in woodlands, along with water bodies like streams and lakes, and even in areas where grasses are tended like parks, lawns, and golf courses.
Here, it seems like there’s practically nowhere you can’t find these bugs. So, if you’re seeing bite symptoms of red bugs, it’s likely that you’re faced with an infestation scenario.
Urgent steps will have to be taken to resolve the problem. Any delay will simply worsen the condition.
Symptoms of Red Bug Bites
Before an infestation is determined, it’s preceded by symptoms like bites. In other words, red bug infestations are difficult to determine without signs of their presence.
So, how do you identify chigger bites? Many symptoms can point to a chigger presence.
These symptoms include a reddened bite spot that’s either flat or raised.
Of course, itchiness is the first noticeable symptom. Persistent itchiness for days is also noticed in addition to an eczema-like condition that results from multiple bites.
Bites might appear in groups.
Reddened Bite Spot
When red bugs bite, they leave behind reddened spots that may appear as bumps or might be flat. Upon close examination of bumps, you’ll find these to look like hives, welts, pimples, or blisters.
Bumps may not necessarily appear for all bits as certain bite areas might be flat.
One of the easiest ways to identify the problem is consistent itchiness.
However, this condition isn’t enough to prove that you’ve been bitten by redbugs or have an infestation. It’s only part of several symptoms to look out for.
You’ll need to check for other confirming symptoms to see if they make any sense.
Unfortunately, the itch resulting from red bug bites can be quite persistent.
Such itchy conditions can continue for days on end. This is mostly because these parasites feed in clusters.
The consistent feeding by them worsens your condition.
With multiple bites, the affected area begins to show signs of allergy contact dermatitis. Sometimes, this can be difficult to make out without medical attention.
If you’ve had similar conditions in the past, then it shouldn’t be difficult to figure out what the problem is.
If you haven’t experienced such before, a confluence of all the symptoms mentioned should be enough to pinpoint the problem.
Bites Appear in Groups
Red bugs will latch onto particular areas of your skin and feed for days.
This creates a situation where bites appear in groups. The clustered red bugs can move to another suitable area of the skin when disturbed to continue feeding.
Prevention and Treatment
Your best bet of avoiding this condition is by ensuring you keep away from wooded areas. Plus, you should avoid brushing past vegetations and overgrown weed as such could harbor red bugs.
Wearing long-sleeved clothing and long pants tucked into your socks when outdoors will help.
If you’ve passed or brushed through overgrown weeds, you may want to take a shower immediately after you step in.
Have your clothes removed and washed immediately. You may want to take over-the-counter medications such as calamine lotion among others for relieving the condition.
More importantly, have overgrown vegetation trimmed down. Also, have your yard sprayed with appropriate pesticides and finally seek medical advice and attention.
There you go! Red bug infestations can be very problematic. However, there are ways to go about controlling red bug infestations.