As parents, we see it all. From bites to burns, it seems like our littles are running into trouble at every turn. Our kids love being outside, but they certainly don’t love the bugs that chase them down.
So today, we want to give you all the details on those tiny red bugs that you can’t see but leave their mark anyway.
Class Review: List of Tiny Bugs That Bite:
Some insects are so small that we don’t see them coming. Instead, we only notice what they leave behind: an annoyingly tiny (or surprisingly large) bite.
- Ticks: A tick bite might not always cause itchy skin, but this parasite can transmit diseases like Lyme Disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. You may overlook a tick bite unless the insect itself stays attached to your skin — although the ones that carry Lyme disease will leave behind a characteristic bullseye rash.
- Bed bugs: Bed bug bites turn into itchy welts on the arms and legs and can be extremely difficult to exterminate.
- Biting midges: What’s in a name? In this case, a lot. Midges are tiny winged insects sometimes known as no-see-ums, and their bites are painful and irritating.
- Mites: These insects are so tiny that they often can’t be spotted by the naked eye, but the damage they leave behind can. There are multiple kinds of biting mites, but some of the most common and disturbing ones include chiggers (a type of small red mite) and scabies.
What Are Chiggers?
Chiggers, a close relative of the arachnid, are small red insects that also go by names such as harvest mite, scrub mite, or red bugs.
Grab a magnifying glass, because seeing these tiny red bugs is pretty hard with just the naked eye. Even if they are large enough to see, chiggers often hide in folds of clothing and prefer to bite in fabric-heavy spots like behind the knees, inside the armpits, in the crooks of elbows, and on your thighs.
Chiggers are found outdoors pretty much everywhere in the world. They like to hide in moist grass, particularly in late spring and early fall. However, unlike a toddler’s food choices, chiggers are not picky and will hide in your lawn if they can.
An interesting fact about chiggers: adult chiggers don’t bite; it’s the babies (technically the larvae) that do the damage.
What To Expect From a Chigger Bite
Chigger bites look similar to spider or mosquito bites. They are red welt-like red bumps that itch. Like spider bites, chigger bites may look like pimples.
Because of this similarity to other bites, it’s vital to look out for the other warning signs. Chigger bites will get larger and itchier over a few days, as opposed to other bites that slowly fade. You may also notice hive-like rashes — these insects travel in groups, and you will get bitten by more than one at a time (just like fire ants).
Thankfully, the majority of chigger bites are not the source of any serious or further disease or issues. The biggest risk comes from areas of Southeast Asia, where chigger bites may cause scrub typhus.
What Are Fire Ants?
Dull red or reddish-brown, fire ants have stingers and aren’t shy about using them. They primarily feed on living insects and dead animals, but they will sting human feet and legs if they venture too close.
Fire ants build visible soil mounds or domes, usually in sunny spots, and prefer open fields and lawns. Without the help of pest control, these mounds can grow rapidly and even give rise to adjacent colonies.
What To Expect From a Fire Ant Bite
Fire ants’ painful bites come from an internal venom sac and are usually most potent in the summertime. The most common reaction to their bites is an immediate burning sensation and a raised, red welt.
Typically, fire ant welts fade after four to six hours and are replaced by itchy pustules and blisters that last for about a week. To avoid a secondary infection, don’t itch these blisters.
Some people react more strongly to fire ants, with much larger welts that last longer and feel hot and painful. A very small portion can even experience anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction that can cause difficulty breathing, full-body itching, and even seizures. These unlucky few must seek immediate medical attention.
What Are Biting Midges?
As their name suggests, midges are tiny flying insects that deliver a mean bite. Their habitats range around the world — though they often prefer coastal areas, salt marshes, and farmlands with rich, damp soil.
On the bright side, these insects don’t set up shop inside houses and buildings, except for a few that may slip through the gaps in a screen window. Rather, they’re a nuisance for the outdoors.
Also known as punkies or biting gnats, biting midges are usually challenging to eliminate.
What To Expect From a Midge Bite
While not life-threatening, midge bites can be deeply irritating and occasionally cause allergic reactions. They most closely resemble mosquito bites.
They can also carry certain viral diseases and parasites in parts of Central and South America, western and central Africa, and the Caribbean — but this is rarely a risk in the United States and typically only an issue for livestock.
A midge bite may swell, blister, or ooze clear discharge. It might also become infected if scratched excessively. In rare cases, midge bites can also lead to allergic reactions and anaphylactic shock.
Cold compresses and antihistamines are typically used to treat midge bites but read below to learn more about natural treatment options.
Prevention and Treatment for Tiny Bug Bites
While it can be tricky to spot these microscopic creatures, there are ways to arm yourselves against tiny biting insects. There are also ways to help with the irritation and itch associated with their various kinds of bites.
Remember, we’ve got your back (or any other part of you that’s covered in bites)!
Be Mindful of Clothing
The first tip is to think about your attire. If you’re planning a day outdoors with the family, be mindful of the fit of your pants and shirts. Wearing long pants and tucking them into your socks will help seal off the gaps in your clothes and ward off pests like chiggers and ticks.
How To Use Essential Oils To Repel Insects
Essential oils have been used for thousands of years as natural insect repellents. The aromas of certain oils help mask the carbon dioxide emissions you create when you exhale. Essential oils are so much safer than toxic insecticides like DEET and smell way better.
However, diluting essential oils and rubbing them all over our squirming kiddos is difficult, to say the least. You’ll often find that you’ve successfully applied these oils and then turn your back, and your kiddos wipe them off.
Quit the squirming struggle and arm them instead with our BuzzPatch. These stickers are specially formulated and packed full of all the essential oils you need to keep bugs at bay. While the blend was created specifically for mosquitoes, these are the same essential oils you will need to keep other insects, like chiggers and fleas, far away.
The best part? Kids love our stickers! The designs are fun, and the products are easy to use. Instead of your kids rubbing off the oils, they’ll be excited to wear these. You can rest assured knowing the bugs won’t make a meal of your minis.
Long-Term Itch Relief From Bug Bites
A bath will help but won’t keep the itch away forever. Instead, you’ll need MagicPatch.
These scientifically engineered patches are proven to relieve the itch faster and keep it away longer. They’re easy to use, so wrestling your kids to apply messy hydrocortisone anti-itch creams, calamine lotions, and over-the-counter ointments is a thing of the past.
At the first sign of a bite, apply our patches directly to the affected area after cleaning the skin. Our patch technology will pull the saliva up to the top of the skin and treat the deeper itch.
This helps clear that irritation from bug bites faster and keeps the itch away for up to three days. Meaning by the time you take the patch off, your kids won’t feel the need to scratch anymore.
Fun in the Sun
We know that you and your family are ready to tackle the outdoors without the fear and threat of chiggers. Thanks to our stickers and patches, you are ready for a whole day of play free of bites or bugs following you home.
We know that all your summer activities rely on keeping the bugs away. It is so awesome to help you out!
Mite Bites: How to Know if You Have Them | Healthline
Fire Ant Bites | American Osteopathic College of Dermatology
Fire Ants: Symptoms and Treatments | Healthline
Biting Midges and Their Control | NC State Extension Publications
Biting Midges, No-See-Ums, Culicoides Spp. | University of Florida Department of Entomology & Nematology