How To Tell If You Have Chiggers Or Bed Bugs

Bed bugs and chiggers both leave reddish, small, irritating bumps on the skin in the wake of their attacks, so it can be difficult to tell if a bed bug or a chigger has bitten you. However, outside these bumps, there are numerous differences between chiggers and bed bugs that can be used to distinguish the two, and you’ll be familiar with those differences by the end of this article, but first let’s define them.

What Are Chiggers

Chiggers are small red arachnids that require a magnifying glass to see. They dwell in fields, forests, grass, or anywhere else where there are green plants. Although they cannot transmit diseases to humans, their bites can cause itchy, unpleasant bumps on the skin that resemble hives.

Chiggers do not bite; instead, they puncture the skin and inject their saliva into it. The saliva then mixes with the skin cells, and they suck it back up. This process takes 3–4 days; chiggers typically live on their hosts for that long before letting them go, and those red bumps appear. Red, itchy bumps are the only complications that should occur after the chiggers have left.

beg bugs recap

Bed bugs are small, reddish, oval-shaped insects that feed primarily on human blood. They can be found in close proximity to human resting places such as the bed and couch in their homes. Just like chiggers, bed bugs are incapable of transmitting diseases, and their bites result in little red pimples that appear in clusters. 

Bed Bugs Versus Chiggers


Chiggers are red and tiny, so small that you’ll need a magnifying glass to see them; on the other hand, bed bugs are small but visible to the naked eye. Bed bugs come in different colors, such as brown, whereas chiggers only come in one color, bright red. Finally, bed bugs are insects, whereas chiggers are not; chiggers are arachnids, and most of them look like spiders, while bed bugs are oval in shape.

They occupy different habitats

Chiggers live primarily outside, in places such as forests, swamps, and grasslands, or anywhere else where they can find green plants; this is where they live and where a victim is most likely to be bitten by them. On the other hand, bed bugs live indoors, close to their food, hiding in cracks in the walls and in tight and dark places in furniture until the night, when they come out to feed on their hosts before returning inside.

Their feeding strategies

Bed bugs primarily feed on humans; they can feed on animals, but they rarely do so. They live indoors, close to their human hosts, because they prefer to feed on humans. They have a feeding strategy that allows them to go about their business unnoticed; they only feed when their hosts are sleeping or relaxing.

This allows them to do what they want unnoticed, and the victim will notice the bite marks when they awaken. Bed bugs repeat the same feeding strategy every night. They are nocturnal insects. Chiggers, on the other hand, do not have a feeding strategy; they are always outside and ready to feed off any mammal they can find.

They will feed whether the victim is awake or asleep, but they do so carefully, and the victims do not notice. Chiggers feed by taking up temporary residence on their victims’ bodies for three to four days. Bed bugs bite to obtain blood; chiggers bite to obtain nutrients from skin cells.

Their bites heal at different times

Chigger bites take longer to heal than bed bug bites; they can persist for up to two weeks before receding, even with medication. On the flip side, bed bug bites normally subside in a few hours or a day, but not more than two days, and they don’t usually require medication.

Their bite patterns

Chigger bites are more commonly found on the lower body, such as the ankles and knees, but bed bug bites can be found on any area of the body that was left exposed while the person was sleeping or resting, such as the legs, arms, and neck.

Both bugs cause bites that look like little red lumps in clusters, but if you look closely, bed bug bites are grouped in a zigzag or straight-line pattern, whereas chigger bites are spread over the affected area.

Also read: Bed Bug Bites VS Pimples


Bed bugs and chiggers produce bites with a similar pattern, leading many people to believe they are the same. However, they are not the same, and they even belong to distinct classes. The purpose of this article is to provide you with the necessary information to be able to tell them apart.