Chiggers and bedbugs are insects with bites that can make life miserable. Although both insects feast on human blood, many key differences between the two pests exist. The most effective way to avoid bedbugs and chiggers is to learn how to identify them so that you can stay out of their way. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to control both types of critters.
Bedbugs are reddish-brown insects that live indoors. They have an oval shape and grow to the size of an apple seed, according to the Mayo Clinic. True to their name, bedbugs infest bed frames, box springs and other nooks and crannies of the bed. Bedbugs are generally found in hotels, homeless shelters and hospitals. Chiggers are a larval stage of the Trombiculidae mite. Such organisms are very small, 1/150th of an inch in diameter, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation. They live outdoors in places with tall weeds, tall grasses and moist areas with low-growing shrubs.
Bedbug bites appear similar to the welts that other biting insects cause. Such bites are itchy and red with a dark spot in the middle. Bedbug bites usually crop up in clusters or lines. They most often appear on the hands, face, arms and neck. Chigger bites first appear as small red spots. They then grow in size as the itchiness becomes more intense. Chigger bites usually appear on the feet, ankles and groin.
To avoid chiggers, wear long pants and avoid sandals while you're out in the woods. Insect repellents and picaridin will also stop chiggers from biting you. Take a hot and soapy bath immediately after you've been exposed to cut down itch time. You can also buy over-the-counter lawn treatment that will kill chiggers in the area surrounding your house. Unfortunately, avoiding bedbugs is much more difficult if your bed is infested. Bedbugs hide during the day and can survive for months without eating. The Mayo Clinic suggests hiring a professional exterminator to get rid of an infestation.
Neither bedbug or chigger bites carry any long-term ramifications. Although bedbugs could technically be vectors for blood-borne diseases after feeding on an infected person, the Mayo Clinic says no evidence exists that bedbugs transmit disease of any sort.