It’s amazing at how many new things I learn each day when writing articles. The following list of 8 bugs that live on the human body took me a while to write because I kept getting the heebie-jeebies from thinking about all those bugs! Isn’t it irritating how your mind makes you think that there are things crawling on you when there really isn’t? Eeek.
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These parasitic creatures live off of human blood. They attach themselves to the base of hairs on the human head. The scientific name for these bugs is Pediculus humanus capitis. Eggs from head lice are secured to the hair shaft of the human host, where it stays until it hatches. It takes six to nine days for the egg to hatch. Products can be purchased to rid a person of head lice, but it is a lengthy process. Some people find it simpler to shave their head instead.
Head lice infestations can cause discomfort, including itching and sometimes rashes due to allergic reactions to their bites. It is crucial not only to treat the hair with specialized shampoos or lotions, but also to meticulously comb out the nits with a fine-toothed comb. Preventing re-infestation is as important as the initial treatment; hence, washing bedding and clothing in hot water and avoiding head-to-head contact is recommended. It's also important to note that having lice is not a sign of poor hygiene but rather a common issue, especially among school-aged children who are in close contact with one another.
Pediculus humanus humanus is the scientific name for a body louse. These nasty critters emerged after the invention of clothing. They are derived from the head louse and came to be around 107,000 years ago. Body lice attach to clothing at the seams and only leave the safety of clothing to feed on human blood. Washing all clothes and bedding in water that is at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit kills adult body lice and prevents the hatching of any eggs. Since body lice need human blood to survive, if a week goes by without human contact, the lice will die on their own.
Body lice are a type of ectoparasite, meaning they live on the outside of the body, and are most commonly found on the clothing of those who are homeless or living in poverty. They are usually found on the seams of clothing, and are typically spread through close contact with an infected person, or by sharing clothes and bedding. Body lice are generally 1.5 to 3.3 mm in length and are grayish-white in color.
Body lice feed on human blood, and when they bite, they cause intense itching and may lead to secondary skin infections. These infections can be caused by bacteria, fungi, and viruses. If left untreated, these infections can lead to serious health complications such as fever, swollen lymph nodes, and even death.
In addition to causing skin infections, body lice can also spread certain diseases, such as epidemic typhus, trench fever, and relapsing fever. To prevent the spread of these diseases, it is important to practice good hygiene, wash all clothes and bedding in hot water, and avoid contact with people who may be infected.
The common name for this bug is ‘pubic louse’. They are notorious for infesting the private parts of humans and cling to pubic hairs. Since this bug is a louse, it feeds on human blood, just like the other types of lice that affect humans. The itching that is felt is due to oversensitivity to the saliva of the lice. Even human eyelashes can be infected with crab lice. The most common form of treatment for getting rid of crab lice is using a cream rinse of permethrin.
Cimex lectularius is the variety that prefers human blood, but there are a few other types of cimicidae who will also consume blood from other warm-blooded animals. Even though these bugs were eradicated from most areas during the 1940s, they began to make a comeback in the mid-1950s. Clothing, bedding, vehicles, and even furniture can become infested with bed bugs. Since they are nocturnal, they are difficult to see. Pesticides containing malathion, dichlorvos, or pyrethroids tend to be the most effective way to eradicate bed bugs.
This mite is the cause of scabies and goes by the scientific name of Sarcoptes scabiei. Larvae hatch in about 10 days or less and the adults live on the skin for around 4 weeks. As the mites grow within the skin, an intense itching occurs. The area of affected skin appears to be suffering from an allergic reaction and when eggs from these mites are present, the reaction is intensified. Permethrin, Ivermectin, and a number of other medications are used to treat scabies caused by these mites.
The Itch Mite, also known as Sarcoptes scabiei, is a tiny mite that lives on the skin. It is the cause of scabies, an itchy rash that can be incredibly uncomfortable and embarrassing. The female mite burrows into the skin, laying eggs which hatch in as little as 10 days. The adults live for around 4 weeks, and as they grow, the intense itching associated with scabies begins.
Scabies is often mistaken for an allergic reaction, as the affected area appears red and inflamed. The itching is usually worse at night and can be so intense that it disrupts sleep. Scratching can worsen the rash and can even lead to secondary infections.
Fortunately, there are a number of treatments available for scabies caused by the Itch Mite. Permethrin and Ivermectin are two of the most commonly used medications, and both are effective at killing the mites. Other treatments include topical creams and lotions, as well as oral medications.
Sometimes these bugs are referred to as jiggers; not to be confused with chiggers, which are larger. The female chigoe flea burrows into human skin and cause blisters. If left in the skin, a small blister forms and occasionally an infection will occur. These small bugs usually infect feet, since they are poor jumpers and aren’t capable of reaching higher up on the human body. However, if a human were to lie down in an area where these fleas are present, then any exposed skin can easily be attached by chigoe fleas.
Chigoe fleas, Tunga penetrans by their scientific name, are tiny ectoparasites notorious in tropical and subtropical regions. When the female flea embeds itself under the skin, it begins to feed on the host's blood, leading to the notorious condition known as tungiasis. This can cause severe itching, pain, and even ulceration. Left unaddressed, secondary bacterial infections can occur, complicating the infestation. To prevent these bothersome infestations, one should wear protective footwear when walking in sandy or dusty areas where chigoe fleas thrive.
These face mites live in human hair follicles, particularly on the forehead and around the cheeks (on the face). There are around 10 mites per hair follicle and they eat dead cells and cytoplasm, which is the liquid inside of cells. Face mites will reproduce on human skin, but they don’t defecate on it. The elderly tend to have a higher number of face mites than young people. Dermatitis and hair loss is common when these mites accumulate in large numbers.
Demodex folliculorum, commonly known as face mites, are microscopic mites that live on the skin of humans. They are part of the arthropod family and are related to spiders and ticks. They are typically found in the hair follicles of the face, particularly on the forehead and around the cheeks. On average, there are 10 mites per hair follicle, and they feed on dead cells and cytoplasm.
Although face mites are found on the skin of humans of all ages, the elderly tend to have a higher number of mites than young people. When the number of face mites accumulates in large numbers, it can lead to dermatitis and hair loss.
Fortunately, face mites are not known to spread any diseases or cause any major health problems. They do not defecate on the skin, so they are not considered a hygiene problem. However, if you are concerned about the presence of face mites, there are certain steps you can take to reduce their numbers.
Some people refer to these bugs as eyelash mites, since this is the location where they are commonly found. They live and reproduce in the sebaceous glands on humans, but are otherwise very similar to face mites.
I’ve heard of most of these 8 bugs that live on the human body, but not all of them. There are tons of other parasites that affect humans and most of them are microscopic. What are some other bugs that you can think of that affect humans only?
Top Photo Credit: manny.canada
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