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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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