While we might consider our bodies to be completely our own, the truth is that that around 90% of the cells that make up a human are actually not part of us at all. Instead, they are made up of billions of different bugs, ranging from bacteria to parasitic creatures that depend on you to live. Unlike bugs you didn't realize you're eating all the time, most of these inhabitants provide a mutually beneficial service, getting rid of harmful bacteria or protecting us against infections, so they cannot simply be considered pests.
The diversity of the human body also makes it the perfect environment for other types of organisms. Insects, mites, and lice can all make their home on the surface of the skin, biting into the flesh to feed on blood. Many of the disgusting creatures that live on your body have evolved to specialize in a particular area and are capable of living their entire lives on your skin while you go about your daily business. All around the world, these little guys are feeding, mating, and laying eggs in human hair and flesh.
So whether it's microscopic creatures or visible insects, your body can literally be teaming with life that you might much prefer wasn’t there at all.
Ticks are tiny arachnids that can range in size from just a few millimeters to one or two centimeters. They are found all around the world and live by feeding on mammals, birds, and even reptiles. Usually located in wooded or forested areas, the parasites attach themselves onto their hosts from branches and brambles.
Once they have bitten a victim, a tick is capable of causing a great deal of harm to a person as they have the ability to carry a number of diseases and transmit them to anybody they come into contact with. This can include Lyme disease and the malaria-like babeiosis.
Although rare, chigoe fleas are insects that can latch onto a variety of different hosts. An infestation of these fleas is known as tungiasis, and they are particularly nasty as they are also likely to lead to other forms of infection from their presence. After arriving on a host, the insects latch onto the skin and then bury their heads into the flesh.
Its hind legs remain exposed on the skin, allowing the disgusting pest to breath and defecate while it lays hundreds of eggs under the skin. They are most common in South America and Africa, where they attach themselves to the feet of their victims. Unlike many of the other creatures that can live on your body, these fleas can cause severe damage such as gangrene, tuberculosis, and necrosis of the flesh.
Chiggers are a species of trombiculidae that are closely related to ticks. However, they are much smaller than their relatives and will usually only reach sizes of around 0.4 mm, meaning they are practically microscopic and difficult to spot. Capable of living in almost any sort of vegetation, they attach to a host - including humans - during their larval stage so that they can feed on blood.
They do this by using chemicals to form a hole in the flesh rather than biting. The disgusting creatures continue to live on the human body until they are finished feeding and simply drop off to mature into their harmless adult forms.
Unlike their relatives the head lice, these parasitic insects tend to live mostly on clothing. They first originated some 100,000 years ago, around the same time humans began to wear clothes, and only travel to the skin to feed.
The creatures have a similar life cycle to head lice and are around the same size and shape. Luckily, they are far rarer than their head brethren as they only affect those who don’t have access to regular bathing and washing facilities or clean clothing.