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Chigger How To Control Chiggers

When the summer comes around, one tiny little demon that homeowners and gardeners have to deal with in the yard are chiggers. These little red mites are so small they’re practically invisible, but you know for sure they are present from the itchy and irritating bites they deliver. If you want to enjoy your yard again, you have to implement a control program to get rid of those pesky chiggers. We here at Solutions Pest and Lawn are well aware of these frustrating little pests and will share with you the best methods of control and the best products to use to eliminate chiggers from your yard for good.

Chiggers aren’t actually insects, they’re mites from the Trombiculidae family. Chiggers are actually the larvae stage of red harvest mite, which is harmless to humans and pets in their adult stage. Chiggers are so small that they are practically impossible to see with the naked eye.

With the help of a microscope or magnifying lens one can see that the chigger has six legs, while adult and nymph mite stages have eight. Adult and nymphs are bright red, while the larvae are orange, yellow, or light red and 1/150 to 1/120 of an inch long. Adult mites are 1/20 inch long. When they become red harvest mites, they mainly feed on plants and are harmless to humans.

Chiggers are prevalent worldwide, but in the States, Chiggers are most common in the Southeast and Midwest parts of the country because of the humid weather and the thick vegetation conditions so its no surprise that they like to hang around lawns and gardens. They have an exceptionally great sense of movement and can detect sources of food from a far distance. Pets will get chiggers simply moving about in the yard, humans can get them while out hiking or playing golf, working in the garden or during a picnic.

Browse our products for chigger control below.

How to Get Rid of Chiggers: Solutions 4 Step Process


Step 1: Identification. When you’re getting bitten by an insect that is so tiny that it’s hard to detect, this leaves the door open for misdiagnosis because there are a number of different insects that can give you “mysterious bites” so if you decide to tackle chiggers the DIY way, you will need to first get a proper identification of the insect to be sure that it is a chigger.

If you have trouble with identifying the insect yourself, you can always take a closeup photo of the bug and send it to our email at identification@solutionsstores.com. We have entomologists on staff who can correctly identify the insect and will promptly respond to you with the correct ID.

Step 2: Inspection. Once you have correctly identified the chigger, you can proceed to the next phase of the control program. It’s important to conduct a thorough inspection of your home to locate the source of the infestation.Chiggers don't usually infest a residential property, but if they do, much like ticks, it will be in shady areas of your yard where they have plenty of hiding places. You can inspect the yard by wearing socks and walking through a suspected area to see if a chigger gets on your socks so they can be easily spotted.

Step 3: Control. A combination of environmental modification practices and high quality pesticides work best against chiggers. Eliminate shady areas as well as excess brush or weeds by trimming your hedge and bushes and mowing the lawn short. Also address and resolve any moisture issues around your home. After that you can use a number of the pesticides which we noted above such as Pyrid Aerosol, Reclaim IT Insecticide and Essentria IC3 Natural Pesticide 

Step 4: Prevention. To prevent chiggers from returning, place a preventative barrier treatment of one of the suggested pesticides we mentioned in step 3 around the perimeter of your yard and home. Also maintain your yard by trimming your yards vegetation short and reducing shade.


Tips for Chigger Controlchigger on plant

Chiggers aren’t bloodsuckers like mosquitos but they actually like to feed on the flesh on practically any living thing. The bites they deliver to humans that irritate the skin are due to chiggers eating skin cells which they dissolve with digestive enzymes. This feeding that the chigger does can result in violent and painful reactions from those who are allergic.


Chiggers normally like to stay in damp, low-lying areas, such as meadows, near lakes or rivers, and woodsy regions but they can adapt to different conditions as they like to move wherever they can find a food source. Most often encountered in the spring and summer, chigger larvae hang on the tops of vegetation, usually in moisture-heavy, shady areas.


Chiggers are only in their larval form for a very short time but during that time, boy are they ruthless. While complete controlling of your home and outside area may be impossible, there are things you can do to protect yourself from chigger bites and make the area around your home less appealing.

  • Steer clear of shady areas where there is tall grass and brush. Mowing regularly to remove thick areas of vegetation. Shorter grass gives chiggers less places to hide during midday since they can’t tolerate much sunlight.

  • If you venturing into areas where chigger activities is high, protect your body by wearing long sleeves and tall boots, and stuffing your pants into your socks. Then, shower and wash your clothes as soon as you can.

  • Use repellent on your skin to deter chiggers from feeding on you.


chiggersLearn More About Chiggers

Chiggers are the larvae stage of a number of different mite species which belong to the trombiculidae family of insect. While chiggers are more closely related to spiders than average insects, chiggers are considered part of the arachinida class, the same chiggers belong to the class Arachinida, along with scorpions and ticks.


In southern states, most notably in Texas, the term “chigger” is typically used to describe the parasitic larval phase of mites from the Eutrombicula genus. Chigger mites cause a significant portion of the itchy, bites people get in the summer after spending time outdoors in areas where there is a lot of grass and brush.


Several species of chiggers exist in the United States, but only two are nuisances to people. One, Eutrombicula alfreddugesi, is found around areas that are disturbed and are very grassy and weedy and may be encountered in overgrown shrubbery and along the edges of wooded areas.


Get Rid of Unwanted Trees And Brush From Your Property


The other chigger species known as Eutrombicula splendens, is found usually in areas which are moist such as swamps and bogs, rotten logs and stumps. Even within conditions which are favorable to them, chiggers can be found scattered in a number of different territories and climates.


Chiggers may be saturated heavily in one area while virtually absent nearby. Chiggers of the genus Eutrombicula usually target birds, reptiles, rodents or other small mammals as hosts. Although chiggers readily bite people if given a chance, it may be relieving to note that humans are not a preferred host for chiggers.


Chiggers cannot live off on humans more than a couple of days due to people gaining skin irritations and scratching. Chiggers often hitchhike onto people who walk through infested areas of grass and shrubbery. They will latch onto shoes or clothing and will take time exploring the body of a host human for a number of hours before choosing an area to feed on.


Chigger bites are most common in areas where clothing is tight or where skin is thinnest. Bites are most common at areas around where socks end on ankles since this is the area where socks fit most tightly and also around the waist or near the crotch region.


Chigger bite may also take place in other areas, including behind the knee and under the armpit. Contrary to popular belief, chiggers do not dig into a host’s skin or suck blood, rather, they prick the skin with their sharp mouthparts and inject a digestive enzyme which breaks down skin cells for food. Itching usually begins within 3 to 6 hours after an initial bite, followed by development of reddish areas and sometimes clear blisters or bumps. As the skin becomes red and swelling increases, it may completely engulf the feeding chigger, making it look like the chigger has burrowed into the host’s skin. Itching typically peaks between 24 to 48 hours after chigger bites occur, but redness and irritation may continue for a week or more for some people.


Chigger Biology and Behavior

Chiggers live outdoors in areas and landscapes where there is a lot of shade. They under go a complete metamorphosis: egg, larva, nymph and adult. Adults spend the winter in the soil. During the early days of spring where the temperature is getting warmer, females will lay their eggs in leaf litter and moist soil areas. The tiny larvae will hatch from the eggs and have six legs, are colored a yellowish to light-red, and measure between 0.15 to 0.3 mm in diameter. The most destructive phase of development is the larvae phase where the chigger is parasitic.


Once a larva selects a host, it will generally feeds off the host for 3 days before dropping off to digest its meal and transition into the next phase of its life. Nymphs and adults have eight legs and are feel primarily on tiny insects and insect eggs found in the soil. Adult Eutrombicula mites are about 1 mm long, with a velvety texture and bright red bodies.


Chiggers can occasionally be seen crawling in leaf litter or along the edges of stones or concrete and often referenced as “red bugs.” Under favorable conditions, chiggers can reach development into adulthood between 2 to 12 months. Chiggers are active from late spring to fall in most parts of the South, particularly in Texas, but they may remain active year-round in southern areas, where they can produce up to four generations per year.


How To Protect Yourself Against Chigger Biteschigger bites courtesy of Flickr

The best way to protect oneself against chiggers is to not come in contact with them. Wear protective clothing, such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts and shoes or boots, when venturing outdoors in areas where chigger activity has been suspected. Clothes should fit your loosely and contain tightly woven fabrics as these fabrics limit the movement of chiggers through clothing and offer the greatest protection.


To keep chiggers from getting up underneath your clothing, tuck pants legs inside boots, and button your cuffs and collar. Avoid sitting or lying directly on the ground. When returning indoors, take off your clothes as soon as possible after exposure to chigger active areas, and put them in the washer and dryer before wearing them again.


Take a warm shower or bath with soap as well after being exposed to chiggers to eliminate any that are on you and lessen the chances of bites. Scrub your skin thoroughly with a washcloth to dislodge any chiggers which may have attached themselves to you. The sooner you take a shower, the more likely it is to provide relief from skin reactions to chigger bites (chigger dermatitis).


There are some repellents which contain DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) which do a great job of offering protection from chiggers and insects. Apply repellents according to label directions. DEET may be applied to exposed skin and around the edge of openings in clothing, such as sleeves and waistbands, and around boot tops. Avoid getting DEET repellents around or in your eyes.


Repellents you can put on skin look their effectiveness after a few hours so re-application may be necessary after some time passes. Another option you can place on clothing for protection is sulfur powder or permethrin based product. Permethrin treatments are long-lasting and will remain effective through several rounds of laundry however do not apply permethrin sprays directly to skin; allow them to dry on clothing before wearing it.


Chigger infestations don’t normally infest areas with turfgrass and landscape environments which are regularly maintained. Keeping grass cut short and vegetation well-trimmed can raise soil temperatures and lower humidity enough to make lawns less appealing to chiggers.


Dont Forget To Protect Your Pets With Insect Repellent for Animals!


Chemical Control Options For Chiggersspray your lawn for chiggers

Residual insecticide sprays, such as those containing bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, esfenvalerate or permethrin, can help suppress chigger numbers.


Granular insecticides generally are less effective than sprays; however, among granular products, bifenthrin performed best against chiggers in recent studies. Use hose-end spray applicators to apply liquid insecticide sprays to large lawn areas. Make sure the insecticide product you purchase is labeled for use on lawns, and carefully follow label directions. When applying insecticides to your lawn, wear long pants, shoes and any other protective gear recommended on the product. As a general rule, pets should be removed from the yard during treatment but can be returned after spray residues are dry.


Our top suggestions include Pyrid Aerosol, Reclaim IT Insecticide and Essentria IC3 Natural Pesticide


The best methods of Chigger control starts with identifying where they are congregating. Usually chiggers are found around the home in pine straw, wood chips, mulch areas, grass, overgrown wild areas, briar patches, or anywhere ground cover is thick. English ivy, poison ivy and junipers will all provide great protection for nesting chiggers. Since these locations may be all over the property, chigger control is best done by treating everything and spot treating “hot spots” where chiggers frequent.


These products are also great when Chiggers find there way inside your home. Use these products to treat baseboards, crawlspaces or other areas where populations are suspected to be living. Another good area to treat is around your home’s foundation.



Treating Chigger Bites

Chigger dermatitis can be extremely itchy and unpleasant. Taking a hot shower or bath may provide some temporary relief if done sooner rather than later after suffering a chigger bite. Once a chigger bite blister has formed, refrain from scratching it, to avoid opening the bite to possible infection. Antihistamine creams which contain menthol, calamine or pramoxine, or hydrocortisone ointments give the best relief from the severe itching associated with chigger bites.


It’s also a good idea to apply an antiseptic ointment to prevent infection, especially on bites that have been opened up by constant scratching . Constant scratching only causes further irritation and increases the risk of secondary infection. Individuals with severe cases of chigger bite problems should see a doctor for help


Additional Resources:


Chigger Bites - What Chigger Bites Look Like & How To Treat Them (Web MD)


Chiggers: The Phantom Menace | Stuff You Should Know


Chiggers | University of Maryland Extension

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