How to recognize and control chiggers (2023)

If you or your family members or pets suffer from itchy bites but can't remember ever seeing an insect, you probably suffer from tick bites. Chiggers are immature stage mites that can hide in tall grass, weeds and damp patches under trees in your garden. They can be anywhere you venture outdoors where there are shrubs or scrub combined with moisture, e.g. B. Along the banks of streams. Chiggers cause itchy bites that can last for several days. There are ways to protect yourself from and control chiggers in your yard.

A common misconception is that the larvae burrow under the skin, but that's not true: the itchy red spots are simply an allergic reaction to the saliva from the bites of these tiny pests.

What are bed bugs?

Chiggers, also known as red beetles, harvest lice or harvest mites, are the larvae of certain house mites.ThrombikelFamily. There are dozens of genera within this family and hundreds of species, but the chiggers in your landscape are limited to species native to your region. In North America, most are chiggersTrumpetgenre, especially theT. alfredugesiSpecies. Species native to North America generally do not transmit any disease.

How are the chiggers?

The larvae are arachnids, like spiders and ticks, but extremely small. The red-colored chigger larvae are so small (1/120 to 1/150 inch) that they can hardly be seen with the naked eye. When you do this, they look like speck of dust, although you can see them moving. If you see small red dots moving across the sidewalk, you're probably seeing worms.

In cooler climates, late spring and early summer is the best time for larvae, but in warmer, wetter climates, larvae can be present year-round and produce up to five generations per year..

Signs of chigger infestation

The only real indication that chiggers are a problem in your landscape is when people or pets get crazy, itchy bites without even seeing the insect itself. After the mite eggs hatch in spring, the six-legged larvae quickly climb through the undergrowth, waiting for suitable hosts: cats, dogs, rodents, reptiles, birds and humans.

The larvae attach themselves to their host's skin, preferably smooth skin, and inject their saliva into it. Digestive enzymes in the saliva liquefy the host's skin cells, causing the characteristic rash and severe itching that begins three to six hours after the creatures attach to the skin. In most cases victims suffer bites around the ankles and sometimes in the waist area when working in high scrub. If not removed, chiggers remain on human skin for about four days. When they finish feeding, the chiggers fall off. In their later stages as nymphs and adults, chiggers no longer attack their hosts.

Although the bites themselves can leave itchy welts, they are not dangerous in and of themselves. However, intense scratching of the welts can open the skin to secondary infections.

How to recognize and control chiggers (1)

(Video) What Are Chiggers, How To Treat Bites, And How To Prevent!

Three ways to control Chigger

control the environment

You can control worms by making your yard less attractive to them. Chiggers like moist areas with dense vegetation.plumYour trees and shrubs to let in more sunlight and reduce humidity. Regularlycut your grassand cut near trees, shrubs and along edges between flower beds and wooded or naturalized areas.

Rodents and other small mammals are the primary hosts for chiggers. By clearing piles of debris and brushwood, you discourage these animals from settling in your yard and bringing larvae with them.

change your habits

If you're an environmentally conscious homeowner, you might be wondering how chigger prevention and naturalized landscaping go together. they do! Fighting worms does not mean that everything has to be well cared for. you can still have yourspollinating gardensand country beds and provide shelter for prized wildlife. As with ticks, take the appropriate protective measures.

The general recommendation is to avoid brushing vegetation, which is simply not practical for gardeners. But you can practice wearing the right protective gear when working in tall grass, overgrown areas and undergrowth. Wear long sleeves and pants, and treat your clothing with insect repellent. Check the label to see if the product is effective at repelling the larvae. Insect repellents that contain DEET do this, and there are DEET-free alternatives as well. Put on boots and tuck pant legs in.

Shower off with soap as soon as you get back in, because bugs don't attach to your skin right away, they wander around first. Don't wear clothes after you've been in places where worms may be present. Wash it first on a hot cycle.

How to recognize and control chiggers (2)

use insecticides

Unless you have an area in your yard that has been infested with worms for years in a row, spraying insecticides is generally not a good solution. But the larvae overwinter in the soil, so if you have a larvae hotspot, consider spraying the weeds with products containing bifenthrin, carbaryl, cyhalothrin, or permethrin for a single application from late April to mid-June when the larvae hatch. Remember that broad spectrum insecticides also kill beneficial insects and should only be used as a last resort. As with all chemicals, read the label carefully.

Spraying the entire lawn is not very effective as these insects avoid direct sunlight and are usually only found in unkempt areas and tall grass.

What causes Chigger?

Chiggers thrive in areas where tall grass and scrub exist to provide moist, shady areas for breeding, and where blood-supplying host animals are plentiful: mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians.

How to get rid of Chigger permanently

There really is no effective way to permanently remove larvae completely from your landscape, nor would you want to, as such methods would likely require massive amounts of chemical treatment that would also harm pollinators and other beneficial insects.

However, you can greatly reduce Chigger populations by removing bushes and areas of tall grass. Good sun exposure in all areas of your landscape will greatly reduce the numbers of these insects.

(Video) CHIGGERS BITE: Everything You Need To Know

Chiggers vs Pulga

Chiggers are often confused with fleas, especially since the only evidence can be an itchy bite that causes swelling on the skin. When pets start scratching themselves intensely, they are often assumed to be infested with fleas, but it could very well be the animals biting them. There are a few ways to tell which insects are biting you and your pets:

bed bugs

  • Hellrot

  • Tiny, almost microscopic

  • It looks like a crawling spider

  • Bites are often grouped

  • Bites are punctiform red dots


  • reddish brown

    (Video) How to Get Rid of Chiggers (Red Bugs, Harvest Mites, Berry Bugs)

  • Small but usually visible

  • Teardrop sweater

  • The bites are unique.

  • Bites are raised welts, usually with halos.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do worms transmit diseases?

    In general, chiggers are not known to spread disease in North America, although there are species of chiggers in East Asia and the South Pacific that are known to spread a form of typhoid.However, scratching chigger bites can open the skin to potential bacterial infections.

  • How long do chiggers live?

    The insect's entire life cycle varies by species and can last as little as two months or as long as 12 months. But in the larval stage, the insect feeds on blood. This larval stage lasts only until the larva is successful in its search for a blood meal. At this point she falls off and reenters her nymphal state en route to adulthood.

    Depending on the climate, the insects can reproduce many times, but two to three generations per year are typical in most regions of North America.

    (Video) How to Recognize a Chigger Bite
  • What time of year are chiggers most common?

    In most areas of North America, chiggers go through two or three cycles, and the period from May to frost is considered chigger season, although late spring and early summer are most conducive to chigger season In ice-free regions, chiggers are possible at any time of the year, more frequent in the rainy season.


1. How to Treat Chigger Bites | WebMD
2. How to Survive a Chigger Infestation | National Geographic
(National Geographic)
3. Chiggers bite - red bugs, harvest mites, symptoms and treatment.
(Kote's Medical Animations)
4. Chiggers! And How to Get Rid of Them
(SNO Multimedia)
5. Chiggers: Symptoms and Treatment
6. How to Identify & Treat Chigger Bites | 3 Ways to Treat Chigger Bites | The Guardians Choice
(The Guardians Choice)
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