Today, how to get rid of chiggers from your body, from your pets, and from your yard.
1. What are Chiggers?
Chiggers are the larval form of adult mites that belong to genus Trombicula. Chiggers are also known as red bugs, harvest mites, and harvest lice. They are found throughout the world in hot and humid areas. Although, you can find them anywhere in the US, they are a nuisance to the midwestern and southern states during the fall, summer, and spring. Chiggers are tiny, microscopic organisms. They are around 1/150th of an inch in size and almost impossible to spot. Also, chiggers are food for many creatures like spiders, ants, beetles, birds, centipedes, etc.
These can be felt when they bore deep down into your skin with their sharp, jaw-like legs. Chiggers feed on your skin cells and their saliva has skin dissolving properties that leave behind itchy, welt-like hives that last for many days. The good news is that there are methods to track these chiggers and to learn how do you get chiggers out of your yard. There are also ways to prevent chigger infestation in the first place. If you doubt that your land has been infested with chiggers, wear protective clothing and use repellents.
2. What do Chiggers look like?
You must first know what chiggers look like before reading about how do you get chiggers out of your yard. Chiggers are arachnids, and if you look closely at them, you will notice that they look like a cross between a spider and a crab. They have warm colors, ranging from straw yellow to orange or red. You may notice chiggers in groups on low-hanging leaves in your yard using a magnifying glass. However, you must keep in mind only chigger larvae having 6 legs bite and not the adult chiggers which have eight legs.
3. How to find Chiggers in your yard?
Chiggers usually, prefer shady areas with damp surroundings. So, focus on such areas in your yard while investigating a chigger infestation. Do not bother to look for chiggers in places that receive adequate sunlight or where the lawn is mowed short. Furthermore, to start your search, you will require black cardboard squares, preferably 6X6 inches in size.
- Keep the cardboard squares upright against the edges of the wall that you suspect to have chiggers.
- Leave the squares untouched for several minutes. Now, closely look at the cardboard.
- If you have a chigger infestation, then they will climb up the black cardboard squares and gather at the top. Since chiggers are mostly yellow or red, so even if they are tiny, you can easily identify them against the dark background.
Additionally, leave a small bowl of water in the grass for a couple of minutes. Using a magnifying glass, you will be able to see chiggers gathered around the rim of the shallow bowl.
4. How to prevent Chigger bites?
If you have to bear incessant itching of chigger bites after spending time in your yard, then you can be certain of chigger infestation. But if you are not sure about the cause of your itching, you may have to perform a quick test to confirm it. Either way, it is advisable to cover as much of your skin as possible. Here’s how to prevent chigger bites:
- Ideally, wear loose-fitting shirts and pants with a tightly woven fabric.
- Make sure to tuck your pants into thick socks and wear tall boots or shoes.
- Button your collar and cuffs.
- Use an insect repellent containing DEET on your skin and clothing.
- If you require additional protection, dust the inside of your shoes and socks with sulfur granules.
Once you are done investigating your land, brush off your clothes and carefully examine the cloth edges where it meets the skin. Do this before entering your house. Get rid of your clothes before going in and put your clothes in a plastic shower until you can put them in a hot wash. Later, enter your house and take a hot, thorough shower. (See Why flies are so annoying?)
5. How do you get chiggers out of your yard?
If you find your property to be heavily infested with chiggers, then do not waste time and eliminate them. Be sure to target the main habitat of chiggers like the overgrown lawns, weed areas, leaf litters, ground covers, and densely planted trees or shrubs. Chiggers have a habit of clustering in groups because the females tend to lay eggs in one location. So, for this reason, you may only find one place to be heavily infested in your yard. Read the solutions to the query: how do you get chiggers out of your yard:
- Remove all bush piles from your land. Clear off the piled-up leaf litter regularly.
- Be sure to mow your lawn regularly to keep it short, especially around the edges of the walls.
- Do not let your landscape plants overgrow. Keep trimming them from time to time.
- Try and reduce shaded areas in your yard as chiggers tend to keep away from sunlight.
The use of pesticides is rarely recommended in such cases. But, if you choose to, then please do so with utmost care and responsibility.
- Firstly, contact your local authorities to get information on which pesticides work best for a chigger infestation and how to safely utilize them.
- Do not do anything that is not mentioned on the pesticide label. Make sure that you strictly follow all the instructions.
- Treat only the infested areas and do not overuse the pesticide by applying it all over your yard.
- Make sure that you keep pets and children away from the treated areas until they are completely dry. Do not let animals lick treated plants at any cost.
6. How to get rid of chiggers from your body?
If your land is infested with chiggers, then there is a high possibility that you will find little red bumps on your skin or even, the bugs themselves. (Also read What Attracts Mosquitoes to Humans?) Here’s how to get rid of chiggers from your body:
- Be sure to pay close attention to your collar and cuffs. Search your shirts and pants carefully for any chiggers. This is how to prevent chigger bites.
- If you find any bugs or bites, wash your skin with soap and hot water in a shower.
- Wash your clothes or any towels that might have been in contact with the infected area using hot water.
- Use hydrocortisone cream, allergy medication, or a steroid injection (rarely recommended) to treat the bumps.
7. How to get rid of chiggers from your pet?
The answer to how do you get chiggers out from your pet is given below:
- Firstly, wipe your pet’s face with a soft cloth or vet-recommended wipes.
- If your pet has chigger bites, then give it a warm bath using soaps that contain flea or tick repellents. These will help in preventing chigger bites further.
- Seek help from your vet, if the condition worsens.
8. How to get rid of chiggers indoors?
Since you have learnt how do you get chiggers out of your yard, here’s how to get rid of chiggers indoors:
- Clean your house with hot water and soap to get rid of chiggers. The temperature of the water used for cleaning should be at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
- You may also use a carpet shampooer with a heat setting.
- Additionally, vacuum your carpets regularly to prevent repeated chigger infestation.
We hope that this satisfies your queries of how do you get chiggers out of your yard, how to get rid of chiggers indoors and how to get rid of them from your pet or yourself.