Chiggers, also known as harvest lice, red bugs, or harvest mites, can be found in every state in the US, but they are more of a nuisance in the southern and midwestern regions because of the continual heat and humidity.
There’s good and bad news for the creepy crawlies known as chiggers. Chiggers are arachnids, like spiders and ticks, and many people mistake them for insects. However, adult chiggers do not bite humans; only the larvae do.
As many people believe, these annoyances do not burrow into human skin or feed on human blood. But unfortunately, these are the most common misunderstandings concerning tiny chigger mites. Chigger bites aren’t particularly dangerous because they don’t transmit disease. It would help to avoid getting bitten by these annoying mites.
The bad news is that chigger bites are quite itchy, so you’ll want to avoid them, as chigger bites can induce an uncontrollable itching feeling that can last for two or three weeks. Soapy water calamine lotion can help treat chigger bites, yet it is better to prevent chigger bites with pest control if you can. (Read Getting Rid Of Soil Mites Guide)
In our guide, you can learn more about how to get rid of chiggers outside and the best preventative measures. By the end, you’ll know what insecticide kills chiggers in your yard or how to kill chiggers using natural methods with things from around the home.
What Kills Chiggers In Your Yard?
Before learning how to kill trombiculid mites, it’s essential to understand what they are and where they live during their various life stages.
Chiggers are arachnids, hence linked to spiders. Chiggers are brightly colored, resembling a small spider and a crab. The red variant shouldn’t be confused with red clover mites as there is a vast difference.
A week after being laid, chigger larvae emerge. Here, you’ll find this parasitic stage of a chigger is the larvae stage. They have six legs and grow another pair as they mature into nymphs and adult mites.
Chiggers are tiny pests; you can’t see them with the naked eye.
Instead of sucking blood like mosquitoes and bed bugs, chiggers feed on skin cells using and using a tiny feeding tube they project from their mouth. As they do this, they inject enzymes in their salivary fluid to feed on skin cells, where these digestive enzymes break down cells and dissolve skin.
Luckily, the pesky mites are not good biters, so it reduces areas you will find them. The most common are thin skin on the ankles or wrists or folds of skin like the groin or under the bra line region.
Because of their areas, they are a significant food source for birds, sugar ants, beetles, spiders, and various small creatures. (Learn How To Kill Clover Mites)
Where Chiggers Live
Chiggers call various places home, but the most significant chigger hot spots comprise dense vegetation in areas such as thickets of small trees, thick vegetation, tall grassy areas, bushes, brambles, or other grassy areas full of leaf litter and tall grasses.
The berry bugs prefer warm, humid climates, common in the Midwest and Southern US. Besides, they also appear in other parts of the country during the early summer.
The only consolation is that the larval stage is shorter with variable humidity and heat. Chiggers like dark places, typically clustering on low-hanging leaves or grass frequently.
Diatomaceous earth is made out of fossilized diatoms and works by dehydrating insects as it absorbs the waxy covering on their exoskeletons to destroy their shells.
Unlike chemical insecticides, diatomaceous earth is non-toxic to pets and children.
Diatomaceous earth, sprinkled or dusted on your lawn, can help repel chiggers by destroying their exoskeleton while also treating against fleas, cockroaches, and tick infestations.
Adult chiggers can migrate into your home. Luckily, you can use diatomaceous earth indoors as a chigger treatment. For example, dusting around windows, doors, access points, and your home. Besides this, you can use a 5% dust to kill insects on your lawn or plants.
Before going outside, use a DEET or pyrethrum product. Read carefully, especially when spraying exposed skin on children. Apply sunscreen first, then a DEET-based repellent, and then spritz the repellent after five minutes. Apply around exposed skin such as ankles, legs, waist, wrists, armpits, and neck. (Learn How Long Do Oak Mites Live)
Another approach is to dust socks and shoes with sulfur powder, a chigger repellent.
Get Rid of Chiggers with Essential Oils
Try essential oils to get rid of chiggers naturally. These powerfully perfumed oils prevent chiggers and bed bugs.
- Chigger-Repellent Essential Oils
- Citronella, Eucalyptus, Geranium
- Jojoba, Lavender, Lemongrass
- Peppermint, Tea tree, Thyme
- Fill a spray bottle with your preferred oil.
- Apply repellant to your clothes, skin, and any areas in your yard for repelling chiggers.
Why Do I Have Chiggers In My Yard?
Chiggers are in more areas than you imagine, and it is easy to have a chigger infestation if your yard is unkempt. Tallgrass leaves on the ground or lots of dense weeded shady areas may need severe pest control to eliminate chiggers.
- Chiggers favor wet, shady areas for hunting prey. Gardeners tackling a chigger problem, using pesticides search for such areas.
- Chiggers don’t like blood, yet they enjoy human skin cells. Enzymes break down cells in their saliva, which causes raised, red, hardened patches to act as a feeding tube.
- Chiggers attach to hosts for up to four days on the victim’s body yet itching carries on until traces of the itch-causing digestive enzyme clear from areas of bug bites.
How Do You Get Rid Of Chiggers Naturally?
Chigger stings are said to be less likely with natural sprays. Take eucalyptus, geranium, and lemongrass essential oils. And don’t make yourself a target that attracts chiggers. Wear long sleeves and long pants when in the garden as protective clothing.
You can even tuck pant legs in your socks to avoid chiggers crawling up your legs and prevent bites when walking around in leaf litter.
Harvest mites, red bugs, and chiggers are all names for the tiny arachnids that wreak havoc on outdoor activities and cause intense itching after they bite. Although the mites don’t spread disease, bites can drive you mad.
It’s possible that you won’t be able to get rid of chiggers everywhere, yet you can do a lot to repel chiggers by making insect repellents or other methods.
Understanding chiggers’ preferred environment is crucial to eliminating them from your yard. They enjoy moist, warm, shady habitats like lawns and forests. However, they prefer to hide in tall grass and other vegetation. (Read Little Black Bugs In House – What To Do)
From overgrown flora to passing animals is a quick transition. To avoid chigger infestations and get rid of gnats in your yard and patio areas, mow your lawn periodically and cut back plants.
Keep the grass short along the lawn’s edge, where it joins garden beds or forested areas if your grass is infested with gnats; for example, water it less frequently.
To keep chiggers and other pests at bay, keep up with weeding and cleaning brush piles and other waste. Make your garden as unappealing to chiggers as possible. You might even change your landscape to lessen the amount of shade, as they like shady regions.
Chigger larvae feed on small mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians besides people. Cover trash cans and remove standing water to deter these critters from visiting your yard.
Home Remedy for Chiggers in the Yard
Have you been wondering how to get rid of chiggers in your yard without using harsh chemicals? Try mixing a bug spray out of essential oils and witch hazel.
- Distilled water
- Distilled Witch Hazel
- 15 drops of lemon essential oil
- 15 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
- Fill a spray bottle halfway with the distilled water
- Fill in the rest with witch hazel, leaving an inch of space at the top.
- Add your essential oils.
- Shake your mixture before every use, then spray like any insect repellent.
- To spray the repellent around your yard. Increase quantities of each ingredient and add the liquid to a hose-end sprayer.
Witch hazel can even help with skin irritation and soothe chigger bites or itchy bumps in an affected area.
How to Treat Chigger Bites
Red bumps, blisters, pimples, or a rash may emerge because of the bites. You should not cover bites with nail polish, despite what you may have heard.
Avoid scratching as this may cause an infection, so try to avoid it. Take an antihistamine and apply calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream to reduce itching. You could also apply an antiseptic cream or corticosteroid creams to avoid infection.
A relaxing bath with baking soda or oatmeal is recommended to soothe treated areas. However, stay away from hot water. A cold shower or cold compress may help relieve itching, although you can wash thoroughly with soapy water around the affected area.
See a doctor if the itching lasts more than a few days or you suspect an infection.
There are many ways to keep chiggers at bay, from keeping your lawn in good shape to applying a repellent or insecticide. To keep these pests at bay, take precautions such as wearing long pants in tall grass and showering when you return inside.
Use your outside space without fear of chigger bites, repel, or killing chiggers in your yard. Learn how to get rid of chiggers in your yard using the strategies listed above using your DIY insect repellent to improve your chances of having a chigger-free summer.