Chigger – Identification and Treatments
Also Known As:
Red mite, berry bug, harvest mite
How to Identify:
Chiggers are very small, typically only 1mm long. It is possible to see them with the naked eye, though it is difficult. They are bright red and have eight legs. Signs of a chigger bite are itchy, red bumps on the skin, usually around ankles, legs and the waist of the host. Chiggers can infest pets as well and may be found inside cat’s ears. Pets either will scratch the site of the bites or ignore them completely.
Chiggers live in areas of thick vegetation and grass, most often in rural, undisturbed areas. They are most common in the midwest in the Great Lakes region and the Mississippi river valley. Chiggers have four main life stages: eggs, larvae, nymph, and adults. Eggs are laid in the soil and hatch into larvae, which crawl to the surface in search of a host. The larval stage is the only stage of a chigger life which feeds on blood. Chiggers can feed from people, snakes, birds, and small mammals. They penetrate a skin cell and inject a liquid which breaks it down, They then consume the broken down cell and detach themselves from their host. After feeding, the larvae develops into a nymph. Nymph and adult chiggers feed on the eggs and larvae of other insects.
How to Stop Them:
Some ways to avoid chigger bites are to wear tight clothing and use insect repellant. There are few prevention methods you can use to stop chiggers from infesting your lawn other than calling a pest control professional, who will spray pesticides and other repellents on your lawn.