Chiggers, also known as harvest bugs, mower’s mites or harvest lice are small outdoor ticks. They are called “trombiculid mites” in scientific terminology  and they are in the same family as spiders. You cannot see them with the naked eye and while they are not dangerous, casual walks can come with a heavy price such as an itchy rash that appears out of nowhere on the legs or arms. Rashes that appear suddenly after countryside walks are usually because of chiggers. Also known as chigger bites, the rashes can be irritating, itchy, and painful.. If you have a chigger infestation in your yard or garden, you need to treat the problem. So try out our home remedies to get rid of chiggers.
What are chiggers and what do they do?
There is no country in the world that does not have a native species of chiggers.
They live in moist and grassy fields like forests. Areas near lakes and streams can also be habitats for chiggers. These can even be present in your lawn.
Chiggers come in yellow, red, and straw colors. It is difficult to see them because they are just 0.3 millimeters long.
The adult chiggers do not bite. Their babies or larvae are the ones that cause trouble.
After chigger larvae hatch from the eggs, they stick together in groups. They do not travel far from their hatching site. Usually, these groups stay on grass or leaves near the ground. As people or animals pass by, baby chiggers get attached.
Once you come into contact with them, chiggers look for patches of skin. Once they find a patch, they use their jaw-like, sharp claws and bite into the skin.
Their saliva is used to digest the skin surface and is powerful enough to turn some of the cells into pulp.
This mush of cells is actually their food. They can stay on your skin for several days as they feed on those liquefied cells.
Rashes or chiggers bites can happen anywhere on the body. The most common places for chigger bites are lower legs and waist. However, you will not be able to tell if chiggers are biting you. The itching and irritation will begin after a few hours after contact.
The itching from chiggers is so bad that it can disturb your sleep. It can also last for days. The skin around the bites can also turn bumpy and red. The hive-like rashes or blisters can take up to a week or more to heal.
Men can get also get bites in the groin area. That can lead to a condition known as “summer penile syndrome.”  This condition comes with itching, swelling, and trouble peeing. The healing time is some days to weeks.
Chigger bites are more common in certain seasons. Summer, spring, and early fall is the time chiggers come out.
Are Chiggers Contagious?
Because chiggers are closely related to the tick, many people assume that chiggers are contagious or transmit diseases such as Lyme disease. However, chiggers are not contagious. You cannot catch a rash by treating your child’s chiggers bites.
There is no need to worry about diseases from chigger bites. The bigger concern is that scratching can further irritate the skin. Scratching may even cause an infection.
To check whether you have been exposed to chiggers, examine your whole body. If you see tiny red dots attached to the skin, you may have chiggers on your skin.
Since chigger bites are troublesome, it is better to avoid them. Read and try these home remedies to get rid of chiggers.
Home Remedies to Get Rid of Chiggers
1.Cut Down Tall Grasses and Mow Your Lawn
Tall grasses, briars, and weeds are used by chiggers as hiding spots. Cut the grass short and pull out weeds as well as other unwanted vegetation. This is a simple but one of the best home remedies to get rid of chiggers in your yard.
Chiggers need a suitable place with enough shade and moisture to live. Air circulation and sunlight are both enemies of chiggers.
Also, trim the bushes, decorative plants, and other shrubs. It will allow better circulation and sunlight.
Some of the chiggers tend to come back once the warm weather returns. This is why the maintenance of the yard is important.
2. Keep animals Away From Your Yard
Chiggers often use animals as hosts. Small mammals, amphibians, and reptiles often carry chiggers. Keeping these animals away is among the effective home remedies to get rid of chiggers from your home.
To discourage reptiles and amphibians from coming to your yard, try to remove access to water. Sources of water is the main thing that attracts reptiles and amphibians.
Small mammals stay in gardens and yards if there is sufficient cover. If your garden has extra shrubs and vegetation, it will invite small mammals. Keep your garden tidy.
Another thing you can consider is to secure the garden with a fence. Make sure the fence is high enough for the animals to not cross.
Secure trash cans as a source of food.
3. Use Diatomaceous Earth
If there is a severe trigger infestation in your yard, you can try diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth is considered as one of the top home remedies to get rid of chiggers in your yard.
Diatomaceous earth is a natural product formed soft sedimentary rock. It is organic and formed by fossilized creatures known as diatoms. It will also not cause any big damage to your plants and will help you get rid of earwigs and centipedes.
Broadcast application of this pesticide is one of the fast home remedies to get rid of chiggers. Try this particularly for out of control infestation. Diatomaceous powder is available in form of off-white and white powder.
Sprinkle the pesticide in the areas of your yards which can be hiding spots for chiggers, such as overgrown shrubs, tall grasses, moist, and shaded places. Weeds, grasses, and briars are the ideal places for chiggers.
4. Add Sulfur Powder to Socks and Shoes
Like many other creatures, chiggers are not able to bear some strong odors. Sulfur powder can help to keep chiggers away because of its strong odor.
Sprinkling a little sulfur powder can be very helpful to get rid of chiggers in your home. You can add a dash of sulfur powder to the socks or shoes to keep chiggers from grass away. This can be done with pants or shirts too for added protection.
You should also keep in mind that sulfur powder can also be irritating for some people. If you are sensitive to smells, the sulfur powder might cause issues for you.
5. Brush the Exposed Skin
It is hard to keep skin covered in the summer and spring. Chiggers are most active during these seasons.
Chiggers can attach to any exposed part of the body but they do not bite as soon as they land on the flesh. If you brush your skin after every thirty minutes, it may help to keep the chiggers off.
You can also try and brushing your clothes. It will aid in getting rid of any chiggers from the clothes as well.
6. Take a Hot Shower After Coming Indoors
If you think you have chiggers on your skin and clothes, take a hot shower. Do this immediately after coming back home. Make sure the water is hot and not only lukewarm. Rinse, scrub, and wash the skin several times.
A hot shower will stop the chiggers from attaching themselves to your skin.
This is not only a great home remedies to get rid of chiggers but also for other biting insects as well.
Keep in mind that if the chiggers have started to inject saliva, taking a hot shower will not work that well. Alas, you may have to deal with bites later on.
7. Wash the Clothes in Hot Water Alone
If you think there are chiggers on your clothes, change clothes right after coming back home. Wash the chigger-infested clothes alone with hot water.
The water you use for washing should be at least 52 degrees Celsius or 125 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not wash in cold water as it will not remove the chiggers. After washing, dry the clothes in the sunlight.
8. Try Permethrin Repellents for Clothes
These repellents have a long-lasting effect and can stay even after one or two washes. You can only use the thing on clothes because and not on skin. Try using the repellent a day before wearing the clothes.
Make sure to apply the repellent on both sides of the clothes. The openings of the clothes like cuffs, waistbands, and neck are the most important part. Let the repellent dry before wearing the clothes.
Be aware. Some repellents can ruin plastics, clothing, varnished or painted surfaces, and nail polish. If you have an allergic reaction, get medical help right away.
9. Try Diethyltoluamide (DEET) Repellents for Skin
Repellents containing DEET are super effective against chiggers. They also work well for other pests too. This can be applied to the exposed parts of the skin like arms, legs, and hands.
If you can’t wear covered clothes, try this in place of other home remedies to get rid of chiggers.
DEET repellents do not last as long as permethrin repellents do for clothes. DEET can stay for two-three hours. Do not apply it near sensitive areas like mouth, nose, and the eyes.
Do not apply DEET on clothes either as it will cause irritation on the skin instead of protecting it. Some DEET repellents can also damage clothes, painted surfaces, plastics, and nail polish.
Follow the instructions given. In case of an allergic reaction, take medical attention immediately.
10. Use Natural Sprays
Some studies show that natural sprays can be helpful. Many essential oils are natural insecticides. These oils are often used as natural mosquito repellents and work just as well on chiggers.
Try to use sprays with oils made from tea tree, citronella, lemongrass, tea tree, and geranium.
They are not only effective against chiggers, but will also protect your pets against fleas.
- Try to wear long sleeves and long pants. Tuck the pant legs into the socks.
- You can also try thigh-high boots
- Keep your pet away from infested areas
- Do not go into tall grasses and weeds. They have chiggers and many other pests as well.
- Avoid sitting or lying down on the ground
- Do not burn yourself with water that is too hot while taking a shower or bath