What does a chigger look like? A chigger is simply a mite in its larval form, while its adult form is called mites. They belong to the genus of red bugs. Some people call this genus by other names, such as harvest lice and harvest mites. How would you recognize one? What can you do to get rid of them? These will be the focus of this article. Read on.
The scientific name for this genus is Trombicula. They thrive best in hot and humid areas worldwide. In the US, chiggers are present in every state. But they constitute a big nuisance to those who reside in the Midwestern and southern states particularly so during the fall and summer seasons.
Chiggers are a source of concern because their saliva contains enzymes that can dissolve the human skin. When their saliva comes in contact with your skin, it will leave welt-like hives. These hives typically itch that could last for a couple of days. But there’s good news. We can teach you different means of tracking and getting rid of chiggers. If the presence of chiggers in your home has been bothering you, you will find this article a useful guide. Repellant and chigger predators are some of the options you can use. You may also benefit from wearing protective clothing. Keep reading; there’s a lot we have to tell you.
What Does a Chigger Look Like?
Chiggers have an almost microscopic size. So it is almost impossible to see one with your naked eyes. If you divide an inch into 150 places, a chigger can fit in it. You can imagine how small that is.
While you may not be able to see a chigger, you can feel them after they bore tiny holes on your skin. They do this with their jaw-like, sharp claws.
A chigger is an arachnid. So if you use a microscope or magnifying lens to view them up close, you’ll see something that looks like a hybrid of a spider and a crab. Their color is usually warm, mostly red. Sometimes you may see shades of orange, yellow, or straw.
Let’s give you a fun fact here. Like other arachnids, mites have eight legs. But at the larvae stage of development, chiggers have only six legs.
A chigger hardly is alone. So if you use a magnifying lens, you are likely to see chiggers in groups. The reason for this is simple. Mother mites lay many eggs all at once in one place.
Typical places where you would find chiggers are on low-hanging leaves and grass blades. Your legs are also choice locations for chiggers if they can find their way there.
Sometimes, you won’t even see them on your legs. All you would see are the welts there as a result of their bites.
Your priority should not be recognizing chiggers. Your major priority would be to have your body well-covered. If your skin is not well-covered, chiggers can infest your skin while you are busy trying to recognize or get rid of them.
Loose-fitting clothing is your best bet. Both your pants and shirts should be loose-fitting. However, make sure that the fabric is tight-woven. If not, chiggers may pass through them and get to your skin. Remember, they are very small.
Furthermore, tuck your pants into your socks and boots. Your socks should be thick and your boots should be tall. Also, button up your cuffs and collars.
How Do You Get Rid of These Chiggers
If you realize that chiggers have infested your house, you should take steps to eliminate them. You can best do this by getting rid of their habitat.
If you can get rid of their breeding habitat, you don’t have to use pesticides. It is seldom necessary to use pesticides.
Remember that chiggers are most likely found in moist places, especially if the place is also shady and has thick vegetation. So these are the kinds of places you should focus on.
You may have guessed right that your yard may be a potential lodging area for chiggers. So you should comb your yard very well. However, certain species of chiggers like to lodge in dry areas. You should have this at the back of your mind.
Anyways, your prime target areas should be the following places:
- Overgrown lawns
- Leaf litter
- Ground covers
- Weedy areas
- Densely planted trees and shrubs
You should get rid of areas like this in your home. And since chiggers usually cluster in one place, getting rid of one habitat alone can get rid of plenty of chiggers all at once.
So what are the ways to rid your house of these chiggers? It’s summed up in a very simple step. Maintain a tidy and neat landscape. If you do this, none of the places listed above will be present in your home.
Here are a few tips for you:
- Mowing your lawn regularly is very important. Keep the grass short always.
- Ensure to weed your landscape beds and remove and leash litter that accumulates in the yard.
- Prune and trip any landscape plants in your home regularly. This prevents them from overflowing.
- Remove all brush piles completely from your home.
- Remember that chiggers love staying in shady places. So it could help to eliminate shade as much as you can. If there are no shady places in your home yard, chigger populations will reduce drastically.
How About Using Pesticides?
If you think that you must use pesticides to treat your home for chiggers, you should pay attention to safety measures. Use the pesticides responsibly. These are some tips you may find helpful:
- Get in touch when the coop. extension office in your area. Ask for the pesticides that work best in treating chiggers in that area. Also, confirm the safety measures on their application.
- Ensure to need the directions on the pesticide’s labels.
- Don’t treat the entire yard. That will be an overuse of pesticides. Only treat places where you are sure that chiggers are living.
- Keep your pets and children away from treated areas. Make sure the place is dried completely before you allow access to your pets and children.