Chigger mites attach to people, pets, and other hosts as they pass through certain areas. These areas include overgrown lawns, woods, flowerbeds, and gardens. You can also find them near lakes and streams.
You can find them throughout the world in the US. Chiggers are particularly active between early spring and early autumn. They become less active after the season’s first frost.
These pests only target and feed on humans during their larval stage. Chiggers do not remain attached to their host for more than a few days, do not spread diseases, do not infest homes, and do not burrow or bite to consume a blood meal as do ticks and mosquitoes but they leave a horrible itch.
When chigger mites latch onto the skin, it results in an intense rash, which if scratched excessively, can result in infection. Larval mites cause these rashes when injecting a skin cell destroying substance that causes irritation, rash, and intense itching. Itching caused by chigger bites does not occur until about three or more hours after the bite.
The symptoms that occur from the feeding activity of chigger mite larvae are generally the most obvious sign of an infestation.
Often, a person with chigger mites will have a lot of them on their body at one time. The most common bodily locations are around the tops of socks and shoes, waistline, the groin area, armpits, and most any bodily part where clothing fits snugly against the skin.
To help prevent chigger mites from making you its meal, wear clothing treated with permethrin clothing repellent. Also, consider applying insect repellent to parts of your body where chigger larvae may infest.
Chigger bites are itchy red bumps that can look like pimples, blisters, or small hives. They are usually found around the waist, ankles, or in warm skin folds. They get bigger and itchier over several days and often appear in groups.
There are many species of chiggers located within the U.S., but the most common species encountered by people are trombicula alfreddugesi and trombicula splendens.
The life cycle begins when the female adult lays eggs in or on the soil. After the eggs hatch, larvae crawl upon the soil surface and low-growing vegetation where they wait until they find a suitable host to attach to and begin to feed. The larval stage is the only parasitic stage of the mite’s life cycle.
Chiggers can live anywhere from 50-70 days. Adult female mites will lay anywhere from 3 to 8 eggs in vegetation.
Chigger mite larvae penetrate the host’s skin and inject a secretion that breaks down and digests the skin cell. The larvae then suck up the digested liquid. The host’s skin becomes hard and a tube forms in which the chigger’s mouthparts remain until feeding stops or the chigger is dislodged.
Generally, they feed for several days (if not dislodged), drop to the ground, and develop into mite nymphs.
Nymphs and adults do not infest the same hosts as larvae. Instead, they feed on the eggs and young insects, and other small arthropods in and on the soil surface.
For cats, chiggers may be found on the inside of the animal’s ears. The reaction of dogs and cats to chiggers ranges from scratching at the site of infestation to the animal being unaware of the chigger’s presence.
People do not get chiggers from contact with their pets. Rather, chiggers on both pets and people almost always mean that both were outside in areas where chiggers were numerous.
We will inspect and locate chigger mites and target the areas to eradicate these pesky bugs.
If you have found yourself with itchy chigger bites, take a warm shower, apply an anti-itch cream, take an antihistamine, and give Pest Solutions a call to help you get rid of these pesky bugs.