What are they?
Chiggers is the common name used to describe the larval stage of mites that are a parasite on warm blooded animals. They are closely related to ticks and spiders. They have the same four stages of development; egg, larva, nymph and finally adult.
What do they look like?
Chiggers are barely visible to the naked eye. They are less than 1/150th of inch. Assistance from a magnifying glass may be needed to see them. They are red and are usually found in large clusters. They have six legs in this larval stage. After feeding from a mammal host, they will drop off and eventually become an eight legged adult mite.
When do I have to worry about them?
Chiggers are hatched in the spring and can remain an issue until cool weather comes. Adult chiggers are active in the early spring when the females leave their eggs in shady, grassy and weedy areas. Once these eggs hatch into tiny larvae (chiggers) they crawl onto vegetation and attach themselves onto any mammal that passes by. Once they find a hair follicle or skin pore, they ‘attach’ themselves to their host.
Are they dangerous?
Chiggers do not transmit diseases, nor do they feed on blood. They actually inject an enzyme into their host’s skin which causes the skin cells to rupture so that the fluids from the skin can be consumed by the chigger. This bite site usually is very itchy, and forms a small red welt. Chiggers usually are at the bottom of the shaft of the vegetation, and attach themselves to small mammals. We encounter them after a rainfall when they have migrated up the vegetation shaft to avoid the water at the ground level.
How do I prevent chigger bites?
You can decrease the likelihood of being bite by chiggers by utilizing a few prevention methods such as:
- Use personal insect repellent that contains Deet on your socks, pant legs and shoes.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing to keep any insect that is on your clothing away from your skin.
- Avoid sitting on the ground.
- Keep landscaping and grass trimmed back.
- Avoid shady areas and tall grass, especially after a rain.
Can I do it myself?
Controlling chiggers with a do-it-yourself spray is very impractical. Most over the counter chemicals are dangerous and in-effective at best. The areas to be treated would be large and hard to control on an as needed basis. This method of chigger control and elimination is inefficient and non-effective.
Can Schendel help?
Yes. Schendels SWAT-Pest Control program will help you in the battle against chiggers. We use the most advanced and current means of pest elimination, safe for you, your family and your pets.