What do chiggers actually look like?

chigger bites

Chiggers are tiny, red mites that can cause intense itching and irritation. These pests are commonly found in grassy or wooded areas, and they're most active during the summer months. Chiggers are so small that they're difficult to see with the naked eye, but their bites can be very noticeable. In this article, we'll take a closer look at what chiggers look like, where they're commonly found, and how to prevent and treat chigger bites.

What do chiggers look like?

Chiggers are incredibly small, measuring just 0.2mm in length. They're reddish-orange in color, and they have six legs. Due to their small size, chiggers are difficult to see with the naked eye. They're often mistaken for red or orange-colored specks of dirt or sand.

three different chiggers

Where are chiggers commonly found?

Chiggers are commonly found in grassy or wooded areas, particularly in areas with tall grass or weeds. They're also commonly found in gardens, parks, and along hiking trails. Chiggers are most active during the summer months, and they're most likely to be found in the southern United States.

Preventing Chigger Bites

Chiggers can be difficult to avoid, but there are some steps you can take to reduce your risk of being bitten.

  1. Wear long sleeves and pants: Chiggers are most likely to bite exposed skin, so covering up as much as possible can help to reduce your risk of being bitten.

  2. Use insect repellent: Insect repellents containing DEET or permethrin can help to repel chiggers.

  3. Stay on well-traveled paths: Chiggers are most commonly found in tall grass or weeds, so staying on well-traveled paths can help to reduce your risk of being bitten.

  4. Bathe as soon as possible after being outdoors: Chiggers can attach to clothes and skin, so bathing as soon as possible after being outdoors can help to remove any chiggers that may have attached to your skin.

Treating Chigger Bites

Chigger bites can be very itchy and uncomfortable. There are several things you can do to alleviate the itching and discomfort associated with chigger bites.

  1. Use an over-the-counter anti-itch cream or lotion: Products containing hydrocortisone or calamine lotion can help to alleviate the itching associated with chigger bites.

  2. Apply a cold compress: Placing a cold compress on the bites can help to reduce itching and inflammation.

  3. Take an antihistamine: Antihistamines can help to reduce itching and inflammation associated with chigger bites.

  4. Avoid scratching: Scratching chigger bites can cause further irritation and may increase the risk of infection.

Symptoms of Chigger Bites

Chigger bites can cause a variety of symptoms, including itching, redness, and inflammation. The bites typically appear as small, red, raised bumps on the skin. These bumps may be surrounded by a red halo, and they may be extremely itchy. In some cases, chigger bites can also cause a burning sensation or a feeling of tightness in the affected area.

In some people, chigger bites can cause an allergic reaction, which may lead to more severe symptoms such as hives, swelling, or difficulty breathing. In rare cases, chigger bites can also lead to a secondary infection if they are scratched and not properly cleaned.

Differentiating Chigger Bites from Other Insect Bites:

Chigger bites can be difficult to distinguish from other types of insect bites, such as those from mosquitoes or ticks. However, there are a few key differences that can help to differentiate chigger bites from other insect bites.

  • Chigger bites are typically found in clusters, whereas other insect bites are usually found singly.
  • Chigger bites are often found on areas of the skin that are exposed while being outdoors, such as the ankles, waist, or armpits. Other insect bites can occur anywhere on the body.
  • Chigger bites are often accompanied by severe itching, whereas other insect bites may not be as itchy.
  • Chigger bites are often accompanied by small red bumps surrounded by a red halo, whereas other insect bites may appear as a single raised bump.

A table Differentiating Chigger Bites from Other Insect Bites

Characteristic Chigger Bites Other Insect Bites
Location Exposed skin Anywhere on the body
Number Clusters Singular
Itching Severe Mild or no itching
Appearance Red bumps with a halo Single raised bump

How to Get Rid of Chiggers in Your Home?

Chiggers can be difficult to eliminate once they have entered your home. However, there are a few steps you can take to get rid of chiggers and prevent them from returning.

  1. Vacuum and dust regularly: Chiggers can attach to clothes and furniture, so vacuuming and dusting regularly can help to remove any chiggers that may have entered your home. Pay special attention to areas where pets sleep or rest, and where humans spend most of the time, such as living rooms and bedrooms.

  2. Launder clothes and bedding: Chiggers can attach to clothes and bedding, so laundering these items in hot water and drying them on high heat can help to kill any chiggers that may have attached to them.

  3. Treat your pets: If your pets have been exposed to chiggers, be sure to treat them with a flea and tick preventative.

  4. Seal entry points: Chiggers can enter your home through small cracks and crevices, so be sure to seal any entry points you find around windows, doors, and the foundation of your home.

  5. Use pesticides: If you have a severe infestation, consider using pesticides specifically formulated to eliminate chiggers. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions and take precautions to protect yourself and your pets.

  6. Keep lawn and garden well maintained: Keep your lawn and garden well-manicured and maintain a good barrier between your home and any tall grass or weeds where chiggers might be found.

Chigger Prevention in Pets:

Pets, especially dogs and cats, can be just as susceptible to chigger bites as humans. Here are a few tips on how to prevent chiggers from biting your furry friends:

  • Keep your pet groomed: Regularly grooming your pet can help to remove any chiggers that may be clinging to their fur. Brush their hair and check for any red bumps or halo-like circles.

  • Use flea and tick preventative: Flea and tick preventatives can also protect against chiggers. Be sure to use a product that specifically targets chiggers and follow the manufacturer's instructions for application.

  • Keep your pet on a leash: When you're out on walks or hikes with your pet, keep them on a leash to reduce their chances of coming into contact with chiggers.

  • Inspect your pet after outdoor activities: After spending time outdoors, inspect your pet for chiggers and remove any you find as soon as possible.

  • Keep your yard well-maintained: Keeping your yard well-manicured and maintaining a good barrier between your home and any tall grass or weeds can help to reduce the chances of chiggers entering your yard and potentially biting your pet.

  • Bathe your pet: Bathing your pet with a flea and tick shampoo can help to remove any chiggers that may have attached to their skin.

Comparison of Insect Repellents for Chiggers

Repellent Active Ingredient Effectiveness Duration Safe for Children Safe for Pets
DEET DEET High 4-8 hours No No
Picaridin Picaridin High 4-8 hours Yes No
Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus OLE High 6 hours No No
Permethrin Permethrin High 2-4 weeks No No
Citronella Citronella Moderate 2-3 hours Yes Yes

Chigger Prevention Products:

Product Active Ingredient Usage Precautions
Flea and tick preventative Pyrethrins, Permethrin Apply to pets as directed. Consult with a veterinarian before using.
Pesticide (Outdoor) Permethrin, Lambda Cyhalothrin Use as directed by the manufacturer. Follow the manufacturer's instructions and take precautions to protect yourself and your pets.
Pesticide (Indoor) Pyrethrins, Deltamethrin Use as directed by the manufacturer. Follow the manufacturer's instructions and take precautions to protect yourself and your pets.
Natural Predator Repellent N/A Use as directed by the manufacturer. Some natural predators repellents can be harmful for other insects, consult with an expert before using.

In conclusion, chiggers are tiny red mites that can cause intense itching and irritation. They are commonly found in grassy or wooded areas and are most active during the summer months. Chiggers are difficult to see with the naked eye but their bites are very noticeable. To prevent chigger bites, wear long sleeves and pants, use insect repellent, stay on well-traveled paths and bathe as soon as possible after being outdoors.

Subscribe

Stay updated with our newsletter


Images provided by: depositphotos.com

Conclusion

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.