Chiggers are tiny red mites that are almost impossible to see with the naked eye. You likely won't even know you've encountered these tiny pests until you experience intense itching. Chiggers, or harvest mites, live in grassy areas and gardens. If you walk through grass while barefoot, you are at risk of getting bit by chiggers and carrying them into your home.
There are steps you can take to control or even eliminate these pests from infesting your yard and your home.
The most effective way to eliminate chiggers is to take away the habitat in which they thrive. Since they like tall grass, it's essential to mow your lawn regularly and pull weeds. Chiggers are drawn to moist and dark areas, so trim shrubs, bushes, trees, or other dense areas where chiggers may hide.
You can successfully treat a chigger problem with pesticides. If you do choose this option, do so safely and responsibly. Follow directions on the pesticide label and only treat the areas you've confirmed there is a chigger infestation. Keep children and pets away from the treated area until the pesticides have dried.
Chiggers need a host to feed. They will attach themselves to reptiles, amphibians, and small mammals. If you live near the woods, you probably encounter animals such as mice, raccoons, and other wild animals. These animals will bring chiggers into your yard. The chiggers will then take up residence, which can lead to an infestation. You can discourage these animals from entering your property by removing any sources of water or food. Ensure your trash cans are covered with lids and cut back any thick shrubbery, as small animals like these places for hiding.
If you have chiggers on your body, you'll see their bites as small red bumps, and you may be able to see chiggers, although they are very small. You can take a bath or shower and wash with soap to remove the chiggers. Wash your clothes, blankets, and other bedding to ensure you get rid of all the chiggers you may have carried in from the outside.
If your pets become the host for chiggers, they are going to get chigger bites too. Not only is your pet's comfort a major concern, but you also want to prevent an infestation in your home if your pet carries these pests in. To treat your pet, you should wipe its face with a warm cloth. If you notice your pet scratching, you will have to give it a warm bath with soap. You may also want to check with your veterinarian for an itching remedy.
If chiggers make their way inside your home, you must deal with the situation promptly. A chigger infestation in your home can be difficult to alleviate, but you can successfully get rid of the problem. You'll need to treat your home with heat since chiggers cannot live in temperatures above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Mop your floors with hot, soapy water. Wash clothing and bedding and dry your laundry in the dryer with the highest heat setting.
You can spray an insecticide in targeted hot spots to repel chiggers. When choosing a product, make sure the solution contains cyfluthrin, bifenthrin, esfenvalerate, and permethrin. Typically, you will get better results with sprays versus granules. Identify areas that have a large chigger population and treat that area with an insecticide. You'll need to repeat the treatment at regular intervals to prevent another infestation.
Diatomaceous earth is a natural product you can use to eliminate chiggers from your yard. Just sprinkle this natural pesticide in areas of your lawn where you think chiggers may be. Chiggers do not like diatomaceous earth and will promptly leave the area to get away from it.
If you have exhausted all your efforts to rid your property of chiggers, it may be time to call a professional pest control service. A pest control professional has access to different treatments and the proper equipment to rid your property of these tiny pests. An exterminator will properly identify the extent of your chigger problem and develop a plan to get rid of them. It may be a good idea to schedule regular treatments so that you do not end up with another chigger infestation in the future.
The best way to protect yourself from a chigger infestation is by taking preventive measures. When you're outside in your lawn, wear long sleeves and pants, and always wear shoes when you're walking in the grass. You should also tuck your pants in your socks and wear an insect repellant. Sulfur powder is a great repellant if you can tolerate the smell. Dust your socks or sprinkle it on the inside of your shoes. Inside your home, make sure to vacuum regularly and bathe your pets at regular intervals.