Helpful Tips & Advice to Get Rid of Chiggers
Chiggers, or berry bugs, are sneaky little creatures that are in the larval stage of mites from the genus Eutrombicula. They are so small it’s difficult to even know you’re in an area infested by chiggers. And because you can’t see or feel chiggers initially, you won’t even know they’re happily feasting on your skin until it’s too late.
It’s bad enough being bitten by chiggers when you’re out in the wilderness, but when it happens in your own backyard? Well, that’s just unsettling. Knowing you can’t step outside and safely enjoy your own yard puts a damper on all of your fun outdoor plans.
Read on to learn more about chiggers and how to get rid of chiggers in your yard.
Do Chiggers Bite?
Chiggers actually aren’t particularly good at biting, so they tend to bite thin skin. They gravitate towards soft, light, and moist areas of the body.
Contrary to some beliefs, chiggers don’t burrow into your skin like ticks. They pierce skin cells with their mouths, and their saliva makes the skin cell wall liquefy. The chigger ingests this fluid and then drops off you.
You won’t notice any of this. In fact, you won’t be aware of what happened to you until three to six hours later, when the bite will begin itching. You’ll notice a red welt within the next 10 to 16 hours. The chigger will be nowhere to be found at this point.
Chiggers like to get into areas of your skin where your clothing fits tight — the tops of your socks, at the waistband (especially if you’re wearing a tight belt), in the armpits, and in the groin area.
Do You Have Chiggers in Your Yard?
The familiar itching chiggers leave behind after they’ve spent time biting your skin will always be a good indication that you could have chiggers in your yard (that is, if you’ve recently spent time in your yard). To find out for sure, though, follow this simple test.
First, cover your body with protective clothing. Then, find a spot in your yard that is moist, shady, and has thick vegetation. Chiggers avoid hot, sunny places, and are not found on dry ground or in mowed grass.
Place a black piece of cardboard (about 6 inches by 6 inches) in an area of your yard with thick vegetation and stand back for a few minutes. If you do indeed have chiggers in this area, they’ll gather near the top of your cardboard after several minutes. And because they’re red and they cluster together, you should be able to see them with your eye.
Keep in mind that you may not find chiggers spread throughout all areas of dense vegetation. The tiny bugs tend to cluster in areas because all females lay their eggs in one location. Just because you don’t find chiggers in one shady, moist area doesn’t mean you don’t have them in another.
Can Chiggers Get into Your Home?
Chiggers can make their way from your yard and into your house. They can be brought in by both pets and people. They cling to what or whoever they are feeding on, and sometimes you can invertedly bring them into your home. Once in your home, they will likely live in carpets, bed frames, and small cracks and crevices.
Fortunately, chiggers cannot survive long indoors. If you suspect your outside chigger problem has crept indoors, vacuum your rugs and furniture frequently. When they progress into the next stage of their lifecycle, they will no longer feed on humans or pets.
Chigger Protection vs. Prevention
Remember, chiggers prefer dense and moist vegetation. Removing these areas from your yard will go a long way in preventing chiggers from setting up residence at your address. Clear your yard of:
- Leaf litter
- Overgrown grass
- Ground covers
- Weedy areas
- Densely planted trees or shrubs
This means you’ll need to keep your lawns mowed short, paying attention to the edges of your grass where it meets landscape beds or woody areas. You’ll also need to regularly weed, trim, and prune your plants.
In addition to keeping your yard free of dense vegetation, think about the animals that may be entering your property. Because chiggers also feed on mammals, amphibians, and reptiles, do what you can to keep these animals from spending time in your yard. Discourage amphibians and reptiles from finding their way to your yard by getting rid of sources of water. Removing dense foliage will also keep small mammals from spending time on your property. Make sure you keep trash cans covered, and keep your yard fenced.
Protecting yourself and your family from chiggers is also essential. Reduce the chances of getting chigger bites with the right outdoor apparel — don clothing like long pants, socks, and sleeves when you go outside, especially in tall grasses. Tight clothing might sound like the better choice, but chiggers actually find it easier to climb up tight clothing. Long, loose clothing makes it harder for chiggers to reach your body. Avoid leggings, slim-fitting pants, and anything that gives them grip and easy access to your skin.
The strong odor of apple cider vinegar on your skin can repel chiggers. Mix it with water and apply it to your legs and feet to lower the chance of chigger bites. You can also spray diluted apple cider vinegar along the perimeter of your house to ward them off and keep them out of your house.
Wear repellant when you’ll be spending time outdoors, and wash your clothes if you suspect you may have come in contact with chiggers. After being outside, immediately take a hot, soapy shower in case you came in contact with chiggers. Chiggers can wander around on your body for a while before they find a spot to bite, so you may be able to wash them off before they get a chance to bite you.
How to Get Rid of Chiggers in Your Yard
Because chiggers stick together and can breed three generations throughout the summer, it’s difficult to fully rid your yard of chiggers, making chigger elimination difficult for the average homeowner.
While keeping your lawn mowed, trees and bushes trimmed, and your yard free of debris can go a long way towards repelling chiggers, you may still have some spots that are irresistible to the little pests. However, parents and pet owners must be wary of deploying pesticides and chemical products throughout their gardens. Try out these ideas to kill chiggers in your yard naturally:
- Powdered sulfur: Apply generous portions of powdered sulfur in areas where chiggers might be. Remember, they like shady, moist, and cool areas. When in chigger-infested parts of your garden, apply some of this powder to your legs to keep them at bay.
- Essential oil sprays: Using essential oils and anti-chigger scents, you can make a natural chigger-repellant spray. Ingredients like eucalyptus, geranium, lemongrass, tea tree oil, and citronella deter chiggers. This easy prevention solution is cost-effective and safe for your garden.
- Diatomaceous earth: Diatomaceous earth is naturally occurring silica made from fossilized algae. Sprinkling this throughout affected areas will help deter chiggers, slugs, ants, and other garden pests.
Note that these options will likely only deter or repel chiggers — they are not a solution if you have a chigger infestation in your yard. For peace of mind, you should turn to natural, effective chigger treatment services to get rid of these pesky critters.
Natural Chigger Treatment Services
Get chiggers, ticks, and fleas out of your garden with Barefoot Mosquito & Pest Control. We offer an effective add-on chigger, flea, and tick treatment that is applied with our normal mosquito control treatment. We aim to reduce pesticide persistence in the soil, waterways, and local habitats, and so we inspect your property to find the real reasons you’re dealing with chiggers. Our key ingredient stops chiggers (as well as ticks and fleas) from establishing their habitat in your yard.
Our chigger solution focuses on all four life stages of the chigger. Our 99% natural solution is a fast-drying mist that’s water-repellent so you don’t have to worry about the weather. And best of all, our effective chiggers treatment is also surprisingly affordable.
We offer a more natural approach to controlling your pest situations. Our flea, tick and chigger treatments are effective, applied responsibly by licensed technicians, and will put your mind at ease the next time you want to enjoy your property.
Get out and enjoy your yard again, worry and itch-free! Give us a call today to schedule our chigger treatment for your yard. Please call us at (210) 981-3331 in Austin or (713) 554-9430 in Houston, or you can also request a free quote online!
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