Can Chiggers spread – Are Chiggers contagious?

Chigger BitesCan Chiggers spread - Are Chiggers contagious?

If your mind is raising a question on whether are chiggers contagious, then the answer is no. Chiggers might spread from one person to another but are not infectious.

Are Chiggers contagious?

Trombiculidae mites in their larva stage are known as chiggers and stick to a person or animal to feed o their skin.  A warm shower with soap will kill them. The swollen and inflamed bites must get some ointment treatment to heal.

Can chiggers spread from person to person?

However, there is no risk of contamination or spreading any disease by their bites. Do not scratch on the bites, or the wound might open, leading to infection.

Chiggers are an annoying larva form of the Trombiculidae mite.  People and animals often get them while walking through grassy or woodland areas, and they cause intense and miserable itching for weeks.  Because Chigger Bites are so uncomfortable and so common, you may be wondering:

We’ll dive into that question, answer it, and teach you more about Chiggers.  Let’s go!

Before we answer the question, Are Chiggers Contagious? Do Chiggers spread? Do chiggers spread from person to person? it’s important to understand what a Chigger is and why the bites are so uncomfortable.

Are Chiggers Contagious?

Photo by: Hansell F. Cross, Georgia State University, Bugwood.org

Are Chigger bites contagious?

Chiggers are the common name for the larval form of the Trombiculidae mite.  Trombiculidae mites lay eggs, and the tiny larva that hatches from the eggs migrates, in large groups, onto the tops of grass and small foliage.  They wait for a person or animal to walk and jump on them.

Chiggers then seek out open areas of soft skin, tear the skin open, inject an enzyme that begins to dissolve the soft skin and feed on the liquid skin mixture.  

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Chiggers can feed for 2-3 days until engorged, where they will drop off.  They leave behind a straw-like appendage used to feed embedded in your skin.

How do chiggers spread?

A widespread misconception is that Chiggers burrow into your skin and life.  

This is NOT true.  

Chigger bites often take a day or two to begin itching, which helps spread this rumor. By the time you begin to notice the bites and itching, the Chiggers have generally dropped off and moved on.

chigger bites feet

The remaining appendage, combined with the torn skin and allergic reaction to the enzyme, causes the “bite” area to swell and inflate.  This intensely leads to pimple-like marks on the skin, usually in large groups.  

Chiggers not only bite humans but pretty much all animals with skin, including reptiles.  This includes your pets as well, in particular dogs.

Those that have been bitten don’t forget and generally go out of their way to never get bitten again.   This causes many to search for answers to questions like:

Do Chiggers spread?

Chigger Close Up2The short answer is: No.

Chiggers aren’t a disease, so they are contagious in the true sense of the word.   They can, however, spread from one person to another, but the risk is low.  

Do Chiggers spread on your body?

When Chiggers are crawling around on your body or clothing, searching for a good place to attach themselves, they can spread from one person to another if they are close.

Chiggers only spend a few hours looking for an exposed skin area to attach.

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Most people often shower, especially after being outdoors.  Washing with warm water and soap (as most people do) removes and kills Chiggers.  So even if you have Chiggers still on you, a shower will kill them and keep them from spreading to others.

Once Chiggers find an area of soft skin that meets their personal preference, they latch on using their jaws.   Once they latch on, they generally will either stay or die.   They will not move to another person.

Once the bites are made and the Chigger is fed, the Chigger will fall off.  Chiggers are not contagious and cannot spread further on the same person or to another person.

The bottom line is no; chiggers are not contagious.  The rash or set of bites they leave behind will not cause an infestation on another person or animal.  

Chiggers also do not transmit or spread any diseases. So, this is where you can have a sigh of relief and take these mites as they are.

In fact, other than being so uncomfortable, Chigger bites are harmless.  The only real risk is an infection.  Infection can occur when a person or animal scratches the bites, causing open wounds.  These wounds can quickly become infected and can lead to severe complications.

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Frequently Asked Questions

If Chiggers have bitten you, treat the chigger bites to help relieve itching.  Chigger bites should not interfere with normal activities, and other than being a bit uncomfortable, you can go along with normal life activities and routines.