How to Get Rid of Chiggers

If you've ever been bitten by Chiggers, you never want to be bite again.  If you've never had them, be thankful.  In either case, you'll want to learn how to get rid of chiggers, and how to prevent them in the future.  

Chiggers gift you with some of the most irritating, burning, and itching bug bites you will ever receive, an unfortunately often in some of the worst places!

Chiggers

Chigger

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

In order to learn how to get rid of Chiggers, you'll need to first understand a little bit about them, and what they are.

Here is a quick summary:

  • Chiggers are the very small, larval stage, of the Trombiculidae Mite. Chiggers themselves are not a particular insect, just a particular state of the Trombiculidae Mite.  Adult Trombiculidae Mites, do not bite people.
  • Chiggers jump onto their hosts and immediately seek out the first bare area of skin they can find.
  • Using their claws, they tear open the skin and inject an enzyme into the softer layer of skin tissue.
  • The enzyme digests the soft skin, and they feed on it for a few days, if allowed.
  • Chiggers then drop off, leaving behind their bites.

Chiggers are very prevalent in the Southern United States, and in warm areas around the world.    They prefer tall grass and woods, with some sun, but not direct sunlight, and prefer damp areas with high humidity.

Chigger Bites

Chigger Bites Treatment

Chigger Bites generally take 1-3 days to appear, after the Chigger drops off.  Once they appear, the generally swell and become inflamed quickly.   The combination of torn skin, the Chigger enzyme, and the allergic reaction the body has can cause severe itching.  

Generally, multiple Chiggers jump onto a host at one time, and those Chiggers can often "bite" in multiple locations.  The end result is often many different bites, all close together.  In severe cases, it can be hundreds of bites in multiple locations.

Chigger bites are well known for being some of the most uncomfortable and painful insect bites you can get.  Bites can last for up to 2 weeks as well.

For help identifying Chigger Bites, see our guide.  You'll find lots of Chigger and Chigger Bite Photos on our photos page.

How to Get Rid of Chiggers

Adult Chigger Mite

The best way to get rid of chiggers is to prevent getting them in the first place.   By the time you realize you've had Chiggers on you, you've already been bitten and the Chiggers are long gone.

There are treatment options for your lawn, but many people get attacked by Chiggers while out hiking, participating in sports events, berry picking, or even just casually walking in the park.    Most residential lawns get too much sun exposure and short grass to have Chiggers.

If Chiggers are in your own personal lawn, there are treatment options you should consider.  For other locations, getting rid of Chiggers really isn't an option, so prevention is your best bet, as we discuss prevention more below.

If you have been exposed to Chiggers, or even think you have, do the following immediately:

  1. Remove your clothing in the laundry room, and wash them right away using soap.  That will get rid of Chiggers on your clothing.
  2. Take a hot shower, and wash vigorously with soap.  This will get rid of any Chiggers on your skin that remain.

If bites appear over the next 1-3 days, treat them immediately with either ChiggerX or ChiggAway, which are anti-itch products specifically designed for Chigger Bites.  See our Chigger Bites Treatment Guide for more information.

How to Prevent Chiggers

Prevent Chiggers

When it comes to Chiggers, prevention is key.  Once you've been bitten by Chiggers, you'll never want to be bitten again.

Fortunately, learning how to prevent Chiggers is pretty easy.  Before going outside, and into a potentially Chigger infested area, do the following:

  1. Coat your skin using a Chigger Repellant, designed for skin use.  Our personal product of choice is ChiggAway.
  2. Prevent Chiggers from gaining access to your skin by always wearing gloves, long sleeves, long pants, and boots.  Tuck your pants into your boots, or even better duct tape your pants to your boots.
  3. Coat your clothing with a clothing-based Chigger repellent, like Sawyer Clothing Repellent.

When you return indoors, immediately remove all clothing, wash it with soap in the washer, and immediately take a hot shower with soap to kill any Chiggers that might have gotten on your skin.

Are there Any Complications Associated with Chiggers?

Chiggers nor Chigger Bites generally don't produce any long-term complications, and Chiggers are not known to carry any disease.  

The only problem or risk that can occur, is that due to the extreme itching of the bites, intense scratching can lead to skin breaks, and bleeding.  These wounds may become infected, and those infections can become very serious, if not life-threatening.

If your Chigger bites do not heal up within 1-2 weeks, or begin oozing white pus, or show signs of getting worse, and not better, immediately seek out a doctor.