Where do Chiggers Live?

Chiggers are commonly found all over the world. There isn’t really anywhere in the world you can go to avoid getting them uless you like the dessert or really cold weather. Based on where they like to hide though you should be able to avoid being covered in chigger bites.

Where do Chiggers live?

Being everywhere in the world is very convenient for chiggers. They are easily able to find humans that are hiking, playing in the park, or really going anywhere in nature.

Chiggers are small and red easy to see if you’re looking for them. They’re almost invisible to the human eye but their red color makes them easy to see if you look closely.

Chiggers usually hide in thick brush, grass, berry bushes, parks and gardens, grassy fields, and in moist areas around rivers or lakes.

If you’re hiking your best bet to avoid getting chigger bites would be using chiggaway and avoiding wandering off hiking trails.

If you’re not hiking and want to avoid chiggers try to stay away from vegetation that’s low to the ground because that’s where they will be.

Chiggers won’t bite in temperatures under 60 degrees Fahrenheit and are not found in areas above 99 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to avoid chiggers

Above I talked more about where chiggers where found. I want to go over how to avoid being bitten by chiggers in more detail.

You can start by wearing long pants, high socks, and don’t wear open toe shoes. Chiggers crawl up your legs to bite you. When you walk by any thick vegetation they will attach themselves to your pants or any other articles of clothing they can grab onto.

As I said above if you’re hiking stay on the trails and if you need to walk through the woods or grass try to avoid thick vegetation that’s low to the ground.

When you get home from being outdoors you need to immediately shower and wash your clothes. If you shower and scrub your skin if will scrub the chiggers right off of you. If you wash your clothes it will wash the chiggers right out of your clothes so they can be worn again.

When outside I recommend using a chigger repellent such as chiggaway or another insect repellent.

What to do when they bite

Chigger BitesChigger bites will drive you crazy and they keep biting for up to a day. You’re going to want to get rid of the chiggers as quickly as you can. After you get rid of the chigger you can start healing the bites to reduce the itching

Wash your clothes: Washing your clothes will get rid of any chiggers that are still in your clothes waiting to get close enough to your skin to feed.

Take a shower: Chigger stay on your body and will bite you multiple times in a small clustered area because they get bored of one spot. They love to change spots to bite but won’t move too far. Chiggers will usually stay on your skin between 4 days and a week.

They will continue to bite you as long as you let them. Taking a shower will remove and fleas sitting on your skin just make sure you scrub yourself.

Mend the bite: If you want to stop the itching you should start treating the bites as soon as possible. If you weren’t able to get rid of the chiggers still biting you there’s another way. You can get rid of the chiggers by applying nail polish or rubbing alcohol to the bites to suffocate them.

After suffocating the chiggers you should apply and anti-itching ointment such as Benadryl or calamine lotion to the wound.

Why do chiggers bite?

Chiggers are the larva form of mites. Mites as you may know feed on skin. They are very closely related to ticks and spiders. They generally feed on human skin but will feed on any other creature that may wander near them.

If you don’t get rid of the chiggers they will stay in your skin for up to a week before dropping off. When they finally drop off they will leave small red swollen welts. These welts are what cause the severe itching that drives us crazy.

Because chiggers are the larva form of mites they don’t just feed on skin but instead feed on the the flesh of their host. This is the only time during the mite life cycle that they will feed on live humans.

Chigger

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

During this life cycle chiggers have 6 legs instead of  the 8 legs that an adult mite will have. This is the easiest way to tell the difference between chiggers and adult mites.

Calling the welts “bites” can be somewhat misleading. Chiggers don’t actually bite you. Instead they burrow into your skin to form a hole the the softer tissue underneath. When they finally get to the softer skin underneath they inject an enzyme that helps to break and liquefy skin cells. They then begin to feed for up to a week.

What do chigger bites look like?

I understand that above I said chiggers don’t actually bite you. For now though lets call them bites because that’s exactly what they look like.

Chigger bites are small red welts that form on your skin. If the bites are in a small tight clusters that where the chiggers have been. They like to change spots when on a host so they tend to move around a lot. They don’t go very far though so the bites are really close together

The bites are small and swollen looking very similar to pimples. Symptoms appear a few hours after the bite so as soon as you start itching try to get rid of them as quickly as possible to keep from getting more bites.

Chigger Bite Health Risks

Chiggers don’t carry diseases unlike their relative the tick. Because chiggers don’t actually feed on blood you don’t have to worry about them transmitting diseases. The only think you have to worry about is the same thing you have to worry about with any insect bites.

Do not scratch! Scratching the bites can lead to infection and that’s where things can get dangerous if your bite is beginning to look infected go see a healthcare professional immediately.