If the sound of chiggers sends shivers down your spine, then now is the time to get prepared for chigger season! After spending the cold winter season bunkered down in hiding, chiggers will soon become active again once spring arrives.
If you’re encountering chiggers for the first time, you may be wondering what damage they cause, how to get rid of them, or even just asking, “what the heck are chiggers anyways?” Well – we’ve got those answers for you and much more!
What are chiggers?
Although Texas plays host to many species of chiggers, only a few of those are actually a nuisance for people. So what exactly is a chigger? “Chiggers” is a word used to describe the larval stage of some species of mites.
These larvae are the parasitic pest phase of the mite life cycle. In fact, chiggers are considered one of the most common and bothersome warm weather pests out there.
Chiggers are so tiny that seeing one clearly requires a microscope or magnifying glass.
These pests are hairy with six legs and are usually orange or red in color.
Chiggers become active as temperatures warm up in the spring, but activity really ramps up in the summertime. They remain active until the colder temperatures of late fall arrive. If you know chiggers are a repeat issue in your area, late winter is the time to prepare.
Do chiggers bite people?
Chiggers are parasitic pests that absolutely feed on both humans and animals. As a matter of fact, chiggers are one of the most common causes of itchy outdoor insect bites.
People often encounter chiggers while moving through grassy areas like lawns, fields, or bushy/woody spots. These pests will seek out any mammal to grab onto for a meal.
Fortunately, humans make poor hosts, and a chigger won’t last long on us. Unfortunately, however, it doesn’t take chiggers much time to inflict a decent amount of damage to a person.
Chiggers may not drink blood or burrow under the skin, but they can pack a mean punch. When a chigger bites, an enzyme is injected into the victim, which causes very itchy bites, inflammation, and allergic reactions.
At the site of a chigger bite, a small blister appears, which then itches terribly for a couple days. After that, the bite can remain mildly or moderately itchy for a couple weeks. (Not fun!)
Be aware that chiggers usually attack in groups, so victims will not usually be dealt just one bite but many.
Tips to avoid chiggers bites:
3 tips to get chiggers out of your lawn
Keep your lawn well-maintained and free of rodent pests.
Chiggers thrive in the overgrown, weedy, thick areas of lawns. Keeping your property free of weeds, regular mowing, and trimming trees/bushes are highly effective ways of deterring chiggers from making your yard home.
Keep your yard free of any shady, moist hiding spots for these pests, and they just may stay away!
Another reason to keep your lawn clear and well maintained is it will also make your yard less desirable to other pests – like rodents.
Mammalian pests like small rodents are ideal hosts for chiggers, and keeping that prime food source out of your lawn will help discourage chiggers from wanting to invade.
Identify where the chiggers are hiding in your lawn.
Chiggers live in clustered groups, so, oddly enough, some lawn areas may be covered with these pests while other regions in that same lawn may be scot-free.
This concentrated group lifestyle is why most people don’t just get one chigger bite but several simultaneously. 10 chigger bites for the price of 1, how lucky!
The randomly grouped distribution of these pests also plays a role in chigger pest control methods. After all, it makes a lot more sense to treat the areas where the chiggers actually are instead of taking on the cost and effort of treating your entire yard.
Therefore, your first step towards getting rid of the chiggers is to go on a chigger hunt!
To find the chiggers, choose the areas where you have either gotten bitten by them, seen large groups of them, or you can just start with the most overgrown moist spots.
Prop a small piece of cardboard upright in the suspicious areas. After about 10-15 minutes, chiggers should be visible crawling up the cardboard if they’re in the area. It’s that simple!
Apply insecticides to the chigger hot spots.
Chigger eggs hatch as temperatures warm around late winter or early spring, making it a great time to treat your lawn for chiggers. The idea is to get rid of them before they have the chance to move through the life cycle and reproduce again.
Thankfully, there are many effective insecticides available for purchase for you to try out. Check the label of these products to see if they specifically work against mites or chiggers.
Typically, liquid spray insecticides are considered more effective against chiggers than granular or dust products. Be sure to also learn from the label when and how to retreat areas since multiple treatments are usually necessary.
Before getting started treating your property, get prepared – safety first! Always read the labels of any product you use and follow the directions. And whether you’re outdoors looking for chiggers or trying to kill them, always dress to protect yourself.
Wear loose-fitting clothes that cover your whole body, and shower as soon as you head back inside.
And if the risk of facing more chigger bites or the threat of improperly using insecticide feels uncomfortable for you, contact a pest control company to take care of the issue for you.
The Professional Solution: Gecko Green Pest Control
Summertime should be a season when we enjoy our outdoor spaces to the fullest! When parasitic pests like chiggers get in the way of your outdoor fun, it’s time to call in the experts at Gecko Green Lawn Care and Pest Control.
Not only are our pest control experts licensed to use the best products, but they also have the knowledge and training necessary to eradicate any pest issue.
Call us today for a free quote, and you’ll see how Gecko Green treats our clients like family.