What are chiggers?Chiggers are very tiny, but their bites are big troubles. Chiggers are mites – also called red bugs, harvest lice, or harvest mites – they are members of the arachnid family. They live in grasslands and forests all over the world. Even though the bites aren’t dangerous, the resulting rash and itching can be really uncomfortable. There are steps you can take to avoid chigger bites and ways to find relief if you’ve been bitten.
This article will help you know more about them and how to get rid of chigger bites:
What causes chigger bites?Chigger bites are caused by mite larvae. Usually red in color, the larvae are very tiny—the size is only 1/120 to 1/150 of an inch. Mostly, naked eyes cannot find them . Larger adult chigger mites would grow up to 1/20 of an inch, and would be visible to humans.
Beginning in spring, the chigger mite eggs hatch into six-legged, fast-moving larvae that climb onto plants and seeking food. The mite larvae use their claws to catch their food tightly. Then piercing the host’s skin and injecting their saliva—which liquefies the skin cells of the host. After feeding on their host’s skin cells, the larvae drop off and develop into the eight-legged nymph-stage and, finally, into the adult-stage chigger mite, which is also eight-legged. Chigger larvae prey on many animals including cats, dogs, reptiles, birds and people. It takes about four days for a chigger to finish feeding on a human host.
Chigger bite symptoms:A chigger bite causes a red injury. And a white, hard center that itches intensely. The welt and itching, and sometimes swelling and accompanying fever, they are reactions to the mite’s saliva being injected into the skin. These symptoms usually appear 3 to 6 hours after chiggers bite you, and may last a week or more. Scratching might lead to secondary infection.
When do chigger bites?Chigger bites are mostly happen in late spring and summer. When you moves on or near grass or other vegetation, in a sunny location, you might get chiggers bites. Chiggers usually attach to people around the waist, or where flesh is wrinkled or thin such as in the groin area, bend of elbows and behind knees, in armpits or on ankles.
Where do chiggers live and when do I need to be prepared for them?Chiggers could be found all over the world. They normally live in damp grassy areas, woodlands, and near streams and lakes. The larvae usually stay together and are not far from the ground. So that it’s easy for them to attach on to a passing person or animal. Late spring and early summer is time when chiggers are most active. Because the grass and vegetation grows fast these seasons. In some areas, they can be active year round.
What shall I do after chiggers bite?Since people react to bites differently, you might try different ways to deal with chiggers bites. First, do a check of your body to see if any chiggers remain on your skin, especially around your waistline, groin, and bra line. Actually, chiggers don’t burrow into your skin. They attach themselves with sharp jaws and inject saliva, which contains an enzyme that breaks down skin cells. This becomes food for chiggers and allows them to stay attached for days. Many people would say that chiggers live off blood, but actually, the broken down skin cells are their food. Chiggers do not transmit disease, but the bites can become infected by scratching.
Try these methods to relieve the pain and itching:
1. The best way to remove chiggers is to lather up with soap and rinse with warm water, repeatedly.
2. Quick removal can reduce itching.
3. Pat dry with a clean towel or cloth.
4. Over-the-counter anti-itch medications such as pramoxine or hydrocortisone provide some relief.
5. It’s best to leave the area uncovered if possible.
6. Bites itch for several days after the chiggers are gone.
7. Try to avoid scratching the affected area.
8. Avoid hot baths or showers
9. Chiggers can remain in ordinary clothing, but will be eliminated after washing in hot, soapy water.
10. If you are only a little uncomfortable, maybe clear up on their own. If your bites become infected, you should see a doctor.
The most important: how to get rid of chiggers bite?Since chiggers are tiny creatures, it may seem impossible to avoid them completely. But there are some easy ways to defend against their bite. Here are several tips:
1. Wear long sleeves and pants treated with permethrin.
2. Tuck pant legs into permethrin-treated socks.
3. Avoid walking in heavy brush or tall grass and weeds.
4. When hiking walk in the center of trails to avoid brushing against vegetation.
5. Use insect repellent before going outside.
6. Shower as soon as you get indoors since chiggers can wander on the body before attaching
7. Wash clothing, and any blankets or towels that were used on the ground, in hot water.
2. Mowing the lawn:
Not only thick vegetation, chiggers also like tall vegetation. Use your lawn mower to reduces both.
3. Clean up your garden and yard:
You can use diatomaceous earth or sulfur pellets(keep your children and pets away from them). Spray them directly on the build up of leaf litter in your yard, and areas of overgrown vegetation. Or mix them with water before spraying. The best time to start is before late spring or early summer - the time when chiggers start getting active.
4. Cold weather:
Chiggers hate the cold. And they can’t survive frosts. Though this is not under your control. But if you find them in your house, you might try cooling down your rooms to get rid of chiggers.
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