Also called red mites, chiggers are a parasitic mite in their first stage of life. This is the larvae stage. In this stage, the parasites will often attack cattle, livestock, pets and even humans.
Although chiggers are red, they are barely visible to the human eye. You will usually be aware that a chigger is feeding on your because of the intense itching that accompanies the bite.
In their adult stage, chiggers are not a pest to humans or animals. The adult chiggers will feed on other small insects in this stage so they are actually beneficial in their adult form.
Chiggers will typically live on tall grasses and shrubbery. In the winter you may find them living in soil. They attach themselves to animals or humans by climbing up on the grasses and then hitching a ride on an unsuspecting host as they walk by, much like a tick will do.
If you want to avoid chigger bites, the best approach is prevention.
Keeping your grass cut to less than 6 inches will help keep chiggers from climbing the grass and attaching to you as you walk by.
Shrubbery should be cut back as much as possible. Try to avoid walking through areas of high grass or shrubbery. If you cannot avoid it, tuck in your shirt to your pants and tuck your pant legs into your socks.
Prevention is the key as chiggers will eventually die off if they don’t have anything to feed on.
If you need to, you can treat for chiggers that are living in the soil. Use a pesticide that is specially rated for chiggers. Treat the entire area, not just the area you know you picked up chiggers from. By treating a broad area with chigger rated pesticide, you can be sure you will wipe out the entire colony.
Remember that you may have to treat the area a couple times before they are eradicated. Late fall to winter and late spring to summer are the best times to treat an area for chiggers.