Chiggers: Learn How to Prevent and Treat Chigger Bites

Chiggers may be tiny, but their bites can pack a big punch. Chiggers are mites – also known as red bugs, harvest lice, or harvest mites – and 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.

Can Clothes Prevent Chiggers?

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What Causes Chigger Bites?

Chigger bites are caused by mite larvae. Usually red in color, the larvae are very tiny—only 1/120 to 1/150 of an inch in size. Most cannot be seen by the naked eye. Larger adult chigger mites measure 1/20 of an inch— which means they are visible, but they do not feed on people. Chigger mites belong to the genus eutrombicula and are arachnids, like spiders and ticks. (There are thousands of other species of mites, some of which feed only on vegetation.)

Beginning in spring, the chigger mite eggs hatch into six-legged, fast-moving larvae that climb onto vegetation where they seek prey. The mite larvae attach their claws tightly to their victims, 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: What Do They Look Like?

When Do Chigger Bites Occur?

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