So, you have a chigger problem. And you need to get rid of chigger bugs ASAP.
Well, you’ve come to the right place.
This comprehensive DIY pest control guide will cover everything from treating chigger bites to chigger control to repelling, killing, and preventing chiggers in your home and garden.
Sound good? Let’s get rid of your chigger problem.
Last updated: 11/12/19.
What’s a chigger bug?
Chigger bugs are most commonly known for their nymph form- when they’re parasitic and latch onto a host like a parasite.
Chiggers are known by a wide variety of names, such as:
- Jigger bug
- Red mites
- Berry bugs
- Red bugs
- Spider mites
- Clover mites (NOT chiggers, but often confused with them)
- Grass mites
- Harvest mites
After that, they dig through you skin with powerful jaws and liquify your flesh to drink. This is when you get chigger bites and probably the only sign of chiggers you’ll ever experience.
Chiggers are small, microscopic pests that look like mini spiders. They’re part of the Trombiculidae family and cause some seriously itchiness during their larval stage.
They’re often found in areas with dense vegetation with nearby water sources for moisture. If there’s a perfect area for them to live in, it’d be near a river or stream on an orchard field, berry busy, or a woodland.
When they’re larvae, they look for a host and inject enzymes into the skin that breaks it down so they can feed on the flesh.
They form a “hole” in your skin called a stylostome and eat up the actual insides of your flesh, which is why they’re so itchy and painful.
After they get a meal from your skin, they fall to the ground and become nymphs, then eventually grow up into adults.
They no longer feed on humans or other mammals (like your dog or cat) anymore. So as far as we’re concerned, we just need to watch out for chiggers during their larval stage!
Chigger bug anatomy
If you’re wondering what chigger bites look like, you can’t see them with your naked eye. Under a microscope, they look like miniature spiders.
As a larvae, they have 6 legs with a pair of noticeable jaws with a single circular body, which measures about 0.17-0.21mm in length.
Noticeable hairs are present on the spherical body. They basically look like a tiny spider with a strong powerful pair of jaws (called chelicerae) to feed with.
Chiggers become sexually avcie during the spring and will lay eggs in dense plantas when the temperatures reach about 60F.
Females lay about 14 eggs per day, which are round and take about 6 days to hatch and the chigger will emerge as a parasite.
Life cycle of a chigger bug
A chigger bug has a pretty complex life cycle. Without going into too much unnecessary detail, here’s a basic overview of it.
The larvae is the common stage that we all know. This is when they latch onto a mammal and feed on the host. They’re about 0.17mm in diameter and light red with many hairs. And they move pretty quickly.
The form into small groups on soil, vegetation, leaves, plants, and more wherever humans or animals may walk through and touch the object they’re waiting on.
Once a victim brushes by, they’ll latch on and start to feed on their skin. This is only a small part of their entire life cycle.
They’ll use enzymes to digest the flesh and suck up the tissue through a hole or tube they create called the stylostome. The larvae will stay on the host for about 3-4 days, then drop off to the floor to morph.
After feeding on the host, the mite will morph into a nymph with multiple phases. At the very end of this stage, it’ll enter inactivity before turning into an adult.
The last step is the adult stage, where they’ll feed on small arthropods, eggs, and plants.
They’ll live in soil or gardens where plenty of vegetation, shade, and water is available. At this part of the chigger life cycle, they’re fully mature.
Here’s an interesting video about chiggers (via National Geographic):
Where do chiggers live?
Chiggers prefer softer soils outdoors with partial shade and temperatures in the mid-70s.
They’re most active during the summertime, and this is when people get bitten by chiggers the most.
After the cold seasons roll in, chigger bites drop and your soil outdoors becomes nearly free of chiggers.
You’ll commonly find chiggers in warmer areas with plenty of grass for them to eat and hide in.
Since chiggers are microscopic to the naked eye, you’ll only be greeted of their presence by a strong sting on your feet.
This is typically when you first notice them. It’s also possible for them to cling to your feet, arms, clothing, and any other body part that comes into contact with the grass.
Common areas where you’ll find chiggers include:
- Playing fields (soccer, football, baseball, etc.)
- School fields
- Recreational areas
- Near ponds, creeks, or rivers
- Anywhere else with a lot of grass
Chiggers can migrate into your home on your clothing, pets, or yourself. That’s something to always keep in mind.
So even though you find them naturally outdoors, they can definitely go from place-to-place on a host.
Do chiggers go away on their own?
Yes, chiggers tend to go away towards the colder seasons, such as winter and spring. Depending on where you live and if chiggers are native to your area, they’ll typically reside during the colder seasons.
However, if you live somewhere that’s warm year-round or if you live in an area that just houses chiggers like no tomorrow, they may never go away.
Note that even if chiggers disappear during the colder months, they’ll resurface again when summer rolls around.
So they’re definitely a recurring pest. If you don’t use preventive measures, such as DIY repellents, poisons, and chigger killer, they’ll probably show their ugly heads again when the temperature rises.
Chiggers will latch onto a living host during their larvae stage.
After a few days of feeding on live flesh, they’ll morph into nymphs and fall off to eat other things, like insect eggs.
However, during the larval form, they typically wait for a host to come into contact with them so they can feed. Chiggers usually clump together in large groups on a single object just waiting for a prey to touch them so they can start latching on.
Chiggers are very good at sticking to skin.
They’re basically mini spiders with plenty of limbs to grasp onto clothes, socks, waistbands, and even your underwear. Skin always provides an excellent area to grasp, as well as pants and shoes.
Do chiggers stay on your skin?
Yes, they’re certainly capable of doing so.
While chiggers outdoors go away when it gets cold, chiggers that hitched on ride on your body are a different story.
For chiggers that’ve hitched a ride on your skin, they’ll hang onto you for a few days. Chiggers are microscopic and are very good at sticking to your skin with their powerful jaws.
After they latch onto you, they’ll carve a hole in your skin using their jaws, and then chew up your skin with their powerful saliva which dissolves your flesh for them to feed on.
This is why you get so itchy after a chigger bite.
How long do chiggers stay on your skin?
And if a chigger hitches a ride on your skin, they may feed on the same spot for several days before falling off before you even notice them.
Chiggers will feed in a concentrated area until they’re mature, then they’ll fall off your skin.
This may take about 3-4 days for the chigger to go away on its own. After they grow out of the larvae form, they’ll morph into a nymph where they eat insects eggs rather than skin and flesh.
Chiggers will often eat soft areas on your skin that are delicate, such as your armpits or behind your kneecaps.
Typically, they’ll stay on your skin for 3-4 days before they’re done feeding and fall off to morph to the next phase.
How long do they stay on clothing?
Chiggers use clothing to latch onto the skin. They have nothing to eat on your clothes, so they’re not interested in staying on that.
After they latch on your clothing, pants, socks, shoes, belt, or pants, they’ll find your skin and start penetrating it by biting it. This is when you’ll feel the itch.
Typically, they’ll leave the clothing after a few hours when they’ve come into contact with your skin.
However, if you take the clothing off before they can reach your skin, be sure to wash and launder your clothing right away if you suspect chiggers to be present. The hot water and laundry detergent will kill them.
Of course, you probably won’t be able to stop them all from reaching you in time. But you can reduce the amount of bites and infection site you get from chiggers.
Can chiggers infest your home?
Chiggers are simply born larvae of harvest mites, which means they’re still in the newborn phase of their lifecycle.
Eventually, they’ll mature into harvest mites. Harvest mites are small spider-like pests that live just under the soil’s surface in your backyard, front yard, or around your home.
Harvest mites prefer soil, so they won’t infest your home obviously because you’ll have a foundation with flooring. Chiggers will therefore remain only where soil exists, which is outdoors.
So the short answer is now- chiggers don’t infest homes. They’re outdoor pests commonly found in soil.
What about indoor plants?
There have been reports where chiggers have been found on or below the soil of indoor plants, so you may consider this an indoor infestation.
However, the pests won’t leave the soil since they live in it, and therefore won’t infest your home.
You should still be careful if you think your plants may be infested with chiggers, because they’ll still bite you even though they’re indoors.
Do they live on furniture?
Not really. If they fall off of the host (you or your pets), they’ll only have a few days that they can live without a host. Thus, they can’t live on your furniture forever and will likely starve within 3-4 days.
You can vacuum or wash the furniture if possible to kill any chiggers that you suspect may be present. Or just leave them alone and don’t go near that piece of furniture for a week or so.
Do chiggers bite?
Yes, they do.
And this is actually when people first start to notice there are chiggers in the grass. But usually, it’s already too late because already got bitten!
You won’t notice the bite until about 1-2 days afterwards, so when you first notice the rash or bite on your skin, think prior (1 or 2 days before) and what you were doing during that time. Were you outdoors? Probably a chigger bite.
They actually form a hole in your skin called a stylostome as a tunnel to eat your flesh.
After they feed on your flesh, they drop off your body and morph into nymphs, then later to adults where they’ll grow 8 legs and wander off.
They’re only irritating towards humans during their larval phase, because this is when they’re most annoying!
Chiggers will readily bite any kind of body part that they can get into contact with. This typically involves your feet as you walk through a field of grass.
When a chigger bites, you’ll feel a sharp stinging sensations followed by extreme itchiness.
Where do chiggers bite?
Chiggers will bite whatever they can, but usually you’ll be walking in the grass, so it’ll be your feet.
But they can also bite your hips, ribs, arms, legs, or torso. Whatever comes into contact with chigger-infested soil will be a prime target for them to bite.
You’ll often find bites showing up in clusters around your wait, feet, or legs.
You’ll often find the bites around belt lines also, or anywhere where clothing can’t really protect you.
What do chigger bites look like?
Chigger bites are very distinct and easy to spot. They often swell over with a light pink 2-3 days after the actual bite. And they’re also concentrated in specific areas.
Here are some common signs and symptoms of chigger bites:
- Noticeable itchiness that’s almost like a sting during your time in grassy areas
- Bites that have a darkened red or pink “hole” in your skin
- Bites that appear around your delicate skin areas, like armpits, behind kneecaps, ankles, groin, waist, legs, and feet
- An itch that’s pretty bad and eventually crust over with a scab
- Red bumps that have small blisters
- Small clusters of bumps as time goes on that almost look like spreading bites
Do chiggers bite dogs?
Yup. just because it’s a dog doesn’t make a difference.
Chiggers will happily feed on dogs, cats, or any other animal that comes into contact with them. If you think your dog or pet has been bitten by a chigger, you should see if your dog is scratching more often, or look for bite marks around the ears.
These are noticale areas that chiggers will bite in a dog or cat, and it makes it easy to see bite marks within the ear. If you notice chigger bites on your dog or cat, you’ll need to get some injectable or topical to get rid of them.
You may also be able to kill the chiggers by using a pyrethrin-based bath on a scheduled regimen. Just like fleas or mites, chiggers will latch onto the fur and can be difficult to remove.
Can chigger bites spread?
No, chigger bites don’t spread. But they can get infected.
Chiggers will often find a specific area to feed on and you’ll find their bites show up as pink or red clusters of bites. You’ll see a raised area in the center, and this is what’s remaining of the skin that was eaten by the chigger when it ate through your flesh with its powerful jaws.
Clusters of these will be present around your waist, feet, and legs. You may think the bites are spreading, but this is actually just the pest moving around ever so slightly in a concentrated location as it looks for more areas to feed on.
Since chiggers are so small, they can’t travel too far, and thus the bites are concentrated in a single area.
If you notice more and more bites, the bites aren’t spreading. It’s the chigger that’s moving around in that area.
Can chiggers spread from one person to another?
Chiggers will stay on a single host until they’ve matured, to which then they’ll fall off the host.
However, if you’re within close quarters of someone who’s infested with chiggers, it’s very possible that the chigger can migrate from one host to another.
Sharing beds, clothing, or simply being in contact with someone who has chigger bites can spread the pests.
Do chiggers burrow in your skin?
Chiggers don’t burrow in the skin. They do however carve a tunnel with their powerful jaws.
They carve out a hole where they’ll release digestive enzymes, then suck out the digested flesh from your skin.
At one point, it was thought that they actually burrow. But later, this was proved to be wrong. They’ll sink their mouths through your outer and inner layers of skin to get to your flesh.
After that, they release powerful enzymes into your blood to liquify it so they can feed on your flesh.
During this process, they’ll be burrowed into your skin, which is why you get extreme itchiness when this happens. Scratching won’t remove the chigger pest, as it’s already deeply penetrated into your skin.
You may want to use a series of natural home remedies as treatment for chigger bites.
Home remedies for chigger bites
There are plenty of things you can do at home to remedy chigger bites for relief.
Because everyone is different and may respond differently to each of these home remedies, see what works best for you.
And of course, don’t do it if you’re allergic to any of them. Use common sense. Proceed at your own risk. And stop usage if you notice that it makes yoru bites worse.
Here are a few of the most popular DIY treatments for chigger bites you can do for cheap.
Hot shower and ice packs
Daily hot showers with plenty of soap and water. Scrub the bite areas well with plenty of antibacterial soap.
Then ice your bite afterwards for a good hour. This will provide some relief from the pain and scratching.
DE has been known to kill pests instantly and is harmless to humans when used correctly in small doses.
You can apply it directly to where you suspect chiggers to be on your skin in small doses. Make sure you get 100% pure DE.
Here’s how you apply it:
- Take a small amount of diatomaceous earth into a container.
- Use a cotton swab and dab it into the DE.
- Dab it directly onto the bite.
- Leave it to sit for 3 minutes.
- Wash off the DE.
The DE will dry out the bite and kill chiggers that are present on the surface of your skin.
You can also use diatomaceous earth as a natural chigger repellent by applying it directly to your clothing, such as in your socks or on your shoes/sandals, when you venture out to chigger territory.
Castor oil can be found at specialty stores and may work to reduce chigger bites.
You can apply small amount using a cotton ball directly to the bite areas to relieve itchiness.
Salt will dry out wounds and bites and offer temporary chigger relief. All you need to do is mix salt and vapor-rub in equal portions.
Of course, rubbing salt into a wound will hurt, so you’ve been warned. However, it’ll kill bacteria and chiggers on your skin and provide some relief from chigger bites.
So, if you wanna proceed, just use regular table salt and natural vapor-rub from a drug store. You can also make your own vapor-rub at home. Use natural ingredients only.
After you mix the salt and vapor-rub, simply apply it directly to your skin the bite zones to stop the itch. Wash off daily before sleep.
Baking soda will dry out the bite and can help reduce chigger bite itch. Note that this remedy will hurt as it dries out your bites.
But if you’re really looking for a solution and you’re desperate, you may want to try this out.
Just mix baking soda and water in equal parts and directly apply it to your bites. This is messy, so I suggest doing this in the shower or outdoors.
Leave it on your skin for 3 minutes, then wash it off.
You can get aloe vera gel at any drug store.
Apply directly to the wound. Use natural aloe vera that’s pure and leave the gel on the wound until it evaporates or rubs off. Wash afterwards.
Apply as needed. If you want it to be extra soothing, you can use essential oils like adding a small drop of peppermint oil to the gel mixture to your liking.
And if you really want to feel cool relief, ice the bites after you apply the aloe gel and peppermint oil mixture.
Baby oil will help smooth over your skin and provide some mild relief. Use as directed.
This will help repair your damaged skin from scratching. You can use it to help provide a soothing gel to help heal your skin. Use as directed.
Take an epsom salt bath daily. The salt will smooth and relive the bites, as well as clean up your body.
Not to mention epsom salt also has calming properties and can reduce stress, which can be prefect for those chigger bites!
This has been proven to relieve itching and kill chiggers, as reported by many sites online. Use only in a ventilated area.
What do you do if you get bitten by chiggers?
There’s a process you should follow ASAP to reduce chigger bites. This is what you do for chigger bites.
Get rid of the clothes that you suspect chiggers to be present on. This doesn’t mean just toss them into your hamper- you’ll want to launder them with a full cycle right away to prevent chiggers from spreading or latching onto others (or yourself).
Take a hot shower followed by a hot bath
You’ll first want to take a hot shower and use plenty of antibacterial body soap and shampoo to rinse off the loose chiggers on your body.
Ice the bites with ice packs to chill the site and reduce itchiness. Avoid scratching the bites. This will lead to infection if you damage the bite further. You won’t remove the chiggers by scratching- you’ll only make it worse.
Use cream to stop the itch
Apply some OTC itch cream, such as menthol, hydrocortisone, antihistamine pills, calamine lotion, or even a simple cold compress to reduce itchiness.
The bites will disappear in about two weeks.
But chiggers present on your body will stay there for about 3-4 days before jumping off to morph.
You can reduce the time they stay on you by constantly keeping yourself clean and waggin the bite areas with soap and hot water.
Remember: chigger bites don’t spread. If you see more bites appear, that’s because there are still chiggers in the area and making new bites.
If nothing else works, go for commercial OTC topical solution for itchiness.
How long do chigger bites last?
Chigger bites will last about 2-3 weeks. The bite will heal by itself. And you should avoid scratching it to prevent infection.
Use a variety of home DIY solutions for chigger bite relief, or use commercial products to reduce swelling and itch.
Avoid itching at all costs. The chigger will leave your skin when it exists the larval phase of its life cycle.
Scratching won’t remove the chigger- it’ll only allow other bacteria into your skin and wounds.
This could just make it even more itchy, so avoid doing so to your best efforts. You can try a few different remedies at home to get relief.
What will kill chiggers?
There are a few ways you can get rid of chiggers on your lawn or garden at home.
Some cheap, yet effective DIY remedies are effective in killing or getting rid of chiggers are listed here.
Try a few of them out and see what works best for you. Some may work while others don’t.
The trick is to play around and see which one works best for your situation and then scale that approach upwards until you reduce the chigger population to a minimal level.
Note that some of these approaches can be dangerous (such as bleach and Lysol), so always exercise caution when you do this kind of stuff.
Does bleach kill chiggers?
Bleach does kill chiggers, but the problem is that you don’t want to get bleach on your skin.
Even though the bite areas are itchy and you suspect them to be present, never use bleach directly on your skin.
There’s an old recipe around the web where you mix one part bleach with 12 parts water, then dabbing it with a bottom ball and rubbing it on your skin around the bite areas to kill chiggers.
I would recommend against using any bleach on yourself- even diluted bleach. Bleach will be very damaging to your skin, especially where there are bites as it makes it easier to contact your flesh.
What I would suggest in terms of using this stuff to kill chiggers would be for clothing.
After a day out in a grassy area and seeing yourself covered with chigger bites, you can apply bleach to clothing or articles that you think they may be latched onto.
Remember, chiggers are very good at grabbing ahold of your clothes to get to your skin. If you’ve gotten bites, you can be pretty sure that you have more chiggers on your clothing.
This is where bleach comes in handy. You can apply the bleach directly to any clothing, shoes, belts, pants, shirts, or other articles that you think the chiggers may have been in contact with.
Of course, don’t apply this stuff if you’re afraid that the bleach may discolor your clothing. You can dilute it to lessen the strength of it before you apply it.
After you bleach your clothes, I’d still suggest laundering your clothes right after to kill any remaining chiggers.
Lysol will kill chiggers as this stuff works as an insecticide for smaller pests.
You can get Lysol wipes at any department store and apply it directly to your skin where the bites are.
Don’t apply to open wounds, as it’ll sting like crazy. And don’t apply constantly. Limit yourself as Lysol wipes can be very damaging to your skin in large quantities.
All you need to do is grab a wipe and wipe around the bite areas on your skin. This will kill any chiggers that you wipe over, as Lysol is powerful in killing germs and bacteria.
Pests are no exception.
Rubbing alcohol is a quick and effective way to kill chiggers.
You can apply rubbing alcohol directly to your skin, even over bite marks as this stuff is made exactly for that purpose- to disinfect.
This is very good for chigger removal.
Follow the directions on the bottle and re-apply as needed.
Windex definitely is a weird solution to chiggers, but some people have reported that Windex does indeed keep the chiggers off and also kills any that are on your skin.
People have reported to spray Windex directly on their legs and clothing before they go out to a chigger-infested area. Others have reported to spray the stuff directly onto their skin to kill any chiggers crawling around on a microscopic scale.
Windex does have warning for skin contact, so this may not be the best possible solution.
But I did want to touch on this pesticide for chiggers, and it seems to work pretty well from my research.
I can’t vouch for this solution because it does seem like it can irritate your skin, and who’d ever think about putting Windex on your skin as a bug repellent? Proceed at your own risk.
Hydrogen peroxide will kill chiggers on your skin and clothes, and also provide itch relief.
The solution kills enzymes from chiggers that they use to destroy your skin, so you’ll be relieved from further itching by their destructive saliva.
This will also kill any chiggers on your skin that you happen to apply it on. Use as directed on the bottle.
You should pour the solution onto a cloth or cotton ball to apply. Re-apply as needed.
Does apple cider vinegar kill chiggers?
Apple cider vinegar proves to be an effective itch relief and swell reducer for chigger bites.
Although apple cider vinegar hasn’t been proven to kill chiggers from my research, it’s better used as a solution for post-bite treatment.
You can buy organic apple cider vinegar from any grocery store for cheap. Here’s how to use it to reduce itch and provide chigger bite relief:
What you’ll need:
- Large container
- 1 cup pure unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- 6 cups Water
- Cotton ball
How to make it:
- Pour 1 cup of organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar and 6 cups of water to a large container.
- Mix the solution gently.
- Take the straw and dip it into the mixture.
- Suck some out by covering the opposite end of the straw with your thumb (you can also use a dropper)
- Position the straw over the cotton ball and release your thumb.
- The cotton ball will be soaked with the solution.
- Apply directly onto chigger bites.
- Reapply as needed.
Apple cider vinegar is very acidic, and chiggers probably won’t survive the solution. It’ll reduce itch and swelling so you can try to get some relief from the bites.
Does showering get rid of chiggers?
Showering can be effective in getting rid of chiggers if you use hot water and plenty of soap. Use an antibacterial soap and rinse well with hot water on the bite spots.
Showering is effective for chigger removal.
Showering should be the first thing you should do when you come back home and realize that you’re covered in chigger bites. Launder the clothes, and jump into a hot shower and cleanse yourself. Multiple times.
Use a strong soap and rinse the bite areas well. This will kill chiggers that are walking around on your skin before they make more bites.
Will a hot bath kill chiggers?
Yes, it can.
Just like a hot shower, you can jump into a hot bath and fill it with soap. Use an antibacterial soap and cleanse yourself right after you’ve been bitten.
And rinse and re-rinse the bite spots.
This will maximize your chiggers you kill, as they’re very good at not letting go of your skin. So you’ll want to rinse well to kill as many pests as you can.
Natural chigger repellents for your body
Here you’ll find a list of natural chigger repellents you can use on yourself as you go out to area with chiggers.
This will reduce the amount of bites you get, and also the amount of chiggers that’ll cling on to you and thichhike back home with you.
This is where prevention of bites starts. Wear loose-fitted, long clothing that covers your entire body. Wear hiking boots, long sleeves, and blong pants.
Tuck your socks into your pants to prevent the gap that appears between them.
This will prevent chiggers from getting into your skin by blocking them off. Wear tight fitting cuffs if possible to prevent them from entering through your sleeves.
You want to prevent as much exposure of your skin as possible.
Sulfur powder is a strong-smelling powder that can be sprinkled directly into your shoes and socks before you go out.
This will repel chiggers from grabbing hold of your skin because of the smell, and will naturally repel them. You can also sprinkle this powder on your shirt and pants.
As mentioned in the earlier section detailing how to kill chiggers, baking soda can be applied directly to your skin as a fine powder to repel chiggers.
You can also use it on your shoes, socks, and the inside of your pants.
How to get rid of chiggers in your yard
Here you’ll find some safe and natural ways you can keep chiggers from coming into your yard or garden.
The best advice I can provide for you here is to use a variety of the following techniques and see what works best for your yard.
You can use all of them at the same time for best effect.
Mow your lawn
This is probably the most overlooked chigger prevention technique across the board. And it literally costs you nothing to do so.
You don’t have to hire a professional and a simple mowing goes a long way.
Use any kind of lawn mower and just practice good lawn maintenance.
You’ll want to cut down any tall vegetation, such as weeds, briars, and overgrown grass and plants. Getting rid of excess vegetation will give you a nice, even lawn with minimal chigger sites to infest.
Chiggers like overgrown and unmatintend lawns, so avoid that and you’ll have fewer chiggers munching on your grass and breeding.
Simply keeping your lawn short and tidy (chiggers hate short plants) and will keep chiggers exposed to the bright sunlight, which they tend to avoid. Chiggers live in shaded, grassy areas with taller plants and plenty of moisture.
By trimming down tall plants, you remove their shade and evaporate the moisture so they can’t live on your lawn.
Here are some other tips to keep your garden safe from chiggers:
- Cut down or pull out any tall weeds
- Prune trees, bushes, and shrubs that are overgrown
- Remove any unnecessary plants or vegetation
- Keep your garden clean and maintained all year long
- Don’t skimp during any season
Protect your lawn from chigger hitchhikers
Chiggers may enter your lawn from other hosts that are bringing them in. They’ll basically cling to other reptiles or mammals to get into your yard without you even knowing.
Some of the most common hosts that are just crawling with chigger pests are the following:
- Other amphibians
- Other reptiles
If you have lots of these kinds of reptiles or amphibians native to your area, it may be hard to prevent them from entering your lawn.
Pests such as frogs and snakes can be controlled by removing the source of food or water that attracts them to your lawn in the first place.
Practice keeping your garden tidy to prevent and control chigger populations:
- Keeping your lawn and garden tidy and keeping all vegetation trimmed would be your best approach.
- Remove any dense shrubs, plants, or trees to discourage reptiles.
- Remove any ponds or small water sources collecting in pottery, fountains, or other means to stop amphibians from coming in.
- Clean up wood piles, food sources, pet food, and other food and/or water sources that may be attracting rodents.
- Secure your trash bins and compost to stop animals from digging through your garbage looking for food, as they also can carry chigger pests.
- Build fending or a barrier around your yard to prevent reptiles, amphibians , and mammals from coming to your yard which may be carrying chiggers.
Natural chigger repellent for the yard
You can use diatomaceous earth and sprinkle this powder over your yard if you really can’t get rid of the chiggers.
DE will help kill and repel chiggers and many other small pests, such as stink bugs, cigarette beetles, and June bugs . DE is a natural solution that’s organic (if you buy the organic brand) and has been proven to be effective against chiggers.
Chigger control and prevention
You can sprinkle DE around your lawn, drawing a barrier to prevent chiggers from getting into your actual lawn.
This will help you prevent chiggers in your yard and also help you control these pests.
Also sprinkle it on tall plants, moisturized areas, shaded areas, or dense vegetation. These are all prime places where chiggers live and the DE will repel them naturally.
Commercial sprays for chiggers
Here you’ll find some more potent solution for repelling and killing chiggers.
Be sure you practice safe usage and read the label before using any of them.
DEET (any spray with diethyltoluamide)
If you really want to repel chiggers using a commercial approach, you can use DEET.
DEET will kill and repel chiggers amongst many other pests, such as mosquitoes and dust mites. You can apply DEET directly to your legs, arms, and torso.
Be careful not to get this stuff in your eyes or mouth, and don’t spray it on skin that’s covered by clothing as the rubbing motion between the clothes and your skin can cause some damage.
Don’t use DEET haphazardly; this is a dangerou chemical and must be used as directed on the container.
Don’t use any DEET products if you have allergies. DEET can damage your clothing, materials, plastics, or even furniture. Be careful with this repellent.
Permethrin is a very powerful chemical and can be applied to your clothes. Once you spray this stuff on yourself, it lasts for days.
After you wash your clothes, permethrin doesn’t come off until you wash it a few more times.
Don’t apply permethrin to your skin- use it only on clothing.
Follow the directions on the can. Permethrin can damage your clothing, materials, nail polish, or other surfaces.
Don’t use permethrin if you have allergies.
There are many commercial pesticides out there that’ll kill chiggers from your lawn right away.
You’ll want to do your research and choose the safest option.
Always opt for organic or natural bug killer when you can, but if you can’t or if they’re not working, you can use a commercial option that’s more powerful.
Look for these key ingredients to kill chiggers:
- Diazinon Bifenthrin
Always use the pesticide as directed. Follow the label at all times.
DIY chigger spray for your house
Here’s how to make some DIY chigger spray for your home.
These home remedies can be effective in killing chiggers around your home, yard, or lawn. The best approach would be to experiment with them and see which one works the best for your situation.
DIY garlic chigger spray
This one’s easy to make and super cheap. All you’ll need is some basic supplies that you probably already have at home.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 garlic
- Small spray bottle
- 1 cup water
Here’s how to make it:
- Dice the garlic as well as you can.
- Pour the garlic into the spray bottle.
- Pour the water into the spray bottle.
- Shake the bottle.
- Let it sit for 24 hours.
After that, the DIY spray will be ready.
You can apply this stuff anywhere you suspect chiggers to be present. If you think you may have chiggers in the home, spray the stuff where you want to repel them.
This spray will naturally repel chiggers around the area, as they hate the strong odor of garlic.
You can also place whole garlic cloves just by themselves around areas where you think chiggers are present. This means your home, lawn, car, or wherever else you think chiggesr are.
Just place the garlic there and the scent will be enough to keep them away for a good radius after the garlic starts to smell.
This remedy can also be applied directly to your skin to repel chiggers naturally when you go out. You’ll just end up smelling like garlic.
Note that you should never use garlic around dogs, as they’re harmful to them.
But that’s better than being covered with bites, right?
This is another DIY repellent for chiggers that you can easily make at home.
The main ingredient is witch hazel, which basically repels chiggers through scent, as they hate it.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 3 teaspoons of pure witch hazel (at any drug store)
- 4 tablespoons of water (tap water OK)
- 3 drops of any peppermint oil
Combine all the ingredients into one spray bottle and you’re done. This stuff smells strong, so use it where you won’t be sniffing it all day.
You can spray directly where you suspect chiggers to be- spray your home, lawn, or even yourself. Just be sure you don’t have allergies.
There are also essential oils you can use to repel chiggers naturally.
Here’s a list of the most common essential oils for pests:
- Lavender oil
- Tea tree oil
- Lemongrass oil
- Peppermint oil
You can apply the oil directly to where you suspect chiggers to be. I find that putting a few drops into a bottle cap makes an effective DIY chigger repellent.
Refill your chigger traps as needed as they become less effective over time.
Can chiggers live in your house?
Chiggers are not indoor pests, and they prefer to stay outdoors where they’re naturally adjusted to.
The only reason chiggers seemingly appear indoors is because they grab onto a host (you or your pets) and come into your home. They don’t live indoors and are not indoor pests.
They do, however, often get confused with similar pests, such as the clover mite. Clover mites are indoor pests and can often show up in large numbers.
They’re similar in appearance to chiggers, but aren’t.
This is why people believe they have chiggers in the home living with them.
One easy way to tell the difference is that clover mites don’t bite.
So if you have a ton of small mites crawling all over your walls and bed, but they don’t bite you, they’re probably not chiggers.
How to get rid of chiggers in your home
If you think you have some stray chiggers in your house, and you’re sure of it, just use the DIY methods above to get rid of them.
Some suggestions on killing off the chiggers:
- Use borax traps
- Use baking soda sprays
- Utilize natural repellents
- Launder your bed sheets and clothing often
- Use essential oils to repel them
- Make DIY chigger spray
Even if you don’t do anything, the chiggers wandering around will eventually starve off anyway.
You should focus on the chiggers that are your skin, first!
How long do chiggers live in your house?
Not long. They’ll starve within days and disappear.
Unless they’ve just gotten a fresh meal from your skin, they’ll starve within just a few days at most.
Can chiggers live in your bed?
Just like your home, chiggers can’t live in your bed.
They feed off warm mammals and need a meal so they can grow into an adult. Thus, without anyone present on the bed, they won’t be able to survive.
There’s always the possibility that the chigger can fall of you or your pet and land on the bed. Once that happens, the chigger will seek out a warm live host to feed off of.
You can launder your bedsheets if you think have you chiggers on your bed. This will also prevent the possibility that they’re literally feeding off your skin every night when you go into your bed.
And this also stops them from latching onto you again after they fall off you earlier (or your dog).
The best way to prevent chiggers is to protect yourself from getting them in the first place.
As we discussed earlier, there are steps you can take to prevent chiggers from latching onto you:
- Wear long clothing.
- Tuck in your socks to your pants.
- Wear a hood.
- Use boots.
- Sprinkle borax or baking soda in your shoes.
- Apply DIY chigger repellent to yourself and clothing.
There are plenty of things you can do to prevent chiggers from ever taking a bite from your precious skin. You just need to actually do them!
You can control chigger populations if you have them natively nearby, such as your backyard:
- Review the steps above about getting rid of chiggers from yard and practice them.
- Keep your lawns tidy.
- Remove excess vegetation.
- Cut down tall plants, as these pests prefer moist and tall plants with lots of shade.
- Clean up leaves and debris.
- Apply chigger repellent all over your yard.
- Keep your garden clean.
- Use chigger traps everywhere.
- Cut down overgrown grass, plants, and shrubs.
- Trim and prune trees.
Don’t skip on anything and you’ll have a much easier time controlling chiggers.
Did you get rid of your chigger problem?
Well, that’s about it!
I hope this bug guide really did help you out and you benefited from it. If you have any other questions, please leave a comment below and I’ll check it out.
Be as detailed you can be for a better and more accurate response.
Or if you’ve dealt with chiggers before, share your words of wisdom and help someone else in need!
Lastly, if this guide has helped you, let me know! Your comments are what keep me going to write these for the public! Share it with a friend =]!
Thanks for reading!
Currently an active researcher in the pest control industry for the past 8 years- with a focus on using natural and organic methods to eliminate pest problems.
I share handy DIY pest techniques I come across here to help out others (and possibly save them from a mental breakdown).
Fight nature with nature.