Have you ever gone camping and suddenly realize that your skin is getting all itchy and reddish? If yes then there are some possibilities that the reason behind this itchy-ness is because of chiggers.
The scientific name of chiggers is Trombiculidae, and they belong to the Arachnida class, chiggers are also known as berry bugs, red bugs, scrub-itch mites, and many more.
They are very small in size, approximately 1/60th of an inch; you can barely see them with your naked eyes.
Chiggers are reddish-brown or yellow in color and you can’t see them until they are traveling in a group.
Nymph chiggers have 6 legs and adults have 8 legs and they don’t have any wings. The life span of chiggers is generally 2 to 12 months but it also depends upon the environment and condition.
Chiggers need a damp and packed environment to live in, that’s why you may have found them near lakes, rivers, or dense plants.
The only thing that creates trouble for humans is that the small chiggers feed upon animal skin which can cause irritation redness and swelling but it gets treated by itself in 3 to 4 days.
14 Facts about Chiggers
1. What do Chiggers look like?
Chiggers cannot be seen through normal human eyes. They are approximately 1/150th of an inch in size. Though they have a small size, their vibrant red color makes them visible when they move on any surface.
Chiggers are just another form of mites. The difference between the adult and minor Chigger is that the Adult Chigger has 8 legs, where the minor one has 6 legs.
The most important thing to know about them is that they hide easily in berry bushes, and that’s one of the reasons why they are also called the berry bugs. They are usually small in size, which makes it even easier for them to hide in bushes and grasses.
2. Where do chiggers live?
Chiggers live in every country. Most areas where they are found are generally humid and grassy, like fields or some kind of forests. They are also found in lake, streams and even in home gardens.
3. How different Chiggers from Clover Mites (Clover Mites Vs Chiggers)?
The adult chigger is smaller than the Clover mites and it is difficult to see it with normal human eyes. Whereas the clover mites are approximately 1 mm in size and are easy to notice when moving.
Chiggers are usually found at the edges of a forest area, blackberry patches and brush thickets. Whereas Clover mites are found on the concrete walls, the exterior of houses and sidewalks.
Instead of sucking the blood, Chiggers eat the skin cells by injecting a digestive fluid which breaks the skin cells down. This causes pain and redness and swelling on the skin which lasts for two weeks. On the other side, clover mites doesn’t harm humans to that extent, they usually just cause redness to the skin if it’s really extreme.
4. How far can chiggers jump?
Chiggers don’t jump or fly they simply crawl and find their way to your skin. They are so small that you can’t even see their jump/ crawl but you can easily dodge them, by keeping yourself away from tall grass and dense plants because they won’t chase you.
Chiggers can’t jump on your body when you are covered with clothes or when you are standing far away from the grass.
That’s why you can say that chiggers don’t jump; they only crawl from plants to the human body until they find a moist and safe place to live.
5. How many times do chiggers bite?
Chiggers don’t bite, it’s their nymph who needs human body to survive, and they insert their saliva into your skin and feed upon your skin cells.
One nymph chigger commonly stays on the human body for 3 days and then they detach themselves when they become adults.
So, if you have multiple chigger bites on your body, that’s because you may have more than one chigger on your skin.
Chiggers can stick to one location on your body for many days (not more than 3 days), so they don’t move from one location to another.
6. What eats chiggers?
These predators are mostly live in the same environment where chiggers live and reproduce. They are very small in size that’s why they are easy targets for many predators. People used to attract some of the insects to get rid of chiggers.
Chiggers can lay up to 15 eggs per day if they are living in a suitable environment, this is the reason why there are so many insects that eat chiggers; it balances the eco-system.
7. What attracts chiggers?
The “urge for survival” attracts chiggers; larvae of chiggers stick to an animal’s body, to get protein and essential nutrients for their growth and that is why they attached to an animal and insert their saliva into their skin and take their food from the skin cells/tissues.
They get attracted to the carbon dioxide released from the animal body. The other thing that attracts chiggers to your house is, moisture and plants, as I mentioned in the introduction part that these chiggers are mainly found near lakes, river, or dense plants if you have a big yard packed with plants and grass then your house can be the prime target for chiggers.
8. What do chiggers eat?
Chiggers eat a lot of things at different stages of their life, small larvae of chiggers feed upon the human skin and they transform human skin cell into liquid and then consumes it.
After becoming a nymph from a larva, in 3 to 4 days they fall from the human body and they start eating dead and decayed plants and small insects, from the soil.
Nymphs and adults both feed upon plants and small insects and they no longer act as a nuisance for humans. Adult chiggers live under the soil or litter and take their food from the litter.
9. When chiggers fall off?
Chiggers fall off from human skin when they complete their meal; a larva can remain on human skin for 3 to 4 days but mostly chigger leaves your body after 6 to 7 hours.
When you realize that a chigger has bitten you, he leaves your body and goes away. There is no specific time when chiggers fall off from your skin; they drop themselves when their meal is over.
Although you can easily brush them off by washing the affected area with soap and water.
10. When are chiggers active?
Chiggers are most active in afternoons because the soil is warm in afternoons and they can’t survive below 5 degrees Celsius.
In season-wise, they are most active in the summer season and spring season, the suitable temperature for their living is 25 to 30 degree Celsius. Most chiggers get died in the winter season because of the low temperature of the soil.
11. Where do chiggers live?
Firstly, chiggers are found everywhere in every country but particularly live in moist and damp areas like parks, jungles, camp sites and basically any place where some plants are grown.
Their favorite places are fields, weeds and tall grasses or near the garbage. They need humid areas to live in but they also need some warmth to survive and reproduce.
That’s why you may have found them under the soil where get proper amount of warmth, moisture and even food.
12. Where do chiggers live in house?
Chiggers don’t infest any houses, they may infest your pets but they don’t make their living place in your house.
Chiggers need soil and plants to live in, which is not very common in our houses, but they do get into your yard/garden and make their own space.
If you ever felt that your pet is infested with chiggers then you should just wash your pet with soap and water rather than disinfecting your whole house.
13. How often do chiggers multiply?
Female chiggers can lay up to 15 eggs, per day; they tend to reproduce throughout their life span.
Spring is the best season for reproduction when the underground temperature becomes more than 16 degrees Celsius.
In suitable temperature, these females can lay eggs nearly 10 to 15 but in an odd environment, their reproduction power gets reduced.
14. Why do some chiggers bite and not others?
Every type of chiggers generally bite humans but there are some exceptions like Asian chiggers and north
American chiggers, they don’t intentionally bite humans and the other type of chiggers that don’t bite are, adult chiggers.
Chiggers are mainly the larvae of harvest mites and when those larvae became nymph they stop biting any humans and they start eating plants or insects.
Chiggers are one of the most unpredictable and versatile mites. They don’t stick to something and doesn’t bite you every day like bed bugs; they have a different need for sticking to humans.
Chiggers are generally harmless for humans because their “bites” go automatically go away after few days unless you’re an allergic person.
There are so many products in the market that can save you from those tiny trouble-maker mites like chigger-proof socks, body net, insect repellent creams, insect-proof clothes, and many more; you can always go for that.
If you have a big yard then make sure to keep it clean and trimmed because tall grasses are the most favorite place for chiggers, if we talk about the easiest way to stop the itching is, to bath whenever you come inside your home after playing outdoors.
It will surely help you a lot and once the spring season is over you don’t get to see a lot of chiggers near your house.