Sometimes it’s the smallest insects that are the biggest pains. Case in point: chiggers.
If you’ve ever come in contact with chiggers you may have been left with an insanely aggravating itch. Chiggers feed off of hosts, but unlike mosquitoes, ticks and fleas they don’t suck your blood. Instead, chiggers like to nibble on skin. When they do, saliva is injected into the skin causing a painful reaction. Within about 12-24 hours of being bitten welts can form and the itching will start.
Dealing with itchy skin for a week or more is no way to spend the summer. We asked our professional pest control technicians for their best advice on avoiding chiggers, and here is what they suggested to prevent chigger bites.
Know What Chiggers Look Like
Avoiding chigger bites starts with knowing what chiggers look like. To be honest, chiggers are so small you’ll probably never see them, but it’s still smart to keep an eye out. Chiggers are tiny yellow-orange or light red mites with six legs. They like to gather in clusters, which may make them a little easier to spot if you’re looking for them.
Know Where Chiggers Like to Hide
When you know where chiggers are most likely to be you can avoid the area and worry less about bites. There are a few spots around the yard where you may find chiggers hiding. They like to hang out in damp spots that are low to the ground. Chiggers also prefer areas with only partial sunlight.
Remove Debris, Weeds and Dead Vegetation
If you remove the environments where chiggers like to hide they’re less likely to congregate in your yard. Clear out piles of old, dead leaves, weed the yard and clean up any debris that could turn into a damp, shaded habitats for chiggers. Be particularly careful to clear pathways where people will most likely walk.
Keep the Grass Mowed
Chiggers don’t like to stay in mowed grass. They prefer tall grassy areas and the cover of English Ivy. Most grasses thrive at about 1.5”, which is short enough to keep chiggers out but long enough to handle the summer heat.
Because chiggers are only found in damp areas you’ll want to make sure there’s good drainage in your yard. After the next rain walk your property to see if water has collected anywhere. Note why the water is collecting (low spot, broken gutter, etc.) and take steps to rectify the situation ASAP. If you have a sprinkler system test it to make sure it’s functioning properly and distributing water evenly.
Avoid Rubbing Up Against Vegetation
You’ll probably only come in contact with chiggers if you brush up against the vegetation they’re hiding in. One accidental touch and dozens of chiggers could be transferred to your skin. Avoid rubbing up against plants and you’re less likely to get itchy chigger bites.
Cover Up With Clothing
If you’re going to be working out in the yard or hiking wear long pants, socks, closed-toe shoes, long-sleeve shirt and gloves. You can go a step further by tucking your socks into your pants and applying a Deet product to the bottom of your pants, socks and shoes. Keep your clothes loose and wear breathable materials to prevent overheating.
Get Help From a Pest Control Pro
You don’t have to go for a walk in the woods to come across chiggers. They could be hanging out right in your backyard. Practicing good yard maintenance and getting regular pest control treatments can help keep yard pests in check this summer.
Need help avoiding pesky chiggers this summer season? Give Vulcan Termite and Pest Control Inc. a call to see how we can help you stay chigger-free!