Chiggers are tiny orange, yellow or red parasitic larvae of certain types of mites. They can attach to people and cause intense itching and small, reddish welts on the skin.
Chiggers are attracted to areas of the body where clothing fits tightly over the skin or where the skin is delicate. Once you brush off the chiggers, they usually die within hours.
They are most active in the late spring and summer. They tend to stay in overgrown areas, lawns, leaf litter, shrubs and anywhere else that is damp and shaded.
People who do not remove chiggers quickly may suffer from bites.
Bite sites can erupt into a red welt with a hard, white central area. People who experience chigger bites may feel intense itching at the bite site within several hours.
Welts may itch for a week or more.
You can avoid chiggers by:
To find out if you have chiggers in your yard, place a piece of black cardboard upright in a section of the lawn. If chiggers are present in the area, they will move toward the new object. They will appear as pinkish dots moving across the cardboard.
If you have chiggers around your home, contact a licensed pest control operator to discuss the best way to remove them.
If you know you have been in a chigger-infested area, you should immediately wash your clothes in hot water for at least 30 minutes. Also, take a hot bath or shower as soon as possible, washing yourself with soap repeatedly in order to remove chiggers that have not attached to your body yet.
Do not scratch the welts, as this may lead to a secondary infection. For temporary itching relief, apply a topical anti-itch cream or apply ice to reduce swelling.