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Chiggers are the immature, microscopic stage of a small, red mite known in some regions as red bugs or harvest mites. Only the larval “chigger" stage of the mite is parasitic; it seeks out mammals – including humans – on which to feed. Chiggers pierce skin and inject an enzyme that causes allergic reactions, skin inflammation and severe itching in humans. Small blisters form and itchy sores persist long after the chigger is gone.

Identification: Chiggers are so small, they're virtually impossible to see with the naked eye. Typically orange-red to reddish-brown and covered with long surface hairs, their oval shape is very similar to the larger, adult form and to their close relatives, the ticks. Check for chigger mites with a small, dark piece of cardboard. Place it on the ground (upright), and watch for very tiny red or bright orange mites to crawl rapidly from the bottom to the top.

Signs/Damage: Once you've experienced chigger bites and the painful, long-lasting itch that follows, you'll recognize their bite right away. The small, raised, red blisters that follow will confirm it. Chigger bites typically come in masses, not just one or two. They're often concentrated where clothes fit tightest, such as waistbands or sock tops. Chigger outbreaks occur from spring through fall, but they peak in summer's warmth. Overgrown, shrubby areas or spots with weeds or long grasses are prime chigger spots.

Control: Start treating chiggers in early spring to kill and control the newly hatched pests before they can mature and reproduce. GardenTech® brand offers highly effective products to kill and control chiggers in lawns, gardens and nearby areas:

  • Sevin® Insect Killer Granules kill chiggers by contact and keeps protecting against new chiggers for up to three months. For uniform lawn coverage, apply with a regular lawn spreader at the recommended rate for chiggers, as noted on the product label. Water the treated area immediately to release the active ingredients.
  • Sevin®-5 Ready-To-Use 5% Dust kills chiggers by contact in lawns and on plants. Sprinkle a light, even layer of dust from the easy-to-use shaker container over chigger-prone vegetation and lawn grasses. For best results, water your lawn before you apply the dust and don't water again for at least two days.

Tip: Keep your lawn well-maintained to reduce chigger habitat and discourage small rodents that host them. Avoid sitting in or near tall grasses and weeds, and use insect repellents on your clothes and body. 

Always read product labels and follow the instructions carefully.

GardenTech is a registered trademark of Gulfstream Home and Garden, Inc.

Sevin is a registered trademark of Tessenderlo Kerley, Inc.

 

PHOTO CREDIT: 

"Mite" by Michael Wunderli licensed under CC BY 2.0

"Chigger mites" by Hansell F. Cross at Georgia State University (Bugwood.org) licensed under CC BY 3.0 US

"Trombicula mite sores" by Dick Culbert licensed under CC BY 2.0

"Chigger mites" by Susan Ellis (Bugwood.org) licensed under CC BY 3.0 US

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