Chiggers Are Unique
Chiggers are unique among mites affecting humans and animals in that the immature stage (the larva) is the only parasitic stage. The six-legged larva may attach itself to a variety of hosts to feed. Once engorged, it leaves the host to become a nymph and eventually an adult; both nymph and adult are eight-legged. The common North American chiggers require 40 to 80 days to develop from egg to adult. In Nebraska there is only one generation per year.
Omaha, Bellevue, Papillion, Gretna, Elkhorn and Council Bluffs are only a few of the vulnerable locations we service in the midwest. Call Omaha Pest Control with any questions you may have of our best treatment plans and pest control services. Free inspections are available.
Typical host-seeking behavior by the larva consists of congregating in a shaded area near the top of an object in close contact with the lawn, such as a blade of grass or a fallen leaf. Here they are activated by an increase in carbon dioxide as a vertebrate host approaches.
People who have been outdoors in chigger-infested vegetated areas may suffer intense itching 4 to 8 hours after exposure, followed by a dermatitis (skin inflammation). A careful search of the skin after a trip through tall grass, weeds, or berry brambles will reveal minute, red mites, either moving fast or attached to the skin. The itching is usually along sock tops, behind the knee, around the waistband, or other places where clothing fits tightly, although most bites occur below the knees. The itching may persist for several days.
Skin Care After Chigger Bites
You may not know that you have been attacked by chiggers until welts appear and itching begins. Take a bath as soon as possible upon returning from a chigger-infested area. Apply a thick lather, rinse, and then repeat. This action kills most attached chiggers and ones not yet attached. Next, apply an antiseptic to the welts; this kills any remaining chiggers and prevents infection.
Destroying the chiggers reduces the itching but does not stop it. The fluid injected by the chiggers causes the itching, and no practical way to remove it has been found. For temporary relief of itching, apply ointments that contain benzocaine, hydrocortisone, or those used for relief of poison ivy itching.
Preventive Control Of Chiggers
In treating clothing, apply repellent along the inside and outside edges of all openings, such as cuffs, neck, and waistband areas. Be sure to treat all the way around the upper edges of socks. Cotton and wool socks absorb repellent better than other materials. Apply the repellent lightly to the arms or legs if they are not covered by clothing. Read the label for specific instructions and cautions.
Chiggers can infest inanimate objects lying on the ground, such as clothes and blankets. Avoid setting such articles on the ground if you believe chiggers are present. Clothes and blankets suspected to be infested with chiggers should be washed in hot water.
Insecticides Used For Chigger Control
Before applying insecticides to outdoor areas you must have an idea where the chiggers are. A simple survey is needed. The chiggers may be concentrated in a small area, making treatment and control easy, less expensive, and safer to pets, humans, and wildlife.
Unless the entire area is infested, treat only the parts in which control is desired, such as grass around picnic tables or lawn chairs. Bifenthrin is our recommended insecticide. We use it only according to label directions.