Most of us have awakened one day and realized that our bodies are covered in small, red bites from an unknown source. Whether you knew it or not, there’s a pretty high chance that you’ve had a few chigger bites over the years. A chigger infestation around your yard causes a lot of pain and irritation to you and your family, so learning how to kill chiggers is something that most people should understand.
What is the best way to kill chiggers? Chiggers are tiny insects that are closely related to ticks. They are so small that you might need a magnifying glass to see them. As part of the arachnid family, they like to feed on mammals’ skin cells, including pets and humans.
It’s a little disturbing to think about these small critters crawling around. Finding natural ways to kill chiggers is possible when you put preventative action into place. Before calling pest control, try some of these tips that help you with chigger control.
Chiggers are red bugs that are nearly impossible to see with the naked eye. Many people refer to them as red mites or harvest mites. Unlike a bed bug or tick, the chigger larvae are the ones that cause the bites, not the adults.
Their life begins as a small egg, and their larval stage starts a week after the egg is laid. After that, they turn into nymphs and adults.
The worst part about a chigger infestation is the bug bites, which aren’t like mosquito bites. Instead of feeding on your blood, the larvae insert a part of the mouth into your skin cells. Their saliva emits enzymes that cause an allergic reaction in our skin.
Once bitten, we get small welts and red bumps. These bumps cause severe itching that sometimes even lead to blisters. Chiggers make their most prominent appearance in the summer, but they are active from spring through fall.
If you suspect that you have a chigger infestation, knowing what kills chiggers and keeps them from returning is the best way to protect your property.
How to Kill Chiggers
Finding home remedies for killing jiggers, chiggers, and all the small pests in between is a big task, but don’t let it discourage you.
Building a kitchen gnat trap, making a homemade insect repellent, and even wearing long pants are all tricks that keep these critters under control.
Natural Ways to Kill Chiggers
Most people like to turn right to the harsh chemicals when faced with an infestation. These products aren’t always necessary, and there are more natural and safer ways to kill chiggers.
One of the best defense strategies for learning how to get rid of chiggers is by using essential oils. This homemade spray is safe to put on skin or spray around your house. The citrus repels the bugs and keeps them from swarming your yard.
Fill a regular spray bottle halfway full with the distilled water. Fill the remainder of the squirt bottle with the witch hazel, leaving about an inch of headspace at the top.
Add 15 drops of lemon oil and 15 drops of eucalyptus oil to the bottle. Shake the spray bottle thoroughly before each use. To use the spray around the perimeter of your home, increase the amount of each ingredient, and add it to a hose-end sprayer.
The Best Way to Kill Chiggers
Diatomaceous earth sounds like a scary product, but it is entirely natural and made from the fossilized shells of diatoms. This powder is so safe that it is edible and commonly used as a home remedy to kill gnats and other bugs.
No matter how small, any insect that comes in contact with it becomes severely dehydrated to the point of fatality.
Spread this powder around the perimeter of your home. Make sure to focus on small cracks and crevices, including doors and windows, where the chiggers may hide.
Keep Your Yard Maintained
One of the most critical pieces of information in getting rid of chiggers is knowing where they hide. Chiggers prefer thick and moist vegetation. If an area around your home gets full sun, that’s the last place you want to check.
Eliminating their habitat does require some yard work, but it is worth it when you no longer have to worry about the painful bites caused by walking around outside.
The first step in killing chiggers is to mow all the tall grass where your landscaping and wooded areas meet.
Keep shady areas free from brush piles and other debris. Eliminate as much shade from your yard as possible and keep all the plants in your landscaping trimmed back.
How to Find Chiggers
If you’re unsure if an area has chiggers, there are a couple of ways to verify that they’re living there. Go out to the possibly infected area with a small square of black cardboard, stand it up, and leave it for a few minutes. Look closely at the cardboard.
You may need a magnifying glass to confirm that you see their small red bodies. If this doesn’t work, leave a shallow bowl of water in the area for several minutes. Check back on the bowl to see if the chiggers congregate around the rim of the bowl.
How to Kill Chiggers Indoors
Even though they are far more common outside, chiggers quickly make their way indoors by attaching themselves to us and our clothing. If there are chiggers inside, cleaning the house and carpet with hot water is your best line of defense.
Wipe down all the hard surfaces with a clean rag and soapy water. Use the heat setting on a carpet shampooer to disinfect the soft surfaces around your home. Remove all bedding and wash and dry them with high heat.
Using DEET to Repel Chiggers
If you’re not interested in making a homemade insect repellent, DEET-based repellents are ideal. The ingredients in DEET interfere with an insect’s neurons and receptors, irritates a vast majority of insects, and keeps them from attaching to you and your clothing.
Bifenthrin is a synthetic pesticide often used to kill chiggers and other small pests. It targets the central nervous system of chiggers and leads to a total shutdown.
The best way to kill chiggers with this pesticide is with the granules or spray, which can be spread around your yard to keep chiggers from coming back.
Permethrin is another insecticide that is good for clothing. Whenever you’re outside around areas that might be infected with chiggers, always wear long sleeves, long pants, and good shoes that completely cover your feet.
Once you have the right clothing, spray yourself with any spray that has the active ingredient permethrin. Instead of repelling the bugs, this ingredient kills them so that they never return.
How to Treat Chigger Bites
It is a myth that using nail polish remover, alcohol, or bleach are good ways to suffocate the chiggers. If you have bites on your skin, the chances are high that the chigger has already detached or fallen off, and these methods won’t be effective.
Chigger bites are painful, and soothing them is something that most people are desperate for. If you have a lot of bites, start by taking a cool shower. The cold water helps soothe the pain and redness and prevents you from itching.
Apply a topical lotion, like Calamine lotion, to help stop you from itching and making the bites worse and turn into blisters.
The treated areas feel less itchy after only a few minutes. For the best results, use over-the-counter medications like oral antihistamines as well as the cool shower and topical ointment.
Call Pest Control
We don’t blame you if you’re ready to throw in the towel and call pest control. Sometimes, leaving a big job to the professionals is the easiest way to ensure that the problem is handled properly.
Exterminators aren’t the cheapest option, especially when you can handle the problem independently, but there are times when a situation is too out of control for the average homeowner.
If you have repeatedly attempted to get rid of a chigger infestation, it’s time to cut your losses and get someone out to your home who can help you and stop you from dealing with nasty, painful bites.
They will remove the insects from both inside and outside your home so that you won’t have to stress about them again.
There are hundreds of pests that we have to worry about every year. From spring to fall, insects and animals crawl out from their hiding places and look for ways to invade our homes and wreak havoc on our lives.
Don’t let animals outsmart you and take over your home when you’re bound to find the best way to kill chiggers after a few tries.
If learning how to kill chiggers saved you and your family from nasty bug bites, share these tips for handling chiggers on Facebook and Pinterest.