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Chigger Awareness!

They go by many names, Berry Bugs, Red Bugs, Harvest Mites... but I call them Chiggers. These bugs are small. Really, really small. So small you probably won't ever see them but you will see evidence of them if you encounter them. So how do you deal with these pests of the wilderness?

Before You Go Outdoors

  • Chigger Habitat These microscopic bugs can be found in warmer climates amid tall grass and plants. Though you cannot see them, they will most likely be there. You can minimize your likelihood of picking up chiggers by keeping out of areas where vegetation will come into contact with your clothing or skin.

  • Clothing Not to be a pessimist, but there isn't much you can do to prevent chiggers from getting to you by way of clothing. Their small size can help them squeeze through the threads of the fabric with ease and on their way to an all you can eat feast. To be a touch more optimistic, wearing long pants and long sleeves in conjunction with the next step, repellent, is a good combo!

  • Repellent Using insect repellent can help keep chiggers off of your clothing by making your clothing an irritant to them. DEET is a highly effective ingredient of insect repellents that can be used against ticks. Usually the higher the concentration of DEET the better! For a more natural defense, you can use oil of lemon eucalyptus to create your own home brew repellent.

After You Come Indoors

  • Chigger Cleaning

    • Chiggers typically love areas where clothing fits tight against the skin. This is generally around the ankles and waist. Getting bug infested clothing off of you as soon as you can will prevent many more irritating bites later.

    • Chiggers may still be hiding on your clothing regardless of whether you sprayed with repellent or not. You should wash your clothes in hot water and run through a high heat dry cycle to kill any chiggers that might be hanging on to your clothing.

    • Shower after being outdoors to wash off any chiggers that have made it to your skin. Speaking from personal experience, you will know when one has bitten you as it will cause an intense irritation much more irritating than the standard bug bite.

Chigger Treatment

  • The worst part of chiggers is the irritation that comes from a bite. This can last for days and won't be soon forgotten either. Fortunately chiggers, unlike ticks, do not transmit disease to their host.

  • Use anti-itch creams to help reduce the constant irritation.

  • Use a cool compress to reduce inflammation and provide temporary relief from the itchiness.

  • Try your best not to scratch open the bites as this may open you up to infection.

Happy Trails!

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