How to Get Rid of Chiggers

By Evan Judge , last updated January 14, 2012

Chiggers cause probably the greatest amount of anguish per square inch of any creature, and you will want to get rid of them as quickly as possible. Getting rid of chiggers may take a few days, but can be done with household supplies and some anti-itching patience.

Habitat

Chiggers are small mites about 1/20 of an inch long. They have hairy, bright red bodies and move fast. Chiggers prefer brush, grass, heavy vegetation and forested regions.

Bite Appearance

Chiggers don't burrow into the skin. They bite into a skin pore and feed. After they have fed for 3-4 days, they drop from their host and leave a small reddish welt that causes intense itching. Chiggers prefer to bite where clothes fit tightly over skin, such as the belt, waist line, and socks. They also prefer where the skin is thin, tender and warm, including the ankles, backs of the knees, armpits, and groin.

Skin Care After Bites

Launder your clothes in soapy hot water (over 125F) for about half an hour. This will kill any chiggers that could be tracked into your house. Take a hot bath to kill any chiggers on your skin and ease the itch.

The keys with treatment are to not itch and to act quickly. Scratching deep to remove stylostome can open up pores and cause secondary infections. Use home products like Vaseline or fingernail polish over the bites to kill the chigger and ease the itch of the welt. Green tea extract and baby oil can be helpful for easing the itch as well. If you go to a store, look for hydrocortisone, benzocaine, calamine lotion, or other bite relive products directed at chiggers.

Prevention

As chiggers might be the most painful of all insect bites, it is best to take preventative measures to prevent being exposed to them. Lightly dust your pants, socks and shoes with sulphur when you know you will be in chigger areas. Use a DEET repellent if you will be out for a few hours, or a Permethrin based repellent on your clothes if you will be out for extended periods of time.

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