Chigger Mite

Actual Size: Larvae 1/150”; Adults 1/60”

Characteristics: Oval; orange-red to reddish-brown and covered with long surface hairs.

Legs: Juveniles have 6 legs; adults have 8 legs.

Antennae: No

Wings: No

Habitat: Congregate in areas with moisture, such as wooded areas and along rivers.

Habits:

  • Only the larval stage of these mites attack people and animals.
  • Will run about a person’s legs for several hours before feeding.
  • Inject digestive enzymes into the skin and feed upon the decomposed tissue.

Chigger Mites in Bristol

Chiggers or redbugs infest people and animals during the summer months, causing intense itching and irritation. In the United States, chiggers are mostly found in the southeast, south, and midwest. They are most active from early spring to early autumn, until the first frost. Chigger larvae do all the damage and do not burrow into the skin, as it is commonly believed; rather they attach on the surface of the skin or at the rim of a hair follicle. Here in Tennessee, it’s important to stay wary of these mites because their bites can cause an unpleasant rash.

Chigger Mite Habitat

Chiggers prefer damp, grassy and wooded areas, especially at the edges of forests. They can be found near lakes and streams, and even in your lawn. Adult chiggers may often be seen as large brilliantly red-colored mites crawling over lawns and pavements. Adult chiggers spend winter underground and will deposit eggs during the first warm days of spring. The adults soon die and the eggs hatch into chiggers, which crawl about and eventually make contact with people or other hosts.

Chigger Mite Behaviors & Dangers

Chiggers usually hide in thick brush, grass, parks and gardens, grassy fields, and in moist areas around rivers or lakes.  All of these areas are popular with humans for recreation, hiking, and camping. After coming into contact with flesh, they will settle down and begin to feed. Most chiggers will attack around the ankles or under the knees, although some go higher up to attack the crotch and armpit areas. Once bitten, the body will react to the digestive enzymes that chiggers use to liquefy skin cells, causing a rash and intense itching that begins a few hours after they have fed.

If you are dealing with chigger mites, it’s important to always enlist the help of a professional tick & mite control expert.