5 Ways To Get Rid Of Chiggers In Your Yard

While chiggers might not be visible to the naked eye, their bite is hard to miss. These tiny pesky arachnids can be quite a nightmare when they invade your yard, and they make spending your time outdoors unpleasant thanks to the nasty itch that comes a few minutes after they bite. Essentially, chiggers are the larvae stage of the harvest mite. The good news, however, is that adult-size harvest mites don't feed on people. Contrary to popular belief, these crawling buggers neither burrow under the skin nor feed on human blood. According to the IFAS Extension of the University of Florida, the larvae feed on liquefied human tissue. These pests inject a fluid that softens skin tissue, allowing them to feed. 

While this might sound scary, the good news is that they don't transmit any diseases to the human body during the process. Nonetheless, the sad reality is that dealing with chiggers is often easier said than done. This is because, by the time you notice the itch, the chigger is usually nowhere to be seen. All you are left with at this point is the discomfort of the lingering itch that can stay for up to two weeks, mentions Cleveland Clinic. While you may not eliminate them entirely, try the following solutions to help reduce their numbers significantly.

Declutter your yard

Getting rid of chiggers from your yard begins by knowing where they live and hide. Similar to other insects that also pitch camp in the yard, chiggers also love to hang around heaps of trash. These pesky pests prefer wet, dark, overgrown conditions similar to those found in grasslands, via Earth. There are plenty of places where moisture can collect in your yard, for instance, in plastic bags and leaf litter left unattended. The best prevention is making your yard unattractive for these pests. 

Simple yard maintenance practices like getting rid of litter and raking your lawn more frequently to eliminate leaf litter will go a long way in keeping chiggers away. It is also worth mentioning that chiggers neither fly nor jump; they only rely on latching on to clothes and skin for movement. With this in mind, destroying their habitat is the only way to evict them from your yard forcefully. Other than humans, chiggers also latch on to animals and birds, so eliminating anything in your yard that is attractive to such creatures will also help you with the chigger problems in your yard.

Mow lawn and trim shrubs

As mentioned earlier, these mites thrive in moist, dark regions where they can hide and look for potential hosts. Environments with thick and heavy vegetation provide the perfect conditions for chiggers to hide. The same is true for your overgrown yard with many unkempt shrubs and long grass. Also, long grass and vegetation make it easy for chiggers to climb and leap onto people and animals passing by. Begin by mowing your overgrown lawn frequently to make your yard less enticing to these mites, via Gecko Green

Additionally, be sure to trim back shrubs and hedges that have grown longer than ideal. Care to trim your yard extra short, especially around the edges bordering flower beds and wooded areas. If your lawn needs no trimming, be sure to pull out growing weeds. Remember, keeping your yard clean is not all about maintaining a good appearance; it also helps keep away many pests that would otherwise call your yard home.

Keep chiggers away with insect repellants

You don't need to give up on your outdoor activities just because it is difficult to eliminate these mites. Finding a good insect repellant is one option that you can explore to keep them away from your skin. According to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, using products containing DEET is one reliable way of keeping these pests from munching on your skin. The beauty of insect repellants is that they are not only easy to apply on the skin, but you can also carry some around just in case you need them later. 

Apply the repellant on exposed skin and the spots they love biting, for instance, around the ankle area of your foot. It is also worth noting that your choice of clothing can be an effective tool for keeping chiggers away from you. Remember, they latch on easy-to-grab pieces of apparel like folded ends. With this in mind, wearing tight-fitting garments like tights under your regular clothing when going out to the woods will prevent them from getting to your skin.

Spray your yard with insecticide

If all else fails, going the chemical way is another option you can consider as your last resort. Insecticides are powerful and will help you eliminate the chigger problem from your yard. When spraying your yard with insecticide, it is safe to assume that the whole area is infested and spray extensively. While this is true, it is also important to thoroughly wet those regions heavily infested with mites. 

According to StopPestInfo, insecticides with bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, or permethrin have proven to be quite effective for eliminating chiggers from the yard. However, if you can't find the right products, it is best to call the professionals to help you with the chigger problem in your yard. Nonetheless, it is worth noting that chemical insecticides can be harmful, so regardless of your choice of product, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions. During the process, keep children and pets away from the lawn.

Learn to treat if you can't kill

Unfortunately, eliminating these pests completely is a tall order; in fact, the chigger problem is quite common in the U.S. during late spring, summer, and early fall seasons, via WebMD. While you might be able to reduce the infestation in your yard, chiggers will always find a way of getting into the area, especially if you love enjoying your time outdoors in the woods. So if you have tried every possible solution but to no success, learning how to treat the itching area will give you the much-needed comfort. 

When you start itching, especially out in the woods, the best course of action is to clean the respective area. If possible, take a hot shower immediately to eliminate any remaining chiggers that might still hold on to dear life on your skin. Some over-the-counter ointments and creams, like calamine lotion, might also comfort you. While the itch can be pretty intense to ignore, try not to scratch the spots to avoid breaking the skin and leading to a possible infection.