What Are Chiggers?
Raised red welts on the skin? Itching? Could be a trombicula species known as chiggers. What it is and what you can do.
What is it?
A parasite of the trombicula species. They are also known as red bugs and are the larval forms of several related microscopic mites.
What does it look like?
The bugs are microscopic, and only the larva are harmful. They hatch from eggs, which have been laid in the soil in woodlands, or marshy areas. Welts and raised bumps appear on the skin, especially where body parts come in contact, like the armpits and backs of knees, or where clothing is binding such as under cuffs and collars.
How does it manifest?
Chiggers insert their mouthparts into the skin and feed on human blood. They do this for several days until their bodies become engorged and they drop off. Itching often develops within several hours of the bite, although may take longer to develop. Occasionally you will not notice the welt or itching for up to a day after being in a wooded area. Chiggers are often a problem in new homes while lawns are being developed.
What can you do about it?
Bathe skin thoroughly in the hottest water you can stand to remove chiggers. Use lots of soap. To relieve itching you can consult your physician or pharmacist for a preparation to apply. Avoid chiggers when walking in areas of heavy or dense vegetation by wearing protective clothing and tightly buttoned sleeves, pant cuffs and collars. You may even wish to tape these areas tightly if you will be in a dense, marshy area. Repellents containing ethyl hexendiol or diethyltoluamide to skin and clothing may help. You can also treat infested areas around the home with a diazinon containing insecticide. Always be sure to follow package directions carefully.