What Attracts Chiggers?
What Attracts Chiggers?
Chiggers, also known as red mites, are small, red, and stubborn parasites found throughout much of the world. They live and feed off the skin of humans, animals, and insects, causing significant irritation. Knowing what attracts chiggers can help you take the necessary steps to prevent them and their annoying itchy bites.
Chiggers Prefer Moist Areas
Chiggers thrive in warm, moist areas like damp leaves, grass, or tall weeds. They also like to hide in cracks in sidewalks, walls, and logs. Unmowed, overgrown grassy areas like vacant lots, abandoned yards and parks are favorite breeding grounds for these little pests.
How Do Chiggers Find Their Food?
Chiggers depend on carbon dioxide, body heat, and chemical substances (like lactic acid, sweat, and ammonia) from their host as attractants. This is why they are attracted to cracks and crevices on the skin and often bite in bunched-up areas like the waistline, armpits, or ankles.
Ways to Keep Chiggers Away
To avoid being bitted by chiggers, these preventive measures should be taken:
- Avoid tall grass and thick vegetation outdoors. Stay on footpaths and out of long grass and weeds that are likely crawling with chiggers.
- Tuck pants into shoes and socks. This will keep chiggers from climbing up your legs and biting.
- Wear light-colored clothing. Chiggers are attracted to dark colors, making it easy for them to find their prey, so wearing light-colored clothing can help reduce the risk of bites.
- Apply insect repellent to clothing and skin. Natural repellents like eucalyptus oil, lemon juice, and lavender oil may deter chiggers, but it is best to use insect repellents that contain DEET.
- Bathe and launder clothing right after coming indoors. This can help remove any chiggers that may have made their way onto your clothing.
By taking the necessary steps to prevent and repel chiggers, you can avoid the uncomfortable itching and scratching they bring.
Insects have been a bane of human existence since the dawn of time. Nowhere is this more true than with chiggers. These oppressive mites are unwelcome guests in many outdoor areas around the world. But why do chiggers decide to make their home in your neck of the woods? What attracts chiggers to a particular place?
Primarily, chiggers are attracted to damp and humid environments. This might sound like a broad range of areas, but chiggers need their moisture and find it in shady areas of gardens, shrubs, and wooded areas. Chiggers are often drawn to areas where humans are likely to visit and travel: parks, playgrounds, trails, golf courses, and even beaches.
Chiggers seem to be quite opportunists and will inhabit various locations, including grasses, weeds, and even fallen leaves. Their primary hosts are mammals and birds, but they’ll settle for smaller creatures like snails, caterpillars, and earthworms. An easy way to spot chigger-infested areas is through the presence of burrows. Burrows give the mites a safe place to inhabit and rest.
Chiggers are attracted to light-colored clothing, often due to its resemblance to an ideal environment for their host animals. That said, chiggers can’t climb onto people but tend to make skin contact. So, wearing clothes in dark colors is particularly useful in minimizing chigger bites. Wearing closed-toe shoes, long socks, and long-sleeved shirts is also recommended.
Chiggers may not carry a fatal disease, but they can be quite the irritant. Knowing what attracts chiggers can be the key to reducing their presence in your area. Staying away from areas of high humidity can help, as can keeping your clothes and yourself clean and dry. Finally, using insect repellent can also help keep these pesky mites far away.
Also Read: What Kills Chiggers Instantly?
Related: Do Chiggers Stay in Your Skin?
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