Identification of Chiggers
Harvest mites or chiggers are small arachnids that cannot be seen with the naked eye. The babies or larvae hatch in the foliage and will attach themselves to anything that gets close enough for them to get on to. The small larvae then start to connect themselves to pores or hair follicles. Next, the parasite starts to inject a type of digestive enzyme into the pore. This dissolves the skin cells and these are then used as food for the larvae. Once they have eaten enough, they disconnect from the host and grow into adults. This causes a raised welt that is very itchy. It takes about three weeks to heal up.
Elimination of Chiggers
Parasites are most active in the hot summer months. They are usually found living in bushes, tall weeds and grass, leaves, bark, fences, and berry patches. In order to keep them at bay, be sure to keep your weeds pulled and your grass trimmed down. Get rid of any dense foliage that is not part of your overall landscaping outline. Also, get rid of any piles of decaying plant and leaves. Flood the rest of your foliage with a mixture of water and soap to kill off any adult chiggers. Do this at least once or twice a week for a couple of months to get rid of any newly hatched chiggers.
If these parasites happened to make it to your personal plants in the house, then move the plants out. You can kill the parasites by soaking the plants with soap that is mild and insecticidal. Check your plant nursery for more information on these kinds of soaps. Keep the plants away from any people and pets. Repeat the rinses at least once a week for a couple of months.
Treatment and Prevention
If your pet or a family member has become infested with chiggers, then it is very wise to wash them. Also wash the clothing. If you do not do this, then larvae that have not made it to the skin yet can remain and eventually they will feed or head for the nearest houseplant.
When you’re near an area that is potentially infested with chiggers, you should try not to move through any foliage that is dense. Also, you should not sit on the ground. You can also wear clothing that will protect you, such as tight knit clothing. Wear socks and shirts over the pants and keep shoes on. After you’re done, be sure to bathe and wash your clothes thoroughly. In addition, you can visit your local pharmacy for chigger repellents, such as sulfur powders and sprays.
If you’ve become a host to chiggers, wash all of your clothing with washing powder and put it on the hottest setting possible. Next, shower and wash yourself thoroughly with hot water and soap. You can use an exfoliating sponge to scrub areas, especially between toes, neck, armpits, and groin area and inside of knees.
The bites from these parasites create raised welts that are very itchy and they can be treated with green tea extract, Calamine lotion, and hydrocortisone cream.