Frequently Asked Questions

Nongame Wildlife

What are chiggers?

Chiggers are larval arachnids (family of spiders and mites), not insects. In their adult form they are called Harvester Mites and are vegetarian. However, at certain stages in their life cycle they feed on mammalian lymph fluid. They do this by burrowing under the skin; however, they quickly get their fill and depart. They are tiny, and you may not notice them until a day or so after exposure. That's when you'll notice number of red and unbelievably itchy bumps. These bumps tend to congregate on your body at areas of constriction, such as where your socks, belt, and undergarments were. Chiggers are best treated by applying topical itch medication like Benadryl lotion, Rhuligel, Chiggerex, or similar product. Some people find relief by painting fingernail polish over the bumps. This does not have the effect of smother, suffocate, or otherwise cajole chiggers to leave your body, since by the time you feel them they're already gone, but may help prevent clothing or other fabric from brushing up against the bumps and increasing the itch.