Chigger Question : LUSENET : CountrySide Family : One Thread

Does anyone know if you can get chiggers from hanging your laundry out? I have little itchy bites on my arms,neck & top of my feet, basically anywhere not covered with heavier material. I hung out the light weight clothes yesterday and wore a T shirt that had been on the line, about an hour later I started getting these bites. They were popping up even while I was on the computer. Any ideas?

-- Kathy Aldridge (, July 02, 2002


Kathy, I have never seen a chigger! !

I, however, have seen the strangest rash ever on three seperate kids in just the past two weeks!

-- Granny Hen (cluckin, July 02, 2002.

Is the rash like little bites that itch like crazy? I don't have a clue what this is, we don't have any flea problems(all dogs & cat are on Frontline)which would have been my first guess, but these things just keep popping out. I've tried everything on them but nothing stops the itching. It's so weird, they're just where there's not heavy clothes. I wondered about spider mites although I've never seen one on me and I'm not even sure if they bite.

-- Kathy Aldridge (, July 02, 2002.

If it is chiggers,you can try painting clear nail polish over red bump and this sufocates them.My husband and I could walk to the garden and he would be fine.I'd come back in the house and have chigger bites all around my waistband.The nail polish thing takes a little while but works.

-- cheri (cmv, July 02, 2002.


Here is some info on chiggers and an old treatment for itches, if you have some starting fluid (ether) you can spray that on the areas (ONLY Outside away from any flames) or spray it on a cotton swab and dab that on the itching areas, and it will take care of the itch.

Chiggers (also called harvest mites or red bugs) are mites, not insects. They are closely related to spiders and ticks. Like most mites, chiggers are extremely small and are just barely visible to the naked eye.

They occur mostly on wild animals, but can be a nuisance to people. Contrary to popular belief, chiggers do not burrow into the skin and do not suck blood.

The red coloration many people attribute to blood is the natural color of the mite.

After hatching, the larvae climb vegetation and seek out hosts. After finding a host, the larvae attach to the skin and begin feeding. They inject a fluid that breaks down skin cells. Then they feed on the liquefied skin by sucking up the fluid. After feeding from a few hours to a few days, the chiggers eventually fall off the host.

When chiggers bite people, they usually attack areas of the body where the skin is thin and/or wrinkled. This includes the ankles and wrists, the waistline, the crease of the elbow, groin, armpits and the back of knees.

Chigger bites become annoying after several hours. The skin may appear red and develop intense itching at the site of the bite. In some cases, welts, swelling and dermatitis can also develop and last for several days. Scratching can cause secondary infection. Although their bites can be severely annoying, chiggers in this country do not transmit any diseases.

Treatments to ease itching include ointments like calamine lotion, hydrocortisone, benzocaine or other medications recommended by your doctor or pharmacist. You reduce the chance of secondary infection and ease the itching by not scratching.

-- BC (, July 02, 2002.

Thanks, I'll try the nail polish on some and the ether on others to see which gets the best results. I'll have to pick up the other stuff tomorrow. From the description that's what they sound like-my first case of chiggers!! Now I know why people complain about them so much. I was working with hay bales that I'd tossed onto the newly mowed pasture so maybe that's where they came from.

-- Kathy Aldridge (, July 02, 2002.

It sounds like those tiny nats that are almost impossible to see unless you have the vision of a teen ager with perfect eyesight.They are so small they can even slip in through a screened window . I was potting up some summer squash sprouts 2 weeks ago to replace the ones that are almost dead from insects, and my hands were bitten to the point they were swelling up. I used rubbing alcohol but that didn't stop the itch. Then household clear ammonia , that seemed to help.I heard there's something in soap that attracts biting insects,so if you go out after showering , they seem to bite more.

-- SM Steve (, July 03, 2002.

Steve - Here in East Texas we call those tiny little nat critters NoSeeUms - because you don't see them, but you know they are there! And I'm thinking Kathy must not have fire ants, or she wouldn't have chiggers. That's the only good thing I know about them - they kill out the chiggers and ticks.

-- Jackie (, July 03, 2002.

Jackie , one thing I miss since I left south Florida is watching a unsuspecting northerner in a pair of flip-flops standing on a sandy mound in the middle of the grass. That's almost as funny as when I was walking my goats and they disturbed a 2 foot round hornets nest that was in a brush pile.That was the day I dicovered I could run faster than a herd of goats.

-- SM Steve (, July 04, 2002.

I have found the best way to make chiggers get off of you is to put bug repellant directly on the chigger bites. I know by the time you know they are there you have already gotten a welt, but I find the welts don't get as bad if you get the chiggers off ASAP.

-- Terri (, July 04, 2002.

Nail Polish works all the time!!! I got a chigger bite once and I tried nail polish!! It worked!

-- dorian tolaeria dicanae (, April 13, 2004.

I grew up and live in South Louisiana...I have always heard of these things but cannot really ever remember having much of a problem with them till 2 days ago, when I was spending the day in a local park along side I very heavly brushed area. Now, nearly 48 hours later I am in some of the most annoying pain I have ever exerienced. And more and more just keep popping up...I tried the clear nail polish thing...It seems to help a little bit...More so than the hydrocortizone...

-- Brandon Vidrine (, June 08, 2004.

Nail polish has not worked. The only thing I have gotten relief with is straight bleach held on the site for 30 seconds or more on a piece of toilet paper. I get a decent night sleep after that. I'm looking for a natural substance to spray the yard and dirt with to break the cycle. Could have sworn someone said spray with coffee but may have been dreaming that. Has anyone else heard of anything I could put down that will not kill my good bugs and frogs?

-- debbie moran (, June 19, 2004.

I was out looking for a lost kitten over the weekend and i was eaten up with bites, I have at least 20 on the back of each knee and more around that area... Nail polish did not work, peroxide and regular bleach did not work, i even tried spraying fleakilling spray on my legs but still they itched!! finally in desperation i tried nail polish remover and i am having a reprieve, maybe it killed them or maybe they had finished sucking and died.. out of all the millions of things we have made extinct why in the hell wasn't this one of them ;p

-- jules (, June 19, 2004.

For bites, try tea tree oil applied right out of the bottle or rub on a tea-tree oil cream. You have to reapply every six or eight hours, but it works to eliminate itching and finally gets rid of the itchy site. Find it at some drug stores and most independent health food stores. Anyone have a sure-fire natural repellent for chiggers and/or mosquitos???

-- B. Alspaugh (, August 04, 2004.

Well, answers are a hard thing to find nowadays, especially when it comes to chiggers. I got a case by standing in my friend's backyard playing beer pong...I'm an islander so I was ignorant to the fact that bugs actually exist offshore. I had flip flops on, so guess where the chiggers bit me? yep... my feet. I have NO idea what the red bumps were, and why they itched so bad. I sprayed Dr.Scholls odor destoryers on them, and it actually worked, it cooled the site but left my feet a little white. I also tried hydrocortisone, which seems to be helping as well...Bleach is my next option. I was curious though, how long do the red bumps stay? because they are very embarassing...people are gonna think I have athletes foot or something...does neone know the life span of this irritating case of chigger bites???? please lemme know ASAP

-- Mary Champion (, August 21, 2004.

I just came back today from a field training exercise that lasted several days with the worst case of chigger bites i've ever seen. they got my entire waistband, in front of and behind my armpits, behind my knees, and of course, on my ankles and feet. anyhow, in addition to the remedies i've seen listed here, particularly the nail polish thing, one of my superiors recommended a tide bath. use regular powder tide in a bath and gently scrub the bite areas. then you can take a regular shower to rinse the tide. you should probably be careful to keep the tide out of your eyes. anyhow, i just took the bath and i'm waiting on the results. so far so good. now off to the store for some clear nail polish. next time i go to the field i hope to prevent rather than treat chigger bites!

-- b. denz (, August 26, 2004.

If you know you have been outside with chiggers, take a shower and use plenty of soap ASAP. If you have lye soap you will be able to kill the chiggers. Make sure that you get all of the soap off though.

-- Rebecca Kies (, August 27, 2004.

My question is, when does the cycle STOP? I got chigger bites a week and a half ago while camping, washed all my clothes, all my bedding, everything, and I am still getting new ones, even though I am not going anywhere where there are chiggers. Do they lay eggs in your bed or anything where it becomes an infestation?

-- Daniel Johnson (, August 28, 2004.

new ones are probably the ones still in your skin, comeing out from your treatments, and starting a "new home"

-- Stan (, August 28, 2004.

Daniel, that sounds more like poison oak or poison ivy.

The areas of skin that got the most oil from the plants will break out first, followed by areas of lighter exposure. If the oil got on something that was NOT washed with plenty of soap; like shoes, for instance, the oil can br transferred to your skin and start a new reaction.

-- Terri (, August 29, 2004.

Well I've had poison oak a few times before, this isn't really anything like that. These are definitely bites, and my doctor gave me a permethrin creme, but that didn't work, I am still getting new ones...the only thing I can think of is either I keep getting it from a bed or clothes or chair or something or I have something worse, like Scabies, but that wouldn't make sense at all.

-- Daniel Johnson (, August 29, 2004.

Do you have any lawn at all? You CAN get chiggers from just walking across a mown lawn, I know THAT for a fact!

-- Terri (, August 30, 2004.

No, I live in an apartment complex in the middle of a major metropolitan city. I'm going NUTS here. I don't know, I'm thinking it can't be chiggers the way it keeps popping up, and the only feeding stage for chiggers is the larval stage...I'm so confused.

-- Daniel Johnson (, August 30, 2004.

Hmmm...Things that cause rashes.

Allergies. Fleas. No-see-ums. A change in dryer sheets (if you are allergic). measles.

You don't have a tiny blister on the top of each welt, do you?

Chiggers favor the back of the knee and wherever the elastic from your clothes go.

-- Terri (, August 31, 2004.

Regarding Chiggers from the laundry, I have a few hypotheses:

First, I'd check what the ground is like under the clothesline. Chiggers like meadows, wildflowers, and I believe, tall grass, so the ground could be a source. Also, it could be that they are surviving the wash if it is cold water, though am skeptical of this hypothesis. Anyways the advice I've read recommends washing clothes in hot water and drying in a machine.

I've read some advice on avoiding Chiggers:

First avoid their habitat, which, in addition to the above areas, also can include flower gardens. Queen Anne's Lace is known as chigger weed, and I suspect they also may particularly like daisies. I haven't had problems in the woods or on my lawn, which I keep short. In the dangerous habitats, avoid sitting down.

Second, if you have to go out, try to go out when it is cool or in the morning. They become inactive below 60 degrees, and die when it drops below 42. The advice columns say mornings are better than afternoons.

They also don't like hot surfaces, so if you can stand on a hot stone or a hot brick, they may avoid you.

Third, in chigger habitat, cover up your limbs and make it difficult for them to get under your clothes. I'm guessing that wearing rubber bands around the cuffs of your shirt and pants, tucking in your shirt, and wearing a tight belt should help, and if possible, tighten your collar.

I've read recommendations for spraying a DEET containing insecticide on your clothes, and especially in the places mentioned above that they might enter. My dermatologist recommended dusting my cuffs with powdered sulfur which can be obtained from garden stores. I tried just doing this on my bare ankles, though, and it did not work well, but I did not do the rubber band thing around my long pants.

I've also read that rubbing yourself after a potential infestation can remove some of them, as well as spraying your nude body with DEET insecticide.

I have had new chigger bites arising a week after my exposure to their habitats, so I expect I have some in the house. I did not launder my clothes when I came back, so I am suspecting that they are in my dirty laundry pile. in addition to laundering clothes, I would recommend keeping the dirty clothes away from the clean ones, perhaps by putting them in a garbage bag if you cannot clean them. This is only a guess as something that might help, though.

This brings me to a question--does anybody know how long the nymphs can survive in a house or in a place like dirty laundry? Since their life cycle is 90 days, it cannot be longer than that.

Also, I wonder what animals adults live on--does anybody know? I thing the adults cannot feed on humans, so if your house has a long term infestation, they must be arriving via some plant matter or animal host. Regarding the plant matter, I would recommend avoiding cut flowers from your garden, and being careful in handling clippings and weeds.

I am trying an experiment now, which is to put my shoes inside baggies and then putting them in the freezer, which I'm hoping will kill the critters.

Finally, I have another hypothesis about killing them in the house, which may be a long shot. I have had problems with dust mites, and I know these mites die when the air gets too dry. Using a dehumidifier really helped decrease their numbers in my house (They can't survive in these conditions because they don't drink, they only obtain water by condensing it from humid air via salt glands.) Since chiggers don't suck blood, I wonder if dehumidifying might kill them inside?

I've had infestations so bad that I cannot get to sleep. I do get a fair amount of relief from a prescription antihistamine, and I think that an over-the-counter antihistamine helps, also. One of the creams used for reducing itchiness contains benadryl, so it must help. I have tried about 6 different anti-itch creams and sprays, and there are three that have helped: calamine lotion with diphenhramine hydrochloride, at the highest concentrations possible; Chigger X, which contains benzocaine, which I believe is a local anesthetic, and gold bond, due probably to its menthol. Unfortunately I have had to put on several coats for these to help, which can take me an hour or more. My dermatologist told me that itchiness is a function of skin temperature, and this is why gold bond helps--it cools the skin (but too much of it makes it too cold).

Finally, I don't know why, but sometimes a warm bath seems to help me.

-- Rick (, September 07, 2004.

Well i'm dealing with trying to get rid of chiggers myself...i went with my husband on his job, and i got ate up really first we thought it was poison ivy or oak...but the pharmacist said it sounded like chiggers. so he recommended "Chiggerex Plus" it's a medicated ointment, and it works pretty well with stoping the itch. Another good thing to use is Cooking Oil..I used it the other night and it worked pretty well, I've tried the nail polish and the alcohol...that stuff does not anyhow i think this is all. later.

-- Jennifer (, September 13, 2004.

For relief, try heating the welt with a hair dryer (until the heat is scorching) and that should eliminate the itching for several hours...keep doing that every 8 hours and you should be able to manage the itching.

-- Tom (, September 20, 2004.

Nail polish is just an old very popular myth. It does not work because chiggers do not actually go into your skin. They are actually to big to get into your pores. They do inject their salivia to suck out your liquified skin cells. To get them off you have to wash throughly with soap and water. This is sufficient to get rid of them. If you don't believe that nail polish doesn't work just look at this link.

And if you don't believe that site then just do a search in google for "chiggers nail polish" and notice the 10's of links that say nail polish remedy is a myth.

-- Troy Dettmering (, September 26, 2004.

I think thats what I have too....Chiggers I mean. It seems like everytime I go upto our Hunting lease I start to have these little bumps pop up here and there, mostly in places like, my arms, waist line, almost under arm pit area, this time anyway. My concern isn't so much myself, but my grandson that I watch, he hasn't been upto the lease but he gets bumps too , from me I think? Is that possible? He got one on his upper inside arm, and today he got 2 or 3 inside his diaper area, I washed them off as soon as I noticed them, and I have put anti itch cream on them, any other suggestions? If they are still in the house would it do any good to bomb the house with a fogger? And someone said that you have to wash all your clothes and bedding that you've come into contact with since they started showing up? Yes or No?

-- Cindy Kimble (, December 10, 2004.

Any chigger that is riding on your clothes can drop onto your carpet and be picked up by the next person who goes by. In fact, in badly infested areas people might come home through the garage and drop their clothing into the washer immediately. They then put on a robe and take a shower.

I find mosqquito repellent helpfull if I spray it all over my clothing and exposed skin (excepting for my face.)

-- Terri (, December 12, 2004.

I used to be a meter reader for an Oklahoma electric company. After a few bad experiences with chiggers and small ticks, and one time I noticed, after sitting down to take a break in a customers backyard, there were hundreds of fleas crawling around on the lower part of my pants leg. I learned that prevention with a strong DEET, (Above 10,) is the best deterrent for chiggers, fleas, ticks and mosquitos. I always tried to spray a little on the front and back of my shirt, but from my waist down to my boots, I didn't miss an inch of area. Luckily, the company provided the OFF Bug Spray. Once you've been bitten, I've yet to find a permanent sure fire anti itch remedy. One thing I've found that temporarily relieves the itch for awhile, was listed above. Heating the bite with a blow drier or concentrating hot water on the bite, slowly making it as hot as you can possibly stand it, sometimes helps to relieve the itch. It works the same with poison Ivy itch also. (I hope this helps!)

-- Randal Brown (, January 16, 2005.

I Highly advise everyone to visit this webite http:/

It was the most informatiive and gave all the myths and truths about Chigger and how to treat chigger bite, most specifically HOW NOT TO TREAT A CHIGGER BITE! I have read all the coments and all I can say is PLEASE DO NOT USE ANY CHEMICALS ON YOUR SKIN i.e. BLEACH, TURPINTNE,CLEAR NAIL POLISH, GASOLINE,AND STARTER FLUID.

PLEASE Everyone go to this sight and get the facts before you react.

and as for the itching wich can drive you up the flippen wall I have had good success with MEDICATED IVAREST, Its from the makers of Blistex. It is a a maximum strenght anti-itch cream. It will say relieves poison ivy itch on the tube, BUT it has been the best thing to work for this type of itching. The active ingredient is Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride(2%) It is the same stuff as benadryl wich is an antihistmine that soothes the itch in moments. If you want an antihistamine that stops the itch but you dont want to take a pill that could make you drowsy like benandryl tends to do for most of us I HIGHLY suggest MEDICATED IVAREST!

-- Helen Ritter (, March 07, 2005.

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