We will be discussing the average lifespan of a chigger. How long do they live?
Chiggers go by several names such as bête rouge, scrub mites, red bugs, chigger mites, and scrub mites. These are barely visible to the human eyes and are basically the larval stage of a mite family known as Trombiculidae.
These mites are known to cause discomfort through their bites.
From the topic of this article, our interest is clear; to find answers about the lifespan of chiggers.
Why the interest? Well, anyone who has experienced or currently has an ongoing chigger problem will be interested in knowing when such problem will be over.
Of course, you shouldn’t sit and wait out the problem to go naturally.
An effort is needed on your part to overcome the problem. If you didn’t know, scrub mites will readily get their fill of your destroyed skin tissue when the feeding opportunity presents itself.
How Long Do Chiggers Live: Lifetime
It’s important to first introduce the subject being discussed for the benefit of people with no idea of what these arachnids look like.
Although barely visible to the human eye (they measure less than 1/150th of an inch), chiggers appear red in color.
With the help of a magnifying mirror, you’ll be able to see these scrub mites. In terms of their physical features, juvenile chiggers possess about 6 legs while adults have 8.
Adult mites aren’t the focus because they’re practically harmless. This is unlike those still in the larval stage (chiggers).
What Chiggers Feed On
Chiggers feed on skin tissue. You’ll find symptoms of their feeding activity around areas where clothing fits or attaches to the skin. These mite larvae will also attach to folded areas of the skin.
Such areas include sock tops, backpack straps, waistband, between thighs, below arms, etc.
You may have wondered how chiggers feed on skin tissue. They do so by simply injecting an enzyme into soft areas of your skin. This enzyme contains certain chemicals that dissolve the skin.
With the skin dissolved, a funnel-like structure is formed from where mites feed on.
The funnel-like structure is called a stylostome. The natural response to chigger bites is a severe itch on the skin. This results in scratching of affected areas.
Thankfully, there are over-the-counter medications you can apply to affected areas for fast relief.
Chiggers Life Cycle
To have an idea of how long chiggers live, it will be necessary to discuss their lifecycle.
We earlier mentioned that chiggers are the larval stage of trombiculid mites. The lifecycle consists of four stages beginning with the egg stage.
The larval stage follows which gives rise to chiggers which later molt into nymphs. Adulthood is the final stage of their development.
Under favorable conditions, these mite larvae can live anywhere from 50 to 70 days.
In some cases, chiggers may live for as long as 12 months. Before they molt into nymphs these arachnids will cause all sorts of problems to humans when they get on skin.
Do Chiggers Live on Clothes?
During its live cycle, a chigger will need to feed on a host to molt into the nymph stage. Now, the easiest way a chigger gains access to the skin is through your clothes.
When you walk in infested vegetation, they easily get onto the part of clothing that attaches to the skin.
However, it’s important to note that there’s no significant incentive for chiggers on clothes. If they must, chiggers will only spend a few hours on clothing.
However, there have been reports of these arachnids staying longer than necessary on clothing to inflict bites.
The best way to tackle such a problem is to ensure that whenever you step out into the woods or vegetation, clothing worn should be removed and washed to get rid of these mite larvae.
Do Chiggers Live in Bed?
Having clearly stated the lifespan of chiggers, one important question to ask is whether these red bugs will live in bed. This is necessary because you don’t want them feasting on your skin tissue while you sleep.
Technically speaking, you could take these bugs right into your bed without knowing.
They live on the skin for about 3 days before getting off to continue the molting process to the next development stage. However, chiggers will live less than the ideal 3 days on human skin thanks to the itchiness their feeding activity causes.
The scratch you give to your skin causes them to cut their feeding short.
Yes, chiggers will live on your bed, but only for a few days (typically 1 to 2 days). They’ll hardly survive beyond that. Having fed on skin tissue, they move on to the next stage.
Chiggers love wet environments especially those with vegetation.
You may find these mite larvae in brush thickets, forests, blackberry patches, lawns, in gardens, along margins of swamps, and just about anywhere with overgrown vegetation.
They require significant moisture to thrive and will do poorly in areas with low very low vegetation having exposed soil which raises the temperature and eliminates moisture.
This gives an idea of how these bugs can be tackled.
With a well-trimmed lawn, the chances of having chigger problems are significantly reduced. Animals also introduce these mites into your yard. Adult mites then lay eggs which result in chigger presence.
You may have to cordon off your yard to prevent access to certain animals.
Can Chiggers Live in Hair?
When chiggers infest, they target just about any part of your body they can get access to.
Yes! These mite larvae can get access to your hair. When they do, it won’t be long before you experience an itchy scalp.
However, such (hair) infestations aren’t so common.
Finding out what’s Responsible for the Itch
When chiggers infest, there’s a tendency to misdiagnose the causes.
In other words, skin itch of affected areas may be attributed to other pest problems such as bed bugs, etc. To get to the root cause, you’ll need to seek help.
Identifying chiggers can be a complicated process as they’re almost invisible to the naked eye. The easiest way to do this is by identifying their bite marks. Also, you’ll need a magnifying mirror to zoom in.
When bite marks will appear as a swath of itchy skin lumps similar to multiple mosquito bites.
Now that you know how long chiggers live, this information will help carry out prompt treatment to prevent infestations from worsening.