Where Do Chiggers Live?

Where Do Chiggers Live?

If you love the great outdoors but don’t love the pests that come with the territory, it’s important to be aware of areas and environments that contain biting insects you’re likely to encounter. One such creature to watch for is chiggers. Not only do chiggers feed on human hosts, but they can stay attached to you for several days if you’re unaware of their presence.

Chiggers are found all over the United States, so learning about their behavior and preferred habitats will help you avoid these unwelcome parasitic pests.


Chiggers are Trombiculidae mites in the larval stage. As adults, these mites are often called berry bugs because of their distinctive round red bodies. As larvae, chiggers are almost invisible to the naked eye, making them hard to spot until it’s too late. 

Some people assume chiggers burrow under your skin and stay there, possibly laying eggs, but this isn’t the case. First of all, as not-yet-fully-matured adults, the larvae cannot reproduce. Additionally, chiggers are not interested in sticking around after they’ve made a meal of you. 

When chiggers bite, they attach themselves to your skin with small, sharp mouthparts called chelicerae. Most of the time you won’t even feel this bite or notice the presence of the larvae. After latching onto your body, chiggers use their saliva (which contains digestive enzymes) to break down your skin into a mushy, digestible compound. This tissue mush is what chiggers feed on—not your blood (a common chigger myth). Once they’ve fed on a host, chiggers drop down to the ground so that they can continue to molt and develop into adult Trombiculidae mites.


Chiggers are found all over the United States and prefer to live in grassy areas with high humidity and dense vegetation. Chiggers are most often found in the south, southeast, and midwest regions of the country and are less common in the western states.

Chiggers also thrive in weedy areas, which can include your yard if there is significant overgrowth. 

In other parts of the world, chiggers can be found in warm or tropical climates. In Europe, chiggers are referred to as harvest mites and live in places like the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, and France.

In Asia, chiggers are known as scrub-itch mites. This is because of their propensity to transmit the bacteria that causes the disease scrub typhus in humans. If you’re traveling to a country in Southeast Asia, watch for symptoms of scrub typhus including a dark scab around chigger bites, fever, muscle pain, mental confusion, and enlarged lymph nodes. If you suspect you’ve been bitten by scrub-itch mites, contact a medical professional right away.


Because their mouths are so small, chiggers have an easier time latching onto exposed skin. Most people report chigger bites on their feet and ankles after walking in grassy areas. When sitting outside, it’s also common to get chigger bites along your waist if the skin between your shirt and pants is exposed. 


Chiggers can attack male genitals when they find their way into loose clothing. This is more likely to happen during warm summer months when chiggers are most active and more skin is usually exposed. When people experience a rash of painful, itchy bumps on and around the male reproductive system, this skin reaction is referred to as summer penile syndrome.


The best way to avoid chiggers is by making sure your skin is covered when venturing out into grassy areas. Avid hikers wear high-rise socks, pants, long sleeves, and hats to avoid pests like chiggers. 

To reduce chiggers in your yard, make sure to maintain your landscaping by weeding, mowing, and scheduling regular pest control treatments.


If you’ve been bitten by chiggers, it’s important to first wash the affected area with soap and water to eliminate any larvae.

Chigger bites are painful and itchy, but they usually clear up in a few days. For specific medical advice, consult your primary care physician. Possible products they may recommend include: 

  • Cold compresses to reduce swelling and relieve pain. 
  • Topical hydrocortisone creams or numbing sprays for itch relief.
  • Oral pain medication such as ibuprofen (an anti-inflammatory that will help with swelling and pain).


If you’ve been bitten by chiggers in your yard, our pest control experts can help get rid of these pests and restore your peace of mind.

At Joshua’s Pest Control, our friendly experts provide service with reliable, pet- and family-friendly pest control products. We treat your home and yard seasonally and are always available for free warranty visits if you ever spot a pest that needs our attention. Contact us today to get rid of chiggers and put an end to their bothersome bites.


Author Bio

Courtney Enzor has worked in the pest control industry for about a decade. From helping you build a fly trap to giving you the best tips for identifying various bugs, she loves answering all your pest-related questions and sharing her pest-related expertise through writing. At the end of the day, she hopes her content will help people avoid mishaps and keep families happy and healthy!