Chigger mites are tiny, red and hairy. They live in the soils of high grasses, swampy areas and plants. They climb onto humans and animals that pass through their area. They do not crawl into the skin, but bite the skin, leaving behind a red bump that is blister-like in the center. Chigger mites cause severe itching and can spread over the body quickly. On animals, chiggers attach to the hairs, while on humans they attach to clothing, eventually finding their way to the skin to bite.
Spray a pesticide in the area in which you suspect chigger mites. There are various kinds of pesticides you can use, including Sevin and Dursban. You, your family and your pets will need to stay away from the area for several hours. For a heavy infestation you will need to spray again three weeks later.
Wear long sleeves, long pants and boots if you plan to travel through high grasses or near swampy areas. This will make it more difficult for chiggers to find their way to your skin. When a pet gets chiggers, it will show evidence of having been bitten by sudden scratching.
Remove clothing and clean it if you go through an area infested with chigger mites. Put clothing through a hot wash cycle and let it sit in the hot soapy water for at least 30 minutes before rinsing. Do not try to wash the clothing with cold water, since this will not kill the chigger mites. To dry, place the clothing in the sun.
Take a hot bath immediately if you suspect you have chigger mites. The hot water will kill chigger mites on your skin. Use plenty of soap for at least 15 minutes. Give your pet a hot soapy bath if you suspect it has chigger mites. Allow the soap to sit on your pet for at least 15 minutes before rinsing.
Apply an ointment or lotion to your skin. You can use petroleum jelly or baby oil on your pet or yourself. Calamine lotion or benzocaine can also be used for human beings.