How to Cure Red Bugs

Prevention is the best way to avoid a chigger bite.
Prevention is the best way to avoid a chigger bite. (Image: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

Red bugs, also known as chiggers or harvest mites, are a common affliction to people who enjoy spending large amounts of time in the woods or other wild outdoor areas. Resembling red spiders, adult chiggers lay eggs that become parasitic larvae. These larvae secrete a liquid into the skin that causes inflammation, feeding and concealing the larvae until they have sated their voracious appetite. Prevention is the best way to address chiggers, but it is also possible to reduce the effects of their bite.

Things You'll Need

  • 6 inch squares of black paper
  • Herbicide or weed whacker
  • A shower or bathtub
  • Insect repellent
  • Anti-itch medication
  • Antihistamine

Preventing a Chigger Bite

Place black squares of paper on the ground in a vertical line on the ground where you intend to sit. If chiggers are present, the black paper will become covered in red bugs and you should sit elsewhere.

Spray all exposed skin with insect repellent containing DEET. Also spray clothing, shoes and your hat, paying particular attention to pant and shirt cuffs and other areas where skin could become exposed for the red bugs to bite.

Trim overgrown weeds or vegetation with a weed whacker or spray weeds with an herbicide. Weeds can conceal chigger infestations.

Treating Chigger Bites

Take a shower or bath immediately after returning inside from a potentially chigger-infested area. Washing will remove most chiggers from the skin.

Apply an over-the-counter anti-itch medication, such as hydro-cortisone or calamine lotion, if you feel itchy from the red bug bites, to the affected areas.

Take an oral antihistamine, such as Benadryl, if itching continues.

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