How to Protect yourself from Chiggers while Hunting
Chiggers are nasty little bugs, and when I say little, I mean tiny. When they bite you they leave the most irritating, scratchy bite you can imagine. Most people think these insects are invisible, but when you have lots of them on you all at once, you can clearly see them. Hunters wearing dark clothes rarely see chiggers , but if you are wearing light clothes the red color of the chiggers is clearly visible. Sometimes, they seem to swarm up on you and when this happens, don’t panic.
Chiggers are tiny larvae from the arachnid (spider) family. They are referred to as chiggers, the red menace and sometimes red bugs. Most people never notice when a chigger is on them or when the chigger bites them, but the reaction over the next 24 hours and beyond is enough to drive you crazy. Chiggers are found in tall weeds and grasses, forests, farms, grass lawns, ponds, lakes and hiking trails. I have even seen them on the edge of concrete patios. Chigger are active at all temperatures above 60˚F (16˚C) and they die at temperatures below 42˚F (6˚C). In the Spring, I pray for late season cold snaps and in the Fall I hope for early season cold snaps to kill off chiggers.
Where do Chiggers Live?
Walking into the outdoors is the perfect to get bitten by chiggers. Chiggers hang out on the grasses and leaves of vegetation and crawl across leaves on the ground. They love moist, shady locations filled with lots of leaves. If it is hot and dry, you may not find chiggers, but if there is shade and moisture you can bet they will be around. I have them in my backyard. They love the area around our compost bins and our gardens as well in the grass. Chiggers brush off onto your clothes and transfer themselves onto your skin and crawl up your legs. They can easily crawl up your boots, socks, skin or pants. They are incessant.
How to Prevent Chiggers from biting you?
The best way to protect yourself from chiggers is to prevent their ability to survive on your body. We recommend the Ranger Ready P2 Pak for the ultimate one-two punch against chiggers, mosquitoes, black flies and ticks. The P2 Pak contains a bottle of Ranger Ready’s Permethrin 0.5%, to spray on all of your clothes, as well as a bottle of their Picaridin 20% to apply on all of your exposed skin. We started using Ranger Ready Repellents in late 2019 and found that using the combination of Permethrin on my clothing and gear and Picaridin on all of my exposed skin made an immediate impact. I have not been bitten by a chigger when I’ve used Ranger Ready’s Permethrin and Picaridin in the last two years even though my time in the outdoors has increased.
How to get Chiggers Off
If you have not sprayed yourself and your clothes and you believe you have gotten chiggers on your clothes or skin, the first step is to spray down with Picaridin. Picaridin works like a mace to bugs like chiggers and ticks. The next step is to take off your clothes in your garage or outside and put them into a black trash bag. Then hit the shower as quickly as you can. Soap and water do a solid job of getting rid of these pests on your skin. After that, run your clothes in the dryer at extreme heat for 25 minutes before throwing them into the washing machine for a full wash. Once your clothes are washed and dried, treat them with Ranger Ready Permethrin 0.5% so you are protected from chiggers and other biting insects on your next adventure.
How to treat Chigger bites
Chiggers generally bite in groups and can stay latched to the same spot for several days. Bites get larger over several days. They latch onto folds of skin or places where clothing fits tightly. This includes areas like ankles, waist, armpits, crotch or behind your knees. Generally, you will not feel a chigger bite until later when it begins to itch. The desire to itch is intense and bothersome. If you feel you have chigger bites, wash very strongly with soap and water and treat with antiseptic and hydrocortisone cream. Most likely you will be applying cream a couple of times a day for about a week.
The only blessing regarding chiggers is that they, unlike other insects like ticks and mosquitoes, do not carry diseases that can be transferred to humans. The great news is that chigger bites can be avoided with careful application of the Ranger Ready insect repellent. Pick up yours today at Rangerready.com and use code ‘HuntingLife10’ for 10% off.