Those itching red welts driving you crazy can be the result of several biting insects and arachnids, including chiggers. Rather than utilizing pesticide means of chigger control in your yard -- which only controls populations for a few days or weeks if at all -- look for natural methods of chigger control that will not leach into ground water or otherwise affect plants and animals negatively.
Chiggers are not insects, as commonly believed, but rather belong to the arachnid family. Also called jiggers and redbugs, chiggers are the larvae stage of the red harvest mite. They are bright red in color and about 1/150 of an inch in diameter. Natural hosts for chiggers include livestock, snakes, birds, toads and rodents, with humans as unfortunate "accidental" hosts. Chiggers are found among damp tall grasses and weeds as well as low-growing, unkempt shrubs. They attack their hosts by attaching themselves to clothing or animal fur, where they crawl into a hair follicle and inject a fluid which breaks down tissue. They do not burrow into the skin. The chiggers suck up the liquified tissue, which results in extremely itchy red welts on the host.
Use sulfur powder on your lawn as a means of natural control. Considered one of the most effective methods of natural chigger control, the powder spreads as a dust all over your lawn, or in areas chiggers seem to frequent the most. You can perform a test to find where chiggers are in your lawn if you do not wish to cover your entire lawn with this foul-smelling product. Place squares of black cardboard around your lawn in areas you think chiggers frequent. Wait a few minutes, check the tops of the cardboard for chiggers, and then apply sulfur to these areas.
Keep your lawn well-manicured to avoid chigger infestations; another effective natural method of control. Chiggers congregate in overgrown areas, so meticulous mowing and weed removal will keep populations from taking over your lawn. Diligence with the vegetation around your house is also key to keeping chiggers out of your home. Remove excess shrubbery in your lawn and do not let shrubs you decide to keep become too overgrown.
Predators & Cedar
Fire ants are chigger predators, so consider releasing the ants into your yard as a natural control method for chiggers, though you will be dealing with yet another biting insect if you decide to use this method. Another option is to spread cedar granules around your yard to repel chiggers, as cedar is a natural control option for chiggers as well as a many other pest insects.