The larval stage of mites in the family Trombiculidae feed on skin cells, leaving red, itchy "bites" that remain for weeks. With bodies less than 1mm long, chiggers bite a variety of animal hosts, and drop safely to the ground to digest before you feel anything. Chiggers prefer woodland areas, particularly near water, but they can invade your yard. Although your first instinct may be to reach for strong pesticides and chemical bug repellents, natural methods get rid of chiggers and prevent their return.
In the Yard
Clear any debris, such as fallen limbs, unused items and straw or leaf piles. Chiggers live in warm, moist areas.
Avoid over-treating your lawn, so that predators of chiggers can thrive. Predators include salamanders, centipedes, carpenter ants and some spiders.
Plant pennyroyal, which naturally deters chiggers and other mites.
Cut the lawn short and keep shrubs well-trimmed. The additional sunlight makes the yard too hot and dry for chiggers.
Keep the lawn short, because chiggers are initially drawn to recently disturbed areas.
Use organic pesticides only if the problem persists, and follow all manufacturers' directions for dosage.
On Your Skin
Remove clothing within a few hours of contact with a chigger habitat.
Use a washcloth to scrub yourself with hot water and soap, focusing on the ankles and waist.
Wash clothing in hot water or set it in the sun, so that it becomes too hot to host chiggers.