Chiggers, also known as red bugs, can bite humans, causing itchiness, inflammation, and skin discoloration. Symptoms typically resolve independently, and several treatments can help reduce irritation.

Chigger mites are small bugs from the Trombiculid family that inhabit woodland and grassy environment. These mites can latch onto human skin and cause irritation through their bites.

Read on to learn about chiggers, what their bites look like, and how to treat the bites.

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Bites from chigger mites can cause:

  • irritation and itchiness
  • skin discoloration
  • clusters of small spot-like bumps

You won’t feel it when the chigger latches on, and you probably won’t feel a thing when it bites. However, most people report symptoms within hours of the bite.

The most problematic symptom of chigger bites is the intense itching and the formation of bumps that may look like welts, blisters, pimples, or hives.

Chigger bites are most common in places where clothing fits tightly. Most chigger bites occur around the ankles, waist, armpits, crotch, or behind the knees.


Disease transmission via chigger bites is an understudied area. However, chigger bites can transmit scrub typhus in rare cases. This is a potentially fatal disease that can result in multiple organ failure without treatment.

The transmission of other diseases is possible, but evidence in this area is lacking.

It can take up to 2 weeks for chigger bites to heal. Treatment focuses on symptom management, such as reducing itching and swelling.

If you suspect you have chigger bites, immediately wash your skin with soap and water and clean any clothes you wear. This will get rid of any remaining chiggers on your body.

In the meantime, try to avoid scratching the area, as further breaks to the skin barrier can increase the risk of further infection. Then apply an antiseptic to any welts.

Symptom management

The following home remedies may help in reducing inflammation and itching.

Further treatments

In severe cases of Chigger mite inflammation, doctors may prescribe corticosteroid injections, but this is rare. If a professional diagnoses scrub typhus due to bites, they will prescribe doxycycline to treat the disease.

Chigger mites are often too small to be visible in grassland or woodland environments. As a result, preventative measures are typically general.

Avoid common chigger habitats

Spring, summer, and fall are prime times for chigger bites. When you’re in wooded areas that may be chigger-infested, try not to brush up against vegetation. When hiking, walk in the center of the trails rather than along the sides.

Chiggers live in tall weeds and grass, berry patches, and wooded areas. They may be in your backyard, by the lake, and clustered along your favorite hiking trail. They are most active in spring, summer, and fall afternoons when temperatures are warm.


Wear long sleeves and long pants that can be tucked into your socks or shoes. Use insect or tick repellent, especially around the tops of your shoes, shirt neck, cuffs, and waistband. Shower as soon as you go indoors. Wash your clothes in hot water.

Chigger bites can cause itchy, inflamed bumps on the skin. These larval mites are common in grassy and woodland environments and are often too small for you to notice them.

Symptoms of chigger bites typically resolve independently, but antihistamines, cold compresses, and anti-itch lotions can help manage symptoms.