- Trombicula, known as chiggers, red bugs, scrub-itch mites, or berry bugs, are small arachnids (eight-legged arthropods) in the Trombiculidae family. In their larval stage, they attach to various animals, including humans, and feed on skin, often causing itching and trombiculosis.
- Trombiculidae live in forests and grasslands and are also found in the vegetation of low, damp areas such as woodlands, berry bushes, orchards, along lakes and streams, and even in drier places where vegetation is low, such as lawns, golf courses, and parks.
- They are most numerous in early summer when grass, weeds, and other vegetation are heaviest.
- The length of the mite’s cycle depends on species and environment, but normally lasts two to 12 months. The number of cycles in a year depends on the region. For example, in a temperate region, only three per year may occur, but in tropical regions, the cycle might be continuous all year long.
- Adult harvest mites winter in protected places such as slightly below the soil surface. Females become active in the spring, and once the ground temperature is regularly above 16 °C (60 °F), they lay eggs in vegetation, up to 15 eggs per day.
- The eggs are round and are dormant for about six days, after which the non feeding prelarvae emerge, with only three pairs of legs. After about six days, the prelarvae grow into their larval stage.
- The chiggers’ digestive enzymes in the saliva cause “the intensely itchy welts”. The itching can be alleviated through use of over-the-counter topical corticosteroids and antihistamines. According to Mayo Clinic, the chiggers “fall off after a few days, leaving behind red, itchy welts”, which normally heal on their own within one to two weeks. Hot showers or baths also help reduce itching. In cases of severe dermatitis or secondary infection associated with chigger bites, a doctor should be consulted.
- Home remedies to “suffocate” the mite, such as applying clear nail polish, rubbing alcohol, or bleach, may have little benefit since the mites do not burrow into the skin. However, since the mite may still be attached for up to 3 days, these treatments could possibly kill the mite, reducing further damage
Wikipedia contributors, ‘Trombiculidae’, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 31 August 2022, 04:58 UTC, <https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Trombiculidae&oldid=1107658493> [accessed 4 October 2022]