Harvest Mites. Little Red Bugs.
Horrible little scratchy things.
Chiggers they are called in the States. Most commonly known here in the UK as Harvest Mites. Scientific name is Trombiculidae.
But who cares what they are called when we just want to get rid of them!
These red bugs (not to be confused with Clover Mites) like to live outside, in the damp tall grass. If you ever walk through long grass and get little bites on and around your ankles you have likely ran into a Harvest Mite. Horrible little things.
But getting into your home is when they cause the most problems. As they are itchy little beasts. And I do mean little.
A chigger is just 1/60 of an inch growing to 1/20 inch in adulthood. To actually make it out properly you would need a magnifying glass.
Dogs and cats are particularly susceptible to harvest mite bites.
In this post today we are going to look at why you might have harvest mites, how you can identify if you do have harvest mites and finally how to get rid of them.
How Harvest Mites Get In The Home
Where are they coming from??
Harvest mites live in tall wet grass so chances are they were brought in either from your garden or from a recent walk or hike that you went on. Did you go anywhere particularly grassy recently? Maybe a hike through nature?
Most often they are brought into the home hitching a ride on your furry little friend. Dogs love to go running through the grass and they practically give an open invitation to every little critter to jump aboard to go on a journey straight back into your home.
How To Prevent Harvest Mites In Your Home
How do I stop them??
- Avoid areas of tall wet grass when you go for a walk
- Use an insect repellent. Pay particular attention to any exposed skin around the wrist and ankles.
- Use special animal safe insect repellent for your dog.
- When you return from a walk give all of your clothes a firm shake down before entering, then immediately remove and wash your clothes. Leave your shoes outside until you can clean them thoroughly.
- Give your dog a thorough brushing with a flea and insect comb before getting into the house (if your dog is like mine and loves a hose bath that would help also!)
If you follow these tips then you should prevent any and all unwanted creepy crawlies from getting into your home.
But what to do if they are already in your home?
How To Get Rid Of Mites In My Home
I want them gone!
Luckily mites do not like the indoors, so they will most likely die on their own after a short while.
But you can help speed things along.
Firstly ensure any animals are free and clear of the little buggers. Use a flea and insect comb to check. If your pets are suffering from the bites you might need to see the vet for treatment to soothe the itching. Animals are the number one vector of mite infestation so best to always be on the lookout after they’ve played outside.
Next clean everything. All linens, carpets, curtains, anywhere the mites could have landed. Disinfect all surface tops. Use this home based Insect and Mite Control solution to ensure you get them all.
How To Get Rid Of Red Bugs In My Garden
No mites in my yard please
Getting chiggers out of the garden is a lot harder than getting them out of your home. Now you are fighting them on their turf, their home ground. But there are still steps you can take:
Mow any long grass & pull any weeds – Harvest mites love tall wet grass so if you don’t give them any they will likely not prosper.
Use Diatomaceous earth on your plants – This will stop most mites and fleas in their tracks
Keep your yard wild animal free – squirrels, badgers, foxes and all the other furry forest creatures are very common hosts. Try to keep them out of your yard by installing fences, removing any bird feeders and draining any pond or pools.
Frequently Asked Questions
Harvest mites can be gotten rid of by using a natural insect repellent such as REPELL Shield. Some naturalists report great success in preventing harvest mites by using essential oils such as citronella, which is great as a mosquito repellent and can be used in candles or as a torch oil
If harvest mites do not have the right conditions they will go away on their own. Prevent their access to moisture and from dark places (tall grass or under the hair of your dog) and the mites will naturally die off within a few days.
Mite bites are mildly irritating. The worst part of them is the itchiness which can last for up to 2 weeks. Use a good soothing cream on the bite and it will prevent scratching and hasten the healing process
The harvest mite is an incredible jumper for its size. While not that impressive on the face of it the harvest mite can jump up to 6 inches. What makes this impressive though is that they are typically only 1/20 inch in size. This means they can jump an incredible 120 times their body length. That’s like a 6ft person jumping over a tenth of a mile!
There are many products on the market used to prevent mites and to kill mites. The best thing for the home would be a decent pest cleanse spray. For the yard Diatomaceous earth is the best. For humans and pets the best product is one you already have at home: a shower. Clean yourself thoroughly and then apply an insect repellent
To the naked eye a harvest mite will just look like a tiny red or orange dot. If you can view them under a magnifying glass they will look more beetle like in nature. 8 legs and a bigger body. Kinda a cross between a beetle and a spider and very very small.