Where Do Chiggers Come From?

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Key Takeaways:

  • Chiggers are a type of mite that live in grassy, wooded habitats and wet, overgrown areas.
  • They are found worldwide but prefer moist, humid environments.
  • Chiggers begin life as eggs laid in leaf litter before hatching into larvae.
  • They reside in habitats like fields, forests, lawns, and around lakes and streams.
  • Understanding where chiggers originate from helps prevent bites by avoiding infested areas.


Chigger bites are an annoyance many people have to deal with during the summer months. The tiny, reddish mites seem to come out of nowhere, leaving behind itchy welts and discomfort. But where exactly do these pesky critters come from?

This article will provide a comprehensive overview answering the question – where do chiggers come from? It will evaluate the typical habitat and distribution of chiggers, examining where the mites originate and reside. Their life cycle will also be analyzed, from egg to larva to mature mite.

Understanding the source of chiggers allows people to take precautions to prevent bites. The information in this article will help readers learn where chiggers are most likely to be encountered so they can avoid infested areas. With knowledge of where these mites come from, people can proactively protect themselves during summer activities.

After reading this article, you will have a detailed understanding of the habitats, environments, and life cycle of chiggers. This will equip you to minimize the chances of coming into contact with them by knowing which areas are prone to infestations. Read on to uncover the places chiggers call home.

Where Do Chiggers Come From?

Where Do Chiggers Reside?

Chiggers require certain environmental conditions to thrive. Their habitat and distribution around the world provides insights into where they originate from.

What Is The Typical Habitat For Chiggers?

Chiggers prefer warm, humid environments found in areas like:

  • Tall grassy fields
  • Overgrown lawns and gardens
  • Forests floors with dense underbrush
  • Marshy lands
  • Around lakes, ponds and streams

They live on low-growing vegetation and moist soil covered with vegetation debris. Areas with rotting leaves, logs and plant matter are ideal habitats.

Chiggers need shelter from direct sunlight so they tend to hide under overhanging vegetation. They also require high humidity, which is why they favor damp, shaded areas.

Where Are Chiggers Globally Distributed?

While chiggers can be found on every continent, they thrive in tropical and temperate regions. Areas with hot, humid summers provide optimal conditions.

In North America, chiggers are distributed from southeast Canada to central Mexico, particularly in the eastern and southern United States. They are concentrated along the Gulf Coast and throughout the Midwest.

Chiggers are also abundant in South America, Africa, and Asia. Essentially, they are present in rural, wooded habitats worldwide except for the Arctic, Antarctic, and extremely arid desert regions.

What Specific Environments Do Chiggers Live In?

Given their preference for moist, overgrown areas, chiggers often reside in locations like:

  • Fields: Tall grasses, weeds, and uncultivated farmlands provide cover for chiggers to colonize.
  • Forests: Leaf litter, fallen logs, and dense underbrush offer shelter and shade for mites.
  • Lawns: Poorly maintained yards with tall weeds and grass contain humid microclimates suitable for chiggers.
  • Lakeshores: Vegetation near lakes, ponds, and streams supply damp habitats chiggers thrive in.
  • Berry patches: Overgrown blackberry, raspberry and strawberry patches situated near forests give chiggers access to hosts.
  • Edges of woods: Transitional zones between forests and open land have ground cover and humidity favorable for mites.

Essentially any location with dense vegetation, moisture, and access to wildlife hosts can potentially harbor populations of chiggers during summer.

How Does The Chigger Life Cycle Progress?

Chiggers go through a complete metamorphosis during their life cycle. Understanding the stages of their development provides clues to their origins.

How Does The Life Cycle Begin?

Chiggers begin life as an egg. Adult female mites lay 3-8 eggs per day in batches of up to 200. The spherical, translucent eggs are deposited in cracks, crevices, and vegetation debris on the forest floor.

The eggs are very tiny at only 1/250th of an inch (0.1 mm) in diameter. They have a soft, yielding shell and creamy-white color.

This egg stage may last from 3-10 days before hatching if weather conditions are favorable, with warmer temperatures speeding up development.

What Is The Second Stage?

After the egg hatches, the emerging six-legged larva is called a chigoe. It is reddish in color and has a cylindrical body only 1/150th of an inch (0.15mm) in size.

These larvae climb up grasses or low vegetation to await passing hosts. Their minute size makes them nearly invisible.

How Do Chiggers Reach Maturity?

When a larva encounters a human or animal host, it attaches to the skin and feeds on skin tissue. This is the only time chiggers can transmit their itchy bite.

After 3-4 days, the engorged larva drops off and develops into the nymph and adult stages. The complete life cycle takes anywhere from 30-60 days depending on weather.

Adults have eight legs and are 1/125th of an inch in length. Females lay eggs to restart the cycle. The adults do not feed on hosts and are harmless.

How Can Chigger Bites Be Avoided?

Now that you understand where chiggers originate from, here are some ways to reduce bites when spending time outdoors:

  • Avoid sitting directly on grass, logs, or the bare ground when in chigger-prone areas.
  • Wear lightweight long pants and long-sleeved shirts when hiking or gardening. Tuck pants into socks.
  • Use insect repellents containing DEET on exposed skin and clothing when outside.
  • Carefully check for and remove any chiggers within a few hours of potential exposure.
  • Shower and scrub skin thoroughly after being in vegetation-dense habitats.
  • Keep lawns mowed and remove any overgrown vegetation in yards.
  • Stay on trails when walking through woods and tall grasses.

Taking basic precautions will minimize the risk of chiggers latching on and biting. By understanding and avoiding areas where chiggers live, people can appreciate the outdoors pest-free.

In Conclusion:

Chiggers originate primarily from grassy, shrubby habitats worldwide where humidity is high. They favor areas with dense vegetation like forests, fields, and untamed lots. Chiggers begin as eggs laid on the ground before developing into nearly microscopic larvae. These larvae crawl onto passing hosts to feed. Knowing where chiggers come from enables people to take measures to prevent bites. Avoiding moist, overgrown environments can help control encounters with pesky chiggers.

So now when you wonder “where do chiggers come from?”, you can appreciate the complex life cycle and habitat needs of these mites. This knowledge arms you to take precautions against chigger bites when spending time outdoors in the summer. Understanding the source of chiggers takes some of the mystery and frustration out of dealing with their bothersome bites.

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