Chiggers: Little Known Facts about Missouri’s Peskiest Pest
The Show Me State is more than just an awesome place to check out icons like the famous St. Louis arch or the many boulevards of Kansas City. Missouri is naturally rich, and visitors can follow the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail, delve into the Mark Twain National Forest for camping and swimming, or even experience how their prehistoric ancestors once lived at Mastodon State Historic Park. Of course, the locals who love the Ozarks and other outdoorsy Missourian areas also have a healthy respect for them. Humans aren’t the only prominent species here, and as any pest control specialist knows, chiggers are a huge issue in most parts of the state.
What Makes Chiggers So Bad?
Chiggers are a generic name for a type of mite in the Trombiculidae family. Like many of their pesky relatives, they love the Midwest for its ample low-lying vegetation and habitable natural environments. Of course, the fact that there are plenty of humans and other animals around is also a big draw for these tiny arthropods: Chigger larvae latch onto people and dine on their skin cells.
Adult chiggers don’t harm people, but they do ample damage when they’re young. Bites can lead to infections, although if you’re like most people, you won’t pick up serious diseases during the few days you’re carrying chiggers unnoticed. After the insects detach, however, you’ll be left with red welts that itch so badly you’ll have a hard time focusing on anything else for at least a week.
How Do Most People in Missouri Avoid Chiggers?
If you’ve lived or worked here long enough, you know that bug repellant like DEET and ample clothing are your best friends during the early summer months. While chiggers prefer natural landscapes, they’re also happy in the long grass and weeds near homes, in parks and around other commonly-frequented areas. In addition to controlling your lawn, it’s wise to have a pest control specialist inspect outdoor zones that might permit these tiny insects to enter living spaces.
After inspection, your exterminators may recommend multiple courses of action. As chiggers actually pose a health risk in many parts of the world, they’ve been well studied, and there are usually plenty of options depending on what you’re comfortable with, what part of the state you live in and your budget.
Remember, chiggers don’t have to be a yearly nightmare just because you reside in Missouri. If you take pest control actions in advance, you’re less likely to spend the summer suffering.