Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Repel Chiggers

By Yolanda Vanveen ; Updated September 21, 2017

To repel chiggers, cover as much area of skin as possible, coat the skin with any type of oil, such as vegetable, olive, lavender or citronella oil, and sprinkle strong-smelling spices around an area. Keep chiggers off of the skin and away from the garden with information from a sustainable gardener in this free video on gardening.

Transcript

Hi this is Yolanda Vanveen and in this section we're going to talk about how to repel chiggers. Now chiggers are these tiny little red, they're larvae of a mite, they're like little mites and they're more related to spiders than any other bug and they're really tiny, very tiny so you can hardly see them. And they're just little red dots so they look like little red spots. And they can get on your skin and what they do is they bite and they put off a little enzyme when they bite you or bite animals that actually starts decaying the flesh immediately. So they're not detrimental to humans, they will not kill a human but if you get bit by them, you'll find little welts all over your body, little red bumps and what happens is they almost become infected from that enzyme and they itch, they itch like you just can't handle it they itch. And so the only way that you can repel chiggers is to protect yourself. They love to live in lush growth so if you're walking in the woods or in a natural area where the grass is taller, they're going to be infested with these little chiggers and they will get all over you. So the only way that you can repel them is to cover yourself up. Make sure that you have no skin exposed if possible. And the skin that you do have exposed, cover it up with any kind of oil because chiggers don't like any type of oil. So whether it's vegetable oil, olive oil, lavender oil, any kind of citronella oil, they don't like any of it and they won't bite you if you have a little layer of oil. It won't last very long, only maybe an hour and a half, two hours and you have to reapply it again. Whereas you can use a lot of the commercially sold products that have deet in it, D E E T, and deet comes from a tree from India and it's also great for deterring all kinds of bugs but it isn't recommended for children under two years old and so that makes me think that it's not truly naturally not toxic so I still recommend trying to use other organic materials that aren't as quite as toxic first. So if you've got chiggers in your house too, just spray your house down with lemon oil or lime oil or use any kind of cinnamon, pepper, paprika, Tabasco, any kind of powder and a lot of times that will repel them as well so that you can be truly chigger free.

 

About the Author

 

Yolanda Vanveen is a third-generation flower grower and sustainable gardener who lives in Kalama, Wash. She is the owner of VanveenBulbs.com, selling flower bulbs on the Internet, at garden shows and at farmers markets in the Pacific Northwest for more than 20 years. Vanveen holds a degree in communications and international studies from Linfield College, and is a graduate of the WSU Master Gardener Program. Vanveen represented the United States at the 2006 Indigenous Bulb Society Symposium in South Africa and has been featured on the PBS show Smart Gardening, demonstrating which way is up with flower bulbs.