Chiggers : Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors

Alternate Names : Harvest mite, Red mite

Definition

Chiggers are tiny, six-legged wingless organisms (larvae) that grow up to become a type of mite. Chiggers are found in tall grass and weeds. Their bite causes severe itching.

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors

Chiggers are found in certain areas, such as berry patches, tall grass and weeds, and woodland edges.

Chiggers bite humans around the waist, ankles, or in warm skin folds. Bites commonly occur in the summer and fall months.

Pictures & Images

Chigger bite – close-up of blisters

Chigger bites are caused by the larvae of the chigger. The bite produces blisters (vesicles) and bleeding into the skin (purpura). These bites itch intensely and are usually located on exposed areas of the skin where the chigger larvae have access. This photograph demonstrates vesicle formation following the bites.


Review Date : 10/28/2008
Reviewed By : Linda Vorvick, MD, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Jatin M. Vyas, PHD, MD, Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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