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If you have ever been out on a hike and come back with red, itchy patches under the waistband of your clothes, or under your arms, or under your socks around your ankles, chances are you have been infested with chiggers. Chiggers are the larvae of mites.
Many people believe that chiggers burrow under your skin and suck your blood, but this is not true. You just can't see them because they are too small. They feed instead on the fluid in skin cells.
Chiggers rest on plants usually in wet, highly vegetated areas waiting for a potential host to pass by. Once they have moved from the plants to their new host they migrate to moist, concealed areas before beginning to feed. The chiggers found in North America do not transmit any diseases, but their bites can cause irritation lasting for several days.
Avoid chigger infestations by wearing loose clothing and minimizing your contact with ground vegetation in areas known to contain chiggers. Chiggers can often be easily washed off if you do so before they attach themselves to begin feeding. Insect repellent can also be used to reduce your chances of being infected by chiggers.
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