Why the late summer is peak chigger season in the Ozarks

Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 5:56 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - It happens to the best of us. You may be spending time outdoors or doing yard work, only to come home and realize you’re covered in itchy chigger bites.

This mite’s larvae feed off your skin and typically travel in packs - sometimes in the hundreds.

Late summer is usually when rain returns to the Ozarks more frequently. These mites like warm temperatures but need some moisture to survive. Our recent improvement of the drought likely heightened the chigger activity.

“When they’re the worst is when there’s a little bit of moisture on the vegetation, that’s where they tend to be. So a little bit of rain probably caused a little bit more activity and maybe a bloom in the population,” Dr. David Claborn, a professor at Missouri State University, explained.

He said it wouldn’t be long before the chigger population drops off again, likely towards the end of October when cooler temperatures arrive.

Bug repellents like OFF or anything containing DEET can also help repel chiggers.

“To prevent yourself being bitten by them, it’s probably a good idea to wear clothing that has been treated with permethrin. You can get it at any of the hunting supply stores, spray your clothing with it and let it dry,” said Claborn.

The best thing to do is to avoid sitting in or walking through tall, unmowed grass.

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