How Long Can Chiggers Live on Clothes?
Chiggers, also known as red bugs, harvest mites and scrub mites, are microscopic animals that thrive in warm, moist environments. These pests are often found in wooded, grassy or brush-filled areas and can attach to fabric, such as articles of clothing, for up to several days.
Chiggers are part of the trombiculidae family of mites and have the distinction of being one of the smallest parasites found in the animal kingdom. A single chigger is nearly invisible and shaped like a tear drop. The body of an adult chigger is red, while the larvae are white or yellow.
When chiggers find a suitable host, they will latch on and feed on their blood. Chiggers are capable of living on the surface of their host for several days. As long as proper conditions of humidity, temperature and food exist, the chigger can survive. Chiggers can live on clothing for the following estimated periods of time:
- Clothing without Washing: 5 to 8 days.
- Clothing with Washing in Hot Water: Several hours.
- Clothing with Drying in Sunlight: Several hours.
Chigger Control and Prevention
Exposure to these pests generally occurs in wooded, grassy or brush-filled areas and can be prevented by avoiding contact with these areas. If it is necessary to enter a potentially infested area, be sure to wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and boots. As an additional precaution, chemical repellents or insecticides containing permethrin or DEET can be used.
If you are already infested, the best way to get rid of chiggers is to wash your clothing in hot water. Also, drying your clothes in direct sunlight can be a very effective measure in removing surviving parasites. Make sure you do this as soon as possible to prevent the chiggers from multiplying and establishing residence in your home.
In conclusion, chiggers can survive on clothing for up to several days. Taking precautions such as wearing chemical repellents, avoiding wooded and grassy areas, and washing clothes in hot water are effective ways to prevent chigger infestations.