Looking for tried and true chigger control

nally03May 2, 2012

Our yard is an acre. We live in North Texas. We've had a chigger problem for the last several years. I am really loosing patience with it. It's so frustrating to not be able to be outside (or send your kids out!) for fear of nasty bites. I've done some research and tried various things in years past. Tried sulphur (only one application, maybe I need to do more this year?), tried spraying with triazacide (sp?). We keep getting bit. I have been using baby oil and tea tree oil on my legs and arms, and that seems to help. Yesterday I was out working in the yard for several hours and only got two bites. But, I would love to know if anyone has ideas for getting rid of them once and for all!

I'm thinking a combo of sulphur and diatomaceous earth, broadcast over the frequented places (surrounding the playset, trampoline, vegetable garden). We don't have a sprinkler system, so the ground is dry. But, we do mow frequently and keep the grass really short. I'm not sure what else to do to make it inhospitable for chiggers! (Other than spending $$ on sprinkers?)

I'd like to stay as organic as possible.

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copingwithclay

Question: Do you have fire ants there?

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 1:32AM
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honeybunny2(Z9TX)

We use benificial nematodes, they control fleas, ticks,chiggers & grubs. They usually only last 6 weeks before they get rid of all the pest, then they die out. Our problem is moles, so we have to get rid of the grubs. We spray when we see the first sign of June Bugs. So we only have to spray once a year. We have almost an acre and spray 17 million benificial nematodes, on our yard. I don't know about chiggers life cycle, so you may have to spray more than once a year. We buy our benificial nematodes a the Lock Hill Feed Store in San Antonio, they keep them in the refrigerater, and we get them fresh. Do not buy the ones stored in freezers. They come on a blue sponge, and need to be refrigerated until you use them. You put the sponge in a 2 gallon pitcher, and just swish around. You cannot see the nematodes, believe me they are there. Then you attach your garden sprayer to the hose, fill the container, and just spray right on the lawn, and beds. They recommend that you water before you spray, or put down after a rain. It cost around $80 for $17 million nematodes. We only buy $1 million for our house in San Antonio, and that cost $10. Be sure to buy them from a feed store, so you get them fresh. Some nurseries keep them in freezers, those are old and will not do what you want. Barbra

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 8:35AM
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marti8a

I do sulphur too and it works for me. Also an acre. I use the granular and reapply after EVERY rain, or once a month in summer, whichever comes first.

Now that I don't have kids at home and I have let the back of my yard go native, I don't spread sulphur past the areas we walk in regularly. But after spreading the sulphur, there is usually enough that has been ground into powder to fill the foot portion of a sock, and I keep that in the shed. When I want to walk out in the untreated part, I just slap that around my ankles and lower legs and keep the little biters from climbing aboard.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 12:23PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Honeybunny Barbra, that's great to know and I'm glad to know that Lockhill Feed store carries them. Beneficial nematodes are good for a LOT of things. I've used them for eliminating the grubs of the flower beetles and it works great!

Some of the most miserable times in my life were when I go into chiggers. Marti, it'd helpful to know that sulfer works too.

Copingwithclay, I've also heard that if you have ants you won't have ticks, fleas, termites, or chiggers. They eat them.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 11:10PM
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plantmaven(8b/9a TX)

A pest contol person told me that chiggers live in
"pockets" of the yard. He said if you can figure out where that pocket is, then you have to treat that area only.

At my former house we finally figured that out and he treated it. I had no problems after that.

I hate to use pest contol, but at that house there were a LOT of scorpions. I still shake out shoes before putting them on. I had one fall on me while I was on the commode. That will scare the **** out of you. :)

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 9:51AM
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marti8a

I don't know about the pockets, but we have plenty of ants and have still been fighting chiggars for years. It would probably help if I mowed on the lowest setting like a lot of my neighbors, but I like the native look.

I've gotten a few chiggar "bites" lately so it's time to sulphur but I heard there is a chance of showers this weekend.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 11:44AM
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