Chiggers are annoying pests that live in tall grass and damp, shaded areas. If you go out for a hike in the country or play a round of golf between early fall and late spring, chances are you will come in contact with chiggers. These annoying, red critters don't carry diseases, but they do bite and cause itchiness and irritation.

Here's what to do if you're bitten by chiggers.

  • Scrub the mites away with soap and water. If you're not near running water, scrub the area with a towel. Because chiggers are so small, you may not be able to see some of the mites hidden within your inflamed sore. However, since chigger bites only appear several hours after they're inflicted, most of the chiggers may have dropped off you before you realize you've been bitten. [source: Ogg].
  • Treat the itchiness and irritation with over-the-counter bug-bite medication or calamine lotion.

Take the following steps to prevent a chigger infestation.

  • Spray yourself with deet or another bug repellant before going to a chigger-prone location. Also spray tight clothing, including socks, pant cuffs and the areas around the waist and crotch [source: Ogg].
  • Tuck your pants into your socks and wear rubber bands around your sleeves and pant legs before walking through damp areas. This will increase your protection.
  • Wash all your clothing and anything else that may have been infested with hot water and soap upon returning from a chigger-prone location [source: Beyond Pesticides].
  • Keep your grass cut short and prune the plants in your garden to keep chiggers away from your lawn [source: Beyond Pesticides].
  • Bathe your pet with soap and water if it has been to a chigger-prone location [source: Wagner]. Pets are often the cause of chigger home invasions.