Just the thought of chiggers will make most people start itching. It is easy to wash them off your skin, but what if they have moved into your couch?
Chiggers can temporarily live in your couch, but they need a living host to attach to in order to feed. If they have been brought inside, they can hide in the dark folds inside the couch and will quickly crawl onto anyone who sits down. Chiggers can survive for 50 – 70 days without a host.
One of the most challenging things about a chigger infestation inside the home is that you usually don’t know they are there until you see the red bites. It is essential to get them out of your couch or risk picking up more nasty nippers each time you sit down.
Can Chiggers Live In Your Couch?
Chiggers can live in your couch and on any of your soft furnishings, like carpets or bedding. However, unless there is a steady supply of the tiny mites being brought indoors, they will have a limited lifespan of less than 70 days.
That’s still a long time to endure uncomfortable bites and itching. In addition to only eradicating the parasites from the couch, it is essential to limit any further chance of more chiggers being carried into your home.
Before we can understand how chiggers can survive in your couch, we must first understand more about these tiny parasites. Unlike fleas that hop about and bite multiple times, chiggers search for a host to attach to and will remain stuck on the same spot for two to three days.
Chiggers, which are also called harvest mites, red mites, or berry bugs, only feed on animal skin cells during the larval form in a far longer life cycle. This is the time when they could infest your couch.
Chiggers cannot live and breed in your couch indefinitely because they undergo different stages in their life cycle. During the adult stage, they are harmless to humans. They feed exclusively on plant material before females lay eggs on a leaf or stem.
Each chigger larva will remain attached to its host for several days while feeding. A disturbing fact is that they do not bite and move on. Instead, they dissolve tiny portions of skin to feed on, which is the cause of the intense skin irritation and itching sensation.
Chigger bites may only start itching after the insect detaches and moves onto the next stage in its life cycle. More than one lesion indicates the presence of many chiggers as they do not hop about or reposition once they have found a suitable site to feed.
Although couches aren’t their favorite habitat to lie in wait for a host, it does happen when they are brought inside on clothing, shoes, or pets fur. If the chiggers cannot find a suitable patch of skin to attach to feed immediately, they will find a cool, dark spot to wait until one comes along.
Couches have all sorts of nooks and crannies, so if chiggers find their way into a sofa, it is essential to clean the entire unit thoroughly. Fortunately, there are effective methods of removing these tiny parasites from your soft furnishings.
How Did Chiggers Get into My Couch?
Couches are not a natural habitat for chiggers. These pesky critters prefer to lie in wait in warm, wet areas like long grass or damp vegetation. As soon as a suitable host comes their way, they grab on and start looking for a soft piece of flesh to begin feeding on.
Chiggers will feed on many sorts of creatures, and in fact, humans are one the least preferred hosts because the critter’s life cycle is often cut short because of frequent washing with soap. They usually feed off animals, including rabbits, toads, quail, and even some insects.
It is impossible for chiggers to breed in your couch as they hatch from eggs laid on vegetation. Any chiggers in a couch would have hitched a ride inside some other way.
When humans or pets brush against vegetation where chigger larvae are present, the tiny arachnids quickly grab on, hoping to find a meal. Sometimes, instead of finding soft skin where they can latch on and start feeding, they find themselves on the surface of clothing or attached to long fur.
If they don’t find a host, these microscopic, light red insects need to revert to plan B. They will hide until they find another opportunity.
Chiggers can move from clothing or pets fur into your couch, where they will crawl into dark ridges or the spaces between cushions and wait for a suitable host. Because eggs are laid in batches, and tiny, multiple live, crawling chiggers may be deposited on the couch from a single encounter with them outside.
How Can I Get Chiggers Out of My Couch?
Eradicating all the chiggers from a couch can be tricky because these tiny parasites are so small. They also hide in all the dark, hard-to-reach spots in the couch.
Fortunately, chiggers cannot breed inside a couch, so once an infestation has been wiped out, it will be chigger-free again unless more are brought inside.
Before working on any action plan to eradicate chiggers in a couch, first apply some protection to all of your exposed skin. Remember that you will be in close contact with the couch while you are cleaning it, so a few of them may be able to crawl onto you.
Insect repellents that contain DEET are effective in keeping mites off. If you prefer a more natural option, use a spray containing citronella, eucalyptus, or lemongrass.
Also, keep in mind that when you are finished working on the couch, remove all clothing you were wearing and place the items directly into the washing machine set on a hot cycle. Then go and shower and thoroughly wash all spots where chiggers may have found soft flesh.
There are three steps to eradicating chiggers from a couch:
- Vacuum the couch thoroughly – Remove all the cushions. Use the long suction nozzle to slide down into the sides and back of the couch. Pay special attention to hiding spots like behind decorative buttons or ruffles.
When you are done, empty the vacuum bag or canister into a plastic bag that can be sealed and discarded in an outside trash can. Rinse the dirt collection container of your vacuum with boiling water to destroy any chiggers that may have relocated to the inside of your vacuum cleaner.
- Wash everything you can – Remove any cushion covers on your couch and wash them in hot soapy water.
- Apply an insecticide to the couch – Ensure that you choose one that will not damage your couch. This is an important step to ensuring that any remaining chiggers are destroyed.
Pay special attention to areas like seams and dark spaces. If you prefer a natural remedy, Diatomaceous Earth is a great, pet-safe option to coat the underside of couch cushions and add to seams.
Remember that chiggers are mobile, so don’t just focus on the couch. Treat any nearby furniture as well as the carpet.
How to Treat Chigger Bites
If you suspect that you might have picked up some chiggers while you were out, carefully inspect your body to see if you can see any red specks crawling about, You would have to look closely, though, because they would appear as tiny dots moving over your skin.
Step one in treating chiggers is always the same. Go and bath or shower in hot water. Use soap and scrub your skin all over. It’s one thing to be bitten once, but quite another to harbor a colony of these critters that will continue to eat away at your skin for several days unless they are washed off.
Next, you will need to do something about the itch that can persist for days even after all the chiggers are off your skin. There are several ways you can treat it.
Various anti-itch creams and ointments are available as over-the-counter products. Calamine lotion works well, especially if you have multiple bites, as you can spread it over a large area.
Antihistamine pills will also provide relief, or applying a cold compress will ease the constant itching. Try not to scratch as this may feel good for a few seconds, but it is more likely to aggravate the bite, which will make it take longer to heal.
Fortunately, chiggers don’t spread diseases, and the bites usually heal in a few days. In rare cases, bites can become infected, or someone has an adverse reaction, a doctor should be consulted.
Natural Methods to Keep Chiggers at Bay
Chiggers aren’t dangerous, and they don’t spread diseases, but their bites can drive you crazy, and they will itch for days. Fortunately, this summer, there are ways to avoid becoming human chigger bait without staying indoors and missing all the fun.
There are two important rules to keeping yourself and your home chigger-free.
- Keep the bugs out of your yard and home
- Protect your skin
This basic approach will save you hours of itching and possible infestation if the mites get carried indoors.
10 Tips to Keep Chiggers in Check This Summer
Let’s go through some practical ways to keep chiggers at bay in your home and garden. Use these ten tips to get back to enjoying the great outdoors without worrying about tiny red creepy crawlies latching onto your skin.
- Maintain your garden and keep the lawn around your home short. Chiggers love overgrown, damp spots and long vegetation.
- Remove everything in your yard that could harbor chiggers. Bags, garbage, newspapers, or firewood piles are excellent waiting spots for chigger larvae as they are damp and cool.
- Stay on trails or paths when in overgrown areas. If you are brushing against long brush or overgrown shrubs, chiggers will have the perfect opportunity to crawl onto you. Areas of heavy vegetation are chigger magnets.
- Keep your skin covered. Chiggers are microscopic and cannot attach themselves through layers of clothing, so wear long pants, boots, and thick socks when out in long vegetation.
- Use repellent when outside. Repellents that contain DEET are very effective, but natural, non-toxic homemade repellents can also do the trick if they include ingredients like witch hazel or citronella.
- Add outdoor clothing to the washing machine as soon as possible. Chiggers could be crawling about on the outside of your clothes and will move onto other soft surfaces.
- Shower as soon as you can when coming inside after outdoor activities. Wash your entire body using hot water and antibacterial soap. Pay special attention to thin skin areas like your ankles, groin, and behind your knees.
- Don’t forget your furry friends. Pets are equally, if not more, susceptible to chiggers because their bodies are lower to the ground. Keep your pets’ chigger free by using a systemic pet treatment like Frontline that will repel and kill chiggers.
- Use Diatomaceous Earth liberally in your home and garden. This versatile, natural substance is sure to keep chiggers at bay. Sprinkle it around the bottom of your pants, on the garden, around the lawn, add it to carpets, under couch cushions and add a dusting to pet bedding.
- Plant natural repellents around your house. No one wants to have a drab garden just because you live in a chigger-prone area. Plants like marigolds are colorful and will naturally repel the pesky red bugs and keep them far away from your home.
Chiggers can live in your couch for a couple of months. It is essential to act swiftly to get rid of the pesky red parasites or risk getting bitten every time you sit down to relax.
Fortunately, chiggers cannot breed inside a couch, so once it has been cleaned and treated,
the couch should be free of the itchy problem. To re-infest a cleaned couch, more chiggers would have to hitch a ride inside on clothing or pets.
I have two Associate’s degrees, one in Medical Assisting and the other in Computer Technician, and I am roughly five classes from a bachelor’s degree. Though I never ended up working in the medical field, I have five and a half years of experience in IT. I recently became a stay-at-home mom to my two young boys, and I’m so excited to start this adventure with them! In my spare time, I love to bake and read pretty much anything I can get my hands on.