Do you wish to employ some bugs, reptiles or other animals to help get rid of chiggers? What Eats Chiggers?
Do reptiles eat chiggers or do chiggers feed off them as their hosts?
In this article, we’ll find out everything there is to know about what eats chiggers.
What Eats Chiggers?
Chiggers are a quick meal for ants, centipedes, beetles, birds, lizards, spiders, salamanders and plenty of other small creatures in nature.
The feeding site usually occurs around soil that is moist including forests, creek banks, marshes and meadows where chiggers are very common.
Which Insects Eat Chiggers?
Chiggers share many of the same natural predators as other mites. These little bugs are actually larval mites. The following insects prey on chiggers:
Spiders and plenty of tiny insects in nature can catch these microscopic chiggers in their webs or fit them directly into their mouths.
Chiggers are red and noticeable. They do not blend with the soil very well, but they populate moist soil that is rich in nutrients.
What Do Chiggers Eat?
Adult chiggers are looking to eat from the soil first and foremost. Since they are tiny, it is easy for them to gain nourishment from moist soil that contains plant matter. Decayed, wet and fragments of dead plants produce rich nutrition for adult chiggers to digest.
Laval chiggers inject digestive enzymes on the skin of humans or animals. They rely on host animals for a shorter timespan compared to fleas, mites and ticks. This is because they are not looking to suck or feed off blood. They enjoy eating liquified, dead or moist skin.
Do Birds Eat Chiggers?
Yes. Birds and reptiles are known to eat chiggers if they can find them. Lizards, salamanders and small creatures that reside in moist, humid and warm marshes or creek banks have an easier time finding these microscopic bugs.
Birds can spot the red color of chiggers that do not blend in with the surface of the soil where they are commonly seen. This is an opportune occasion for a bird to swoop down and capture chiggers.
Smaller birds prey on chiggers more often that larger species that wouldn’t find much nourishment from such a tiny bug.
Do Chigger Larvae Eat?
Chigger larvae are more commonly found eating from the skin of a host. They do not care which animal or human they can attach to, but this is their only goal at such an early stage in their life cycle.
Most vertebrates are susceptible to the bite of chigger larvae. Adults chiggers can find meals in soil or on its surface. They look for decayed plant matter and small insects in the soil.
Since chigger larvae are unable to digest plant matter from the soil, they look for liquified skin and are able to inject digestive enzymes on skin to make it easier for them to consume it.
Chigger larvae do not ingest blood. They may stay attached to skin for up to 4 days, but will not burrow inside it.
Where Do Chiggers Eat?
Chiggers prefer to eat where they are more commonly found. Here are some areas where you may find chiggers eating plant or insect matter in soil or looking for a host:
- creek banks
- moist soil
Chiggers prefer to eat in shady spots. They need sun protection to prevent their bodies from drying out.
A larger host like a human or animal casts a shadow that draws a chigger closer to it while being protected from the sun. The heat coming off a host also presents and comfortable opportunity to feast on their warm skin.
What Attracts Chiggers?
Chiggers are attracted to children and women who have thinner skin compared to men who are also tougher to latch onto when they are hairier.
Chiggers enjoy shady spots that are moist, humid and contain lots of vegetation. You can find them in:
- tall grassy areas
They posture and wait for a warm body to pass by. This is usually common in spring and summer seasons, but in year-round warm locations, chiggers will thrive in these areas even longer.
Do Reptiles Eat Chiggers?
Yes. Chiggers and mites have evolved to feed off reptiles. This is a dangerous task for chiggers because reptiles also feed off chiggers. It’s eat or be eaten in this scenario.
Lizards, geckos and salamanders are commonly found eating chiggers. Reptiles and chiggers occupy the same habitats where the climate is moist, warm and humid.
What Do Adults Chiggers Eat?
Chiggers larvae contain six legs and look to feed on reptiles or other hosts such as humans and plenty of vertebrates.
Once they are done feeding, they will drop off a host and become 8 legged nymphs who will quickly mature to adults.
Adult chiggers prefer to eat:
- eggs of springtails
- dead plant matter
- dead insects in soil
Chiggers share similar predators in the wild that most insects their size do. Lizards and salamanders prey on chiggers from the ground. Smaller birds swoop from trees and branches above when they spot a red larval mite crawling on the surface of the soil.
Insects like beetles or ants can ingest chiggers from their larval, nymph and adult stages. Spiders spin webs that easily catch chiggers for a quick meal. Chiggers are easily eaten by any insect larger than it including centipedes.
Adults tend to focus on eating other tiny insects, isopods and eggs while larval chiggers need skin cells off hosts as their preferred meal to reach the next stage in their life cycle.
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