It is now time to talk about the CHIGGER! If these little guys weighed five pounds everyone would be packing shotguns. In the case of chiggers, the best defense is a good offense. Chiggers come into our environment from wildlife including birds, mammals and reptiles. They also like an undisturbed environment. Disturb their environment by keeping your lawn mowed, watered and fertilized on a regular basis. In other words, maintain your lawn. The next step is trying to control the wildlife in the yard. This means taking down the bird feeder for a month or two.
Applying sulfur to the yard is the most common all-natural method for chigger control. Sulfur is a repellant not a killer and because chiggers live in clusters, sulfur must be applied heavy. Light applications just spread out the problem. Powder sulfur is more effective than the granulated but does not last as long and is a mess to apply. Putting powder sulfur in a sock and dusting yourself is another method. You need to apply the sulfur everywhere you don’t want to get bit. This same method applies to the lawn.
There is another all-natural product called Yardsafe from the Cedarcide folks. This high concentration cedar oil product is in a ready to use quart that will cover about 2,000 square feet for the initial application. Repeat application in 7 to 10 days. This will kill the existing chiggers and will keep them out for several weeks depending on weather.
There are also quite a few choices on the chemical side in both liquid and granulated. A good rule of thumb is to pick products with an active ingredient that ends with the suffix, thrin. Some of the most common are bifenthrin, cyfluthrin and permethrin. My favorite product, lambda-cyhalothrin, is the active ingredient in Cyonara. This quart will cover about 8,000 square feet. As always please read and follow all label direction.
For more information on chiggers, visit the Texas A&M AgriLife website here. Even the US Army has a fact sheet.