Science Questions

Do any plants repel Chiggers?

Sun, 11th May 2008

Listen Now    Download as mp3 from the show Repelling Mosquitoes

Question

Kris asked:

Repelling mosquitoes is all well and good but a much greater problem for us is: Chiggers.

Almost invisible, these larval forms of the harvest mite are the source of much pain and misery. The 1st you know, you've got them is a large, irritating blister which is maddening and sore for days. I have scars from 2 years ago. They ruin an otherwise idyllic countryside stay in France. I've tried planting lavendar around the house and mowing the grounds but they keep coming. How can we prevent them and deal with them? Help!

Answer

We put this question to James Logan:

Well we have tested these repellent chemicals [those that people produce naturally, see James' interview] against different species of mosquito and also against midges, and currently we have some trials going on in Kenya to see if these chemicals repel ticks.  Ticks are probably more related to chiggers than to mosquitoes, because they're actually arachnids.  We don't have the results yet, but hopefully these chemicals will repel Chiggers too.

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