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WILD Facts: Red mite with an itchy bite
Chigger - photo by Photo provided.
Chiggers, also known as red bugs, are the tiny larvae of harvest mites.
If you spend time in weedy areas, you may get these arachnids on your body, resulting in itchy bumps. Contrary to popular belief, chiggers do not burrow into your skin and die. Rather, using specialized mouthparts, they attach themselves to thin skin — often around ankles, knees and armpits.
Although the chigger's bite often goes undetected, its saliva causes much discomfort. Digestive enzymes in the saliva liquefy cells, which the chigger then sucks up. Once full, the chigger falls off and continues its life cycle towards an adult mite.

WILD Facts is a regular feature written by Linda May, a wildlife interpretive specialist with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division.
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