Insects and critters are a common occurrence in the landscaping world. Whether pests or beneficial insects, we need to know if they can live in our gravel or rock.
Chiggers live in soil, mulch and compost piles so can they live in gravel or rocks? Yes, they love sandy soil and can even be found under stones, logs and other debris. They can also live in gravel or rocks.
Chiggers or harvest mites live on grass and its relatives such as wheat, barley and rye.
Suffice to say, these mites love the outdoors and would be happy living in your front yard. They can infest all types of grasses and are a major agricultural pest.
Fuzzy things like moths, flies and chiggers have always been associated with the outdoors. However, nowadays we can’t seem to escape from them.
Chiggers are not just limited to yards, they can be in your house and car as well. They can nest in your bedding and furniture.
Harmless to humans, chiggers can cause a lot of discomfort when you’re outside. It is best not to mess with them as their bite can cause severe allergic reactions.
Let’s talk about this most common pest in the yard and garden in detail in this post.
Read More: How to Make a Gravel Walkway in Grass
What are chiggers?
Ranging from 0.1 mm to 16 mm in length, chiggers are parasitic garden pests that feed on human and animal blood.
They are soft-bodied arthropods belonging to the arachnid family.
Chiggers are flat, chestnut brown, teardrop-shaped and have eight legs.
Pincers on their mouth parts allow them to stick firmly to their host.
They have a very short life cycle and go through four stages – egg, six-legged larva, eight-legged nymph and adult.
Vulnerable to sunlight and hot temperatures, chiggers are mostly active during spring and summer.
They feed on the mammalian host for a week or two and fall off, burrowing into the ground.
Chiggers can attack pets and livestock as well. Cows and sheep are their preferred hosts.
Upland chiggers found in grassy fields are one of the largest types of chigger mites, while other species are found in woodlands and forests.
Can chiggers live in gravel or rock?
Pest mites like chiggers can be active in your yard.
They love to live on the blades of grass and are quite small, so it is easy to miss them.
Chiggers prefer a humid environment such as that found near swimming pools or under bushes or fallen leaves. They thrive in rough or loose mulch and gravel.
Chiggers can invade your home through cracks in the foundation or roof, open doors and windows and under the basement steps.
Carpets, rugs and furniture are their favorite places to infest as a host. They burrow into these items when it is time for them to pupate or lay eggs.
Gravel and rocks are great places for chiggers to lay their eggs, often right in the soil.
Nests of chiggers can also be found in baseboards and door frames.
Bedding, pillows and even stuffed toys in your kids’ rooms may harbor them as well.
Chiggers bury into the edge of carpet or behind baseboards to avoid sunlight.
Damp areas, like basements and bathrooms are great breeding grounds for chiggers as well.
Jumping pests and crawling insects can leave behind eggs, larvae or other pests like mites on your skin.
These can easily be transferred to pets or children who might touch the floor with their hands.
Importance of knowing where chiggers live
A single female chigger can lay about 100 eggs during her lifetime, which is not very long.
As they are so tiny, it is difficult to control them in your home or yard without knowing where the nests are and what they look like.
If you encounter a single red spot on your skin, it could mean that you were bitten by a chigger.
The first sign of an infestation is usually a rash or bumps on your skin, which are hard to miss after you know what they look like.
Chiggers may also cause severe itching and irritation as the itch slowly develops into a red spot that looks similar to mosquito bite.
There might be several small red spots on your body, or one massive rash that covers a wide area.
Chigger infestations are easily identified when the itching becomes unbearable. If you notice small bites on you after being outdoors, check for evidence of insect activity around your home.
If there is a family member with an allergy to chiggers, it is crucial to know where they like to hide.
Signs you have chiggers infestation
Easily identifiable by the pesky itchy red spots they produce, chiggers are unfortunately widespread.
They can be found in grassy areas such as golf courses or woodlands and even inside homes.
If you suddenly notice small red bumps on your skin after being outdoors, there is a good chance that you have been bitten by a chigger.
A single bite is usually not enough to cause an infection. However, it might lead to itching and swelling, if you are allergic to chiggers.
Kissing bugs, fleas and ticks are known to carry the same diseases as mosquitoes.
The next time you visit a remote area, check your clothes for these insects or any evidence of chigger activity in the landscape.
Other signs of chiggers infestation include:
- Unexplained anemia in pets
- Itchy, rash-like “bites” all over the body
- Weeping rashes and blisters caused by chiggers’ salivary secretions
- Skin infections or sores on your feet, legs or arms
- Cluster of tiny mites in the grass or soil
- Bites on dogs, cats or kids
Keep chiggers away from your home
Dry and warm places are the best for chiggers, as they thrive in humid areas.
Moisture is crucial for their survival and they need it to develop from larvae into nymphs and finally adults.
That is why they usually make their homes in secluded areas that stay moist, such as the bathroom or basement.
Chiggers can also infest soil and grass in your backyard.
Insecticides is not the only way to control these pests, as you can also do it with other measures such as:
- Mow the lawn often
- Remove leaf litter and other debris from around your property
- Trim vegetation in yards and gardens so that it does not accumulate in your walls
- Eliminate weeds and other wild growth near the house or on walks
- Put away anything that is not used
- Invest in good insect repellent during outdoor activities
- Always use insecticidal soap or spray the areas that are likely to be infested
- Vacuum rugs and carpets to remove insects that may be hiding under your furniture
- Keep windows and doors closed when you are not in your home
- Wash off any chiggers that might be on your clothes
- Maintain high levels of hygiene in your house to discourage infestations
Other insects that can live in gravel or rocks
Gravel is a granular material made of ground rock.
As its name implies, it is usually used to cover driveways, patios or pathways in the garden.
Filled with other minerals, gravel and rocks can also be used in building materials.
Tiny creatures may find a home in the soil or rock that make up gravel, which is why some homeowners have developed an infestation problem.
You may not be aware of the problem if you don’t look for them.
Woodlice are also known as pillbugs.
These creatures are usually found in compost heaps or gardens.
They could be yellow, brown or grey in color.
A typical woodlouse is about 1 mm long, with seven pairs of legs on their bodies and one pair of antennae on their heads.
Reproduction rates of woodlice are very high.
Crickets, especially mole crickets, can also be found in the ground of a gravel or rock garden.
The eggs laid by these insects can easily survive in the top layer of soil.
They only hatch when rainfall increases or there is watering by the homeowner.
Crickets are known to be carriers of plant viruses and bacteria.
3. Millipedes and centipedes
Millipedes are arthropods, meaning they have a hard outer body and jointed legs like an insect.
The number of legs ranges from 30 to 400, but most millipedes have between 36 to 50 legs.
Centipedes are arthropods with two pairs of mandibles or claws and legs ranging from 30.
These creatures are known to defend themselves by poisoning and injuring enemies with their claws.
3. Ants and termites
Some ants and termites build their nests under the ground, making their homes inside the soil of rock gardens.
Termites are social insects that live in colonies.
They eat wood and other materials containing cellulose and are known to cause major destruction to homes.
In addition to wood and rocks, termites may also consume fabrics, electronic appliances like TVs and even books.
Termites are known to be very destructive pests.
Fleas are small jumping insects that can drop as low as a foot or jump up to 8 inches from the ground.
They live in warm places and could be found living on domestic pets.
Fleas are known to spread diseases such as murine typhus, tularemia, cat scratch fever and more.
Fleas can multiply in a short period of time, especially if the temperature is high.
Beetles are known to cause serious damage to gardens.
Some of them feed on plants, while others feed on the leaves and trees in the area.
Beetles can cause serious damage to plants and trees.
Gravel can harbor chiggers!
Chigger mites can live in the dirt and sand of normal ground, but most can adapt to living on gravel or rock.
Gravel and rock are usually solid, but occasionally there is a crack or crevice for chiggers to enter and dehydrate.
Porous rock might be a good option for chiggers looking to take up residence.
Before placing gravel or rock in your yard, make sure to clean it first.
Cleaning rock and gravel will eliminate any chiggers that may be hitching a ride.
Chigger bites can be painful and unsightly if you don’t take steps to avoid them.