Do Chiggers Burrow Into Your Skin?
Chiggers do NOT burrow into your skin.
Don't Blame the Chigger Blame the Offspring
The lifecycle of a chigger progresses in four stages: egg, larva, nymph, and adult. It isn't actually the chigger that causes those welts and itching, but the chigger larva. The chigger larva is the only stage in which the chigger feeds on a host.
Where Do Chiggers Live?
When temperatures reach above 60°F, the adult female chigger will lay up to 15 eggs per day in moist, thick vegetation. The chigger larva hatch and remain close by waiting for a host such as a reptile or small rodent. If a person happens by a chigger patch, they will quickly attach themselves.
How Chiggers Attach Themselves
Once on the host, the chigger larva will attach itself to the skin. It will then pierce the skin or find a hair follicle and will begin injecting a digestive enzyme into the host through its saliva. This digestive enzyme breaks down skin cells, liquefying them so that the chigger can ingest it. The red welt and itching that results is the body's reaction to the saliva injection. Once the chigger larva is engorged, which can take anywhere from one day to several, it will drop from the host's body and bury itself where it will move on to the nymph stage of development.