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The Most Annoying Pest In The Yard

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The Most Annoying Pest In The Yard

Post  Razed Bed on 5/2/2015, 5:04 pm

This basically applies to just those of us that live in the hot and humid climes.  The absolute worst pest does not attack the garden, just the gardener.

I would rather have snakes, coyotes, skunks, armadillos, deer, opossum, foxes, and even the one bear that supposedly inhabits this area from time to time.  I could even tolerate the one cougar that many folks in these parts have claimed to see (the four-legged kind, as there are numerous two-legged cougars in the area).

It's the smallest of pests that cause the most troubles--the CHIGGER!

Since We refuse to use chemicals on our lawn, clothes, or bodies, we use multiple repellants, but eventually, something goes wrong, and we get attacked.

Where there are chiggers, there are also ticks.  No matter what we have used so far, the ticks don't seem to mind.  We joke that living in the heart of sinus country, even the ticks are congested and do not smell the essential oils we apply.

The only successful organic control that has worked for us is sulphur dusting, but we already have acidic soil, and the dust finds its way into our soil and soilless mixes.

We have neem oil, but it gives me a big headache.

Does anybody know a safe, organic, possibly homemade, spray/powder/other that can be applied to the lawn for prolonged chigger relief?

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Re: The Most Annoying Pest In The Yard

Post  Triciasgarden on 5/2/2015, 8:22 pm

Some suggestions here http://forums.gardenweb.com/discussions/2066981/organic-chigger-control

I don't get them here but I have heard how horrible they are from my sister who lives in Missouri.

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Re: The Most Annoying Pest In The Yard

Post  Windmere on 5/3/2015, 12:33 am

I just wanted to add my two cents as far as my commiserating with you.  When we moved to the south 10 years ago, no one warned us about chiggers.  We had never even heard of a chigger.  It's always been our custom to just sit on the grass and enjoy the sun, chat, have lunch, etc.  Let's just say that my whole family learned a very painful lesson.  We ended up using an awful lot of clear nail polish in the end.

I noticed in Tricia's cite about the nematodes.  I might investigate that further for our lawn.

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Re: The Most Annoying Pest In The Yard

Post  yolos on 5/3/2015, 5:57 am

Hmm, Windmere, I have lived in Fayette County for 40 years and never experienced Chiggers.  When I lived outside Jacksonville, Fl we battled them all the time.  I thought they were only in the woods living in all the Spanish Moss hanging from the trees.  Never knew they were in the grass.

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Re: The Most Annoying Pest In The Yard

Post  sanderson on 5/3/2015, 10:30 am

Years ago, Mother and I went to Nowata, OK and walked down the overgrown road to see the old family homestead. Yes, we had to use nail polish back at the hotel.

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Compost Tea Does Not Work on Chiggers

Post  Razed Bed on 5/3/2015, 10:58 am

Unless we have unique chiggers, compost tea is not an effective deterrent.  We make compost tea by the 32-gallon garbage container, and it is sprayed everywhere as a foliar sprayer to prevent many pests as well as boost our plants.

Like mentioned by one response in the forum provided in a link, sulfur is not an option for us. Sulfuring our entire lawn would make the entire neighborhood smell like rotten eggs.

What are your opinions on making a homemade spray?  Would neem oil be effective?  How about a garlic-Castile Soap-baking soda-hot pepper-etc. mashup work in your opinion?

The downside is that with every rain, it would all be washed away, but the upside if you can call it that is that it appears the summer drought has begun here in this area, as we have now been rain free for a week with none in the forecast this week either.

Meanwhile, I must pause in my typing to scratch on the back of my legs where the chiggers got me yesterday, and I have to apply essential oils to my wife's latest tick bite.

On the bright side, we have multitudes of blossoms in our garden this AM.  Our cucumbers looked like they doubled in the week they have been in the ground.  The tomatoes that we grow for nephews and nieces have at least 50 blossoms, and the banana peppers have one-upped the tomatoes; we actually have three baby peppers on one of the plants.

Best of all, we harvested enough romaine lettuce, mesclun, beet and radish greens, and kale yesterday to not have to add any from Whole Paycheck for our salad.  We added some chopped BBQ brisket leftovers and added some EVOO and juice of lemon, and it was a great lunch to go with our leftover chicken soup.

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Re: The Most Annoying Pest In The Yard

Post  vortex on 5/3/2015, 11:28 am

I'm probably "bad" for doing this, but when it comes to ticks/chiggers I don't mess around. Ortho Bug B Gone Max goes on my yard every 2 months.

Lyme disease and such just isn't worth taking the chance to me. I've found it works really well. Now if I'm outside of my yard, I'll use a combination of sulfur powder and bug sprays.

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My experiment

Post  Razed Bed on 5/3/2015, 5:24 pm

Here's what we did, since we had all the ingredients on hand.

Ingredients
Organix South Neem Shampoo
Organic Neem oil for rose bushes
Mountain Rose Organic Clove Oil
Mountain Rose Organic Rosemary Oil
Mountain Rose Organic Cinnamon Oil
H2O

I took the sprayer not used in our compost tea and filled it maybe to 90% with sun-warmed water.  I added 10 drops of the three essential oils, added about 2 Tbsp of the Cold-Pressed Neem Oil, and then filled to the top with the Neem Shampoo (about 2 Tbsp).

After shaking vigorously (the sprayer and not me), I then proceeded to spray the entire backyard, avoiding the garden, which is not hard since there is a buffer of about 2 feet of dirt around all the crops.

The odor was actually pleasant, dominated by the smell of the cinnamon.  The one negative was that it seemed to attract the bees and wasps, like I was their Pied Piper.

Two nephews and a niece came over to see us this afternoon, and we walked through the yard to look at the garden and so they could take a bag of our compost home with them, since my brother and sister-in-law will not allow them to have a compost pile in their urban property. 

They just left a short while ago, after we had been outside for maybe 90 minutes.  It could be just pure dumb luck, but there are no chigger bites and nary a tick on us.  I shall keep you informed on this interesting development.

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Re: The Most Annoying Pest In The Yard

Post  CapeCoddess on 5/3/2015, 5:40 pm

Yes, please do. I've never heard of chiggers until this thread but I sure do know what ticks are.
CC

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Re: The Most Annoying Pest In The Yard

Post  sanderson on 5/4/2015, 12:00 pm

Razed Bed, Yes, please keep us posted.

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Re: The Most Annoying Pest In The Yard

Post  Windmere on 5/4/2015, 12:52 pm

Razed Bed:  Wow, you are bringing out all the big guns!  Well, please let us know how your efforts work out. 
 
Yolos:  It was mainly the first few years here that we had serious chigger problems.  Now, we rarely have issues... and I think much of that might have to do with our paranoia.  We NEVER allow our bare skin to touch the grass and we never walk barefoot on grass or anything else.  There might be other mitigating factors of which I'm not aware because it's been quite some time since I've had to borrow some clear nail polish from my wife or daughter.

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Day 3 and keeping fingers crossed

Post  Razed Bed on 5/5/2015, 9:16 am

It's been more than 48 hours since I sprayed, and when I went out this AM to check the crops, I was in gym shorts and a t-shirt.  I was out there a good 45 minutes, and I did not have a chigger or tick when I came back inside.

Then, I stepped out on the front porch to drink my morning smoothie, and within 2 minutes, I was being bitten by something.

I am going to spray our front porch, back porch, and back patio this afternoon when I get home.

It's too early to say it is a success, but it is definitely working in some way, because we were getting chiggers within 5 minutes of being outside and never went more than 2 days without having a tick crawling on us or embedded in us.

The original recipe I saw for this was 2 Tbsp Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds Soap and 2 Tbsp. of cold-pressed neem oil mixed in warm water and put in a sprayer.  Since I didn't have the Sal Suds, and I did have the Organix South Neem Shampoo, the neem oil spray for roses, and the essential oils.

I will probably spray the yard again tomorrow, because we had heavy dew this morning when the temperature dropped to 60.

I imagine this is also working on mosquito issues, since we have not seen any.  We always put a few drops of cinnamon in our rainwater containers, and the mosquitos bypass them.

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Re: The Most Annoying Pest In The Yard

Post  littlesapphire on 5/6/2015, 1:44 pm

Razed Bed, thanks for the report and the recipe.  I've never seen a chigger in my life, and only come across a tick once in a very long while, but we have mosquitoes like crazy in our area (it's a giant swamp).  I can't go outside in the summer any later than 7pm without getting eaten alive, and if your spray helps with those little beasts, I'd love to know!

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Re: The Most Annoying Pest In The Yard

Post  canada6827 on 9/21/2016, 5:32 pm

I think some people have more of a reaction to chigger bites than others. They LOVE me!!! Makes me absolutely miserable. Several years ago I covered my entire garden area with 12 inches of wood chips. After a year, I added my square-foot garden on top. This worked out wonderful because the wood chips killed off the coastal grass, so I didn't have to deal with that between the beds. But the chiggers have been so bad I considered giving up gardening. I read that they like the texture of the chips to harbor.  But from reading all these post, it may not make a difference.

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Re: The Most Annoying Pest In The Yard

Post  Cajun Cappy on 9/21/2016, 5:40 pm

Right now its a big red wasp nest that I found under a flower swag on our front door.  Went out the door and slammed it behind me so the dog couldn't follow and big mean wasp boiled out of the flowers and attacked me from behind.  These things sting HARD.  They blind sided me so I went grab my crawfishing pole and pulled the swag down exposing a nest bout 4 inches wide.  I got the nest knocked down at the price of another sting.  Once they left I went out and throw the nest away.  I am not alergic thank God but have a couple painful stings for my trouble. Mad

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Re: The Most Annoying Pest In The Yard

Post  Mimi2 on 9/21/2016, 9:22 pm

Sorry to hear about your wasp trouble. I had to get rid of a nest of ground wasps earlier in the summer. I snuck out at night and boiled 'em in their home. It worked like a charm. Google is my friend.

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Re: The Most Annoying Pest In The Yard

Post  sanderson on 9/22/2016, 2:24 am

@canada6827 wrote:I think some people have more of a reaction to chigger bites than others. They LOVE me!!! Makes me absolutely miserable. Several years ago I covered my entire garden area with 12 inches of wood chips. After a year, I added my square-foot garden on top. This worked out wonderful because the wood chips killed off the coastal grass, so I didn't have to deal with that between the beds. But the chiggers have been so bad I considered giving up gardening. I read that they like the texture of the chips to harbor.  But from reading all these post, it may not make a difference.
I'm having a problem with something biting my legs. Nasty 1/2-1" welts! I'm going to try spraying the whole back yard (minus the SFG beds) with Dr. Bronner's liquid peppermint soap. If that doesn't help, I will try Neem oil and water. I have a garden cat who isn't inthe best of health and I hate to spray anything at all. The bites have been so bad that it took the fun out of gardening these last 3 weeks.

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Re: The Most Annoying Pest In The Yard

Post  has55 on 9/22/2016, 7:51 am

@sanderson wrote:
@canada6827 wrote:I think some people have more of a reaction to chigger bites than others. They LOVE me!!! Makes me absolutely miserable. Several years ago I covered my entire garden area with 12 inches of wood chips. After a year, I added my square-foot garden on top. This worked out wonderful because the wood chips killed off the coastal grass, so I didn't have to deal with that between the beds. But the chiggers have been so bad I considered giving up gardening. I read that they like the texture of the chips to harbor.  But from reading all these post, it may not make a difference.
I'm having a problem with something biting my legs.  Nasty 1/2-1" welts!  I'm going to try spraying the whole back yard (minus the SFG beds) with Dr. Bronner's liquid peppermint soap.  If that doesn't help, I will try Neem oil and water.  I have a garden cat who isn't inthe best of health and I hate to spray anything at all.  The bites have been so bad that it took the fun out of gardening these last 3 weeks.
DE will take of it that day. and since it don't rain often, you'll get good staying power and effect. if you are a melaleuca customer use this: 

“BUGS – YARD
Mix 1 cup of Lemon Brite dish liquid soap and 1 cup of already mixed Breath-Away Mouthwash into a 20 gallon hose-end sprayer and soak your lawn, garden beds and trees to the point that the fluid is running off. Bugs hate it! This will also remove dust, dirt and pollution from grass blades, making any lawn fertilizer work twice as well.
Tough & Tender diluted and used in a lawn sprayer unit makes an excellent bug spray.
Diluted Sol-U-Mel is very effective for crickets and crawling bugs.


Excerpt From: Richard M Barry. “The Melaleuca Wellness Guide.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/CC2E6.l

“SLUGS
Sol-U-Mel blended into a diluted spray will rid your garden of slugs and other bugs. It does not work as fast as salt, but it does not hurt the plants and is far cheaper and safer than pesticides.
SOIL SURFACTANT
Tough & Tender is an excellent soil surfactant. Putting it in the ground before you plant your garden in the summer will help the water stay in the ground when it gets hot and there is no rainfall.


Excerpt From: Richard M Barry. “The Melaleuca Wellness Guide.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/CC2E6.l

“LAWN SPRAY
Spray your lawn with a diluted mixture of Tough & Tender in a lawn sprayer unit. It will kill the little gnats as well as mushrooms that grow in your yard.”

Excerpt From: Richard M Barry. “The Melaleuca Wellness Guide.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/CC2E6.l

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Re: The Most Annoying Pest In The Yard

Post  Hilda100 on 10/18/2016, 1:38 am

We had a lot of pests in our garden and it was really impossible to get rid of them. I tried all different methods and it was of no use. I really didn't like to use chemicals or pesticides in my garden, so I was going for the organic solutions to kill the pests. That's when I came to know about few things which the common pests hates. I started using garlic to repel pests because most of the pests doesn't like the smell of garlic. Then I used natural vegetable soap to spray on the plants. These solutions almost reduced the number of pests into half.

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Re: The Most Annoying Pest In The Yard

Post  sanderson on 10/18/2016, 2:38 am

Many folks on the Forum prefer to use homemade or organic pest control. I use a milk solution or Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Liquid Soap for several pests or diseases like powdery mildew.

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Re: The Most Annoying Pest In The Yard

Post  No_Such_Reality on 10/18/2016, 5:49 pm

For me, Opossums.  My beds are full of life, worms, slugs, grubs.  A nice little self contained smorgasbord for the opossums who occasionally come in and wreck havoc digging.


I've tried chili pepper, cayenne pepper, to keep them at bay but not a lot of luck, they're too far apart to keep chili-ed effectively between visits.

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Re: The Most Annoying Pest In The Yard

Post  Scorpio Rising on 10/18/2016, 6:43 pm

@sanderson wrote:Many folks on the Forum prefer to use homemade or organic pest control.  I use a milk solution or Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Liquid Soap for several pests or diseases like powdery mildew.
Me too.   I got the Krogers Simple Truth version of liquid peppermint soap on sale.  And the milk spray really works for PM.  

The peppermint soap, mixed with water, Tabasco, and cayenne really put a damper on the Japanese beetles this year on my beans!  I kinda waned on my usage, so the JBs and cucumber beetles got a bit out of control.  But much better than last year.

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Re: The Most Annoying Pest In The Yard

Post  Scorpio Rising on 10/18/2016, 6:45 pm

@No_Such_Reality wrote:For me, Opossums.  My beds are full of life, worms, slugs, grubs.  A nice little self contained smorgasbord for the opossums who occasionally come in and wreck havoc digging.


I've tried chili pepper, cayenne pepper, to keep them at bay but not a lot of luck, they're too far apart to keep chili-ed effectively between visits.
Yep.  Tried the Animal repellents?  They contain predator urine.  I have not tried them, because my neighbors lab regularly takes care of that for free!  Lol!  They have it at my Ace Hardware.

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