As we begin to welcome the warmer weather and longer days, you may have noticed an upTICK in pesky biters. They don’t have to put a damper on your outdoor plans, though! Check out some tips, tricks, and fun facts on how to identify and prevent them.


A closeup of a mosquito on a person's skin

Native to Asia, the Tiger Mosquito can be found in all areas of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and can be identified by a white band down the center of its head and striping pattern on its legs.

In the United States alone, there are over 200 species of mosquitoes. While most of their bites can be itchy and irritating, some can transmit diseases and viruses. They can be found in all climates but prefer warm, humid areas with slow-moving to stagnant water or permanently damp soils, like marshes and wetlands. To help prevent an increase, it is important to remove standing water around your property, ensure rain barrels are properly sealed, and check that tarps are tight and not holding water after each rain event.


A closeup of a chigger on a person's finger

Using essential oils like lavender, peppermint, tea tree, citronella or thyme can help to deter chiggers. Photo Credit: Cavallini James/Alamy

One of the lesser known biters of the outdoors, the chigger, is known to hitch a ride on hikers who trek through infested areas. They can sometimes be hard to spot with the naked eye. Belonging to the mite family, they are bright red to brown in color and known to have bites causing itchy pimple-like bumps or small hives that appear in groups. Around the waist, ankle and areas where clothing is tight, are the most common places bites occur. When venturing into chigger habitats, it is important to wear protective clothing; such as pants, long sleeve shirts and closed toe shoes.


Left: a tick on a person's finger. Right: A tick embedded in skin.

Photo Credit: KPixMining/Alamy

Found in heavily wooded areas, high grasses and thick brush, ticks will also latch onto unsuspecting hosts as they pass. Once attached, the tick will wander around in search of thinner-skinned areas searching for a place to feed. To reduce contact, stick to heavily trafficked trails, keep to the center of the path and always check yourself after spending time outdoors. If you do happen to encounter an unwanted hitchhiker, it is imperative that you remove it properly with tweezers. There are over 90 species of ticks in the United States. Before heading out on an adventure, be sure to check what ticks are present in the area and how to identify them.

Don’t let these unwanted pests trap you inside. There are mountains to hike, trails to bike, and rivers to raft. See you in the great outdoors!