We have a community garden in the localcity where I live and I built a compst bin and started it with some leaves and rotten veggies from the garden all was going well untill I went to turn and water one day and came home covered in chigger bites!
I was wondering if there was an organic way of taking care of these little buggers, we haven't used any chemicals in the garden yet and I'd hate to ruin that streak. Its getting colder and we're planning on composting through the winter. im pretty sure any bugs will last the winter in the pile. My main concern is when we go to spread the compost in the spring is everyone getting bitten on their hands/ arms.
Ive thought about getting a bag of diatomacious (sp?) dirt and layering that in. I also have access to cedar sawdust but im afraid if I put cedar in there it'll slow down the compost process and not be very good for the plants.
Cedar will slow down the compost. DE is definitely a good choice, just know that it will also kill off some beneficials in the compost as well. You may want to get some worm compost from another person to mix in once you are done with a few DE treatments. Maybe two DE treatments 3-4 days apart?
Lysol floor cleaner. Not organic, but it is cheap & works fast. I just know it works well for me, & seems stronger than 'lemon dishsoap'. Repeat water diluted spray, at least every week till gone. If you don't do something those chiggars will eat you alive, and they will spread to other areas, and they will come back summer after summer, and as you know, they will ruin your outdoor experience. Try NOT wearing white clothing, as it attracts them. I have put up 'sheets of white plastic' like a fence, then spray the fence. I typically use one of those water hose garden spray applicator and spray the whole yard with the Lysol. Try to just apply on the surface layer of the compost heap, I think the chiggars mainly hang out on the surface layer. The red cedar around the yard is good, but easily catches fire or smolders if lighted, don't mix it in your compost, it repels the best bugs that you need in the stuff. Perhaps a thick red cedar pathway around your compost pile, probably slow the biters down at least on the pathway, mix a few small stones in the cedar so it doesn't blow away.