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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Meet My Next To Least Favorite Pest - Chiggers!

Chigger photo from StopBuggn.com
Every year I get bit by my two least favorite bugs. One is ticks and the other are chiggers.

As you can see in the photo above chiggers actually look like ticks only much much smaller. If you were to actually see one it would be most likely red and could fit a couple in a pin hole. They are very prominent in the southern United States and can cause an amazingly uncomfortable situation if you get bitten.

The reason I am writing this particular post is because I am trying to keep my mind off the few bites I recently received on each foot. The best way of explaining a bite from chiggers is like this. You first see a real small red dot. About the size a mosquito makes. Within a short time you notice a small blister, yellowish in color and then the itching starts. On a scale of one to ten it is a good seven or so. When the blister actually breaks the itching shoots straight to a twenty and stays there. You see chiggers do not suck your blood like a tick. They do not carry disease like a tick. They dissolve your skin and then feast on it. Usually hanging onto one of your hairs while they do it. Even though they do not carry disease per say they can cause you to have a fever for the amount of time that the itching lasts. This can be sometimes weeks. Yeah it's that bad.

The other thing is chiggers love to stay together in groups or nests. If you step in one you can instantly be covered in hundreds of them and not know it until it is too late. Right now I only have a few bites on each foot. Last year I had about 40 bites on each foot. One of the longest two weeks in my life.

If you find that you have been bitten by chiggers there is not much you can do for the itch and pain. I used itch cream with some moderate success. I have heard putting a dab of nail polish over the area helps. Just keep in mind that heat, moisture and exposure to the air seems to kick off the extreme itching.

So if you want to avoid the bite of chiggers you should do the following. If you are going to do any walking in any tall grass. Wear long pants with boots and socks. Last year I walked in someone's back yard wearing just flip flops for shoes. Using bug sprays helps but is not a cure. Above all when you get back from your hike remove and wash your clothes. Taking a shower helps remove stragglers that may be still walking on you.

If this post gives you a case of the heebie-jeebies I apologize. I would much rather have you understand this very common problem and possibly avoid it rather than keep silent in agony and have you receive the same fate.

Be safe out there!


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