Thursday, June 30, 2011

I HATE chiggers!

Chiggers are a fact of life in the South. I usually take some care in preventing getting chewed up by them, but they caught me off guard this year.
  • I tended bees out at Honey Grove and applied insect repellent. No problem.
  • I tended bees at the new place in Gunter, TX and forgot to apply insect repellent. No problem. Whew! Dodged a bullet on that one.
  • I worked in the yard last Friday and got two bites. Drat it! I put applying insecticide on the yard on my list of TO DOs, but not right at the top.
  • Sunday when we got home from church, Liz parked close to the lawn and I had to take two steps on the grass. I got absolutely eaten up!
  • Monday I put a heavy dose of insecticide all over our yard and onto the neighbor's yard where we might wander while running around the house. I applied insect repellant on my rubber boots, but before I poisoned I adjusted the sprinklers and must have washed it off a bit because I got a few more bites. I don't like to put insecticide on my yard. I don't like poison where I live, and I don't believe it is beneficial to kill everything that lives in my grass. But chiggers tip the scales in favor of a total wipe-out.
The troubles with chiggers are these:
  1. You can't see them or tell where they might be lurking. They are tiny little light-red mites. The test for them is to put little black cards sticking up out of the grass. They crawl to the highest point and the card will turn red as thousands of them crawl to the top of it.
  2. You can't tell when they bite you. You could easily brush them off if you knew you had them, but you can't tell. The bite only begins to irritate you the next day and the chigger is dead and gone by then.
  3. They don't bite you where they get on you. They crawl up your body looking for a soft place where it is easier to chew. They can't actually get any good out of biting mammals, and it is difficult for them to do it. So they keep crawling until they find a place where it is a bit easier. This is most often the back of the knees and the groin area, or sometimes under your arms. Little buggers!
  4. You can't do anything about the bites that really helps. They itch like the dickens, but if you scratch or rub them it makes it worse. Some people put nail polish on them, but I can't tell that it makes any difference. After about 3 days the tube the chigger left behind kind of pushes up and if you care to risk an infection you can scratch it (and attached skin) off at that point. Or you can suffer through 2 or 3 more days and it will be over.
Did I mention that I really, really hate chiggers? Little buggers!


Jessica said...

I know for a fact that Joe will agree with you 100%!

Catherine M. said...

Earl, I thought my 80 or so chigger bites were sheer hell this month... Even worse than the lice last month... Then we all got scabies! That beat all! Arent you glad we haven't been visiting lately? We also managed poison ivy, a staph infection, and group b strep... And a couple of strep throats, pink eye, and ear infections....

Can I blame any of this on Texas? Yup!

Nancy Sabina said...

"They" said that chiggers and ticks were a real problem where I just went to Girl's Camp so I wore long pants the whole time and high socks and Deet-ed the heck out of myself every morning and got away scott free. But so did all the girls wearing shorts and never applying any bug spray. Apparently "they" were a little over zealous in their tales.