Sunday, May 27, 2012

Chigger Creek

The little brook that runs beside my house is infested with nasty chiggers!  I can't go near the creek or fence line without some serious protection in the form of powerful bug repellent.  The gentle 'family' spray-on just won't do.   I already have 8 or more bites and the season has just begun.

What the heck is a chigger?  There alot of old wives tales around chiggers:  they burrow under your skin, they lay eggs in the whelp, or that they can be suffocated by applying nail polish.  None of these is true.  Their bites may feel like a parasite has entered your skin (and caused painful itchy bites that are slow to heal) but it's a feeding tube that the chigger has left behind.

Chiggers are actually larvae of scrub mites, and once they've matured their source of nutrition comes from plants.   They are extremely small - only 1/50th of an inch - which may explain where some of the old wives tales come from. Chiggers are attracted to concealed, moist areas on the host - attaching to sock line, waistband, groin or armpits.  You can greatly reduce your chances of getting bites if you shower immediately after outdoor activity.   Chiggers won't remain or live on clothing or inside your house, but the sooner you can shower the better.

When my brother visited, I warned him about Chigger Creek and made sure we had lots of heavy duty bug spray.

One day, Mike walked his dog down the creek and decided not to spray.  When he returned to the porch, one look at his thighs sent him into a panic.  He was covered with thousands of chiggers!  His upper thighs were crawling with so many chiggys he freaked - a quick shower, and he washed his clothes, bath towel, bath mat and bedding.  He suffered several bites, but it could have been much worse

Mike even went to great lengths to 'Raid' his vehicle before he left - still having a creepy feeling about it. We took some time and looked up info online, but he continued to be creeped out.  He kinda cut his trip short, and I can't really blame him on that.  His dog seemed to love Chigger Creek and was her favorite place to go.


Sorry to tell you this, Mike but the chiggers  much worse this year.  Not to worry . . . because I have a ready supply of repellent.  It's just one of those things about living in the country that you have to deal with

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