Friday, April 20, 2012
Whatever happened to chiggers?
Pauline in Texas mentioned walking through the weeds to see a calf, and later being tormented by chigger bites. This got me wondering why I am never bothered by chiggers any more. When I was a kid, I was tortured by them every summer, especially during the week I spent at Grandma's house in north Missouri. According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, chiggers still abound in Missouri.
I'm sure part of the reason I had so much trouble with the little critters as a child is that I was always sitting, laying, and rolling around in the grass. I also walked through tall weeds any time I felt like it. I still sometimes sit on the grass in my yard, when I'm fiddling around with flowers and weeds, but I haven't had a chigger bite in years, as far as I know.
Oh, but I remember them well: They would get in places where clothing is tight, like the legs and waistbands of undergarments. They loved to burrow as deeply into my belly button as possible, creating an itch I could not scratch enough, and making my belly button stink to high heaven. (Too much information?)
They liked the coziness they found in armpits, too, and the nice, snug, hidden areas under my socks.
Reading the article I linked to above, I see chiggers prefer the tender skin of women and children. Maybe in my old age my skin is so tough the chiggers won't have me.
Finally! Something good about getting old. Chiggers reject me. But they still like the taste of Pauline in Texas.
We used to think the chiggers were living under the skin, so we'd paint the chigger bite with fingernail polish hoping to smother the tiny bugs we thought were living in us. Turns out they didn't burrow under the skin; that was just another old wive's tale.