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.  

11 comments:

Phelan said...

I haven't been bothered by them in years either. Even though I still roll around in the grass with my boys. They will come away covered. I never had a tick until I was in my mid twenties. They never seemed to be a problem until I got older, but my poor boys. I know summer has arrived when I start plucking them out of their scalps.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Chiggers are still alive and well in Ohio too. Some of us at the campground have been bothered by them. It seems they like the tall grass and we try to avoid waling in it when possible. As long as we keep our area mowed we are just fine. I remember when I was a child we were advised to stick our pant legs in our socks to keep the chiggers away.

darev2005 said...

This place is still covered with them. I haven't gotten bitten in a long time, but I can still see them crawling all over the place. Especially at work. The little swine are drawn to my white shirt and if I swipe them off they leave little red spots so it looks like I have been peppered with buckshot. Aargh!

Paula said...

They all came down here and really they don't bother John but they love me. I wonder if darev2005 is talking about ticks. I've never been able to see a chigger.

Adirondackcountrygal said...

We don't have chiggers up here in NY that I know of.. we have a lot of ticks now however. It is funny when I was a kid I roamed the woods, fields and streams and never once had a tick on me. Now I can't go anywhere without getting ticks.

nerves05 said...

Are they the same thing as red bugs?
Thats what we call them down here.
I have heard of Chiggers before. If they are the same thing we have them here too.
They love the moss in the trees and moss is full of them. One time my cousin got them.. really bad. Between his legs. I have always heard that finger nail polish gets rid of them. But another thing that helps is athletes feet/jock itch spray. It gets rid of them and helps the itching.

Helen said...

Those things used to eat me up. No problem since I have got older.

ingasmile said...

I too used to be eaten alive as a child. But then when you are small even short grass is taller for a child. Plus, they seemed to be where we were, picking black raspberries, apple orchards, picnics. But like you I was always sitting in the grass.

Now I am older and realize I am allergic to grass and get itchy contact dermatitis when I touch it. So I stay out of it. When I weed my flowers/garden I sit on a little stool.

My youngest son is plagued with mosquito bites in the summer. Poor guy they love him!

Inga

Debbie said...

It makes me itch just thinking about all the chigger bites we got going blackberry picking. They were so tiny you could barely see them but they sure let you know they were there. We used clear fingernail polish too.

After they released wild turkey's in our area several years ago we now have what everybody calls turkey lice. They'll eat you alive much worse than chiggers. The only thing my husband has found to kill them is taking a bath in bleach water. There's a special spray you can buy to spray your clothes before going out in area's where turkey's are known to be. My husband tried the spray and I washed his clothes seperately, the washer was covered in those tiny bugs when the load was done and I washed them again to be on the safe side.

Debbie said...

It makes me itch just thinking about all the chigger bites we got going blackberry picking. They were so tiny you could barely see them but they sure let you know they were there. We used clear fingernail polish too.

After they released wild turkey's in our area several years ago we now have what everybody calls turkey lice. They'll eat you alive much worse than chiggers. The only thing my husband has found to kill them is taking a bath in bleach water. There's a special spray you can buy to spray your clothes before going out in area's where turkey's are known to be. My husband tried the spray and I washed his clothes seperately, the washer was covered in those tiny bugs when the load was done and I washed them again to be on the safe side.

Lori said...

We always did the same thing, and Thomas still does it and swears by it. It seems to work for him.