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Chigger Bites

Summary: How can anything so small cause so much itching? Chiggers find their way on to parts of our bodies, bite and leave us itching for days.

You need a magnifying glass to see them, but the chigger packs a wallop when it bites. Their populations are highest when vegetation it at its thickest such as in the early spring. They actually climb up onto leaves and the tops of grass blades to more readily snag a passing host such as birds, snakes, small animals and you.

Controlling chiggers with pesticides will provide only limited relief, but you can treat places where chiggers are known to favor such as the borders of wooded areas, the edges of lawns, the dog house and around ornamental plantings. Treat with Talstar Pro during late-April or May. Severe infestations may require an additional treatment in June. 

Chiggers prefer feeding locations on people where clothes fit tightly over the skin. Most often they will crawl into waistlines, tops of socks or areas where the flesh is thin or wrinkled like ankles, armpits, behind the knees, in front of the elbows or the groin. That itching and scratching you did as a kid is all starting to ***image1***come back to you, isn't it?

Here's something to remember. Chiggers do not burrow into the skin. They don't even suck blood, but they do pierce the skin and inject a secretion containing digestive enzymes. These enzymes break down skin cells that the chigger ingests. After about four days the chigger larva is fully fed and drops from the host. Your souvenir of the chigger visit is a red welt with a white, hard central area on the skin that itches severely and may later develop into dermatitis.

By the way, applying household chemicals such as nail polish to red bumps on your skin is not a cure for chigger bites. By the time your severe itching problem sets in, the chigger is long gone.  A better method of treating chigger bites is dab a swap of ammonia on the bite.

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