Summer time is the time to enjoy the great outdoors; roll on the grass, swim with the fish and get that enchanting skin tan. However, it’s not always merry, especially when it comes to these pesky red bugs called Chiggers. Chiggers are a menace during the summer and they tend to spoil the fun. These tiny red bugs are said to guard the lush grass and meadows. They bite human hosts leaving small and unbearable itchy wounds in the most sensitive areas.
A chigger’s bite may cause extreme irritation compared to any other critter. Nonetheless, contrary to popular beliefs, these almost microscopic bugs do not burrow under the skin and neither do they suck blood. Chiggers are widespread all over the world, but are mostly common in the Midwest and Southeast since they prevail in humid weather amidst thick vegetation. As annoying as chiggers may be, they cause no harm to crops.
During World War II, some servicemen had been bitten by tropical Asian chiggers and they never realized this until they became ill with scrub typhus, which causes headaches, swollen lymph glands and fever. However, research shows that chigger species found in North America don’t spread diseases. These mites were created to feed on birds and reptiles. Therefore, human beings are just accidental victims. Chiggers may cause no harm to the environment, but they are much safer in the lab than around your kid’s play area and swing.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to get rid of chiggers or safeguard yourself from their bite. Here are a few:
Avoid shady areas
Keep away from shady areas of brush and tall grass by frequently mowing your lawn and your kids play areas. Chiggers cannot hide well in short grass, especially at midday when there is too much
sunlight. Other than mowing your lawn, don’t forget to prune your bushes, trees, as well as other shrubs.
Chiggers tend to avoid stinky stuff. This has been proven by the Gulf Coast residents who smeared themselves with alligator grease to keep the chiggers off. Today at pharmacies, one can obtain repellants containing Sulphur or DEET. All you do is apply it to your skin or rub it on your socks and the chiggers will keep away.
It’s recommended by experts that you dress up in tall boots and long sleeves and tuck your pants into your socks when going into chigger infested areas. Immediately after returning, ensure to wash your clothes and take a shower. Some chiggers go around for hours looking for a place to feed. Washing your clothes and taking a shower will wash them off. If the weather is too hot to dress up, stop after every thirty minutes and vigorously rub your skin including the tender soft spots that chiggers love such as your underarms and waistband. Chiggers are easy to brush off, but since they are too minute to prod a tickle, it is crucial for one to rub themselves down before the itching starts.
Stop chigger hosts from coming to your yard
Favorite host for chiggers are reptiles and small mammals. Therefore, discouraging these animals from residing on your compound will automatically reduce chigger infestation, since the chiggers will likely follow their food source. Always ensure your trash can is shut. A fence around your compound may discourage these animals from hanging around your yard.
Sprinkling organic pesticides
In any event there’s a severe infestation of chiggers within your compound, you can use natural organic pesticides to ward off chiggers and other lawn pests. During application, focus more on the briars, weeds, and tall grass.
After being bitten by a chigger, they tend to leave their signature behind in the form of bright red bumps – usually lasting as long as two to three weeks. The use of hydrocortisone creams, cool and antihistamines help relieve the itching. A tropical antihistamine called Benadryl comes in a variety of itch stick, spray, cream, and gel. Other home remedies such as applying fingernail polish help remind the individual not to scratch but it does not cure the itch.
How Do Chiggers Bite Humans?
Humans encounter chiggers through contact with vegetation. They’re able to latch themselves to human apparels, whether via sleeves, pants cuffs and collars. In search of the ultimate feeding area, they move along the skin until they reach their destination. It’s widely expressed that chiggers burrow into the human skin; however, that’s a mere myth. After inserting their feeding elements into the skin, chiggers have the capability of causing damage to the host’s tissues. The skin then hardens, resulting in what is called stylostome. Once the tissue of the host is destroyed, chigger larvae are then unleashed to feed on the infected area. Once left undisturbed, chiggers are able to feed through the damaged tissues for days.
The entire feeding structure of a chigger’s mouth is delicate; as such, they’re better able penetrating wrinkled or thin areas of the skin. When bitten by chiggers, it’s mostly around the crotch, behind the knees, groin and even the armpits. The location of chigger bites differs from mosquitoes. Mosquitoes tend to bite exposed areas, while chiggers bite those that are covert.