"The truth about chiggers
Since so many people I run into tell me terrible tales of chigger bites, I
thought I'd share the truth about chiggers.
Chiggers are the larvae of the harvest mite. They do not burrow into your
They pierce the skin and inject a fluid that liquifies your tissues. Then they
suck you up! They might do this several times before dropping off your
the time you feel the itch, the chigger is long gone.
The place that was liquified begins to go through necrosis, or death. Death is
itchy business, causing lots of histamine to be released.
<> <> <> What Not To Do <> <> <>
Never ever ever apply nail polish to a chigger bite. All that does is place
benzene, a component of most nail polishes, directly into your bloodstream.
Since benzene is a carcinogen, that's not a good idea. Nail polish, like most
chigger remedies, is a counter irritant. It simply takes your attention away
from the itch. Many are rough on the skin, causing the bite to linger.
<> <> <> What To Do <> <> <>
Anti-itch potions with antihistamines like Benadryl work best. But the most
definitive way to make the itch go away is to heal the skin from the necrosis.
Nuture your bites with calamine lotion (clay is soothing), aloe vera or skin
creams with healing substances like comfrey. Sulfur also makes chigger bites
<> <> <> How to Prevent Chigger Bites <> <> <>
Chiggers hate sulfur. So before heading out into nature, dust yourself
thoroughly, very thoroughly, with sulfur powder. Focus on your feet,
and waistband. Dusting sulfur is sold in most garden stores. The easy way to
apply it is to pour some in an old sock and whap yourself with it. But most
conventional and natural insect repellents will deter chiggers -- if they are
applied very thickly and reapplied often (unless is contains DEET, which
only be applied once every 8 hours).
Chiggers like thick weeds in shady areas with plenty of moisture. So
creekbottoms are chigger breeding factories. Avoid them or move through them
It takes a few hours for chiggers to get around to biting you. Take a
shower (if you can) right after a hike, or wipe yourself down thoroughly.
on areas where the skin is folded, like armpits and crotches, or where your
clothes bind firmly, like waistbands and around shoes. Sulfur soap is
wash your clothes and brush off your shoes vigorously."