Mr. and Mrs. Family Trivium went their whole lives, until last summer, without having been bitten by chiggers. We’d heard about them, but had never experienced them. Last July, we traveled to a family wedding and were introduced to the experience. We thought “oh, they must be more prevalent in other parts of the country.” Then, over the weekend, Mr. Family Trivium developed the tell-tale itching and handful of tiny red bumps on his ankles.
According to eMedicineHealth.com, chiggers are a juvenile form of a type of mite and they can be found in all parts of the world, preferring moist areas. It is a myth that they burrow into the skin and stay there. When a chigger inserts its mouth parts into the skin, an enzyme kills the tissue, which hardens into a “feeding tube,” known as a sylostome. Undisturbed, chiggers can feed through these tubes for several days, but they do not actually burrow into the skin.
Mr. Family Trivium did a couple of unusual things over the weekend. He mowed the lawn wearing shorts – usually, he wears long pants, though he does plenty of other yard and outdoor housework wearing shorts. He also worked most of the day Saturday, wearing shorts, at a garage sale for one of the kid’s youth organizations – he didn’t even think to use bug repellent. Regardless of where he picked them up, Mr. Family Trivium learned that we do, indeed, have chiggers in our area. It has been a rainy year, so there are plenty of moist areas to support these pests.
If you’ve been fortunate enough to never have experienced chigger bites, the best way that we know how to describe them is like REALLY itchy mosquito bites that take much longer to heal. We’ve found the best remedy for the itch to be calamine lotion, applied with a cotton swab, a little before dressing for work, after getting home from work, and a little before bedtime.
Have you ever been bitten by chiggers? If you have, what is your favorite remedy? Please let us know in the comments.