Thursday, September 5, 2013

Completely Non-Farmish Rambling, Part 1

Dante obviously never had a chigger bite otherwise he would have most certainly had a giant chigger guarding one of the Circles of Hell.

I currently have one (a chigger bite, not a copy of "Inferno") located between my pinky toe and second to last toe.  It is absolute hell.  Really.  I've considered everything from dousing it with napalm to lopping my toe off with my pruning shears.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to provide to some information and clear up some overly-popular misconceptions about chiggers and their bites.

1) The scientific term for a chigger is Trombiculidae.  They are a teeny-tiny (that's a technical term also, btw) mite that is found throughout the world in temperate regions and in the US are found mostly in the south, southeast and Midwest.

2) The chigger goes through four stages in it's life cycle; egg, larva, nymph and adult.  The larval stage is the one we're most concerned about and which we totally and undeniably despise with every ounce of our being.  The larva live in low, damp vegetation like your lawn, then find a tasty piece of your flesh (usually in the cracks between your digits or around tight-fitting clothing like your socks or the elastic around your skivvies, damn them), inject digestive enzymes into their chosen dining area, then digest the liquid goo that was once a piece of your skin.

Now here is the most important part, and the part that I oh so badly want to print up on a bunch of pamphlets and give to the spouters of Chigger-Mis-Information:

When you start to itch from a chigger bite, the chigger is most likely already GONE.  Being satisfied and moved on to become a nymph, scratched off by your fingernails or otherwise just up and left.  The chigger did NOT bury itself into your flesh.  It did NOT lay eggs under your skin.  That little red dot is not an egg, but a scar from the little drinking cup the chigger had made of your flesh.

Painting red nail polish over the chigger bit will not kill it as it is already long gone and on it's way to producing more bastardchiggers. Why red nail polish?  I have no idea, but I've heard people here swear that it has to be red.  Can you imagine somebody painting red nail polish all over their bodies?

Taking a bath in a solution of Clorox bleach will not kill the chiggers.  Because as I've mentioned above, when you start itching, the chiggers are more than likely gone already.  And exactly how much Clorox (yes, I've been told it has to be Clorox, none of that cheap Walmart bleach) does one dump into their bathwater?  And more importantly, wouldn't one be really, really concerned about submerging one's bare-neekid body with obviously tender and delicate parts into a vat filled with questionable amounts of sodium hypochlorite?

Now that I've ripped on the whole bleach "remedy", I will say this.  Yes, I've dabbed bleach on one or two of them.  And the only thing it does is replace the itching with a "holyshitthatburns" feeling.  For a short while.  Then you're back to the itching.

There are products out there that claim to relieve the hell-that-is-a-chigger-bite, this being one of them:
Liar.  Bit, fat, stinky liar.
And I even have that exact jar in our medicine cabinet.  But only to give to my friends visiting from the city just so they shut up about it.  Because in my opinion, nothing releives a chigger bite.

So there, my dear readers, is the honest-to-goodness truth about Chiggers.

You're welcome.


  1. I apologize for laughing at this post. I am an ignorant Northerner who has never had the 'pleasure' of chigger contact. This is also why you will n.e.v.e.r. see me down there. It has nothing to do with the machine guns attached to your barbed wire gate and the foaming dogs... xxx

  2. All I can say is that you are right about the little devils and nothing but anti itch medicine is worth using and it really just has to heal. They do seem to be in low damp areas, nice green grass that you would like to lay down in. But now you have ruined all the little fun that was associated with chiggers, now that you have explained everything and word gets out that they are already gone, I can't even help the wife check for chiggers anymore. There are still ticks though.

  3. Carolyn,

    You poor thing you, damn chiggers........why couldn't they've founds someone else to chew on??

    I've hear liquid bluing helps, never used it before. I just picked up a bottle to try it with mosquito bites and whiting my towels.

  4. While I would not recommend actually cutting parts of your body off in my opinion you are actually on the right track. Since during most of the main chigger season I am walking around in their main areas tending my bees with plenty of restrictive clothing on I know a bit about chiggers.

    My solution is scratch em until they bleed and then scratch em some more. The bleeding actually removes the secreted stuff that causes the itching and I would rather put up with the pain of the aftermath of scratching more than the incredible itching. My ankles and lower calves, top of my feet are one big scab until about mid July.

    Yes the scabs and bleeding is painful but oh my god it feels so good to scratch those areas until the bleed out. It's kinda like dating an exotic dancer named Nicole. You know you will pay for it later but ya just don't care.

    Also yes introducing Northerners to chiggers is not only very satisfying on a personal level but gives them a horror story they can tell their grand children. Linda like dating a dancer named Nicole.

  5. Having lived in Kansas as a youngster, I can honestly say that I.DO.NOT.MISS.CHIGGERS.ONE.TINY.LITTLE.BIT!!! I'm not sure I would try PioneerPreppy's antidote though...

  6. Hahahaha, As a child in the South, we used CLEAR fingernail polish. Can't honestly say it ever provided relief. I still cringe when I see people walk through grass barefooted. Never mind sitting down on the grass in shorts. Can't help it. Just looking makes me itch.

  7. Dab rubbing alcohol on the bite. Repeat if it still itches.

  8. and now i know...sorry about that bite, baby!

  9. We don't have chiggers up here near the tundra (oh, please, please, please, let that be true!), but then we never used to have ticks either until our winters started being so warm that those blasted buggers found they could survive here. However, we certainly do have our share of biting bugs including the crused black flies whose bite feels like a red hot needle stuck into your skin, causes a welt that can itch for two weeks (ask me how I know) and drive you toward the brink of drinking yourself into oblivion. From your above (very humorous) essay, though, I think I'll keep the black flies instead of trading them in for chiggers.

  10. I remember my dad getting chiggers all over his legs after gooseberry picking. Mom dabbed RED nail polish all over him. He looked so festive. Mom and I never got them but we didn't bundle up like Dad did, they do love to go anywhere where there is a tight fit. Good luck with finding some relief.