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Chiggers, again !

 
allen lumley
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My Wife, Martha and I had an out of season exposure to Chiggers in February and March while Camping in various areas of North Carolina and Florida! That is to say-
she had a bad attack with scores of bites and a bad reaction ! And I was never bitten !

The trip down to North Carolina had us arriving 12 hrs ahead of freezing rain and the temperatures were so nasty cold that our extended family offered us their back
bedroom until we left for Florida, the camping was better with 70dF days and low 40s nights, the red itchy bumps appeared in Fla, but I have not got a clear idea of
the needed contact time !

I am willing to use large amounts of garden sulfur if it will help, and larger amounts of D.E., any help with Winter Camping while avoiding Chiggers will be appreciated,

Any advice for treatment options beyond nail polish and cortisol creams will also be very useful, another adventure like the last will probably change our future plans !
we are hoping for a 4-5 month winter break and an early arrival back in the north for the maple sap run !

For the Good of the crafts ! Big AL !
 
Amedean Messan
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The first time I ever heard of chiggers was when I was in the Army (Fort Bragg North Carolina). I was in the field sitting among the wilderness with my rifle as is the way of an Infantryman and I noticed a tiny red insect the size of a ball point pen tip crawling on my wrist. I said to my fellow comrade sitting beside me how interesting this bright red little speck crawling me was and he replied very candidly "thats a fuckin chigger, those little mother fuckers will drink your blood"! Ah yes, he was very informative in my youth and inexperience. All round good guy to have your back, unfortunately he has passed like many good people I have known (his photo below).

 
Troy Rhodes
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Chiggers SUCK!


And they are stealthy.

Practically speaking, they are (almost) invisible to the human eye. Here's demo:

http://www.beaufortusa.com/chiggers_red_bugs.htm



They like the long damp grass. They don't like short dry grass in sunny areas. Deet is pretty effective.

Don't sit on the ground, and for sure don't lay down on the ground.

Long pants, tucked into socks and wearing tall rubber boots helps some.

Once they have done their devilry, there is not much you can do except cortisone and/or aloe/ and/or comfrey to soothe the itch. By the time it starts itching, the bugger is long gone. It's a myth they they (or their head) is still in there. You are reacting to their flesh dissolving saliva.


These folks pretty much cover all the bases:

http://www.wikihow.com/Get-Rid-of-Chiggers


 
Amedean Messan
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Location: Melbourne FL, USA - Pine and Palmetto Flatland, Sandy and Acidic
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http://www.beaufortusa.com/chiggers_red_bugs.htm wrote:The burning itch can be unbearable and keep even the most sound of sleepers awake scratching all night long. The itch can last for 3-4 days and scratching the area will only make matters worse. A popular over the counter treatment, "Chigger Rid" may help, but more popular treatments are - "as hot as you can stand" shower water on the area every 4-5 hours or to flood area with vinegar. Treatment should begin as soon as the itch begins, avoid scratching and wear loose or no clothing around the affected area. Do not squeeze the "pimple type sores", as the chigger is no longer present. Wash immediately after being in chigger infested areas.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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If you are in known chigger areas, tucked pant legs (into socks) helps. My wife and I make it a habit to wash immediately after we get in from working the farm. This one thing (washing) has kept our chigger misery way down from prior to adopting the routine of washing once we are through working. We also use a menthol ointment to relieve the itching of any bites we incur, it really works better than any thing else we have tried. Oh, I forgot to mention, our farm this year has been chigger central it seems. In the spring of this year, I had over 100 bites on one foot alone (wife decided to count them up since I did not have one square inch of skin from tip of big toe to ankle with out at least one bite).
 
allen lumley
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Gee folks, thanks for all the good news, I'm going to have to block my wife from this site if i want to be able to go where the weather suits my clothes this winter !

" Outside of THAT, Mrs Lincoln,'' ''How did you like the play ?" seriously about what I expected, garden sulfur may or may not have made a difference for me in the past!

It's hard to prove a negative ! Anyway thanks again we will be a little better prepared ! For the Craft! Big AL
 
allen lumley
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And it is that time again : Last year my wife got it really really bad, but we are still going to try it again !

Any one got any new suggestions ? Big AL
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Hi Big Al, I have come across a good preventive measure for chiggers, ticks and fleas which was used by the ancestors. The plant is called Beauty Bush, the leaves are a very effective shield against bites, just take a few leaves from a beauty bush and crush in the hand, rub them over the areas you wish to protect from bites. The aromatic oils in this plant are very effective in keeping chiggers, ticks and even fleas from getting on the treated areas of the skin. I have not tried using this on clothing but I can't see any reason it would not work when rubbed on clothing. I planted two bushes last year and I plan to add some more bushes this spring. Eventually I will have beauty bushes spread around the farm so that no matter where I am, relief is just a few steps away.
 
Fred Tyler
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"Have you tried rubbing?" That was a friend's response after i had bad chigger attacks a couple of years in a row after spending parts of the summer in the south. I guess the reason washing after you come in helps, is that it kills the chiggers that may be on your skin but not yet attached. Washing definitely helps, but there's only so much this can do if you are spending all day outside. By the time you get inside, many chiggers have already embedded their feeding tubes into you. He suggested i stop what i was doing every 30 minutes to an hour. Vigorously rub your hands over your skin. Focus on exposed areas of legs, lower torso, and especially under your waistband. That's were i was getting bites, but if you are getting them elsewhere, rub wherever that is. Chiggers are small and fragile and it doesn't take much to kill them. I didn't always remember to stop and do a rub down, so i still got a few bites, but the count was drastically lower that the previous two years. Has anyone else tried this? How did it work for you?
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Hi Fred, yes rubbing also helps quite a lot. I have found over the years that the more methods you use, the better your chances of not being a meal. By the way, chiggers do not stick around, nor do they burry into your skin. They are hit and run creatures, more like a mosquito in their methods of feeding. The best protection is no exposed skin, however the chigger is another creature that is triggered by CO2, so like the tick, when they detect CO2 in the air they are ready to climb aboard. Also like ticks, chiggers like to find places on the body that are restricted, hence they like feet (inside shoes) waist bands, etc. more than just exposed skin. This is because they want to find a capillary to suck blood from and restrictions of the skin create nice places with these closer to the surface.

I use lemon oil, applied like a skin cream prior to getting dressed, tuck pants into socks.
 
allen lumley
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Bryant Redhawk : Love it ! I had a few problems though ! I ran into a plant from China with the name ''Beauty Bush" . There is another plant which ranges
all through the North American Southeast that seems to also be called ''Beauty Bush'' or Beauty-berry Bush" with most of the written reports favoring the
''Beauty-berry Bush'' Name !

When looking for any object with a physical shape I do a google search like this - " Beauty Bush Pictures'', or ''Beauty bush images'' this was suggested by
our fellow member Jay C. White Cloud Hi Jay ! In this case I seem to have at least two very different plants!

link below :


http://www.floridata.com/ref/c/callicar.cfm


Do you have a few other names for this plant or its Latin name or genus ? Thanks again Big Al!







 
Bryant RedHawk
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Callicarpa Americana, is the bush. This is the USDA page on it USDA, American Beauty Berry Bush I have found three different species here at nurseries and all three seem to have the bug repellant abilities.
 
allen lumley
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Bryant Redhawk : Again thanks, as an old infantryman i have always used garden sulfur, which makes me smell like a Chinese Fire Cracker Factory !

I expect to use D E in and around the tent, and will take all the good advice I can get ! Big AL
 
Joanna Morton
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Location: Tulsa, OK
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As a child, my brother and I would be covered with chigger bites after apple picking. We discovered by chance that swimming in the Gulf of Mexico completely killed the itch and dried up the rash. Perhaps a salt-water soak would also work? The Gulf is evidently between 28-36ppt salinity where we were, to get 30ppt the proportion of salt to water would be 10 TBS per gallon.

As for prevention, eating lots of garlic has been helpful to me. Just make sure everyone eats it! 10 garlic cloves mashed together with a few basil leaves, olive oil, and parmesan (kind-of like an inverted proportion pesto) makes a great spread/dip for crusty bread and keeps all biting creatures away, but can make you offensive to people as well!
 
Joanna Morton
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Location: Tulsa, OK
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Oh, forgot this one! The not-as-fast but still-fairly-effective cure for bites was vaseline mixed with salt. Put enough salt in to make it really grainy. Rubbing this salve on the bites actually scratches at the same time, so it feels good at first! Then it will itch like crazy for about 30 seconds to a minute (don't scratch at that point, you'll rip your skin off) and then it won't itch any more. I don't know why it works, I was told at the time it suffocated the chiggers but I now know that isn't true.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Hi Joanna, Yes, garlic can be good but one must be a little cautious about the quantity of garlic consumed, especially if one is on any blood thinner.

Garlic has, as one of its many benefits, the ability to relax and enlarge blood vessels. This is one of the reasons it is used to treat arterial blockages in herbology.
The odiferous quality you mentioned is what keeps bugs away, along with some of the olofins that are present in really good garlic cloves.
If you were a person that had a medical condition requiring blood thinners then the amount of garlic you mention (10 whole cloves) could, if you were to get a cut, create a heavy bleed situation.
I mention this because a year ago I was on a blood thinner and had this situation occur more than once while clearing out blackberry canes. It is not fun to get what used to be considered a minor scrape and find that you can't get the bleeding under control as quickly as you used to. It can also cause panic in your spouse.

I like the idea of using garlic for keeping bugs away, it works very well in fact. But it may not be the best thing for some folks. Still, it is always good to have many options available for anything. Thanks for your tips, they are great ones.
 
Joanna Morton
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Location: Tulsa, OK
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Hi Bryant! Thanks for pointing that out, definitely something to be wary of.
 
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