July 3, 2012

Chigger attacks

Chiggers,  tiny mites, plague all who venture outdoors this summer. Even when I stay on our neighborhood trails and wear long pants, I end up with chigger bites that itch for days and leave a nasty red mark for weeks. These critters, as well as tics, are uncanny in finding the most unmentionable places on your body. Frisky chiggers can travel from your shoe to your waistband in only 15 minutes

Contrary to popular belief, chiggers do not suck blood or burrow under the skin. So put that nail polish away. They eat skin cells that they dissolve with digestive enzymes.

Stinky stuff keeps chiggers away as well as DEET. Some Gulf Coast Native Americans slathered themselves with alligator grease! If you are short on that in your medicine cabinet, a smelly alternative repellent (that I remember from Girl Scout days) is sulphur powder (available at Jamestown Feed & Seed). Just put some in an old sock and shake it around your ankles before going outside. Then store that sock in a plastic bag, or maybe two. It's smelly stuff, but it works.

The bag says that it will kill chiggers in your lawn too. Or maybe they just move to your neighbor's fresher-smelling yard!