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Old 05-01-2019, 04:47 PM
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Are Chiggers a miserable nuisance everywhere?


Looked at some land yesterday evening and walked through some knee high grass. Chiggers jumped all over my legs.

It's not the first time. I soaked the clothes & socks in a weak bleach solution and showered extra well.

Treating the bites & rash with Chigarid.

Are Chiggers everywhere in North America & Europe?

Last edited by aceplace57; 05-01-2019 at 04:50 PM.
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Old 05-01-2019, 04:50 PM
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Not around here in upstate NY, and I've never heard talk of them in New England or along the East coast.
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Old 05-01-2019, 04:51 PM
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Plenty of them here a couple hundred miles north of you.

And oak mites.
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Old 05-01-2019, 04:52 PM
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They are mostly a problem in the southeast and lower midwest. I never encountered them in Colorado, California, Oregon or other parts of the west, nor in New York or the rest of the northeast.
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Old 05-01-2019, 05:03 PM
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Not especially in Europe that I know of - not in the UK anyway. We do have some nasty tics that can give you Lymes Disease

Last edited by bob++; 05-01-2019 at 05:04 PM.
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Old 05-01-2019, 05:10 PM
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I've never experienced them or even heard of them in California. I had to look up the word to find out what chiggers are, although I vaguely remember hearing about them in my youth in Chicago.

I don't really want to know more about this, which I discovered in my research:
Quote:
Originally Posted by WebMD
If you're a guy and you get a chigger bite in your groin area, you could get a condition known as "summer penile syndrome."
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Old 05-01-2019, 05:17 PM
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My grandmother always called the really pretty Asclepias tuberosa "chigger weed" and warned me to stay away from it. I was also once warned while collecting Spanish Moss that it was full of chiggers. But I've never actually encountered them, in either plant or anywhere else.
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Old 05-01-2019, 05:33 PM
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They are horrible in S. Arkansas. Mr.Wrekker keeps my dog walking trails around the place mowed so I don't encounter them. I still put bug juice on my ankles everytime I go out in the spring and summer. I'm not sure if they are the same but we also have red-bugs that bite like crazy. Witch Hazel will kill them on your skin. But, beware! it burns the bites like fire.
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Old 05-01-2019, 05:43 PM
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Red bugs and chiggers are the same thing.

Itch like crazy afterwards.
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Old 05-01-2019, 05:44 PM
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I've never (knowingly) encountered chiggers in the upper Midwest, though I've heard of them.

Last edited by kenobi 65; 05-01-2019 at 05:44 PM.
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Old 05-01-2019, 05:49 PM
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Photo. They are tiny.
https://boyslife.org/outdoors/wilder...chigger-bites/
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Old 05-01-2019, 06:01 PM
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Got three bites on my scrotum when I peed off the side of the freeway in tall grass when fleeing Hurricane Andrew. I was probably 7. Absolutely miserable.

Never heard anyone talk about red bugs in California, and natives here tend to not even know what they are.
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Old 05-01-2019, 06:02 PM
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Old 05-01-2019, 06:45 PM
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Yes we have Niguas here in South Carolina, you must ever be moving, or they will go up on your feet. Now at this time of year where I live you cannot stand still for a moment, but your feet will be strewn with them. This is hard for me now, cause my toe is broken, and I wear no shoes. That is not the worst though; the worst is when you camp, or sleep in the woods; then there is no haven, and they will do the worst violence to you, your legs, feet, and everywhere else you would rather they not; and they will make great red stings all on your body, and they will ache and itch, and you will be miserable.
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Old 05-01-2019, 07:14 PM
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They don't occur west of the Rockies, apparently.
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Old 05-01-2019, 07:18 PM
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They remind me of fleas.
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Old 05-01-2019, 07:27 PM
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They're hardly unknown here is Nebraska but I wouldn't say they're common. I might get one or two a year.

I don't know the truth of the situation but I'm told we're too dry for their ideal environment.
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Old 05-01-2019, 07:30 PM
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Chiggers aren't just a rural problem. The empty lot I looked at yesterday is in a subdivision. I wasn't expecting to be someone's lunch.

I'm sure the lot hasn't been mowed since last fall. We've had a lot of rain and the grass is pretty high.

Last edited by aceplace57; 05-01-2019 at 07:33 PM.
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Old 05-01-2019, 07:30 PM
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I grew up in Western Washington (west side of the Puget Sound). We definitely have them. In summertime, you do not roll around in the grass in swim trunks and no shirt or you will be itching all over. In fact I psychosomatically itch as I type this, recalling the feeling as a child.

So yes, they’re up here. And they do remind me of fleas, the way they itch like crazy.

ETA: According to the distribution map on Wikipedia they are practically everywhere in the world, including all of the US.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trombiculidae

Last edited by Atamasama; 05-01-2019 at 07:33 PM.
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Old 05-01-2019, 07:31 PM
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Never heard of them until I started posting on these boards.

Probably don't survive -40.
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Old 05-01-2019, 07:32 PM
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In Missouri, at least 50 years ago, they were a serious problem in the summer. Never could see the little buggers, but sure felt them.

But 500 miles north, in Wisconsin, they didn't exist. Perhaps they got stopped by troopers at the state line.
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Old 05-01-2019, 07:56 PM
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None in Western Washington that I'm aware of. We don't have much of a mosquito problem either. (which is very important, as they drive me nuts)
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Old 05-01-2019, 07:56 PM
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In Missouri, at least 50 years ago, they were a serious problem in the summer. Never could see the little buggers, but sure felt them.
At least as far north as St. Louis, they still are.
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Old 05-01-2019, 08:15 PM
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Those look like the mites we see around here in the summer. But ours don't bite.
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Old 05-01-2019, 08:27 PM
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They don't hop like fleas. They don't care if it's a hairy spot, just as long as its got blood.
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Old 05-01-2019, 08:44 PM
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In Missouri, at least 50 years ago, they were a serious problem in the summer. Never could see the little buggers, but sure felt them.

But 500 miles north, in Wisconsin, they didn't exist. Perhaps they got stopped by troopers at the state line.
Chiggers laugh at chemical repellents.

Mirrored sunglasses, on the other hand.....
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Old 05-01-2019, 08:46 PM
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Yes we have Niguas here in South Carolina, you must ever be moving, or they will go up on your feet. Now at this time of year where I live you cannot stand still for a moment, but your feet will be strewn with them. This is hard for me now, cause my toe is broken, and I wear no shoes. That is not the worst though; the worst is when you camp, or sleep in the woods; then there is no haven, and they will do the worst violence to you, your legs, feet, and everywhere else you would rather they not; and they will make great red stings all on your body, and they will ache and itch, and you will be miserable.
I have nothing to add about chiggers at this time; I just wanted to call out how down home and bucolic your voice and syntax are in this post. I found it a pleasure to read, and I hope to encounter more of your posts in the future.

Cheers!
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Old 05-01-2019, 08:46 PM
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They exist in Minnesota, but not in great numbers. I gather our shorter summer has a lot to do with it.
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Old 05-01-2019, 08:48 PM
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I drink a lot of whiskey during chiggers season here in Florida, to keep my blood alcohol level up.

As you know, chiggers can't be boozers.

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  #30  
Old 05-01-2019, 09:05 PM
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Okay, NOW I have something to say about chiggers. In Bailey White's charming Quite a Year For Plums, she sets a scene with a group of close friends who participate in a sort of "writer's workshop," where they take turns submitting their current projects and critiquing the submissions. If you're familiar with Bailey White's work at all, it will come as no surprise to learn that most of these ladies know what's what, when it comes to the everyday realities of life in their mostly-rural part of the world.

Anyway, one of the women is reading aloud from what she believes to be a steamy scene in a romance novel she's trying her hand at (Love Among the Pussywillows, or some such). When she gets to the moment when Fabio (come on, you know she's envisioning Fabio for the cover on the paperback) takes Charlotte (or Blanche, or Natalie Wood in Splendor in the Grass) in his arms and lowers her gently to the Spanish moss that might have been placed there for just such a moment of passion, the ladies stop the budding authoress in her tracks, and one of them yells out "Chiggers!"

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Old 05-01-2019, 09:06 PM
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I drink a lot of whiskey during chiggers season here in Florida, to keep my blood alcohol level up.

As you know, chiggers can't be boozers.

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Old 05-01-2019, 09:24 PM
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As a kid in Southern Maryland my friends and I would get infested with chiggers a couple of times each summer. My grandfather would have us strip down and then bathe and scrub us with kerosene in an old-fashion wash tub to get rid of them.
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Old 05-01-2019, 10:10 PM
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None in Western Washington that I'm aware of. We don't have much of a mosquito problem either. (which is very important, as they drive me nuts)
Where do you live?!

Iím from Kitsap County, growing up we had plenty of both.

Iím now in King County (Auburn) and I canít speak for chiggers, since I donít roll around shirtless on grass like I did as a kid. But leave standing water for long, youíll have more than your share of mosquitoes.
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Old 05-01-2019, 10:56 PM
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I'm in Chicago, and only know of chiggers from some text adventure game on the C64 I played back in the late 80s or early 90s. It seems like they do exist here, but I've never heard anyone growing up refer to "chiggers." And, still, being here in Chicago, I don't hear anyone refer to "chiggers," except for my mother-in-law and wife when playfully talking to the kids. Now, they grew up in Buffalo and Chippewa Falls, so north of me here in Chicago, but I really haven't heard the term here in the Chicagoland area.
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Old 05-01-2019, 11:06 PM
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Where do you live?!

Iím from Kitsap County, growing up we had plenty of both.

Iím now in King County (Auburn) and I canít speak for chiggers, since I donít roll around shirtless on grass like I did as a kid. But leave standing water for long, youíll have more than your share of mosquitoes.
I've lived in North Seattle and now in Kitsap. I see maybe one mosquito a year.
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Old 05-01-2019, 11:13 PM
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They are, in fact, a miserable nuisance everywhere that they exist, yes.
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Old 05-01-2019, 11:16 PM
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Not around here in upstate NY, and I've never heard talk of them in New England or along the East coast.
Maybe not in the capital region. But go a hundred miles north and there are black flies, which are just as bad as chiggers.

What are the four seasons in the Adirondacks? Winter, Slush, Black Flies, and Winter's Coming.
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Old 05-01-2019, 11:31 PM
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When I was growing up, our extended family would get together for Labor Day weekend at my grandparents' house in central Texas. My dad and granddad owned a small spread of land (~60 acres) not far from there, and we'd all head out there for the opening day of dove season. The place was crawling with chiggers. If you walked through those fields unprotected in the summer, you could count on getting dozens of chigger bites on your legs and groin area.

So Dad kept some powdered sulfur in an old tube sock and we would bang it around on our legs and torso to dust ourselves with the sulfur before heading into the fields. This seemed to help ward off the chiggers, but I'd usually still end up with a few bites. A home remedy we had for that was to paint over a chigger bite with nail polish. This would supposedly kill/suffocate the chigger and cut short the period of itchiness. Yes, I've applied nail polish to my balls. And if you've already been scratching, it stings!

Last edited by Tangent; 05-01-2019 at 11:33 PM.
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Old 05-02-2019, 12:02 AM
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Never heard of them until I started posting on these boards.

Probably don't survive -40.
The only time I ever encountered the word "chigger" growing up in Saskatchewan was in the text adventure video game "Adventureland". I had to look it up in the dictionary.

EDIT: Same as pulykamell, apparently.

Last edited by hogarth; 05-02-2019 at 12:04 AM.
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Old 05-02-2019, 12:05 AM
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  #41  
Old 05-02-2019, 12:40 AM
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I've lived in North Seattle and now in Kitsap. I see maybe one mosquito a year.
I wish I had whatever sorcery you possess.
  #42  
Old 05-02-2019, 04:02 AM
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Huh, so supposedly we do get them in the UK. I've seen what looks very much like the picture, and was told they were 'harvest mites', which is supposedly the common name for the local species, but I was never aware they bit humans, despite having been the sort of kid that would spend all day playing outside. Looks like they're here, but not a problem.

Ya learn something new every day.
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Old 05-02-2019, 06:50 AM
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I grew up in Manitoba, and my father volunteered to help out with the Envirothon, an environmental-science tournament for high-school students. One year he went with the winning Manitoban team to the North American championships in Mississippi. He got a truly nasty set of chigger bites that took a good 4–6 months to fully subside.

Also, several of the students discovered why poison ivy is actually called an "ivy". In Manitoba, because of the colder climate, poison ivy is really only a ground cover. So the students didn't recognize those three-leaved climbing vines on the tree they were leaning against.

All in all, it was one of the less positive trips my father made with that group.

Last edited by MikeS; 05-02-2019 at 06:51 AM.
  #44  
Old 05-02-2019, 06:53 AM
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The only time I ever encountered the word "chigger" growing up in Saskatchewan was in the text adventure video game "Adventureland". I had to look it up in the dictionary.

EDIT: Same as pulykamell, apparently.
YES!!! That was exactly the game! I also remember learning the word "doubloons" from Pirate's Cove/Pirate Adventure.
  #45  
Old 05-02-2019, 07:01 AM
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Living up north has its advantages. I'm hoping that, between the -60 degree polar blasts and the torrential flooding rains that we've had, the insect population is going to be at a minimum this summer.

When in the Dallas area last week, I was out back sunning myself when I noticed a large hovering creature by the Rose bush on the other side of the pool. I asked my uncle, "Oooh, is that a hummingbird?" (They have quite a few beautiful species down there.)

He answered dryly, "No, that's a wasp."

  #46  
Old 05-02-2019, 07:33 AM
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coastal texas harbors these little menaces. a sure way to get rid of them is to go into the ocean or take a salty bath. the salt water kills them. as mentioned above, nail polish works to but takes a little longer.
  #47  
Old 05-02-2019, 08:01 AM
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Just because a couple of people have hinted at it, it's a myth that chiggers bore into your skin and that covering with nail polish kills them.
  #48  
Old 05-02-2019, 08:16 AM
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I was also once warned while collecting Spanish Moss that it was full of chiggers. But I've never actually encountered them, in either plant or anywhere else.
In the very early 20th century American automobile manufacturers used Spanish moss as stuffing for their car seats. Much hilarity ensued.

Nice catch, kaylasdad99. So tempting to feed them, isn't it?


ETA: Oh yeah, been in Colorado for 20 years and have encountered exactly zero chiggers. Haven't even seen any ticks although I know they're out there. And have never had a problem with fleas here. I think it's too dry, or maybe the winters too cold, for the little bastards to really flourish. Nail polish does work on ticks, tho.

Last edited by Inigo Montoya; 05-02-2019 at 08:20 AM.
  #49  
Old 05-02-2019, 08:32 AM
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One thing that's not a problem in the mountains of Colorado are bugs.
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Old 05-02-2019, 08:34 AM
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... it's a myth that chiggers bore into your skin and that covering with nail polish kills them.
Yes.

They don't burrow into you. Instead, they inject digestive enzymes that create a small tube (known as a stylostome), from which they suck your (already partially digested) flesh.
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