A chigger attack can leave you miserable. Itching, burning and the unrelenting urge to scratch. What works and what doesn’t? These hard to see pests create incredibly itchy bites! A common misconception is that the insect actually burrows itself into skin, but this is not true. A chigger, which is a type of mite, (Trombicula alfreddugesi) injects a destructive enzyme into the skin. The larval stage of the mite, creates a feeding tube to feast on the dead tissue. They tend to aim for thinner areas of skin so often bites occur on ankles, groin area, and behind the knees. Since the itching persists for days if not treated, many people have come up with home remedies for treating these nasty bites. We have compiled a list of helpful treatments for you to try if you ever stumble unfortunately upon these hungry monsters.
• Cortisone cream
• Calamine lotion
• baking soda paste to calm the itch
• essential oils such as lavender, lemongrass, sage or thyme, tea tree oil
• Witch Hazel
• Coconut oil
The following are frequently suggested methods based on the myth that the chiggers burrow into your skin, however, usually once the affected areas has been scratched the chiggers have been disturbed and are no longer attached to the skin. Although, if you suspect they are still on you these methods could help.
• Clear nail polish
• smothering them in any oily substance
Information source: medicinenet.com
How do you protect yourself from these vicious insects? There are some steps you can take when in the environment where chiggers like to hang out. One this is to protect your skin with clothing. If you aren’t afraid to make your own fashion statement, wear your socks pulled up over the cuffs of your pants. When handling hay or pulling weeds, wear long sleeves and gloves. The best prevention method to getting chigger bites is to not let them get on your skin in the first place.
Commercial insect repellants will have some effect on repelling chiggers but many do not want the chemicals on their skin. I know I am hesitant to put the chemicals on me! Natural remedies for a chigger attack may offer some relief, too. My favorite method is to use a blend of essential oils, such as lemon eucalyptus oil, around 50 drops, mixed into 4 ounces of witch hazel.
Where do you commonly suffer a chigger attack?
The insect is a larval/nymph stage of a mite and seems to be happy living in tall grasses, shaded soil, such as overgrown gardens, and moist areas. Many people commonly suffer from a chigger attack while berry picking in the spring. Where do you come in contact with chiggers? Did you know that chiggers are not common at all in some states? They are common in the southern states, the southeast, and the Midwest. The western and north western states, along with the upper New England states have very low incidence. More information on a chigger attack can be found here.
Looking for more information on mixing your own bug bite relief spray or a natural bug repellent?
From the Rural Economist Homemade Insect Repellents
From the 104 Homestead Natural Insect Repellents
From The Herbal Academy of New England Crafting a Natural Bug Repellent with Essential Oils
From Spring Mountain Living Squito Away Spray