Friday, October 03, 2008

Chiggers 101

For those of you not from the South, here's a little Chiggers 101 inspired by Camille's question in the last post.

1. Your out with your loved ones enjoying the sunshine in your own backyard, or maybe having a picnic at a park just living life without a care in the world.

(cue Jaws music here...)

2. At the end of the day and being warmed by the sun, you sigh and take a nice long nap or watch a little tv.(image from here.)

3. But unsuspecting to you, these six-legged boogers have been and will continue to feast on the buffet of your skin!

(Image from here)

4. A day or two goes by and you happen to look in the mirror and you see this!
According to Wikipedia, chiggers are defined as:

"In North America, chigger refers to the harvest mite, the bite of which results in an intensely itchy red bump in humans (who are accidental hosts)....These relatives of ticks are nearly microscopic measuring 0.4 mm and have a chrome-orange hue....The larval mites feed on the skin cells, but not blood, of animals, including humans. After crawling onto their host, they inject digestive enzymes into the skin that break down the skin cells. They do not actually "bite", but instead form a hole in the skin and chew up tiny parts of the inner skin, thus causing severe irritation and swelling. The severe itching is accompanied by red pimple-like bumps or hives and skin rash or lesions on a sun-exposed area....Itching from a chigger bite may not develop until 24-48 hours after the bite, so the victim may not associate the specific exposure with the bite itself."

How's that for nasty?

The common belief by many people here in the South is that these little boogers burrow themselves into your skin and until you apply clear fingernail polish to suffocate them, you won't get rid of the actual chigger itself. But according to Wikipedia, this is actually all a myth.


marye said...

I. Hate. Chiggers.


Camille said...

Oh my. How horrific. I have never heard of such a thing, but now that I know what they are, I will probably develop a huge phobia of them. That's how I roll.

Thanks for the lesson!!

Rachel Sarah said...

After your last post, I did a search about chiggers... sounds like mosquitoes are the better of the two evils. Creepy, nasty critters!

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