Run For Your Lives There’s A Monster In The Yard

In the garden flowers are blooming

Clematis in appalachia


and Blue

Sow true seed sugar snap peas

Peas are Popping


Squash & Cucumber are vining

But amid all the beauty and sustenance is a…..


Better known as a Chigger. For something so small, you can’t even see the little suckers with the naked eye, they sure can cause some intense aggravation.

I’ve always been told Chiggers burrow into you skin-they don’t-nor do they suck blood. Chiggers pierce the skin and inject saliva which liquefies skin cells-then they suck them up for a tasty meal.

Chiggers do burrow into the soil to make it through the winter months. In the spring, after the soil warms, females lay up to 15 eggs a day. The eggs hatch into larvae-the only stage at which Chiggers can bite humans and animals. Just after hatching Chiggers climb up vegetation where they can more easily jump onto a meal passing by. In my yard-that means me!

I’ve also been told Chiggers like elastic and that’s why their bites are often around the waist area or around the tops of your socks. Not true either-they actually just like to go for the most tender places on your body.

The treatment for Chigger bites runs the gamut from hydro-cortisone creams to baby oil. For me the only thing that seems to help-time.

So have you been bit by a Chigger yet this summer? If so what treatment did you use?


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  • Reply
    June 27, 2008 at 11:29 am

    Aww, man, here in eastern KS, we have those monstrocities galore! Chigarid is plentiful in our medicine cab. My husband always gets bitten by chiggers regardless of how well or how much he dresses, but me? I somehow manage to avoid them, even running around barefoot and capri-legged. However, I am the meal of choice for those darn skeeters. They avoid the hubby like the plague!

  • Reply
    Cowboys, Kids, and Sunsets
    June 22, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    Hello, thanks for stoppin by my work/playspace!
    (Shudder) My husband wants to move to Texas! The doctor I work for filled me in on the “chiggers” eeee! and snakes EEEEE! I am afraid!! I love to walk barefoot! I hear that is a no go there! Now I’m off to “check” you out! he! he! While my photos I just took down load on my computer!

  • Reply
    June 22, 2008 at 8:02 am

    I remember sitting in the grass at one of my brothers football games and getting chiggers up and down my legs. The only treatment my parents did was to put clear nail polish on them to kill them. I was always told too that they burrow in your skin. It funny to learn that thats not true!

  • Reply
    June 22, 2008 at 2:49 am

    Your garden looks gorgeous!
    No chiggers here in the west. Please don’t send any ~ LOL!

  • Reply
    June 21, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    Hey Tipper – what are your peas growing on? They look great! Mine have gotten all yucky on the bottom half… I think there’s a mite or something sucking the juices out of the leaves.

  • Reply
    Joan Cannon
    June 21, 2008 at 11:08 am

    I grew up in Manhattan and lived most of my life in CT, but my father was a fly fisherman, and many’s the chigger bite I collected after lounging in the grass while he and my mother cast into streams. My mother’s solution will date me, but she used to cajole the druggist into giving her a little can of ether. Poured onto a cotton ball and applied to the bite, it did the trick. But I’ve tried the nail polish route too. Thus far, in the part of Appalachia where we live, spiders are our problems. The bites itch for weeks and the spots stay even longer.

  • Reply
    June 21, 2008 at 9:57 am

    I have never seen nor been bitten by a chigger but have heard many a tale by my granddad. I love the flowers…beautiful.

  • Reply
    Dina in Jerusalem
    June 21, 2008 at 3:14 am

    Chiggers are bad news! My first bites came when I worked in Arkansas as a Livestock volunteer at Heifer Ranch (see for the good work they do to ease world hunger). Every summer I was in torment from the itching and oozing. A vet there told me that in Africa they use Tiger Balm to soothe the pain of chiggers. But I found plain old TOOTHPASTE to be fast in drying the bites fast.
    When I came home to Israel two years ago my first summer brought dozens and dozens of bites, I think chiggers. I seem to attract bugs and to be allergic to their poison. A doctor prescribed the homeopathic remedy APIS, which is actually bee venom in the form of tiny pills. If you take several weeks of apis BEFORE the summer, it can really help to protect you from getting bites or from over-reacting to them.
    Dabbing vinegar on a bite or sting immediately neutralizes the poison. Then an antiseptic creme like SAVLON (which might only be found in Australia or England).
    Whenever going hiking or even to the city I carry cotton and a little container of vinegar (and an antihistamine pill, in case of wasp sting).
    I guess Americans have Benadryl extra-strength Itch Relief Stick.
    A few drops of any ESSENTIAL OIL e.g. lemon grass oil, on you, clothes, or the bed is a great repellent.
    Hope this helps. Good luck to you, Tipper and friends!

  • Reply
    June 21, 2008 at 12:18 am

    No chigger bites for me yet this summer, but I have memories of them, for sure. The worst cases of chigger bites I ever got was when we’d go blackberry picking. I learned to cover as much of my body as possible when going picking, but in our heat, that wasn’t a whole more preferable than the chigger bites!
    We’d go home, strip our clothes, then take a bath with a little bleach added to the water.

  • Reply
    June 20, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    My daddy used to say that chiggers would jump over him to get to Mama. Or, was it the other way around? Anyway, they definitely know what (whom) they like best!
    Here in the desert where I live now, we don’t have many chiggers — I think it’s too dry for them here. But where Mama lives, oh my!
    When we were kids, we used to put clear fingernail polish where they had bitten. It’s supposed to suffocate the little critters, and if you do it before you scratch, supposedly it will never itch.
    Can’t remember how well it works, but it’s worth a try. The trick is not to scratch while you’re looking for the nail polish.

  • Reply
    Jennifer in OR
    June 20, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    Well, the garden is gorgeous! I adore hydrangeas. The chiggers – just once. On a hike in the Smokey Mountains. I felt it behind my ear just in time and pulled it off before the damage was done. So sorry you have to deal with those – I’ve heard stories from my mom. She & my dad lived in Atlanta when they were first married, and she says that around the woods of Georgia they were terrible.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 20, 2008 at 11:46 am

    I grew up in Texas, hot, hot, hot, and lots of chiggers. My mother ALWAYS put me in a bath with salt as soon as I came in. This killed the chiggers, sometimes before they started itching.
    It worked!

  • Reply
    June 20, 2008 at 11:25 am

    Ugghhh. Thank goodness there aren’t a lot of chiggers in the Northwest. I was bitten by a tick once and that was thoroughly unpleasant.
    I have pea envy. 🙂

  • Reply
    June 20, 2008 at 11:22 am

    The blooms are beautiful.
    Chiggers – not yet thank goodness and I’m like you – Time. I saw a comment about Vicks that I’m going to keep in mind should I need a remedy!

  • Reply
    June 20, 2008 at 11:06 am

    Hey Tipper. I do not miss chiggers. When we lived in North Georgia the chiggers were just awfully. One thing that does help is Vick’s salve. It seems to draw the chigger out or kill it one. But mainly helps with that awful itching.My husband said his grandma used to tied rags soaked in turpentine around their ankles before they set out to pick blackberries to keep the chiggers off.
    It is amazing how many people down in middle Georgia haven’t even heard of chiggers.

  • Reply
    The Texican
    June 20, 2008 at 10:13 am

    I have hosted entire families of chiggers. They can make you hurt yourself trying to keep up with the itch that needs scratching. 🙂

  • Reply
    June 20, 2008 at 10:06 am

    I live in southern Ontario and have never had a chigger bite, thank goodness. They sound like vicious little creatures.
    We have mosquitoes and black flies, which are both very plentiful this year. When I walk Meeko, the black flies are in large swarms in certain areas. They love biting the neck and back of the ears.
    Your garden is certainly doing well. Strawberries and peas will soon be ready at U-pick farms here.
    I hope your itching stops soon. Have a great weekend.

  • Reply
    City Mouse/Country House
    June 20, 2008 at 9:54 am

    Ah, those bloody chiggers. Too cold up in the Adirondacks for ’em, but I used to get them when I was a kid in Florida. My mother used to do the nail polish thing – and when she ran out of clear she would use red. How humiliating!

  • Reply
    June 20, 2008 at 8:37 am

    I hate chiggers. Chiggers suck. I’m looking forward to hearing some treatments!

  • Reply
    June 20, 2008 at 7:28 am

    The only nail polish purchased during the summer was always clear nail polish. Purchased just for the termination of chiggers received from being outside all day long playing. Wonder if any scientific testing has taken place to see if it really worked or was just the “power of suggestion” that cured the itch? Hmmmm….

  • Reply
    June 20, 2008 at 1:00 am

    Never been bit by a chigger, live too far north to really have issues with them. My grandfather was telling a story about them a few weeks ago though. Made me freak out with worry and not want to ever have to deal with it! Glad I haven’t had this life experience!

  • Reply
    Granny Sue
    June 19, 2008 at 11:13 pm

    Great pics, Tipper!
    Chiggers love me. MY husband never gets them when we go berry picking but I think it’s because he tastes bad! I on the other hand am all sweetness and light…believe that and I’ll sell you a pig that lays eggs.
    I use nail polish on my bites. Clear is better but I’ll use whatever is on hand. I met a lady in Huntington WV who said when she was a child they put turpentine (that all-purpose country medicine) all around their ankles and wrists before they went berry-picking to keep the chiggers off. I bet it would work, but I haven’t tried it yet.

  • Reply
    trisha too
    June 19, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    I just figured the whole world had chiggers. How can anyone live where there aren’t any chiggers? That can’t be natural!
    That being said, no chiggers here yet this year– the rain must be keeping them down. But they’ll be along soon enough.

  • Reply
    Julie O'Neill
    June 19, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    Wow – we just planted our tomatoes and basil today. That’s about all we can get in. It’s been a cold and chilly winter and now it’s suddenly an 80 degree summer day!! Would be lying if I didn’t admit a bit of jealousy over your bountiful garden – chiggers and all!!

  • Reply
    June 19, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    Gorgeous photos of your garden! I love your neat rows of plants – I wish I had a larger space for a garden! FYI – I tagged you on my blog!!

  • Reply
    June 19, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    CHIGGERS!! YUCK!! We don’t have chiggers in MI but I was bitten every summer as a child when I visited my Great Aunt Teenie’s farm in southern Indiana. The treatment was calamine lotion for the itch and clear nail polish for the kill. Years later ~ as an adult, that is ~ I lived in the south of Argentina for a couple of years and low and behold I was again bitten by chiggers!! It seemed much worse as an adult than it had been as a child. Not sure if that’s true though ~ I think we are just more tolerant as children. 🙂 Once more Tipper, thanks for the memories!

  • Reply
    Valarie Lea
    June 19, 2008 at 6:58 pm

    Have not been bit yet, but I have always heard that you put clear finger nail polish on them. Its “supposed” to smother them.

  • Reply
    June 19, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    We always used clear finger nail polish.
    Also, the chlorine from a pool helps.

  • Reply
    June 19, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    Tipper, I am battling about 5 of those chigger bites as I type. Dumb me went to a neighborhood association meeting at the lake behind the house without my bug spray. Lesson learned! I use Sarna Anti-itch creme. Google it. The stuff works good.

  • Reply
    June 19, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    I love the pictures of your garden in bloom! Thankfully it is too cold here in the winter for chiggers to survive, fleas too! So no bites here, except the mosquito bites on the kids.

  • Reply
    noble pig
    June 19, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    Nope I’m chigger-free tahnk goodness!

  • Reply
    kari & kijsa
    June 19, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    OH MY!! Growing up in Texas, summer was a battle between these and the fire ants!!! Just remember a lot of scratching as the solution!! LOL!!
    kari & kijsa

  • Reply
    June 19, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    ok that’s just gross.
    We live *just* far enough north that we don’t have chiggers.
    When I was telling DH about the time I had so many I was sick in bed when I lived in southern IA he thought I was making it up.
    Seriously. He had never heard of chiggers.
    Vaseline worked for me.

  • Reply
    Farm Chick Paula
    June 19, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    Ugh… I remember my Momma putting CLEAR FINGERNAIL POLISH on me for those things. And they always wanted to go underneath your shorts! WHY?

  • Reply
    Irma's Rose Cottage
    June 19, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    Hi Tipper! So glad you came to visit.
    We don’t have chiggers in our yard, but, I do remember them getting on my brothers and myself when we were young. My mother would take out her sewing needle and pick them out of us and put some kind of ointment, I think it was Campho Phenique, it comes in a green bottle. They sure did make us itch. I hope you can get rid of them. They weren’t any fun during the summertime.
    Irma 🙂

  • Reply
    Stacy A
    June 19, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    Tipper, you have once again hit on a Stacy life experience. You know whats next, a story!
    I have only one time been exposed to chiggers, and I still have the scars to prove it. None of the places I have lived have them, so I didn’t realize they were something I needed to look out for. About 8 years ago I moved to Boston from AZ. After 8 months I moved back home only to come back a few months later. My friend Jered flew out east to help me drive back across country. We left Bost about 10 at night to avoid traffic through NYC and the heat. We had very little money so wanted to drive as long as we could before we had to stop and find a place to sleep. That took us to Virginia, then we headed off again, our half way point being Nashville. I can’t remember exactly when, but at one point we were so tired we pulled over at a rest stop to try to get some rest (I think we were in AK or TN). The car was packed full, so I grabbed a blanket, threw it on the grass and was dead to the world. About an hour later Jered shook me awake, saying I had things crawling all over me. Sure enough, the chiggers had seen fresh meat and grabbed the whole family to have a meal. I had been devoured and was too tired to even notice. I always react bad to bites anyway, and these were doosies. I wore pants the rest of the year because those dang bites were so big and took forever to heal. It was then I learned then when in the south in the summer, dont lay on the ground and fall asleep! Thanks for reminding me why I will always be a Northern girl LOL. I have a feeling heavy narcotics might help. Maybe rubbing alcohol to dry them out? The Joys of Appalachia!

  • Reply
    June 19, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    not yet, but i am suffering from something. i was sitting at the computer last night and the corner of my right eye started to itch and i had a welt. i have them on hands, arms, legs, feet and now my face. not covered, just one or two here and there. they itch so bad i go out of my mind, i try to ignore them. wonder if some sort of allergy? i went thru this last year, and by fall is gone and nothing thru the winter…i thought ticks or chiggers but only one bite…from photos chiggers just munch away and leave areas of rash. my little mystery 🙂

  • Reply
    Mark Salinas
    June 19, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    No chiggers yet…I like the pictures though!

  • Reply
    June 19, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    First of all, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your flowers. My favorite flower is the hydrangea. Ooooh how I love them. I’m very fond of the bright blue variety. As for Chiggers, I always thought that they burrowed until a couple of years ago when the myth was dispelled by a friend. I really believed it until then and went as far as to challenge the person and went of course to the internet. Obviously, I looked dumb. We always put clear nailpolish over the bites and it seemed to stem off the itch. Go figure. It worked like a charm though! They take awhile to clear up. Dern critters!

  • Reply
    June 19, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    I remember these so well from my childhood, and the granny rememdy was…”fingernail polish?” They thought the chigger stayed on you like a tick, and that the polish would smother it. There was something very gratifying about peeling the polish off a bite, almost as satisfying as a good scratching fit! LOL!

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