Gut Rumbles
 

April 13, 2005

chiggers

I love living in the South. Don't EVER get me wrong about that fact. The weather is usually great, I seldom see snow or ice where I live, and I have played golf on Christmas Eve in a short-sleeved shirt a couple of times. I like the sun and the hot weather, even in the summer when everything bakes.

But southeast Georgia has three things that can be a real pain in the ass.

#1-- Sand Gnats. I don't have them where I live now, but those flying teeth are EVERYWHERE around the coast this time of year. They will eat you alive, from early morning until around noon (when they take a break to digest) and then again from around 4:00 in the evening until nightfall. They come in swarms so thick that you can inhale a mouthfull by accident. Their bites feel like a needle prick and they make you itch like hell. The only thing that I've ever found that will keep them offa you is Avon "Skin So Soft," and you'd better make sure you don't miss a spot when you apply the lotion. I hate those bastards.

#2-- Mosquitoes. We grow 'em here the size of B-52 bombers and they can draw a pint of blood out of you with one good bite. They don't care what time of day it is, either. They attack 24-7. They can bite right through a flannel shirt or a pair of Levi jeans. When somebody tells you that burning a cintranel (I ain't sure about the spelling here, but stores everywhere sell them) candle keeps them away, just laugh right in that person's face. That crap doesn't work. NOTHING DOES, unless you coat yourself with enough Deet to kill a moose. Even then, you're probably going to be eaten by a clever Georgia mosquito. I hate those bastards, too.

#3-- Chiggers. Some people call them "red bugs" and they are tiny parasites that live in the woods and LOVE to burrow under your skin to feast. I've been covered with those little shits before, and they'll raise an itching welt the size of a quarter when they hit. And they like warm, moist places, so they go for your armpits, your crotch and other such embarrassing areas that you don't want to scratch in public. I once went camping with a couple of friends and we forgot to bring any toilet paper. Gary took a dump and wiped his ass with Spanish Moss. Big mistake. Chiggers LOVE Spanish Moss almost as much as they like infesting your asshole if you are dumb enough to give them a chance to get there. Gary was not a well boy for a week or so after that episode.

Fingernail polish is the only way to get rid of them. That's only AFTER you've been hit. The blood-sucking bastard burrows under your skin, but if you paint the welt he creates with nail polish, you cut off his oxygen supply and smother him to death. That takes a couple of days to work and you suffer in the meantime.

Those are three of the joys about living Down South.

But I have another question. I don't know what the plant is called for real (I always called them "tick bushes"). It's a bushy plant that grows about waist-high to me and it is CRAWLING with ticks. If you brush up against one in the woods, you'll end up with 50 or 60 ticks on you. I learned to avoid them a long time ago, but dogs never learn.

I've spent damn near an hour burning ticks off my dog after a romp in the woods when he ran across one or more of those bushes. The damned things look almost like a huckleberry bush, but they aren't huckleberrys. Ticks aren't unique to the South, but those bushes may be.

Anybody know what I'm talking about?

Comments

Don't know what the bush is, but I think I brushed against something like it a couple of times in Oklahoma. Yuck.

Ref the chiggers, there's a stuff called Chigarid used to be on the market, haven't looked for it for a while. It killed the chigger, and it also did some good toward killing the itch. Dad always made sure we had a bottle when we went to visit his parents.

Posted by: Mark on April 13, 2005 09:28 AM

Here in Virginia, we have a flowering bush (looks like miniture daisies) that is full of chiggers. They are nasty bastards. They are the only creatures that don't have an ass hole. Look it up. They eat, fuck, and blow up because thay don't have an ass hole.

Posted by: Ed on April 13, 2005 09:49 AM

That's interesting there Ed. No asshole huh. I don't know whether that's good or bad for the poor sum bitch infested w/ chiggers, About the only thing I can think of that's worse than a parasite burrowed inside of me is that same parasite taking a dump inside me. Chiggers suck. Worse I would imagine than scabes. Damn....I'm gonna go take a shower.

Posted by: DONGER on April 13, 2005 10:32 AM

My husband has been bitching about the bugs in Brunswick. We don't get sand fleas up here until June but he's been getting eaten alive down there. He's also gotten up close and personal with the fire ants during his PT. Glad we don't have those damn things. I don't know how you even bear to go outside. Then again, we have a lovely fly season.....

Posted by: Heather on April 13, 2005 11:07 AM

For what it's worth - lavender plants are supposed to discourage ticks. They say are no ticks in lavender fields.

They're a bitch to grow, tho.

Posted by: Persnickety on April 13, 2005 12:46 PM

wow, and I thought we were the only ones who believe in fingernail polish to cure chiggers.... it works!

Posted by: Kelley on April 13, 2005 01:17 PM

Where'd you get ahold of Avon products?

Posted by: Cythen on April 13, 2005 01:18 PM

And this is why I like living in the northwest.

Sure, it's not as hot (but I don't LIKE it hot, let alone hot and humid), and it's alway rainin', but at least we don't have subcutaneous parasites and huge clouds of biting flies.

Posted by: Sigivald on April 13, 2005 01:29 PM

Rob,

How could you not mention the scourge of every barefooted kid in south Georgia in the summer -- SANDSPURS. God, I hate those bastards!

Posted by: rivlax on April 13, 2005 02:17 PM

re: Chiggers. If you know you are going in the woods, go to the pharmacy and ask for Flowers of Sulphur. Or get powdered sulphur if he has it. Put the sulfur in an old sock and dust yourself with it, mainly around the shoes and socks. Chiggers hate sulphur and will do anything to stay away from it. Three years ago I took 20 boys camping for a week in North Louisiana. We used the sulphur trick. No chiggers.

Posted by: Dennis on April 13, 2005 02:48 PM

YES, unfortunately we were introduced to Chiggers when we moved out to Texas. Something I never had to worry about in CA or UT!

I could do without them by the way!

But, at least we traded them for the horrid scourge of fleas that our animals used to get in CA! Since we have been in TX...not one single infestation...(KNOCK ON WOOD)!

I guess, sometimes, it's a trade off!

Posted by: Wendi on April 13, 2005 02:57 PM

I'm pretty sure that the nail polish remedy is an old wive's tale. The chigger injects a substance into your skin to make it digestible. The reaction causes the welt and the itch. A good shower and soap get rids of the chigger. It doesn't go under the skin. You may want to look it up in google.

Since most chiggers are picked up from your shoes and socks where they start the long climb to moist and dark areas, spaying your shoes and socks with insect repellent is good protection. Of course it won't help with the asshole problem.

Posted by: Tom on April 13, 2005 04:28 PM

"Gary was not a well boy for a week or so after that episode"
Holy moly!
And I was about to move from Maryland (we got fleas, that's about it) to Florida! That's pretty close, according to the map. The map also shows good country around Iceland.

Posted by: Horrabin's Mistakes on April 13, 2005 11:48 PM

I would rather have fire ants than redbugs, those bastards put me in the ER, when I was a boy scout, Cat

Posted by: catfish on April 13, 2005 11:56 PM

Kinda in the asshole of America, but could give you yankees a taste of chiggers. Redbugs here will try and kill ya. chiggers and beaners, beaners are the parasite, redbugs eventually go away..

Posted by: murry on April 14, 2005 03:38 AM

How big are chiggers? Just curious, I've lived in CA my whole life and have never seen one.

Posted by: CG on April 14, 2005 03:53 AM

Chiggers are TINY! Some no larger than the point of a pin, and red or orange in color.

And Tom? It's not an old wives tale, it works!

Posted by: Mark on April 14, 2005 05:20 AM

Growing up in Central Florida, I have had my share of chiggers, noseeums, deer flies, horse flies, mosquitoes, sand gnats, ticks, red ants, rattlesnakes, alligators, snapping turtles, sandspurs, cockroaches (palmetto bugs) and the like. The absolute worst is chiggers in your crotch (or anywhere for that matter and yes, fingernail polish is needed to kill them, stay AWAY from the spanish moss for sure), or if you have a dog or cat that comes in and out of the house frequently, if you ever get an infestation of fleas in your carpets, those little fucks will eat your ankles raw in a half a day.

Dang, I am gettin itchy just thinking about it.

Posted by: Florida Bill on April 14, 2005 03:10 PM

I think Tom's right. if you looks up "chiggers and myths" on google, you come up with all kinds of sites by fairly reputable biologists and stuff that say the nail polish thing and the burrowing are all myths. sorry to burst your bubble.

Posted by: girl on April 15, 2005 11:49 AM

Chigarid is still on the market and works well. Nail polish also works, but does nothing for the itch, plus if you happen to have an allergic reaction to the polish, it is a bitch. (Personal experience. You get to take the polish off with alcohol.)

Wiping your shoes, lower pants legs. socks with a kerosene rag helps.

If you have been in areas that you assume are infested, take a hot, soapy shower, especially in those sensitive areas.

Anybody have a cheap way of killing posion ivy?

Posted by: Poker Player on April 15, 2005 10:52 PM

When I first moved to Nashville many years ago, I loved the beautiful parks around it. My wife and I found this wonderful place to pick wild blueberries. We couldn't imagine why no locals were out picking berries.

That night we found out. I counted about 80 chigger bites on one leg and crotch and private parts. I didn't bother counting the other leg.

NB: Nail polish on private parts STINGS.

I went to Maine last April for fishing. I froze, but no bugs, not even black flies. It was too cold for them.

Posted by: Joel on April 16, 2005 08:36 AM

It is absoutly NOT true that chiggers burrow under the skin. They are very very small yes, but too big to get under the skin. Nail polish, bleach and all the other crazy things I have seen and heard do not work. Hot shower and lots of soap. But I am looking for someone who has seen chigger bites on dogs, i think my dogs have them but not sure. Doesnt really make sense, I live in Phoenix AZ. But cant find anything else that they could be.

Posted by: Leah on October 22, 2005 06:07 PM
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