When Chiggers Bite: Itch, Itch and More Itch


Chiggers Bite
Courtesy of Missouri Dept.
of Conservation

The MyBugBites.com staff is seeing more and more stories about chiggers, their bites and their excruciating itch.

In South Carolina, Bryce Donovan of the Post and Courier details his encounters with chiggers and says that if you haven’t experienced chiggers, well, he hates you… because he wish he’d never experienced them either.

Chiggers are actually very tiny creatures even if they look huge and scary in this magnified pictured and measure 1/150th of an inch in diameter in real life – nearly invisible. Also, chiggers aren’t bugs or insects in the strict sense of the words all – they’re mites according to MDConline.com.

“Chiggers are the juvenile (or larval) form of a specific family of mites, the Trombiculidae. Mites are arachnids, like spider and scorpions, and are closely related to ticks.”

Ironically, chiggers are only a problem for humans in their childhood – known as the larval stage, when they like to bite our skin and inject a bit of their saliva which causes a chain reaction of events leading to an annoying itch.

MDC makes the following recommendations to avoid the mite-y itch of the chigger:

  • A warm, soapy bath of water will remove the little devils.
  • Use a towel or cloth to wipe your body clean of chiggers. Chiggers don’t stand up well to the lightest brushing.
  • Do not use any strange chemicals like rubbing alcohol or gasoline or salt or dry cleaning fluid. Not only are they not necessary (use a warm bath!), they’re potentially dangerous.

So what if you do get bitten by chiggers.. then what?

  • Certain lotions can help.
  • Anesthetic products like enzocaine, camphor-phenol and ammonium hydroxide can provide some relief when applied to the affected area according to the Missouri Department of Conservation.

In rare cases, people can have allergic reaction and should see a doctor about what medicine will be best to overcome the symptoms.

Hopefully, this information is useful to our readers – it comes too late for Mr. Donovan whose waistline “burned like a forest fire.” Yikes.

September 2, 2008 – 4:43 pm
  1. 12 Responses to “When Chiggers Bite: Itch, Itch and More Itch”

  2. Can chigger bites on top and sides of feet cause swelling of the feet and ankle area?

    Reply

    By Susann Pappas on Sep 13, 2008

  3. can chiggas be past on to others even after you take a shower or soap bath.

    Reply

    mihranda Reply:

    scratching, rubbing, bathing with soap and water: chiggers are removed very easily so a bath or shower will do it. then they are gone, and itching and rashes may stay for more than a week, but the chiggers themselves are long gone.

    Reply

    By steve on Sep 14, 2008

  4. Same problem. While camping in Yellowstone, I was bitten around my ears and neck. It was cold so I kept my sleeping bag up tight around my neck. The following night was warmer. I then was bitten 18 times on one leg (under 2 pair of long johns!)
    Today while at the doctor for an unrelated problem, I showed her my leg and she said “chiggers!” Great!!
    Benedryl cream did help a bit. Thank goodness I had some with me on the trip. Notice I said “a bit”.
    Now I need to figure out what to do with my beautiful, expensive down sleeping bag and down camping pad. Bummer.
    The doctor suggest spraying them with RID, which is a product for head lice. Great.
    She said that washing clothes in hot water and drying them in a hot dryer will kill the little buggers. Obviously that is not a possibility with a down sleeping bag.
    Any ideas?
    E
    Yuck!!!

    Reply

    By Ev on Oct 10, 2008

  5. Paint Chiggers with Clear Fingernail polish it will kill them in minutes. It will burn a little but worth it! I grew up in the south and I PROMISE it works…..or you can just continue to itch. It’s up to you

    Reply

    mihranda Reply:

    just so you know, by the time you know you have chiggers, it is likely they are gone. if you want to make sure, just bathe with soap and water. the itch and rash will still develop, but there is no chigger there.

    Reply

    By renia on Apr 27, 2009

  6. Hey, I have a cure for the bits, and it kills the chiggers. Go to Walmart and buy a bottle of Tea Tree oil, I promise it kills them in their tracks! I used a jewelers loop magnified by 10 times, they looks just like a tiny tick!! As soon as I put the tea tree oil on my huband they started dying, I was able to get them off with tweezers, he was covered all in the groin area and where his belt and pants fit tight. Some were already imbedded in his skin, so keep the oil on them, it will kill and large tick instantly also, I put it on one in a dog’s ear, it was the size of a nickel, and it dropped off in a minute or so. It works on all bites from any bug, instantly, and does not burn or sting.No kidding this is the best stuff since sliced bread, all of my grandchildren ask for Tea Tree Oil! Good Luck!!
    Sandy

    Reply

    Kristen Reply:

    Sandy,

    You can also use Lavendar Essential Oil. It works the same anti-fungal, bacterial, viral and it smells so good. It also has calming effects so it helps when kids start itching to calm their nerves!

    Reply

    By sandy on Aug 2, 2009

  7. Also I might add, it kills infection, it is antibacterial!
    I use a drop on my tooth brush from time to time, and also a drop to gargle with for sore throat, it is very good for a tooth ache,,,acually I have found it to work positively for everything I have tried.
    Sandy

    Reply

    By sandy on Aug 2, 2009

  8. HELP! I am just sitting on my couch in the Caribbean and feel like bugs are constantly on me and in my hair. I have spent MONTHS w/ exterminators, sprays, bombs, you name it! I have dozens of red welts on my lower breast area and am itching like crazy! I eliminated the massive tick problem on my two dogs, but am wondering if the ticks are the ones that brought the problem? I’m wondering bed bugs, no see ums, sand fleas..is there a way to send a pic?

    Reply

    By Lorraine on Aug 28, 2009

  9. Hi to all out there: I, too, am a current sufferer of the “chiggers”. I’m getting ready to bathe w/baking soda as was directed to do many years ago for our young son. He and a little buddy rode horses all afternoon & then he came home with his 5 year old little testicles looking like a full fledge man. He was extremely allergic to them & it continued to swell so called the doctor. They said to put an ice bag on the area & continually swab with washcloth soaked in baking soda. Under normal conditions, I use Epsom Salts to bathe in. For anyone who has cracked heels or dry skin, it leaves you feeling soft and relaxed.

    Reply

    By Elaine on Jul 7, 2010

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