[permaculture] How to deal with Chiggers?

Keith Johnson keithdj at mindspring.com
Fri Mar 21 22:09:53 EST 2003

The best approach is to avoid their habitats: tall weedy, grassy places. 
2nd, if you have to work in those areas, ASAP shower with soap and a 
brush and most will wash away. They are tiny enough so that your skin is 
a landscape of hills and valleys. They fall into these crevices, grab 
hold and then spit on you. They don't "bite". The enzymes in their 
saliva basically dissolve skin cells which they slurp up. Charming, eh? 
Then your body reacts allergically with itching and swelling. Normally 
the first time you scratch and remove that bit of softened tissue, they 
are gone. However, the allergic reaction and subsequent healing takes up 
to a week to heal. Some folks put nail polish on to suffocate them, but 
it doesn't actually remove them or the irritant. I guess the idea is 
that if you apply it soon enough they will produce less irritant. I 
haven't found it to make that much difference. Besides, most nail 
polishes are themselves toxic. Humans are a very poor host compared to a 
nice furry or feathery organism. Still, they manage to get into the most 
annoying locations usually where garments bind like the crotch, 
underarms, waist, under bras, wristwatch, etc., though they can lodge 
anywhere.They are small enough to crawl THROUGH clothing, though tighter 
weaves and layers will slow them down. Don't wear the same clothes after 

darko nikolic wrote:

>My approach to insect managment is an intergrated one
>but I've never dealt with Chiggers in the humid
>tropics. Has anyone a sustainable solution to these
>biting mites.
>Thanks in advance,

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