Posts Tagged ‘Chiggers’

Lions and Tigers and Chiggers, Oh My!

Make yourself a tall glass of iced-tea and chill out with me.  We’re going to talk about bugs . . . but don’t sweat it . . . that’s what the tea is for.  :^)

This summer has brought record temperatures across the U.S.  In my parents’ yard in Oklahoma last week, it was 119(F).  Yes, it’s been almost unbearable.  I am astounded that the heat has not killed off the bug population.  Instead, they seem to be thriving.  The grasshoppers have taken over my yard.  Not only is everything brown, it is bare.  I’m happy that something is prospering and oh-so-glad that I can keep something alive in my yard.  If it’s bugs, well, so be it.

In Oklahoma we have little invisible bugs called chiggers.  These little dears lurk in anything green, especially tall grass and weeds.  If you even just brush by them, they will find you.  They like to burrow into your skin around the tight spots . . . waistbands, leg openings . . . “snug as a bug in a rug” comes to mind here.  The itch that they create is pure misery.

When I first moved to Oklahoma, I was horrified with the scope of bug potential.  My first run-in with a tarantula came early on.  (Story to follow at a later date.)  ;^)

Chiggers . . . I remember finding out about them when we would come to visit my grandparent’s farm while I was growing up.  Between the humidity and the bugs, I did not venture outside much.  The family loved to make home-made ice-cream and visit out in the yard.  Me, not so much.

(This is me around age 18, visiting Oklahoma ~~ waiting for the home-made ice-cream while my Uncle the Cowboy makes fun of me for not putting my feet on the ground.  Chiggers, ya’ll!!!)

After moving here, I did find that there were remedies.  My dad douses himself with vinegar after a jaunt in the garden.  One of the area pharmacists whips up a secret-ingredient cure.  For years I used rubbing alcohol and hydrocortisone.  Lately, I’ve resorted to a natural remedy.  A few drops of lavender in a carrier oil works like a charm (before an outing to prevent or after one to soothe.)

I discovered last week that Florida has a critter called “no see ‘ums.”  It puts the chigger to shame.  My daughter was covered in bites before we even knew there was such a bug.  There were about 50 bites on each limb and countless others over the remainder of her torso.  We’re not sure if they found her while on the beach or if they were in the house.  But she was miserable and ended up going to a doctor.  Kind of makes a vacation not so relaxing.  You wouldn’t think that something so small could produce such wretchedness.  It’s enough to make a tough cookie yell, “Mercy!”

I have a friend in Scotland who says that “midges” keep tourists off of the island he lives on in certain months of the year.  That could possibly be a boon to the locals’ privacy.  It sounds like midges are the ultimate tourist deterrent!  I know that when I go to visit in some distant moon, I will schedule the trip in the midges’ “OFF” season.

I thought about posting pics of all of these creepy-crawlies for you, but they’re too ghastly for me.  Just Google/Image it if you’re the brave sort.  ;^-  (In my opinion, enjoying photos of disgusting insects does not a Tough Cookie make . . . . )

What does this have to do with tough cookies?  Well, I’ll tell you.  Bugs adapt to every climate that I’ve lived in.  Even in Nevada, where the temperatures would drop 40-50 degrees on a summer night, we had mosquitoes.  In order to cope, I’ve had to adopt the “don’t sweat the small stuff” attitude.  I do what I can to not be overrun by the little buggers, but have learned to adjust.  If I want to sit outside on the porch, (in much cooler temps than we’re having now) I pour on the preventive.  Grasshoppers, mosquitoes, chiggers, fire-ants, wasps . . . all try to chase me away from my peaceful perch.  They may be tough, but I’ve determined:  I’m tougher.  Nothing is going to deter me from enjoying the out-of-doors if I want to.  (Well, OK, maybe 119 degree temps,) but NOT bugs!  I’m a TOUGH COOKIE!  (I’ll just keep telling myself that . . . I have, after all, survived 30 Oklahoma summers now.)  There’s got to be something tough about that.

A Tough Cookie does what a Tough Cookie has to do.  (Now, where did I put that lavender oil?)


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