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Facts And Myths About Chiggers

By Expert Author: Steve Lum

Stinging and biting bugs seem to be everywhere we like to go. And each time you go outside, you put yourself at risk. These bugs are in the woods, on the coast and of course in your very own backyard. And it seems that no matter how good your preventative pest control measures are, but outdoor pest control is never quite 100% effective.

When you spend time away from your home, where pest control may not practiced it puts you and your family at an ever greater risk. A hiking or camping trip can turn into an itchy, uncomfortable, miserable experience if youíve been turned into a bugís buffet lunch. Bites can even become infected, which could require a doctorís attentions. Biting bugs are no joke.

One such biting bug you may encounter out of doors is the chigger. There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about this pest. Folks who spend time outside should know how to separate the facts from the fiction surrounding chiggers and their bites. Understanding is the first step to the prevention as well as the treatment of bites.

Myth: A chigger is an insect (or alternately, a spider). This biter isnít a spider or technically an insect. It is a mite, related to the spider as well as the scorpion should concern you. They are the ones that bite people.

Myth: They drink human and animal blood. Mature chiggers donít feed on humans or other mammals at all. In their parasitic larval stage, they eat the skin tissue of their host(s). They do not drink blood or suck blood from their hosts. They are happy to leave that task to the mosquitos.

Myth: They burrow into your skin. Chiggers do not burrow into their hostís skin at all. They pierce the skin and inject an enzyme that breaks down the skin. They then use a specialized body part called a stylostome to suck up the degraded tissues.

Myth: The itchy, red wheal you see is the bug under your skin. The itchy bump or wheal seen on the skins isnít the bug buried under your epidermis. Itís just a bit of flesh reacting to an irritating substance. In this case, the irritant is the enzymatic saliva of the chigger which was injected into your skin in order for him to eat the skin cells.

Myth: You have to smother them out of your skin. By the time you notice the itch or the wheal, the chigger is likely well-fed and long gone. They are not buried in your skin and you do not have to smother them, cover them pinch them out or in any other way remove them from your skin. Donít paint your skin with nail polish or put gasoline on the bites. An over-the-counter itch remedy is all you need to find relief.

Myth: Chiggers lay eggs in your skin. Once again, they were never under your skin at all. The bump is a form of contact dermatitis. Contact dermatitis is simply and irritation and inflammation of the skin caused by the substance in the chiggerís saliva that essentially digests a small bit of your skin that he then eats.

Myth: A single chigger can bite you over and over again. Thatís why they leave a line of bites. The chigger typically can only bite once. The line of bites is usually where your clothing has prevented them from going any further like a waistband or the edge of your sock.

Myth: Chiggers spread disease. The good news is that chiggers, unlike their cousin the tick, are not known to harbor or spread diseases. The worst you need to fear is a secondary infection from scratching or applying ill-advised home remedies.

Knowing more about your foe, the chigger, is the first step to preventing an uncomfortable situation.

Article Source: Slug-A-Bug

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