Chiggers may not be as deadly as ticks but they are a major enemy of hunters in the southern states. Let’s get a little background on chiggers and then we will cover Chigger prevention and bite treatment.
Trombiculidae is the scientific name and the more common names are chiggers, mites, harvester mites, red bugs. They can be found in every state that has an open deer season but are most common in the warmer southern states. Chiggers are most abundant during late summer when temperatures rise and vegetation is at is thickest.
Preseason is Chigger Season
This means deer hunters are likely to encounter these chewing bugs when scouting during the preseason.
With the rain and hot temperatures it looks like the 2013 season is prime time for chiggers. But what makes chiggers so bad?
Would you believe that chiggers are not even adult insects? They are actually in the larvae stage. Tall grass and vegetation is where these larvae hide while waiting on an unsuspecting host(hunter). An unprotected hunter walks through this area and dozens of chiggers cling onto his boots and pants.
Chiggers Do Not Burrow In The Skin
This is where the fun begins. The chiggers begin crawling around looking for skin. There is no sting like a mosquito. The chigger is actually going to inject enzymes into your skin layer. The enzyme breaks down the skin and makes it an easy meal for the mite. The red bug is actually taking his sweet time just chewing away. The combination of the enzyme and the chewing leaves a terrible bite behind.
For me the concentration of chigger bites is normally below the waist. Areas of particular irritation can be in the “unmentionable region”. Other hot spots are around the top of socks and the backs of your knees.
The best prevention method is complete avoidance. This is a little extreme so you will need to treat your clothes with Permethrin
If I could only pick one item other than a weapon it would be Permethrin. I’ll save my tick and chigger infestation story for another day. Here are the steps to saving yourself from a ton of itching and irritation.
Chigger Prevention Steps With Permethrin
- Select the clothes that will be used as your deer scouting clothes. The outfit will consist of pants, socks and shirt. Underwear and undershirts are not included in this process. The pants should be free of holes and tears. Any openings could provide an open doorway for chiggers. The same is true for socks, underwear and shirts.
- Hang the clothes up outside in an area protected from the wind.
- Spray each garment with approximately 3 ounces of Permethrin. Be sure to spray front and back of each garment. I also like to spray the inside of my pants leg. Just fold the pants up and spray from cuff to knee. This ensures that I have completely treated all available area and established a tick and chigger proof barrier. Mosquitoes, flies and many other biting insects will also be repelled by this odorless shield that will last about 40 days(if the clothes are washed on a limited basis).
Permethrin was created to protect agriculture crops from insects and has been endorsed by the US Military for over 30 years. Millions outdoorsmen and hunters rely on this simply spray year after year. Please make the small investment in time and money to protect yourself from the irritation of chiggers and the life threatening ticks.