We are no strangers to the body mite. In Texas, they’re more easily recognized as Chiggers, and if you’re an outdoor sort in the spring like me, no doubt you’ve felt their wrath.
I’ve written about them in the past, and every year as we forage for wild blackberries (dewberries) in the spring, they inevitably wind up in our socks and underwear no matter how much we work to repel them. The thin skin and tight spaces of elastic clothing is where they love to sit down and dine.
They’re everywhere it seems. I see them on the swing. On the picnic table. On my body.
Being a daily birder and nature photographer, kneeling on the ground, hiking through grasses, leaning on trees, I’ve settled into what I like to call the Spring Super-Itch. Mosquitoes and black fly midges have nothing on the microscopic chigger for itch factor.
You can’t see the larval mites — they are invisible to the naked eye. But you can see the half-a-millimeter adult body mite (an arachnid, like spiders) racing around frantically as if their lives depended upon the rapid expulsion of energy reserves. They never sit down and stop it seems, and they are bright red-orange.
Seeing them makes me cringe worse than a cockroach or stinkbug. The mere thought of them makes me itch, and it’s really, really hard not to squish the poor racy devil.
For scale, the Tamron big lens and my not-too-chunky pointer finger:
…and the Chigger a/k/a Red bug doing the happy dance across the same lens, difficult to track with the camera phone:
iPhones Take Pretty Good Macros!
If you see one of these teeny tiny creatures (they look like and are related to spiders) running up your arm, don’t be alarmed: it’s not the adult Red bug you have to worry about.
However, God help you if you ever fall into a Baby Chigger patch. No amount of Lidocaine will relieve the itch — an itch in just all the wrong places.
Related DirtNKids Posts: