Much Worse Itch Than Chiggers

There’s an itch that needs a scratch.

That saying has various connotations, but what fits us now is those almost-invisible red grass bugs that are pestering us all over our feet, up our legs and into unspeakable places. Few have ever accused us of being sweet, but there’s some reason for the attraction chiggers have always had for us.

With maturity, we thought we’d become too tough and sour for the pests. Oh, the intrusion isn’t as bad as it was in our childhood, but the boogers still find us once or twice a year, it seems. This time, we were teasing them we’ll admit. While waiting for
co-workers to come from another part of a pasture, we took a nap in the grass.

Thing is, the itching didn’t really start for about a day, and the number slowly expanded for another 24 hours or so. Don’t know why, but our stinky feet must be most appealing, as that’s where majority accumulated, with little red swellings,  causing us to vigorously scratch for a couple more days.

Memories of yesteryears automatically came to mind, as those mini bugs would cling to us in volumes as though we were a magnet. Such was the bother, that each summer we’d have a new bottle of chigger medicine to doctor the welts. Answer, of course, is to apply insect repellent, and some do on a regular basis to reduce the invasion.

As much as they’re fascinated by us, the minute varmints aren’t interested in everybody the same. One nice, soft-skinned, more mature cowgirl is frequently seen sitting in the grass at horse shows. When asked if chiggers wouldn’t get her, her reply is always that they never bite her. Maybe she’s too sweet for them.

Chiggers survive coldest winters, start reproducing in the spring, lay 15 eggs daily and are soon hiding in the grass ready to snag a passing host in a tightly-clothed place or a wrinkled-skin area. They don’t suck blood, but rather pierce the skin, inject an enzyme that causes the tissue to harden, swell and turn red, as they release and go to another.

Their menace was advised in Leviticus 11:20; “All the winged insects that walk on all fours are detestable to you.” Gratefully, chiggers are not included in the threat from   Deuteronomy 28:27: “The Lord will smite you with the scab and with the itch, from which you cannot be healed.”

However, scratching is cautioned in Second Timothy 4:3 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.” Likewise is the warning in Proverbs 17:4: “Evil people relish malicious conversation; the ears of liars itch for dirty gossip.”