Home Columnist FORESTRY UPDATE by Gary Allen Burns 6-8

FORESTRY UPDATE by Gary Allen Burns 6-8

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Chiggers, more commonly known as red bugs, are mites that attach to their host in the larval stage usually causing severe itching. We encounter them here in East Texas in forests and grasslands, especially in summer when the vegetation is the heaviest. Red bugs, relatives of ticks, are chrome-orange in hue and are nearly microscopic. They don’t actually bite, but create a hole in the skin causing a rash. The itching is caused by the red bug’s digestive enzymes, and it usually occurs after the red bug detaches from the skin.

Bathing in hot water will dislodge the chiggers, and calamine lotion may give temporary relief of itching. Insect repellents are recommended as a preventative measure. Natural sprays of jojoba or lemon grass may also be effective.

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