The Mast-Head: ‘Chigger’ Time Once more – East Hampton Star


It’s chigger time once more. Solely it isn’t. Final I checked, there had by no means been a confirmed identification of the so-called crimson mites on Lengthy Island. What we do have is larval ticks, that are annoying and insidious and terribly troublesome to keep away from.

Round right here, although, folks speak about “chiggers” on a regular basis. This can be the results of a long-shared delusion about crimson mites, or chiggers, that they burrow into pores and skin, lay eggs there, after which hatch a brand new spherical of biting pests. It’s attainable that the apparently multiplying nature of larval tick bites triggers in many individuals recollections of the mistaken perception concerning the largely Southern species of mites.

If one is inclined to consider evolution as superb in all its types, larval ticks are exceptional. Having watched them repeatedly by magnifying glasses and even a microscope, their resilience might be thought of masterful, if easy. Right here is the way it works: Absent-mindedly, we scratch at an itch, dislodging a larval tick from the place it has connected itself to our pores and skin. To not be so simply dissuaded, it crawls a brief distance away and digs in once more searching for a blood meal.

You may observe this your self. The following time you suppose you could have larval ticks on board for a journey, earlier than scratching, search for a small, crimson, raised spot with a tiny, darkish speck at its heart. That speck, about half the scale of a grain of Lengthy Island seaside sand, is a tick; scratch at it just a little, remaining cautious that it doesn’t find yourself beneath a fingernail, then watch. It should transfer away at a stunning price of pace. I hold a little bit of painters or masking tape at hand to seize them at that time; merely dab it on and off, as if choosing up lint from a sweater.

Avoiding the leaf litter and damp grass the place as much as a thousand or extra tick larvae lurk is one of the best technique this time of the 12 months, when they’re most energetic on the East Finish. Coating footwear with sturdy insect repellent, equivalent to these with DEET, should you should enterprise into the woods is mostly efficient. Full-body tick checks are important, beginning on the ft. Infested clothes must be run by a scorching dryer cycle earlier than it’s washed.

As soon as larval ticks chunk, there’s not a lot you are able to do aside from endure. The itch ought to reduce inside every week, time sufficient, if you’re like me, to return into the woods and get attacked as soon as once more.


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