Chigger Bites…

Last summer when I was in Florida I woke up one morning with a trail of bites along my upper arm.

I thought a mosquito had taken a little trip leaving a string of itchy evidence along the way.

The bites swelled, formed blisters and drained spontaneously leaving a trickle of clear fluid that crusted up and dried,

“My body is evidently reacting in a more aggressive way,” I observed to Hubs who casually said,

“I’ve never seen anything like it!”

In the days following I decided they were probably not caused by the common mozzy after all!

Back in Texas I monitored my bites and noted the usual red welt that lasted a couple of days, caused some irritation and came to nothing.

I wrote off the blistery bites as a reaction to an indigenous insect from Florida…

…until a crop of wildly itchy blisters appeared on my torso and my theory, that they were caused by a native Floridian six-legger, went out the window.

I looked up insect bites,

I Googled spider bites,

I researched diseases and conditions manifesting themselves in surface blisters thinking I may be the common denominator,

I remained baffled, whatever was going on wasn’t contagious because Hubs was fine.

I decided to mention, what were now becoming regular outcroppings, to my doctor the next time I saw her.

In the meantime I spent the early part of spring waging war against the humble, but rampant, thistle in my meadows


and discovered that when the ground is wet from the torrential rains they are extremely simple to ease out of the ground, tuber root and all without having to first spray with a potent weed killer.

My visiting dogs and I spent many an hour among the tall grasses,


them romping, me harvesting barrow-loads of this beautiful, dominant flower.


I was very careful to take precautions against snakes and fire ants and wore long trousers tucked into my knee high wellies, a canvas jacket and leather gloves.

I didn’t get bitten and all was well…

…until one day I donned a pair of loose fitting trousers and while I was sitting at my desk writing I began to feel a burning sensation along the inside of both my thighs.

I ignored it at first thinking the fabric was chaffing my legs but as the prickly feeling intensified I took a look and found about a dozen bites dotted about my upper legs,

Screaming to be scratched,

Rising up into large blisters.

I curbed my fingers and decided to let them take their course until I could get to the doctor.

Then, during a yoga class, my eyes were opened!

In the calm of the moment I had an ingenious thought.

Perhaps they were chigger bites?

I’d had them before, mildly irritating, like mosquito bites, usually a result of wandering bare-footed across a well kept lawn.

I looked them up on-line.

Low and behold, right there on my screen were my blisters with all the attendant symptoms.

I was so relieved!

But where had they come from this time?

The only grass I’d walked in recently had been alongside the wilderness of my meadows a couple of days ago and I hadn’t been bare-footed,

I’d cut some wild flowers for my tables…


Then it dawned on me,

the wretches must live on clothing because I’d been wearing those same loose fitting trousers…

…that had broken me out in a blistery rash…

…which were now quite obviously chigger bites!

The mystery was finally solved after a year!

I immediately bought anti histamine everything, calamine lotion, creams and tablets to ease the fiery burns.

Economically we can’t treat our vast tract of land beyond the acreage surrounding our dwellings,

But I can treat myself and spray all exposed skin with repellent each time I go outside.

To add insult to injury I was enjoying a play at Shakespeare in the Park on Saturday night and found that spraying bare skin wasn’t enough,

both mosquitoes and chiggers left behind their tell-tale tracks in places covered by clothing…

Either I’m developing a very sensitive skin or my blood is growing sweeter.

Or maybe it’s something I’m eating?

Whatever!  I wish they’d just leave me alone!

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