Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Chigger infestation?

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Theresa wrote at 2009-09-29 20:34:31
Dear Karen,



My husband and I had a very similar experience at nearly the same time as you.  We were camping in southern Indiana the week following Labor Day and I felt itching inside my socks.  It was pretty bad at times, but then seemed better by the time we arrived home later that week.  But by Friday, the itching was horrible.  We had no idea that it was chiggers until we went online and matched up images with those on my feet.  It was definitely chiggers and we learned that they will come home on your clothes. When we unpacked our camping clothes and gear, we had no idea we had chiggers.  I had washed our clothes in cold water, then put them away.  Additionally, we unpacked our clothes right over a rug that some of them eventually ended up in.  Since it took us a few days to figure out the whole chigger thing, unfortunately, they had spread throughout the house before we knew what was happening.  My husband now has itching too, though we do know that if you scratch right away, you will kill them so we go right ahead and scratch.  That really helps, but we still don't have them completely under control.  They really seem to love the clothes.  Here are a few things we have done that seem to help:



1)  Sprinkle sulphur powder on carpets and rugs, then vaccuum (we left it overnight - scary because it's flammable).  But it is supposed to kill them.  Sulphur is available through a pharmacy- they may have to order it for you.  It didn't smell bad, like you might read online, but more like used fireworks.



2) Try essential oils: lavender, eucalyptus and/or citronella oil.  A repellent, but doesn't kill them.  Put in spray bottle with some water and spray everything - very safe.  You can also put the oils in a carrier oil, like almond or apricot and put it on your skin.  



3) Keep in mind that they need an animal or less desirably, a person, to feed on.  If you have pets, they will keep them alive.  We don't have pets, so are blessed there.  If you have plants, take them outside and leave for 3 weeks.  Spray a mix of 1/2 gallon of water, 2 tablespoons liquid detergent and 2 teaspoons vegetable oil on them once a week for 3 weeks.  This is supposed to kill the chiggers (info online).  



4) Wash all of your clothes in hot water.  We added 25-50 drops of essential oils to each load.  Not sure if it helped.  We are still living out of tightly-secured trash bags of clothes because they are still lingering in our home.



I hope some of this helps.  Obviously we are not experts because we still have some, but we realize that they all have to be killed in a systematic way, not leaving anything out.  There really isn't much online about getting them out of the house.  We want to know how long they can live without food and if they can live on dead skin.  



Best of luck to you!



Theresa


Nicole wrote at 2010-07-26 23:43:32
Hi Karen, My husband and I just returned from camping at Harold parker State Forest in Andover, MA as well....and we both have these weird, itchy collection of bites.  Mine are on my upper back, his around his ankles. Have you found anything that has worked yet?  I know that it has been close to a year since you posted.  Thanks!  


r blume wrote at 2010-09-18 03:44:52
I have had them for two years just now confirmed by my vet who pulled one off my dog and put it under a microscope. I have moved, gone on vacation, new car...you name it ,I have tried.  Stopped all canine flea controls and only Frontine Plus with fipronil has worked on the dogs.Even recently propoxur failed.



My next move is fipronil home spray.



Please any body....HELP

R Blume Long Beach,CA call me 917-721-4912


covenist5 wrote at 2011-06-05 22:36:21
I live just outside of chicago, and have the same problem.  Don't tell me "It's not chiggers" because after doing much research, (and having had this problem for 3 YEARS! I've seen the red mites IN MY HOUSE, and FINALLY for the first time saw one of the almost skin tone larve ON MY SKIN! it was crawling on my hand, and so tiny, I see why I've not seen them before. I have found treatments for yards, but nothing for indoors.  I'm ready to set my house on fire!  They have made a home of my pillows and I believe my bed.  I am moving all my plants out of my house TODAY, and the only relief I've gotten was after sticking my pillows in the microwave for a minute apiece just to reduce the biting enough so I could sleep.  SOMEONE PLEASE TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY, AND ADDRESS IT INSTEAD OF BEING SO DISMISSIVE.  IT'S CALLED EVOLUTION! Just because it didn't seem to happen in the past doesn't mean it can't happen in the future! Or in this case, the present.  An open cry for help-- SOMEONE INVENT SOMETHING FOR THIS.  I've read and read and read, and there are many cases of people all with the same exact symptoms, and of equal persistance, and all the feedback I've seen is with this dismissave additude.  This is not being made up, and you so-called medical professionals should take a more scientific approach, instead of assuming you know the answer.  If you're answer was correct, this would be solved.


suunto wrote at 2011-06-12 12:53:14
I'm sorry, but true chigger nites simply do not persist indoors. Any mites found living indoors are not, repeat NOT, chiggers! On the other hand, clover mites (whose nymphs can be bright red) very commonly invade buildings (I have seen them literally form 'drifts' against bases of walls), but although nuisances, they are completely harmless to humans. One of the basic problems with doing online 'research' is that there is so much utterly erroneous posting as to make it very difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff.


bacpackr wrote at 2011-06-24 01:19:25
This is similar to what I am experiencing presently, though hopefully the problem is in my car, not house. I live in Oklahoma and a couple weeks ago I did some wildlife photography, avoiding the use of repellant in order to try to go scentless. I know well the dangers of chiggers around here, so after an hours drive home, I went straight to the washing machine, stripped, started the washer and got in the shower. It didn't save me, but I'm sure it helped a lot. I still got chigger bites around the ankles, thighs and a few at the belt line. I find the best treatment is as soon as they appear, hit them liberally with 1% cortisone cream and keep applying it twice a day. Nothing else I have tried ever worked as well.  



I also noticed since then, that I picked up another bite here and there, but haven't been back into any wild areas. That is until this past week when I took a long weekend backpacking in Colorado. After 12-13 hours in the car, a had a couple of new bites. After the drive home, a couple more.



Since I drove on about 90-100 miles total of dirt roads in Colorado to get to and from the trailhead, my car was covered in dust, inside and out, and last night I washed it, and scrubbed the inside, front and back (but haven't vacuumed yet). There was in fact, so much dust on the car, I left a noticeable layer of Colorado on my driveway. This evening, I found my upper body is covered with bites, with a few extra on the legs - and I mean covered, probably 30 bites in all.



My first thought was my bed, I hope not. Next was the macro photography I did lying on the ground in Colorado - but that was several days ago, in the mountains at 11,000-13,000 feet elevation, so I really have to doubt that. Plus, It's Thursday, and I got home Sunday night late, so why now? That leaves the car.



I don't really know how long those things can live without food and water while they wait to attack, I hope not long, but I'd like to know how to kill them if they're in the car.



Unlike the poor folks in the Bay State, I do live in well known chigger country, and I know the misery of being their victim.  


kristy wrote at 2011-09-13 23:08:53
Hello,







I live in NH. I am currently under attack in my home as well from something invisible. It has driven my dogs to intense itching to the point of loosing hair and the vets have no resolutions. They have been on Ivermectin, steroids, and antibiotics for months. The vet has even done a skin scrap which was negative.



I have found myself in the last month intensely itchy also. I have been to the Dr once who said it was dry skin or stress, and the emergency room once in which the Dr stated that I did not have classic signs of scabies or any other explanation for the type of bites I did have.



They gave me Lindane lotion, Aquaphor, Hydroxzine, and Hydrocortisone cream. None of these are doing anything. The only temporary relief I seem to find is the pharmacist said to use after bite on each bug bite. There are no fleas or bugs of any type in my house or on my dogs and we are all suffering miserably.



And my bf does not have any symptoms. Can you please e-mail me with any suggestions? Are there any more suffers like me that are finding no results?



And the most important question is this. Are chiggers in New England? And if not I recently transported my mothers vehicle up here from Georgia is it possible that there were chiggers in her car?



Thank you for all of your time and consideration with my dilemma. :-(  


scientifichelpplease wrote at 2012-12-11 11:48:52
This is a statement to verify the fact that chiggers DO and CAN live in a home. We are going crazy trying to get rid of them. I've been indoors for five days now and am still getting new bites. We are repeatedly washing our clothes in hot and soapy water each time we wear them, taking HOT soaking baths with baking soda a couple of times a day, and are having a carpet disinfectant service coming tomorrow to do the entire apartment. I've developed hives from the bites that has spread the redness over almost my entire forearms and mid-section. I've spent HOURS online trying to find helpful information regarding indoor infestations and am very alarmed that they are seldom mentioned anywhere!  


DEBBIE FREEMAN wrote at 2013-11-20 21:31:53
I WENT TO CA 2 YRS AGO TO WATCH MY TWIN GRANDBOYS WHILE MY DAUGHTER FINISHED SCHOOL. THERE I HAD BITES WENT TO UCLA FOR ALL KINDS OF TEST, BIOPSIES THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS LATER & STILL TO THIS DAY GET BITES AND NO ONE KNOWS WHAT I HAVE THEY SUGGEST THAT I'M NUTS BUT I ASSURE YOU THAT I'M NEARLY 60 AND NOT NUTS THERE IS SUPPOSE TO BE A DNA TEST THAT THEY CAN DO TO FIND OUT WHAT THIS IS BITING ME BUT I DO KNOW I HAVE SPREAD IT BACK TO MY HOME IN WA AND MY HOME IN AZ! NO ONE SEEMS TO CARE THAT I AM BEING EATING ALIVE! SO I FEEL YOUR PAIN; EVEN HAD ONE CHECKED AT LAB AND SAID IT WAS NOT A PARASITE BECAUSE IT WAS

DEAD, WELL WHAT WAS IT? THIS WEEK I FOUND A SMALL BLACK FLY LOOKING THING WITH ROUNDISH WINGS BUT HAS A LONG STINGER? AT FRONT AND BACK BESIDES HIS 4 LEGS.  I KNOW WE CAN'T BE THE ONLY ONE WITH THIS PROBLEM AS YOU I WENT TO LA CO HEALTH DEPT, WA HEALTH DEPT HAVE WRITTEN DR. OZ BUT TO NO RESPONSE. I TOLD MY DAUGHTER IF I DIE IT'S NOT FROM A DAMN HEART ATTACK IT WILL BE FROM THIS WHATEVER!  


Dawn Rae wrote at 2015-09-09 20:14:58
I think I got bit by Chiggers on Sunday 9/6/15 in Hudson Massachusetts. I am still investigating but I all signs point to chiggers.



I was a lawn party in a site with a large lawn that had been overgrown and mowed right before the party started. Symptoms showed up 1.5 days later. All bites on my lower legs, ankles, and feet. Much itchier than mosquitoes.



I wish that we could get an official to verify!  


Mike T wrote at 2015-09-11 21:19:54
I have stepped in a nest before, drove me crazy! thought they burrow into your skin , but NO, Dr said the larva (unseen) bite and fall off to molt into the adults (the ones you can barely see which cant bite)

  Covering the bite with clear nail polish will keep them from itching!! no air can get to it.

I read foggers may kill them indoors. I have a car that was parked near some pine trees for a while and mow they are in there, will be fogging it as soon as I get back from Walmart.

They love pine needles and their nests look like a cloud

they are everywhere in NC and I spray the yard twice a year now,

after I got into the first nest




Fre wrote at 2015-11-14 15:57:35
I live in Lynn Massachusetts, near North Andover and my dog has chiggers on her. 100% the tiny orange pin point bug I managed to find on her and bring to the vet


Fre wrote at 2015-11-14 15:57:42
I live in Lynn Massachusetts, near North Andover and my dog has chiggers on her. 100% the tiny orange pin point bug I managed to find on her and bring to the vet


Leslie wrote at 2016-05-04 02:56:16
I think it could be possible to have an indoor infest of chiggers. What with global warming, who knows what anomalies may occur in terms of pests expanding their environmental niches.


Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Ed Saugstad

Expertise

Will accept most questions in general entomology, including those related to medical entomology, taxonomy, ecology, arthropod surveillance, and pest management. If you are requesting a 'mystery bug' identification, PLEASE either attach an image to your question, or post an image on a web page (such as Flickr) so that I can look at it, as verbal descriptions frequently are insufficient for a definitive identification.

Experience

21 years in the U.S. Army as a medical entomologist; duties varied from surveillance of pest populations (including mosquitoes, cockroaches, ticks, and stored products pests) to conducting research on mosquito-virus ecological relationships and mosquito faunal studies. Ten years as a civilian analyst for the Department of Defense, primarily on distribution of vector-borne diseases worldwide. Limited experience on surveillance of agricultural insects in North Dakota and Indiana.

Organizations
Entomological Society of America, West Virginia Entomological Society, Society for Vector Ecology, National Speleological Society, West Virginia Association for Cave Studies.

Publications
American Journal of Public Health, Contributions of the American Entomological Institute, Japanese Journal of Sanitary Zoology, Journal of Economic Entomology, Mosquito News, and Mosquito Systematics.

Education/Credentials
B.S. in entomology from North Dakota State University in 1963, M.S. in entomology from Purdue University in 1967.

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