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  1. #1

    Chigger and memories

    We just got back from Brushbeater's "Scout" course this weekend. Good course. I am covered in chigger bites from literally head to toes. 100s of the little devils. Horrible stuff.

    Thankfully barely itched in the field, too busy "I ain't got time to ITCH!" LOL

    But on the ride home, they started murdering me.

    Burning them out in the shower then pouring rubbing alcohol on them I was laughing thinking about spending Labor day weekend this way. A weekend that makes most people think BBQ and drink beer, and here we in the woods for three days and covered in chigger bites at the end.

    Then I remembered this same weekend in 1987, being 14 years old and experiencing the same exact thing. I didn't even know what chiggers were. I just thought I got a helluva lot of mosquito bites.

    It was my first true "survival" training outing. I lied about my age to a survival "group" I had met via American Survival Guide magazines "Survivalist Directory" service. This was a coded mail forwarding service.

    The two guys -the "group"- were out of Jacksonville and were both way older than me, at least 25 while I was 14. I told them in letters that I was 16 after they mentioned this was the youngest they would consider for their "group." I was big and easily passed as a 16 year old.

    My best friend was supposed to go with us that weekend also but had a "family thing" come up the night before. I'm guessing he didn't want to risk being hacked up in the woods by a couple of guys we didn't really know and backed out. Sissy.... He had previously joked that we would end up Deliverance style in the woods, maybe he was really concerned about that LOL.

    So on a previous meet and greet with these two guys my buddy had come with us and we all drove out to this large wooded tract that we didn't know at the time was a large hunting lease (oops) and did a "recon" of the area.

    Now I'm heading into the woods with this two adult males, no firearms on me but knives hidden everywhere on me. My parents knew the vague area we were going to and that I should be home sometime Sunday. Bye Mom and Dad hopefully the next time you see my face it won't be on the news... Come to think of it- WTFF were my parents thinking letting me go like that??? Boomer parents, everything works out fine, everyone is nice, nothing bad will ever happen to us, Beaver Cleaver type of crap that wasn't true then, wasn't true in the late 80's and certainly isn't true now.

    I was hardcore you know, I read ASG, read the Airforce Survival manual... I was READY. Or so I thought. In a lot of ways I was like a lot of new "preppers" now- only I had the excuse of only being 14 years old.

    We get to the area we were trespassing in I MEAN camping in, and set up camp. The two other guys work for what seems like hours on their improvised shelters. We were sleeping in improvised shelters that we had to make.

    I on the other hand, knowing better because I was 14 spent a lot less time on my shelter. I found a big pine stump and some of the remains of the same tree. I thought I was slick, cause almost everything I needed was right there. The stump was maybe 2 feet off the ground. I don't remember what supported the poor representation of the shelter I **** on the other end, but I remember not having 550 or probably any cord so I just laid some roughly body length sticks from the stump across to something else as the structure of the shelter. Using some of the other remnants of the tree I rolled about 4 pine branch sections roughly the same diameter as a "swamp bed." I had of course saw this excellent piece of advice in the AF survival manual. Not a total retard to try to sleep on top of 4 logs, I found 3 palmetto leaves and laid them down and put a little Spanish moss there for some cushioning. Hell if Rambo didn't need a comfortable night of sleep I damn sure didn't either!

    Completing the shelter was for a newbie relatively simple. While the other two guys were cutting large quantities of palm leaves from areas outside the camp- a few here and there so as not to defoilage an area, I found it much easier to just cut about 6 leaves and lay them atop my whole mess. Voila, I'm done and those fools were still working on their shelters for hours while this smarter than Spock chubby little guy was done in no time!!!

    So it rained that night, not bad, but more than a few drops which of course very quickly showed my 6 palm leaf roof to be a sham. But hell Rambo didn't cry when he had to suture himself up with a fish hook and fishing line, so why should I!
    I endured two nights in that mess O' crap, adding only slightly more work to it for night number 2.

    That weekend was my first official "survivalist" training weekend and it also left me covered from head to toe with chiggers.

    I had no idea what the hell chiggers were. My family were all Yankees. Tell you how to shovel snow, sure. Chiggers, what the hell is a chigger?

    School had just re-started for the year at a different school. I was a "surfer" albeit a chubby surfer. I remember the day after Labor Day going back to school and a couple of little Bubbas noticing the numerous red bumps from the chiggers. They pointed at them and said "I never heard of anyone getting red bugs from surfing?" No dippy do, I probably spend more time in the woods than your redneck behinds do, but I darn sure wasn't going to admit that. Even at 14 I had some sense of Opsec.

    33 years later, same weekend, similar type of training, same damn red bugs....

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  2. #2
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    I had my first and only run-in with chiggers while berry picking in SC. Most miserable experience with critters in my whole life!

  3. #3
    What I learned was to load up on Vitamin B-6 couple days early.
    Neither chiggers nor mosquit's bothered me.
    You have to take enough where you're body's eliminating it.
    Never heard of any bad results from taking too much B-6 (within reason, at least).
    YMMV

    Forgot to mention. Dog flea collars around each ankle. Over the sock and under the pants but try to avoid direct skin contact.
    Course I knew a guy (don't we all) who did both ankles, both biceps and one around his neck, Looked kinda odd but didn't seem to hurt him any and he got ZERO bites.
    Last edited by prc-104; 09-09-2020 at 10:44 AM.

  4. #4
    I'm hearing all the folks remedies lately. One from our postmaster yesterday was "drink two Tbsp of vinegar then take a hot shower 20 minutes later and they will be gone." Yeah right. Didn't work.

    Also was told to drink the same amount of vinegar before going in the woods and they would run from me....

    I used to get these every damn time I went on hikes with Protus also.

    This weekend was a lot of shooting in high grass prone, probably got them there. We slept on the ground for a couple days, but I did have a poncho down so who knows.

    I added "ChiggerX" and Benadryl to the packs. They seem to give some relief.

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  5. #5
    Administrator protus's Avatar
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    I hate chiggers.
    Hate them.
    Well....like you rolling around in the ONF you find tgem. Lol well they find you.
    You dont go commando around them...ughhh...
    Anyway.
    This is how i roll.
    I hate deet. But. I spray my boots with it.
    Permethrin based stuff on pants,socks,shirts.
    Then i spray everything from the knees down.
    If im gonna be on all fours,,,everything gets sprayed.
    I get a few odd ball ones now and then ...
    Old skool way was a old sock with sulphur powder to dust your lower half.

    Post bite.

    90% alky rub down.
    Iirc the welts is a reaction to thier salvia/bite.
    We used to use witchhazel as well.


    Either way.
    I hate them.
    Hey Petunia...you dropped your man pad!

  6. #6
    Doing all the normal stuff like that. There is a product called Chiggerex that relieves a little bit of the issues- there is now a bottle in every pack as well. Benadryl helped with the itching but could put you to early bed time.

    The best so far has been a hot bath with a ton of epsom salts. It seemed like they turned the corner after that.

    Still a few stragglers a week later, but nothing like Sunday/Monday.

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  7. #7
    Hey chiggers ain't just a southern thing! We have em here in the Buckeye state too.
    I've had them too many times to count so I think that I've found the best way to avoid them. Deep Woods Off. I know that a lot of people don't like deet but I actually like the smell of DWO, it's my "man cologne".
    I've found through my experience with the little red devils that I can spray just from the knees down and I'm GTG.
    I can't speak for you southern boys but round here chiggers prefer tall grass so if I'm going anywhere near tall grass I spray.

    Up here I've noticed that from spring through early summer is "tick season" and I don't get chigger bites but mid-summer through late its the opposite, chiggers galore and hardly any ticks.

    I don't know if its because we have high deer populations or what but some years the ticks here are terrible.

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