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Everybody’s Talking About Love Bugs, But These Are Worse!

Dusty Hayes, Townsquare Media
Dusty Hayes, Townsquare Media

This is a worse year than usual for love bugs.  My wife and I went to her family’s annual reunion at Beaver’s Bend in Broken Bow, OK, over the long Labor Day Weekend and our Suburban is caked in them.  Which reminds me of an old joke:  Do you know the last thing to go through a bug’s mind when it hits your windshield?  It’s butt!

But, I digress.  Love bugs are admittedly nasty and annoying, but they’re a minor nuisance compared to the most hated bug of all.  And, no, I’m not talking about the dreaded mosquito–at least you can see them coming.  I’m talking about that vile creation that loves to chomp your ankles and nether regions; that makes you itch so bad, you think you’ll lose your mind.  I’m talking about the loathsome chigger.  The critter whose handiwork you can see in the picture above.  Yes, that’s my leg.

These suckers are so small, you don’t even know they’re on you until it’s too late. You’ve probably never even seen one.  At just 1/150th of an inch long, they’re barely visible to the naked eye.  They’re actually the juvenile form of a mite from the Trombiculidae family.  I looked it up–the internet’s a wonderful thing.

And they don’t fly through the air.  They lie low in the grass, just waiting for you to unwittingly walk by.  Just like a lion after a gazelle.  Except you don’t get the chance to run. They’re all over your ankles and up your shorts in the blink of an eye.

Then 12 hours later you start to feel a little itchy, and little red splotches show up on your skin.  Before you know it your skin itches so bad that you want to crawl out of it. But the agony has just begun.  It takes days for the itching to subside, and up to 2 weeks for the gaping wounds that you’ve scraped open to heal.

So, I’ll take your love bugs over my chiggers any day of the week, and twice on Sundays.  Come to think of it, when I arrive at the Pearly Gates one day, the first question I’m going to ask is, “Why chiggers?”

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