Saturday, July 08, 2006

I Can't Live Without. . .


Several visitors to Farmgirl Fare (my food & farm blog), have left me comments saying things along the lines of "You have such a perfect life!" and "It's like a fairy tale!" One person (who is now a dear friend) even said, "I should stop coming to your blog. It makes me too jealous." To this I replied, "But if I showed you the ugly stuff, you definitely would stop visiting!"

Life here is, for the most part, pretty darn wonderful (at least in my opinion). In fact, there are days when I simply wander around totally amazed--by the breathtaking beauty that surrounds us, by all of the wonderful animals we share the farm with, by the incredible food we produce and enjoy. Sometimes it really is a perfect life. And sometimes it seems just the opposite. And while I've certainly shared some of the hurt and heartache that have happened during the past year, let's just say I definitely edit out a few things.

The other day I came across some notes I had scribbled down several months ago as a lighthearted response to one of those "perfect life" comments. They were possible titles for some blog posts I came up with that will never be seen on your computer screen--but that I could certainly produce with ease. Reality Farm Blogging, if you will. You know, things like "Pumping Out The Septic Tank--A Photographic Essay," "Entire 2005 Beet Crop Fits Inside A Snack Size Baggie," and finally, "78 Bug Bites & Counting."

Thankfully the ancient septic tank doesn't need attention very often (if we treat it with extreme care), and this year's beet crop has already far surpassed snack bag size. But the bug bites--there's no stopping them. No matter what new lotions and potions and crazy concoctions and herbal remedies and special vitamins I try, once the weather begins to warm up, it is guaranteed that I will soon end up with what people around here refer to as "Missouri legs." This is not something a girl wants to be sporting during sandal season. We have ticks galore, including ones so small you probably wouldn't even see them crawling on you save for the fact that they usually travel in very large numbers. And we have chiggers, which are (thankfully) not the kind of chiggers that burrow into your toenails, but are awful nonetheless. I'll stop now, because you are probably starting to itch just reading this, but believe me, there's more.

Anyway, several years ago a fellow bug-bitten transplant to this neck of the woods revealed his secret for surviving Scratching Season: Chiggerex Medicated Ointment. I was skeptical, but this stuff really does give you "fast, soothing relief" just like it says on the little jar. And I can attest to the fact that it works on "all types of insect bites." It isn't made out of anything really scary, either. The active ingredient is Benzocaine (for pain relief), and it also contains aloe, peppermint and clove oils, chamomile extract, various vitamins, and some other stuff.

The best part? It's under $3.00 for a 1.75 ounce jar. A little goes a long way, too. (And the nice thing about the small size is that it will easily fit in your purse. Yes, during the summer I take my Chiggerex everywhere.) I buy it in the pharmacy section of a giant discount store, though I did manage to find one online source for it--at a place called ("personal products in a private environment"). I guess I'm not supposed to be freely discussing my bug bites on the internet. But unfortunately they are an annoying fact of life, and I can assure you that your life will be a whole lot more comfortable if you have some Chiggerex on hand (and foot and ankle and arm and. . .).

Do you have your own special Scratching Season remedy? Because while I doubt I'll ever give up my Chiggerex, I'm always open to trying new things--especially if they'll keep me from getting those 78 bites in the first place.


  1. here is a tip for tick removal -- I haven't tried it myself but the person who sent it to me says it works great -- Apply a glob of liquid soap to a cotton ball. Cover the tick with the soap-soaked cotton ball and swab it for a few seconds (15-20),the tick will come out on it's own and be stuck to the cotton ball when you lift it away.

  2. I used to put finger nail polish on chigger bites which supposedly suffocates them.

  3. Ooh, I'm buying some of that! Last year was my first run-in with chiggers, and...well, actually, I don't want to talk about it. :-)

    You know, the South has a reputation for big, scary bugs, but I think the Northeast and the Midwest suffer far worse in the biting insect department. Between you and Liz, you've definitely got us beat for ticks, chiggers, black flies, etc. We have all of the above, but in more moderate numbers.

    It helps that we have bats and chimney swifts in Roman-legion type quantities. Bless 'em.

  4. Chiggerex is definitely on my shopping list now. I was sitting on a log yesterday with shorts on, duh. :-)

  5. I was eaten alive the other nite while out at the garden - mosquitoes and flies! Even the freebie sampler of some bug deterant wasn't helping. What really topped it off was when I got wholloped in the head by a fast-moving Japanese beetle - ow!

  6. Is zipping yourself up in your sleeping bag inside your tent considered a bug repellent method?

    That is the only thing I've found to be at all successful at keeping biting nasties at bay. Otherwise, I'm a delicious snack for all bugs.

  7. The comment about "... Apply a glob of liquid soap to a cotton ball. Cover the tick with the soap-soaked cotton ball and let it stay on the repulsive insect ..." is apparently (see link to snopes website) not correct, even though it sounds plausible to me.

  8. I put a some uncooked honey on the bug bites, and the itch goes right away. It's sold in our grocery here as "health honey" but I think any uncooked honey should work.

  9. Just catching up on my blog reading.. and I can definately relate to "chigger bites".. growing up in Iowa I had a welsh pony named Chigger, who didn't bite.

    For severe itching, bathe in a warm "baking soda" bath, followed by a dabbing of clear fingernail polish on each bite...

    itching and can't take a bath or use polish? using your fingernail make a X over the bite, pushing your nail into the red bite mark, works for mosquito bites, too.

    PREVENTION: wear boots and hang a "cow" insect repellent ear tag from the loop on your boots... one for each leg... that always worked for my (now ex-) Husband and his boys.

    Whatever it is I eat, they leave me alone. pretty much.

  10. Hey Farmgirl...

    I'm up here in the Northeast and while the blackflies have subsided its the Deer Flies that are ferocious... fast, aggressive and only need .5 seconds to land and bite. (and they keep up with me when I am riding my bike through the woods with the dog... arrrgh!)

    I've been using Quantum Natural Solutions' Buzz Away... it is a sunscreen and insect repellant... not sure that it works on ticks or chiggers but it certainly keeps the flying bugs away... including the deerflies.

    It smells nice too... if you like the smell of citronella-ishness.

    Try it out and tell me what you think.

  11. Pin a sheet of "Bounce" (dry fabric softener) on your shirt somewhere. The mosquitos will not bite. Neither will the red bugs. I will definitely try the Chiggerex. Everything bites me when I'm outside.

  12. Hey there --

    The best thing I've found for a large cluster of bites (discovered this when I got my ankles covered in red-ant bites during a trip to Florida) is clear packing tape. Seriously, I know this sounds ridiculous, but it really works! And you don't have to wrap yourself in the stuff -- just a few strips big enough to cover the multi-bite areas...

  13. There are many tick removal methods, tools, tick removal guidelines, procedures, tick remedy information handouts, tick bite treatments. However, if the tick is already deep in your skin, how are you going to dislodge it when there is nothing visible to hold on to? Some people say tweezers crush the tick and its gut spills all over. My friend has just found a tick removal solution she swears by at
    She put two drops on top of the tick and pushed at it with a cotton ball. The tick withdrew entirely on its own. She just flushed it down the toilet.

  14. What I would like to know is, what is there for my dog? The chiggers are eating him up.
    As for the Chiggerex, there is one other as good or better,the problem finding it.
    It is called Chiggerrid, maybe spelled Chiggerid.
    Good Luck

  15. I have found DMSO (DiMethyl SulfOxide) to work perfectly for relieving the pain of chiggers and insects. It's a wonderful linament for strained tendons and ligaments on my horses, kills athletes foot and all sorts of fungus' for high school boys (including jock itch)... it just burns a little.

    Wash affected area real good with warm water and antibacterial soap and dry. Apply either the liquid or gel DMSO to affected area, and within 15 minutes or less... RELIEF!

    DMSO can be purchased at just about any agriculture supply store, tack shop, or feed store.

    One word of caution: it tends to make your breath smell like garlic or sulphur, and if you're allergic to sulfur compound medicines, you shouldn't use DMSO because the main active ingredient is sulfur.

    I was mowing down some overgrown grass on some old acreage in the Texas Hill Country when chiggers infested my waistband and ankles. I was in MISERY until I applied DMSO to the affected areas. Within 15 minutes (or less) I was in total relief.

    Just wear some old, clean, clothes when using this stuff. It tends to stain "yellow" if it gets on your new linens.

  16. Sulfur powder dusted on your legs will prevent bites. Can be found at farm supply or army surplus.

  17. Thought you might be having trouble locating Chiggerex and or chiggerid as everyone else is. Problem,,,, name change and place to purchase. I finally found it by going to Scherer Lab. who makes the stuff. They are now calling it Chigger Tox $2.99 per and I found it on Got me 10 tubes (it is now in a tube) so I will be a long time hunting it again. One entire day searching but Aah Sweet success.
    I did look and the ingred. everything is the same so I expect the same wonderful, unbeatable results. Wanted to pass the good word along. Sharyn

  18. chigger bite prevention: my friend applies sulfur all over and she doesn't get one bite. however, she then stinks to high heaven - but if you're outside workin', who cares! :)


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