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Leslie Chisholm lchishol at uoguelph.ca
Thu Jul 21 22:48:51 EST 1994

You were partially correct. The chigoe is a flea (Tunga penetrans). 
Chiggers are mites (Trombidiidae and Trombiculidae). The immature stages 
can be extremely common in many parts of North America. They are 
parasites of a number of vertebrate and invertebrate hosts. The stages 
infesting humans wait in vegetation for a suitable host and attach to 
exposed skin, injecting a tube of saliva that breaks down the tissues, 
causing the itch. The best cure is prevention - long pants and insect 
repellant (like DEET) in areas where chiggers are common. Covering the 
chiggers with clear nail polish is often effective. Calamine lotion will 
cut the itching. I've spent a lot of time in the field with an 
entomologist who always seems to get them in the most excruciating places 
on every trip. He finds that Scotch relieves the itch nicely.

Terry Wheeler
University of Guelph

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