Yes, those hills are alive, but not necessarily with the sound of music.
I knew my friend Angelia (femmeflashpoint of flashpress) was suffering from a reaction to poison ivy. That was the vegetarian part of things. (Told you those weeds are bad news. I prefer eating my Swiss chard or lettuce.)
But the horror crept through her writing when she described later on how she’d been attacked by stealthy little chiggers in the dead of night. They had apparently hidden themselves in one of her favorite tee shirts when it dropped on the grass while hanging on the line.
Unfortunately they had a whole night to engage in microscopic but mighty chewing on her body before she discovered the results. She's been battling the fallout (‘cause their little babies burrow under your skin) since then.
I'd never heard of them. I did some research and learned they belong to the family Trombiculidae. I guess having a name like that is enough to send any bug, no matter how small, into a biting frenzy against society. Seems to me this is one serious goof made by Mother Nature.
Bugs should only eat other bugs, or be vegetarian. Why pick on the humans? Just when those folks are glorying in perfect weather? It just doesn't seem right. And then, to have the bugs win is just the bitter end...all too often.
She says, "they croaked trying to escape a thick slathering of Ivarest lotion."
The point of her pin gives you a decent idea of how tiny they are, and these appear even larger because of the partial coating of lotion.
This is a pic of femme's torso, showing a close-up of a 3" area that's healing from chigger bites.
The color of the image has been augmented to help you see the outline of the affected areas.
This is three weeks after the reaction.
Even with immediate treatment, it can take a month or longer for the reaction rash to shrink, dry up and stop itching.
It can take even longer for skin discoloration to disappear.
Then my dad casually introduced the subject of bilharzia one day. In horrified amazement I listened as he described how in almost all of Africa there are snails that release parasites in those lovely streams of water,. Naturally they seek some blood, so the parasites painlessly enter your venous system, and can spend years making you sicker and sicker. I won't go into this more, but it's not good at all. It cured me of the stream bathing ritual instantly.
Another thing I'd never heard of in Africa, possibly because greater threats were mosquitoes that carry malaria and dengue fever, are what is referred to as no-see-ums here in North America. Well, let's get some plain-speak happening here. They're actually Leptoconops torrens, and while they're so small you can't see them, they're nasty little things that make you itch like crazy.
And don't forget the beautiful lakes you love to swim in here, because leeches live in their depths. Awful things, and yes, I appreciate they make great wound cleansers, but just the sight of one latched firmly onto a body is enough to make me very queasy.
There's a nice touch of warped compassion with these little biters. They make things as painless as possible for the victims. Just before, or sometimes actually while they bite, they do deliver a dose of local anaesthetic so you can relax as they enjoy their blood meal.
Now we keep on with the yada yada about how wonderful Mother Nature is, but seriously, blood sucking seems a bit twisted to me. Someone slipped up in the organization. I bet you could think of at least ten tiny critter pests that we might be able to do without. It's enough to make you want to whip up an online petition against the little varmints. After all, it's not as if there wouldn't still be millions of bugs donating themselves as haute cuisine for whatever animals and insects enjoy them. Just sayin’...
Wishing you a wonderful summer outside. But please, be mindful of what’s lurking out there.
And to my friend, femmeflashpoint, happy healing!