Super reactors to bug bites.

mudlady_gwJune 23, 2012

I have numerous allergies and receive allergy shots, mostly because I refuse to give up my cats. I have always had extremely sensitive skin. Last summer, from June 1 to around July 4, I had severe, constant itching from both raised red "bites" as well as tiny bumps in clusters that were skin colored. I saw 4 doctors and no one had a clear diagnosis. The dermatologist biopsied a red bite and the pathology, besides a thorough description of the inflammatory process, said it came from an arachnid bite. During that time I was aware that my yard, for the first time in the six years I have lived here, was infested by uncountable numbers of Gypsy moth caterpillars. When the caterpillars died from an application of Sevin my itching finally, but slowly subsided.

This year there are almost no caterpillars (I sprayed them) but I break out in obvious bug bites every time I set foot on or ride the mower on the grass. I saturate myself with a Off with Deet, tuck long pants into my socks and wear a long sleeved t-shirt. No matter, I get more bites every time I am exposed to something I assume is in the grass. I have used a cortisone cream and Benadryl clear lotion but each itchy area lasts for more than a week and I go crazy trying not to scratch the areas. My son, an agricultural biologist in Santa Barbara County, who knows everything, asked if chiggers had arrived in NY. They have and all my symptoms coincide with descriptions of chigger bites. Because I am a super reactor to any bite I am miserable. I can't afford to pay someone to cut my 2 acres and do my gardening. No body else I know reacts as severely to bites as I do. Even a mosquito bite causes a huge raised lump that becomes extremely inflamed, and oozes and itches for more than a week. My question is this: Does anyone reading this react as I do, or maybe know someone else who does? I am considering having the grass treated next year with something that kills chiggers. My reaction is so severe I really would like to know if anyone else does as I do, and what they may do to prevent the bites. I have read all the home remedies for chigger bites, have had 4 doctors' opinions as to any medical treatment, and I'm not asking for more. I just want to know if I am alone in this misery and what I might do to safely treat the grass and soil.

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I have lived in this neighborhood almost 7 years and we have never had them until now. One of my neighbors was diagnosed with chiggers bites. When I had chiggers as a child they were always in tight places, under the elastic in panties, in the crotch and at my waist, etc.. The bites I am getting are not in places like that. I am not sure the doctor was right. We have had an abundance of very small spiders (arachnids) in the last 2 years. They leave a black mess between the screens and our glass windows and doors. I am more inclined to believe they are spider bites.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 8:57AM
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I have bad reactions to very small cream colored spiders. They liked my extension ladder & they were so little(& cute) that I ignored them & once at top of ladder they came out of hiding in the steps or under them & I had 10 bites in a few seconds. I had to take Benadyrl by mouth. So maybe you should inspect your mower & spray it with pesticide along with the other things you are doing. They may be riding along with you if you aren't stirring them up from the grass. I'm also allergic to ants & get a reaction from 1 little ant that swells up my whole arm & must take Benadryl for that too. You are not alone in having serious allergies. Good Luck!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 2:57AM
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I was bit for the first time by chiggers in May. It has taken months for the itching to stop. When everything finally cleared up I was bitten by sand fleas and now I have hives which has never happened before. I did a ton of research and the one product recommended for indoor and outdoor use is diatomaceous earth. Apparently it kills all bugs even the good ones but at this point whenever I go outside I end up with a new rash or hives and bug bites. I bought a 4 lb bag today at Home Depot for $9.00. I put it around my patio furniture for starters hoping I can sit and finally relax outside. It takes awhile to work so I'll have to post after a week to see if there's any difference. Good luck and this has been a bad year for bugs, I'm sorry you have such bad reactions and I feel your pain/itches.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 2:06AM
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I am very sensitive to bug bites and have other allergies. If there is a mosquito in the yard it will find me and leave everyone else alone!

I am a butterfly gardener and for years have brought in the caterpillars to raise since so many are killed by lizards, bees, and such. Up until this year, I have never had a reaction to the caterpillar spines of the Zebra Longwing. When I cleaned the cage where I kept the caterpillars and put in more plant food, I accidently rubbed my arm against the spines of a caterpillar that was under a leaf. A few minutes later, I noticed a raised oblong area that started itching. A little Benadryl gel helped over the next couple of days and the raised bumps went away. A couple weeks later, I got a few ant bites while gardening. Got out the Benadryl again but also noticed the same spot on my arm had raised up again and I didn't have any caterpillars inside to raise this time. I asked my dermotologist about it and she said that can happen, its the histimines reacting in your body. As often as I get bit, I'll be red itchy spots all over by summers end if every bit reoccurs. Maybe you are having a similiar response.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 7:43PM
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Hi, mudlady,
I came across your thread while looking up reasons for major suseptability to chigger bites. I have lived in East Texas my whole life, where summer lasts more months of the year than any other season. Here, chiggers are as common as ticks, mosquitos, spiders and scorpions. For me, chiggers have been nothing more than an annoyance, with a few bites most summers and many applications of 'Chigger Rid' to tame the itching. I've never seen anyone have a reaction like yours, until I met my current boyfriend.
He sprays his shoes with spider/scorpion poison, then, when dry, he sprays himself, bottom to top, with 'Repel' (a repellent that is 100% DEET), and he still gets chigger bites. Unlike my few bites a summer, he gets many in a day. They are so bad that, after working outdoors, he will resort to taking a bath in bleach. I have never seen anyone have such a suseptability to chiggers like him. I am actually relieved to know that there are other people who have that kind of reaction. So, rest assured that you are not the only one that has such a severe reaction.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 1:17PM
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Sorry have to say this, if the bugs don't kill you the poisons will, specially the Deet. If I had such serious reactions to bugs I would move to the city and buy a condo. I have had poison ivy and poison oak, so I do know how bad the itching can be.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 10:21PM
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