Archived Story

Chigger repellent wanted

Published 6:21pm Friday, July 11, 2014

Does anybody know a good chigger repellent? I walked around in the woods for maybe 20 minutes Thursday afternoon and came away with 10 redbug bites, most of them behind and below my knees.
My wife, Mary Lyman, walked with me and received a grand total of 0.
Earlier in the week, she was bitten by mosquito after mosquito while we were picking blueberries in our yard. They finally chased her inside at a gallop. I eventually got two mosquito bites and strolled to the house with a full quart of berries.
In both cases we were engaged in the same activities, at the same time, in the same place … but the bugs treated us much differently.
I don’t know why.
But I do know that I need a good chigger repellent.
Last week, I spent about a hour walking around in the same woods and didn’t get one redbug bite.
I did two things differently.
First, I tucked my blue jeans into my boots last week and left them out this week. Second, I took a shower immediately after walking in the woods last week and scrubbed my legs with a soapy fingernail brush.
On Thursday, I didn’t take a shower, and I was itching by midnight.
I don’t know if my Andy Griffith jean-tucking had much to do with my Thursday chigger total. But I’m 99 percent sure that the hot, soapy shower with plenty of scrubbing is the main reason I didn’t become a chigger banquet last week.
Before my walk in the woods  and my outing in my yard, I sprayed a heavy coat of Deep Woods Off on my legs as I left the truck.
Obviously, Deep Woods Off Dry, with 25 percent DEET, isn’t a good chigger repellent despite this message on the front of the can that reads “Long lasting protection from mosquitoes, ticks, biting flies, gnats and chiggers.”
So I know I need a good chigger repellent.
I found one website that said Lavender Essential Oil applied neat – uncut – could make the chiggers run away. But how many guys want to walk around the woods smelling like a grandmother?
I kept hunting and found that chiggers also hate the smell of sulfur, and I could dust my clothes and my socks and my shoes with sulfur.
The website said, “If you are walking in the woods, you can mix up a body powder of half sulfur, half talcum powder and rub it over your legs, arms and waist. You can also put it in a pillowcase and drag it over your lawn to chigger-proof the area for children who may be playing there.”
But let’s face it, how many guys want to walk around in the woods smelling like Satan? Furthermore, how many want to fill their pillowcase with sulfur?
It was the same for Peppermint oil, lemongrass oil and witch hazel and jojoba oil (what the heck is a jojoba, anyway?), which all got recommended as chigger repellents.
I don’t think I’ll be dabbing on any of those anytime soon, either.
And while I was looking for chigger repellents, I found a post on Pintrest that said Preparation H is good for relieving the itch of chigger bites, but hey, how many guys want to walk around in the woods smelling like … Preparation H?
So, at the risk of sounding repetitive, does anybody know a good chigger repellent?
Boone is publisher of The Outlook.