August, what is this biting mite? How to get rid of it?

Augustat is the larva of a mite which has a very bad reputation, and we understand that. The beast, very present in certain natural areas in August (hence its name), poisons the daily life of many of us. This is because the larvae bite us, resulting in papules and itching sometimes unbearable. Let’s see precisely who chiggers are and the best solutions to protect themselves from them but also to eradicate them.

Augustat: main characteristics

Augustat is the name for the larva of the trombidium or vintage (also called red mullet and even grape harvest), a mite (Trombicula autumnalis) which belongs to the family of Trombiculidae.

In adulthood, this gregarious parasite covered with hairs and reddish in color does not measure more than a third of a millimeter. It is its larva, also red, which is a real pricker-nozzle likely to transmit diseases and attacking mainly warm-blooded animals such as horses, cows, rabbits, dogs, cats, rodents, considered as reservoirs of chiggers. But reptiles which are cold-blooded animals can also be attacked by this parasite. As for humans, many complain about its bites.

It is thanks to its appendages named the chelicerae that the mite bites its host to feed on your blood and other cellular fluids. But at the same time, it injects – through its saliva – enzymes that allow it to predigest cells after having liquefied them since its mode of digestion is extra-intestinal. While feeding, the chigger therefore pierces the skin of its host and its saliva causes hypersensitivity reactions.

This mite lives outside of cities, in grassy areas well exposed to light. But we can quite find it in our homes where it is transported via our clothes or our pets. In general, it is mostly in summer that one is a victim of this parasite. However, it should be noted that when the hygrometric and thermal conditions are suitable, chiggers can also be very virulent during the winter.

Chigger bite: what consequences for humans?

In humans, damage is primarily seen in the popliteal fossa (i.e. behind the knees), on the legs, ankles, feet, inside of the elbows, and on the legs. wrists, even hips, stomach and waist. Indeed, the chigger bites preferably where the clothes tighten the most or on the areas where the skin is the thinnest.

The bites are completely painless, but they cause lots of papules, possibly containing pus and itching (pruritus) sometimes violent which can last for more than a week and justifies the prescription of an antihistamine. Untimely scratching can cause secondary infection which can be calmed with an antibiotic-based ointment. Some people have allergic hives. Complications are also possible, such as paraphlebitis with a high fever.

The best solutions against chiggers

It is possible to protect yourself from chiggers when you decide to spend a friendly moment in the garden in August or for a picnic in the heart of nature. Too bad for the tan, better to wear a trousers to fully cover his legs and a long-sleeved T-shirt. Sports pants with bottom to tighten with a drawstring are perfect because they prevent chiggers from infiltrating them. If you want to bask or picnic in the grass, you must take the precaution of isolating yourself from the ground thanks to a large blanket.

For an even more intense precaution, one takes care to treat beforehand his clothes and the blanket with a mixture of 50% of talc and 50% of powdered sulfur, or with a anti-chigger product that can be obtained in pharmacies and drugstores. Note that the latter combine preventive action and treatment itching from stings / bites.

The prevention goes through a zero reproach garden care. It consists of mow very regularly the lawn at aerate the most possible the vegetation at the level of the beds and the hedge. It is necessary eliminate weeds and brambles before they become infected with chiggers. Pruning can be entrusted to a landscaper. Any saucer should be emptied so that there is as little standing water as possible. It is also necessary to fight against the installation of certain animals in the garden because they attract chiggers since they are serious hosts for these mites. This is the case with small rodents, for example, and other small mammals which readily hide in lush vegetation.

In the event of an infestation, all that remains is to wage a merciless war against the chiggers. For this, we preferably opt for chemical repellents like permethrin, but it only allows you to treat clothes. You can get a insecticide against mites. But when you have to treat on a large scale, there is no question of using yourself a product that can be dangerous. The use of a pest control is then essential.

Photo credit: Tib124

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