Biting critters are part of the game when you decide to do research in any forest, particularly the tropics. Because I'm told that DEET can damage the nylon ropes that I use when I climb, I try to minimize my use of repellants. Instead I always wear a long-sleeved shirt tucked into my long pants, which tuck into my socks, which minimizes potential points of entry. It makes for very sweaty walks in the forest, but it usually works…usually. Yesterday I made the mistake of treating myself to a little ventilation while I walked (i.e. I untucked my shirt) and then never tucked my shirt back in…
…thanks Julia, couldn’t have said it better myself. Upon return I found myself covered in bites from tiny red harvest mites, also known as chiggers (pictured below). The bites aren’t painful and itch slightly less than mosquito bites, but I have certainly learned my lesson. Apparently your body eventually gets used to the bites so the welts become less of a problem over time, but from here on out I will keep myself tightly covered at all times…or perhaps just throw caution to the wind and take a daily DEET bath.
Black box provided for modesty. I also found ticks later in the day, but they would have been underneath a different modesty box and this just isn’t that kind of blog.