Queen Anne’s Lace: The Queen & the Chiggers

Published on September 26, 2014
Written by Becky Rogers

Queen Anne’s Lace is a flower found all over the Appalachians. You’ll see them driving to work along the roadsides and in your neighbor’s flower gardens. Queen Anne’s Lace, also called “Wild Carrot,” is a common plant found abundantly in dry fields, ditches, and open areas. The crocheted doily-looking plant was first introduced into the U.S. from Europe. The carrots you eat today once were cultivated from this plant.

But the Queen has her downside. She harbors tiny pests called chiggers.

Pesky Little Pests

The word “chiggers” alone may cause you to shiver. Every place on this earth has annoying little critters that eat you alive, but these itsy bitsy bugs can ruin your day and maybe even your next couple of weeks. Chiggers love hanging out in sticky places and disguise themselves on pretty little flowers like Queen Anne’s Lace. It may sound royal, but you wouldn’t think so after getting attacked by a swarm of the pesky pests.

There is no need to try to “smother” the critters by coating the bite area with fingernail polish (an old Appalachian folk remedy) because they are not embedded in your skin. Instead, they scurry about frantically feeding off of your skin. These guys are as tiny as a speck of dust with lightning speed.

Treat the Itch

Chiggers are tiny little members of the arachnid family that pack a powerful punch — they’ll cause you to itch like crazy. They are so tiny that you may not even notice when they attach themselves to your body or even when they bite. But you will eventually.

Bites take up to three weeks to heal completely. During that time, use ice and over-the-counter anti-itch medications to prevent scratching — an act that can lead to infection. Since chiggers don’t feed on your blood (just your skin) they don’t carry disease and are not contagious.

Miss the Bites, But Not the Sights

A good way to detour chiggers if you are outside is to use sulphur powder if you can stand the odor. Sprinkle some on your shoes so they won’t come anywhere near your body. Commercial bug repellents that contain DEET also work to keep the buggers off your skin while you’re enjoying the Queen’s lovely bounty.

Wash your hands as soon as you go inside after walking through the woods or along paths to pick Queen Anne’s Lace. Wash your clothes too so that none of the pesky bugs jump off your clothes in the house. Cover up while you’re out by pushing your leg pants into your socks and wearing long sleeves.

You don’t have to worry about chiggers for long, however. They die when the temperature reaches 42 degrees.

Picture Credit: Wikipedia.com