Guest Blogger, Jeff Sparks: Chiggers! Ouch!

 Special guest blogger Jeff Sparks,

I’ll get to the chiggers in a minute. But first a little info on the trail. I visited The Cross Seminole Trail starting at the Black Hammock Trailhead. Parking is ample (special equestrian parking available) and the trail is paved.  It is built on the old railroad line that served the farmers in this area. At the trailhead you will find bathrooms (out of order on my visit) and an area for bicycle maintenance including an air pump and a place to hang your bike with some simple tools attached. Walking, jogging, biking, and horse-back riding are all encouraged.

Going south on the trail you soon run into a decision point – east or west? I decided to go east so that I could go underneath the 417 overpass. There are also many geocaching opportunities along the trail with some that are deep in the woods. And this brings me to the chiggers.

Normally on hikes I wear a long sleeve shirt and long pants. Wool socks and hiking boots. My hat covers my ears and neck and usually confuses the flying insects – they can’t figure out where to land. I have sprayed all off these items with permethrin which repels & kills ticks, chiggers, mites and mosquitos. 

On this hike I wore an untreated short sleeve shirt. What a mistake that was! The next day I started to itch and it progressively got worse. Taking my shirt off revealed about 40 red welts all over my torso and underarms. No bites on my legs or feet so the treated clothing was effective. The only medical treatment is to reduce the itching and wait for the welts to go away. The initial 24-48 hours is the worse and I still have a few areas that itch quite a bit today.

I have since discovered that LL Bean and other manufacturers sell clothing that includes permethrin. It is supposed to last 70 washes compared to the 6-7 from the spray bottle. I bought a shirt to try it out.

Don’t do like I do. Wear appropriate clothing. Take a shower when you get home. Enjoy your hike and your post-hike relaxation!


Thanks for sharing your story Jeff! As always we love to hear stories from the trail. This one made me a little itchy I do have to say! I can totally relate to this one, I have hiked my entire life and up until just last year had never had the pleasure of chiggers. And lucky me I got them twice last year. Great tips on using protective clothing too, I found a great lotion that has sulfur in it and I have found that that will also help in keep the creepy crawlies at bay. Thanks again Jeff and happy trails my friend!


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