Ask a Question forum: Itchy bites after gardening

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Apr 4, 2017 7:04 AM CST
Seeking knowledge of bugs in garden and ways to get rid of them:
Cleaning up garden beds at recently purchased home built in 1950s. Central PA. Established flower beds with large variety of flowers/trees.
I am now fearful to continue to work outside on this property because about 6-12 hours after being out there I have quarter size itchy bites typically localized to one area. Today it is up one leg to hip then over to belly button.
I wear shoes, pants, long sleeves. I do not feel the bites when they occur and I do not see any bugs as I garden.
I need to wear bug spray, but what can I do to get whatever this is out of my garden? What do you think is the bug?
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Apr 4, 2017 7:22 AM CST
I think it's the weeds... might have chiggers....

I used to have the worst chiggers at my previous house....
All my paths were very wide.... Didn't want to be touched by any vegetation....
Name: Sasha Wiseman
Fl. (Zone 8b)
I'm quite frond of plants.
Garden Art Multi-Region Gardener Hummingbirder Keeper of Koi Seed Starter Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Fruit Growers Garden Ideas: Level 2
Apr 4, 2017 7:27 AM CST
Certainly sounds like chiggers. Can we see a photo?
Name: Celia
West Valley City, Utah (Zone 7a)
Pour vivre parmi les fleurs
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Apr 4, 2017 7:29 AM CST
My first thought was a reaction to one or more plants. Sometimes that can look like bites. What plants were you working around? And how is it today?
Name: Abbey
Eastern New York State (Zone 6a)
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Apr 4, 2017 7:32 AM CST
Hi Jane, I'm not a doctor, I don't even play one on television, but I get that from time to time, and it's not from bugs, it's from working with the plants. I can't tell you what plants in particular, more often than not, it will be from working around hedges/evergreens/small trees or perennial beds. It's another reason I think that I stick to containers for annuals, funny, I never thought of it that way before until your post. Usually, I shower, maybe I put something on it like witch hazel, and that's the end of it. I can understand your being very concerned, I've moved to an area with an increased tick population, and I'm very mindful of it, maybe even too mindful. But if you don't feel the bugs biting you or see them, it MAY be plant-based. How long does the irritation last? Again, I'm just throwing this out as a possibility that it could be something you really can't arm yourself against, or something that won't do you any real harm. That's supposed to be comforting -- I hope it is! Smiling
"Every now and then I leave the book on the seat and go and have a refreshing potter among my flower beds from which I return greatly benefited, and with a more just conception of what is worth bothering about, and what is not." The Solitary Summer -- Elizabeth von Arnim
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
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Apr 4, 2017 7:33 AM CST
Are you sure chiggers occur as far north as Central PA ? I'd go with an allergic reaction to some weed or other - although it's early for nettles, maybe poison ivy? Were you wearing gloves?

Take an antihistamine, and then when you go out again, spray the bug spray on your clothes, around your ankles, and on your socks to see if this stops whatever it is. It may be simply fleas, too. They're very quick to make their way up your legs. Chiggers for me usually stop and bite just around the ankles.

Here's an idea, could you take pictures of the area you were working in, and post them here? Maybe we can ID a plant that is giving you this rash.

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
[Last edited by dyzzypyxxy - Apr 4, 2017 7:35 AM (+)]
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Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Apr 4, 2017 1:45 PM CST
Allthough there are some bugs that you cant feel bite. Being its up your leg to belly button, i say allergic reaction. Where did it start ???
Did you where gloves ? Did you scratch youself any where, even gloves will transfer allergens.
Fuzzy weeds and even vegetables get me. When picking my vegetables, i never scrach myself. When finished picking. I wash my hands and arms twice.

Poison ivy or poison oak. If you scratch one infected area, then scratch somewhere else, you just transfered it there.

Wash wash wash ! And apply bactine or somethhing.

If oozing , go to doctor. Poison ivy or poison oak.
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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Apr 5, 2017 10:21 AM CST
Most likely an allergic reaction to plants.
Wash the area thoroughly with soap and water, rinse.
Apply rubbing alcohol.
Apply Benedryl or Hydrocortizone cream.
Go to a doctor.

Can you take some time to complete your profile page, please? Thank you.

If you would supply a list of the plants and weeds in your yard we may be able to narrow down those to which people are allergic.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"

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