You may be one of the many unfortunate people to have encountered these strange red whelts on your skin in recent weeks. If you have then chances are you’re suffering from Berry Bug bites.
Berry Bugs, as they are best known in the Lothians, also go by the name of Harvest Mites. These tiny mites are almost invisible at this stage and live in grass and other plants. During their parasitic stage they can get onto cats, dogs and, most itchy of all, people too.
Fortunately they tend to be most active in late summer at harvest time, hence their other common name of Harvest Mites. Whilst they are found throughout Britain, they seem to be especially common in the East of Scotland.
So if you have a bunch of angry red lumps on you just now then there’s a good chance you’ve got them too. Treatments vary from person to person but a hot shower before bed is reputed to work for some or at least reduce the worst symptoms. Some also suggest DEET or similar treatments which can be picked up at chemists.
And just in case there’s any doubt, these little critters have been bugging us for some time. In an extract from the Carlyle Letters from 29th July 1857, Jane Welsh Carlyle writes, “The short journey to Tranent was complicated by 35 minutes waiting at Longniddry station where one is always bitten all over by that accursed new insect the harvest-bug.” (Source)
Further details on these annoying little creatures can be found on the links below.
USEFUL RESOURCESWikipedia – Trombiculidae
K9centre – Harvest Mites
News & Views from Dave Wilson – Think DEET doesn’t work?