Weird insect bites in the mountains

Wolfman

Speeding Up
Jul 31, 2007
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Suginamiku
#1
Don't know if anyone else suffers from this but I regularly find that after a day in the mountains I have some wierd bites on my legs. As it gets hotter I seem to be experiencing more of these things.

Since Saturday I've had a particularly itchy patch on the back of my leg, with some wierd yellow puss coming out of it that resembles wax. It's actually itchier than a mosquito bite.

Does anyone suffer from this and if so, know of any effective counter measures that can be used? Will normal mosquito repellent be sufficient?

(with apologies for tenor of this post)

Lee
 

Deej

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Oct 13, 2007
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#2
I feel your pain

Lee,

One of those nasty, pus-generating bites developed on my lower left leg after a mountain excursion. After letting it fester for longer than advisable, I went to the dermatologist, who promptly diagnosed it as the work of a tsutsugamushi (chigger, or mite). Apparently, these little buggers used to kill of lot of Japanese back in the day.

http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=5860

He gave me some kind of cream and antibiotics (I think), and the affected area quickly healed. However, I have a nasty round scar the size of a pea where the bite ate away at the skin.

Anyway, I would recommend a quick visit to the doctor to prevent the bite from causing any problems.

Good luck!

Deej

Don't know if anyone else suffers from this but I regularly find that after a day in the mountains I have some wierd bites on my legs. As it gets hotter I seem to be experiencing more of these things.

Since Saturday I've had a particularly itchy patch on the back of my leg, with some wierd yellow puss coming out of it that resembles wax. It's actually itchier than a mosquito bite.

Does anyone suffer from this and if so, know of any effective counter measures that can be used? Will normal mosquito repellent be sufficient?

(with apologies for tenor of this post)

Lee
 
Jan 14, 2007
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Noda
japanichiban.com
#4
I got a bee sting scar that was pretty nasty on my stomach.... sometimes I think one has got stuck in my helmet (bee in my bonnet) and I frantically try and undo my helmet while riding to let it out before it stings...

So do you guys that have the leg stings have hairy forests on your legs or smooth baby's bottoms? Need some stats to see which the insects prefer.... a bushy net that traps them or a nicely graded landing strip that entices them.
 

trad

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Dec 4, 2006
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Tokyo
#5
Non Chiggers?

I was on Wada Toge the other day and at the rest house noticed a couple of funky looking black insects biting my legs. These suckers did not look like chiggers to me (I think called tsutsugamushi or akamushi). The ones I know to look for look like flat red pebbles with legs). The ones having on party on my behalf looked like a cross between a flea, ant, and tiny version of the creature from the movie alien...

If chiggers, suggest everyone watch for a fever a week out.
 
Jan 14, 2007
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Noda
japanichiban.com
#6
I was on Wada Toge the other day and at the rest house noticed a couple of funky looking black insects biting my legs. These suckers did not look like chiggers to me (I think called tsutsugamushi or akamushi). The ones I know to look for look like flat red pebbles with legs). The ones having on party on my behalf looked like a cross between a flea, ant, and tiny version of the creature from the movie alien...

If chiggers, suggest everyone watch for a fever a week out.
Ticks (nomi). My dog got 3 of those in her eyelids up in Nagano last Friday.
 

Pucci

Speeding Up
Jul 12, 2006
283
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Yokohama
#7
Biting Flies

These suckers have been plaguing me for years. Any time I am all sweaty and salty and stop in the mountains long enough to fix a flat or fill a bottle, I get bitten. The bites hurt a bit and have a tiny open wound in the center. Within a day they swell and develop localized fever, rash and throbbing pain that lasts for three days or more. Sometimes they infect.

I've observed the flies and they look most like fruit-flies; small and fuzzy. They hover the same way as fruit-flies too. Definitely not mites or chiggers which do not have wings...

Hate 'em.:gun:

Aaron
 

WhiteGiant

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Nov 4, 2006
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#8
Been lucky so far...

(I think called tsutsugamushi or akamushi). The ones I know to look for look like flat red pebbles with legs). The ones having a party on my behalf looked like a cross between a flea, ant, and tiny version of the creature from the movie alien...
If chiggers, suggest everyone watch for a fever a week out.
Good to know what to look out for!
Never been bitten yet though (touching wood as I type) - Maybe they don't like the alcohol content in my blood:beer1:
I may spend a lot on booze, but I probably save twice as much on insect repellent!
Don't know what a "chigger" is either - any information on these?
(as far as I can tell, that's how I'd spell the name of that orange & black striped big cat at 3am on any given morning)... Is thsh imkorrecht? Shir?
 

WhiteGiant

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Nov 4, 2006
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#9
Just checked up on the "chigger"!

...(Excerpt from Wikipedia)
Although the harvest mite chigger usually does not carry diseases in North American temperate climates, the mites are considered a dangerous pest in East Asia and the South Pacific because they often carry Rickettsia tsutsugamushi (Orientia tsutsugamushi), the tiny parasite that causes scrub typhus, which is known alternatively as the Japanese river disease, scrub disease, or tsutsugamushi. The mites usually are infected by the disease by their infected rodent hosts. The disease is transmitted to the next generation of offspring by breeding mites. Symptoms of scrub typhus in humans include fever, headache, muscle pain, cough, and gastrointestinal symptoms.

I then looked up "scrub typhus", and the result was:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scrub_typhus

...And I thought all we cyclists had to look out for were cars & pesky mama-chari riders typing on their keitais!
 

chazzer

Speeding Up
Nov 23, 2006
449
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36
Bushey Heath, Hertfordshire
#10
Symptoms

This is how I felt before the ride on Saturday. Do you think, perchance, that I am already infected ?

".....fever, headache, muscle pain, cough, and gastrointestinal symptoms."

Does the team think that Guinness is an effective palliative in these circumstances ? If so what is the recommended pre and post-ride dosage ?

Or is Sauvignon Blanc more efficacious and, if so , should this be for external use only ?

:D

Charles aka chazzer
 

AlanW

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Jan 30, 2007
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#11
Ouch

Yeah, I've had a few of these type of bites in Japan, and they're bloomin' painful :cry:

I seemed to collect more on my legs than my arms, and have definitely been bitten right through my shorts into the flesh of my leg. A mate recommended putting Vaseline over the site of the bite to try to block the little 'airhole', but I'm not sure how well that really works.

AW.
 

WhiteGiant

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Nov 4, 2006
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#12
Preventive measures...

Despite never having been bitten by one of these creatures, I had an experience today that got me thinking...
I only did a short ride, but enough to make me quite sweaty, and the first thing I did when I took a break was to stop under the shade of a tree. Within 30 seconds, I had a swarm of insects all over me - Thankfully they weren't the biting-type (very small light green/yellow flying bugs - less than a millimeter in length) but extremely numerous.
The first thing I did was to walk around & try to find a place where they wouldn't follow me. Aha! Sunlight!!!

That got me thinking about all the other posts on this thread:
>Pucci said those bites usually only occur after fixing a punture.
>Deej said he gets them on (long-ish?) breaks.
>Trad & Edogawakikkoman both said they only find them in the mountains.

Putting all this information together, it seems our 6-legged companions aren't as stupid as we might imagine:
1. They like the shade (preferably under trees, which is cooler than the man-made shadow of buildings).
2. They proliferate in the grassy areas where their main hosts (mice, rabbits, squirrels, rats etc.) live.
3. I'm not exactly sure of - Whether they are drawn to us because of our perspiration; or the rise in body-heat generated after all the exertion - but it seems that if "wander" into their territory all hot & sweaty, they WILL find us!

After thinking about all this, not being an "entomologist" however, here are some logical precautionary steps that one might take to avoid getting bitten:
1. If you puncture on the way up (or down) a hill, no matter how much you'd wish to be sitting in the shade, try to sit out in the open - even in the middle of the road if necessary, as long as you know that there won't be many cars, and it's not on a blind-corner.
2. When you stop for a break (usually at the top of a hill/climb), avoid sitting on the grass! Try to find a cement block, or a large rock - again, no matter how hot it is, try to avoid the shade of trees - that's where the bugs will be!
3. If at all possible, when planning a ride, try to find man-made sheltered/shaded areas (I know this is not very "eco-friendly", but very much like us, bugs also prefer trees to cement).
4. When you DO stop, "TOWEL-OFF"!
As mentioned above, whether insects are drawn to "body-heat" or elements in our sweat is for the experts to decide; but we CAN take active measures to cut down at least one of the variables.

I'll endeavour to check out more about the insects that bug us, but as a start, I hope this helps make our "summer" rides less problematic.
Also, any members with more information, please respond with your knowledge!
Six-legs-Down! T
 

WhiteGiant

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Nov 4, 2006
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#13
...Some insect study...

Excerpt from the English "Telegraph":

Are some people more attractive to biting insects? Yes - but, again, the mechanism is not fully understood. Three main factors draw mosquitoes to their prey: from a couple of miles away, they can detect the carbon dioxide we breathe out; at 100 yards, they pick up the fatty acids on skin; and, at a couple of yards, are drawn in by body heat.

Mosquitoes find their quarry mainly by electrical activity rather than smell, and find the chemicals on certain people's skin more attractive. Particularly appealing are the cheesy-smelling substances produced on the feet by the activity of bacteria, which explains why this area is so frequently attacked. Trials show that women are bitten more than men and pregnant women seem particularly vulnerable. Sweat does not attract insects, but people who sweat profusely may be bitten more because the repellents they apply evaporate more quickly.

Read the full article here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/global/main.jhtml?xml=/global/2003/08/25/hemoz25.xml

One more article regarding sweat...
15. How does a mosquito identify its victims?
b. Sight, smell and warmth
By sight, smell and warmth. They do so by chemical, visual and heat sensors. Mosquitoes can sense carbon dioxide and lactic acid up to 100 feet away. If you don’t sweat much, you will be less of a target. If you’re wearing clothing that contrasts with the environment, rather than blends in, you’re fair game—especially if you’re moving. Mosquitoes will think you’re alive and full of blood.

Harvard School of Public Health: "Thousands of hairs on the mosquito antennae can sense moisture, lactic acid, carbon dioxide, body heat and movement."

Although these articles are about mosquitoes, they may be relevant to other biting-insects. Towel off, anyway!
T
 

Wolfman

Speeding Up
Jul 31, 2007
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Suginamiku
#16
Went to see the doctor yesterday who specialises in dermatology. Normally I wouldn't have bothered but my ankle was all swollen and I had yellow puss dribbling down my leg.

He gave me two sets of antibiotics (cefditoren and betaselemin) which from google just seem to be standard skin related antibiotics, as well as some cream that I have to rub on three times a day. All sounds a bit like the stuff given to Deej.

I told him that I got the bite in the mountains and was waiting for the doc to give me some insight into what type of insect it was. Unfortunately all I got was "there's lots of insects in the mountains"....

Anyway, normal chemists sell insect repellent so I think I'll go there and get some before the next trip as well as try to follow Travis' advice.
 

Sikochi

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Sep 13, 2010
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#18
Reviving an old thread, hadn`t given any thought about the places/points I stop at. I shall take heed of White Giant`s comments next time. Hopefully paying attention to that, combined with the insect repellent will do the job.

Moved post:-
Saturday`s ride was surprised by the rare sight of another cyclist coming the other way round a corner so took my eyes of the road for a fraction and hit some debris. Was hoping I`d got away with it but the dreaded hiss hiss hiss duly arrived - not a snake though I did see only my second live one of the year later on. Anyway, whilst trying to change the inner tube some hornets/Japanese bees decided to pay a visit (they double-teamed me). Ended up with three bites/stings. Normally I don`t bother with them (got stung the week before whilst having a rest) as I find that after a few days of irritation they clean up, but managed to get the one on my leg infected (either gardening Sunday, or Sunday`s bike ride on wet roads) and had to pay a trip to the clinic. So if you get stung, treat them with respect.

As a result, have invested in a small insect repellent that I can fit in my tri-bag. Now, does that make it a repellent of small insects, or a small sized insect repellent....hmmm
 

joewein

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Oct 25, 2011
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#19
Anyway, whilst trying to change the inner tube some hornets/Japanese bees decided to pay a visit (they double-teamed me). Ended up with three bites/stings.
Did you try to drive them away before they stung?

My experience with bees and wasps (thankfully none with hornets) is that unless you step on them or get them trapped in your clothes or swallow them they don't normally sting. The best thing usually is not to move and be patient until they fly off.

The worst thing is to hit them with your hands to drive them off. They will feel attacked and fight back.
 

FarEast

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May 25, 2009
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#20
Could have been Japanese horse flies those things have a very nasty bite - you really don't notice them at first but if you scratch them just once they swell up and weep constantly and can easily get infected.