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 Post subject: What heck is biting me?
PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:31 am 
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When I work in the garden without covering myself from head to toe I find myself being afflicted with strange bites/rashes that appear as soon as a few hours and as late as two days after gardening.(in Houston)

I've researched such things as contact dermatitis, or plant allergies, but often times I never contact anything.

I'm leaning towards insect category, but have no idea what I should be looking for. (I never see what bites me)

So what organic solutions should I explore? Beneficial nematodes, ladybugs, etc?

What about peppermint or orange oil?


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:20 am 
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Tell us more about your garden. What are you growing, and what are you using on the garden as far as chemicals or organic amendments and treatments? Are you allergic to anything?

Do you have any sense if it is a flying insect or crawling? Do you see a pattern of bites/stings or are they widely distributed on your skin? Does wearing long sleeves, etc, always prevent the bites or spots?

That blister looks kind of like the poison ivy spots I get if I'm in the woods near the house and not being careful. Do you have any poison plants in the area?

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 1:18 pm 
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northwesterner wrote:
Tell us more about your garden. What are you growing, and what are you using on the garden as far as chemicals or organic amendments and treatments? Are you allergic to anything?

Do you have any sense if it is a flying insect or crawling? Do you see a pattern of bites/stings or are they widely distributed on your skin? Does wearing long sleeves, etc, always prevent the bites or spots?

That blister looks kind of like the poison ivy spots I get if I'm in the woods near the house and not being careful. Do you have any poison plants in the area?


I'm growing a variety of heirloom tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, radishes, and basil. I am following an all-organic approach and have used the following products in the garden:

Leaf-mold compost
Composted horse manure
Dried molasses
Organic cotton-burr compost
Horticulture cornmeal
Garden-ville Volcanite
Texas green sand
Microlife fertilizer
Garrett juice
Thrive
and that's pretty much all I can recall.


I try to wear long sleves, cloves, warm-ups, etc, because I got slammed hard with this rash last year right after we moved in and I started my garden. Actually I first encounterd the issue when removing a pile of bricks stack against the very same fence my garden is near.

I have only once noticed a bite the same day, and thought it was a mosquito. I want to say that the area is without poison ivy, but I'm not 100%. My neighbor on the other side of the fence has also had the very same rash when she worked in the same general area.

Most of the time I will break out around my wrists, shins, or lower arms. This time I have one on the inside of my thigh, knee, and upper leg. I was in shorts the other night while troubleshooting an issue with my a/c for approx 30 minutes. (Which makes me think it might be insect related)

No known allergies other than cats and dairy. I react "normally" to mosquito and ant bites.

So to sum it up, it can happen if I am on my knees working in the dirt, carefully walking through to pick some yellow-pear 'maters, or standing in a particular area of the yard for some time.

Lol, the people at work must think I'm in a fight club on the weekend as I come in with band aids all the time!


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:37 pm 
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I'd check out what is growing along the fenceline - anything that looks like this?

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And I'd also suggest getting a few sticky moth traps and putting them out in the area to see what you catch. Have a magnifying glass and a camera ready and see if there is anything people can ID for you.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 7:00 pm 
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I've attached a photo of the only vine I have come in contact with before in the garden.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 2:15 pm 
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Possibly chiggers or spiders that fall into the category of noseums, because you can't see them. They are skin colored. I had some spiders in my bed and didn't realize it until I saw one crawling across the white sheets. It was orange and would have been invisible on my skin.

As for treatment of the itch, I use a hair dryer to cook the enzymes. I didn't think it would work at first but was worth a try. It worked! Itch went away. It has to get pretty hot, so be careful.

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