I’ve had a lot of experience with chiggers picking wild blackberries. If you’ve never experienced a chigger, it’s a tiny red spider mite that burrows into your skin; from there it starts itching and you start scratching. The bites always end up in places you can’t scratch in public, making them doubly annoying. When I planted blackberries in my garden, I assumed that was the end of chiggers since I thought they were only on wild blackberries. I found out how wrong I was the first year I picked my nice, tame blackberries. I decided prevention was the best course. A chigger—which is a small, red spider mite—only shows up when the blackberries are ripe and are on the ripe berry. I decided to wear vinyl gloves when picking (in case you’re allergic to latex), dispose of the gloves immediately after, and to take a shower and change clothes just to be sure. This worked and I’ve never had a chigger bite since. I’ve also done an abbreviated version of this by disposing of the gloves and changing clothes. That works, too.
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