Bug Bites

Mosquitos have loved me all my life. When with a group of people I’m always the first one to get bit and the one to get the most bites. Thailand’s biting insects make me wish for North American mosquitos because getting bit here has stronger and longer after effects. There are five insect types, or at least five types of bites.

Red Blotch. A flat, ugly, 1/2″ wide red blotch slowly grows a volcano-like cone before it slowly fades after 7 – 9 days. Calamine lotion doesn’t stand a chance against the itch, prescription cream is needed.

Searing Little Pin Prick, AKA Foot Feeders. Instant hot pain followed by 10 minutes of bad itching which then fades away fast. They hunt in the morning. I read they are so small and weak they have to stay within an inch or two of the ground, otherwise they get blown downwind by the slightest breeze.

CHOMP! No mistaking when one of these goes Jaws on you. And no ignoring it either. At least they’re big enough to see and stupid enough to keep on feeding, so a single profanity propelled swat ends their parasitic existence.

Beach CHOMP! Like the above except the pencil-point-sized tall, hard red cone lasts for weeks, long after it stops itching. I’ve worn shoes on the beach at night since my first encounter with these little bastards.

The Invisible Swarm. The worse. And the most baffling. My chest started itching in the area left exposed by unbuttoned top buttons. I could not see any reason so there was no place to attack with the cream. Ended up painting the area with calamine and wearing T-shirts to cover the pink. Finally, days after the itching started I could see many small bumps. Now that they were targets for the anti-itch cream, the little buggers had all but stopped itching. I’ve read that mosquitos are attracted by CO2, I guess these guys like to feed near the source. The attacks stopped after I started putting DEET on that area before going out at night.

Didn’t have any bites on my first Thailand trip but that was at the end of the dry season. Second trip was in August-September. I don’t remember using bug spray then. Maybe it was too dry that year because the same months now are the worst yet.

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