Bête-rouge

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Bête-rouge
Bête-rouge

In Guiana there is a little insect in the grass and on the shrubs which the French call bête-rouge. It is of a beautiful scarlet colour, and so minute that you must bring your eye close to it before you can perceive it.

It is most numerous in the rainy season. Its bite causes an intolerable itching.

The best way to get rid of it is to rub the part affected with oil or rum. You must be careful not to scratch it. If you do so, and break the skin, you expose yourself to a sore.

Excerpt for The Wanderings - The Third Journey, 1820 by Charles Waterton.

Bête-rouge
A larval mite of the spurious genus Leptus, probably a larval Trombidium, which in the West Indies corresponds to the so-called ‘red bug’ or ‘jigger’ of the southern United States. It infests low-growing shrubbery and readily transfers itself to the legs of pedestrians, penetrating the outer skin and causing much inflammation.

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