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Ordering Grain in Bulk – What You Need to Know

Ordering grain in bulk - Where to Get it, How to Store it and Coordinating a bulk group grain purchase to stock up on organic grains at an affordable price.

Bulk grain is a classic preparedness storage food because it has a great shelf. Whether you’re buying quinoa, rice or other gluten free grains, or stocking up on wheat berries for delicious homemade bread, buying grain in bulk is a great way to save money, too. Food prices are only likely to increase and bad weather and increasing demand put more pressure on food supplies, so stocking up your pantry now makes sense.

I originally wrote this back in 2011 after organizing a very large bulk grain buy directly from the mill. This is a great option if you have a large group that you can pull together for a grain buy, and don’t have a buying club in that already includes bulk grain, or would simply like to take advantage of the best bulk grain pricing.

To make this a little more user friendly for those who are in a hurry, I’ll start out with my top 10 “lessons learned/things to avoid” when organizing a bulk grain buy, tips for bulk grain storage and a short list of companies that I or friends have ordered bulk grain from at one time or another. Then I share the crazy grain buying saga for those who want to know all the details.

12 Tips for Ordering Bulk Grain

  1. Check out your supplier, and make sure they are reputable.
  2. Get shipping estimates, and check weights, and make sure they know you are a residential delivery. This seemed to be a HUGE problem area for my shipment.
  3. Have folks prepay for their order, even if you don’t deposit the checks until the grain is received. I let one person skip prepaying, and I barely got the check in time to cover the credit card payment for the order.
  4. Try to get folks to submit their orders in a format that matches the order form that you will need to fill in. If possible, get everyone ordering from whatever order form is used by the company.
  5. Put individual orders in a spreadsheet, and check off payments as they come in.
  6. Get a copy of your invoice ASAP, as soon as you submit your order to the company, before the products ship, to confirm that you actually got what you ordered.
  7. Double and triple check with the shipping compan(ies) to confirm order date and time.
  8. Print out a master list of all items on the order and have it on hand when unloading to confirm that every thing has shipped.
  9. Print out two copies of individual orders, one to pack with the sorted order, and one to keep in reserve for you to check off orders as they are picked up.
  10. Plan for storage of your grain and other items. First, for the entire order when it comes in, then for long term storage of your items.
  11. You may want to charge a nominal fee for your time spent coordinating the order. This ate up a lot of hours, and I really wish I had known in advance how much time it would take. You may also end up eating extra costs, depending on who you order with, so just know what you’re getting into.
  12. If you allow people to split larger quantities (share a 25# bag of dried peas, for instance), don’t be surprised if you end up with odds and ends to fill out those splits. either that, or be willing to talk someone else into taking them, or tell people they can’t have what they want, which makes them grumpy.

How to Store Bulk Grain

Grain and other dry goods keep best cool and dry, between 45 and 65 degrees F in tightly sealed containers. Organic Gardening and Homesteading offers good storage guidelines:

Try to keep your grain away from areas that are high in humidity. If you plan on storing your grains in the garage or a shed, set your containers on boards so they won’t be in direct contact with concrete or the ground.

Also, keep your grains away from bright lights.

Food Storage Tip on Keeping the Bugs Out

Sorry, but it’s true: All wheat has tiny insect eggs that – if left untreated – will eventually hatch into insects that will eat you out of your food supply. When storing bulk grain and other dried foods, you will need to keep the oxygen out to keep the insects from growing. Store your grain in buckets with new lids and seals. It will keep the insects from growing. You will also need to take further steps to kill all insect life in your grain. There are three good ways to do this:

Dry Ice
Before storing bulk grain, first fill most of your 5-gallon container and place a section of a brown paper bag on the grain. On top of that, set one fourth of a pound of dry ice. Press the lid gently down on the container so that some of the air can escape. When the dry ice has completely evaporated, remove the brown paper and seal the container. The carbon dioxide released from the dry ice should kill all animal life in the container.

Freeze It
When storing bulk grain, keep it in your freezer and it will kill all the live insects. Unfortunately, it won’t kill the eggs, so freeze your wheat and then leave it out at room temperature for 30 days. Then refreeze your wheat. This should kill any insects that have hatched since the last freeze.

Diatomaceous Earth
I love this stuff. It’s simply amazing to use when storing bulk grain. Diatomaceous earth won’t hurt people or animals who ingest it, but for bugs it’s like eating a steady diet razor blades. The little guys internally bleed to death and die. Okay, let’s hear one loud, collective ewww! But heck, the little critters are so small, you’ll never notice them anyway, and this is a safe, simple and organic way to get rid of bugs when storing bulk grain. It’s also a good way to clear your system of parasites, so eating a little of it not only won’t hurt you, it might also be good for you! (Just don’t breathe it!)

For each 5-gallon container, put one and one fourth cup of diatomaceous earth. Then seal the container and roll it around until the dust is evenly distributed.

For smaller quantities, I also employ vacuum sealing in five pound increments. No air = no bugs. Please do take steps to prevent infestation – it is not pleasant. I lost the first bulk grains that I ever purchased to weevils. Ugh!

It is generally much less expensive to buy your grain in bulk and repack it yourself in food grade buckets. For extended storage, you want grain with a moisture content of 10% or less. Freshly threshed “field grade” grain has a moisture content of 14-16% and must be dried. Natural Way Mills specifically dries their grains for extended shelf life (as will most quality bulk food suppliers). Adding oxygen absorbers to your bulk food storage will also extend shelf-life, as oxygen leads to rancidity. No oxygen = no oxidation.


Emergency Essentials offers excellent prices on storage buckets, oxygen absorbers and just about everything else you need for long term food storage. I checked them out and compared them with other preparedness sites, and their prices and selection are some of the best I found, so I decided to join their affiliate program, which means I get a small finder’s fee if you click through my links to purchase at their site.

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

Bulk Grain Suppliers That I Have Purchased from in the Past – Shipping charges of between $6-12 to ship anywhere in the lower 48 states. Order what you want, when you want it, delivered to your door.

UNFI – United Natural Foods – must order through a buying club. Shipping charge based on total order volume.

Country Life Natural Foods – Free delivery on their trucks to established routes in Michigan, Northwest Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. MINIMUM ORDER REQUIREMENTS: There is a $400.00 minimum order ($500.00 for certain routes where indicated). Special arrangements for orders of $350.00 (or $450.00 for designated routes) can be made but will be charged a $20.00 surcharge. Orders smaller than $350.00 ($450.00) cannot be delivered by their trucks.

Azure Standard – no shipping charges, monthly drop offs at predetermined locations around the U.S.

You may also be interested in:

Organizing a Bulk Grain Buy – My Experience

Several friends were interested in getting in on a bulk grain order, but no one really had an urge to organize it, so I figured I’d give it a shot. I’ve never done this before, and I’m going to admit, after this experience, I’m not in a rush to do it again. That said, it is indeed a bit like giving birth. It was painful at times and the bad parts seemed to last forever when they were happening, but now the “baby” is here and is good, the bad memories are fading, and the good ones are taking their place.

It all started back in May with discussions about where to order. I decided to try Natural Way Mills due to their product quality (everything is organic), pricing (even with shipping, the price was good), and a strong recommendation from a friend who had been a part of another bulk order group about an hour from here that had purchased from them for some time.

The first thing I did was to send out a general information email with a link to the site I intended to order from, asking if people I know would be interested in a bulk purchase. To get bulk rate shipping, you need to fill a pallet, which is 2500 or 2400 pounds, depending on where it is delivered (more on this later). I had a lot of people respond that they were interested who never ordered (don’t count on orders until the money is in). The majority of my orders came from friends who had said in advance that they would order, and friends of friends with large families who had heard about the order through the grapevine. I based my decision to order on the large number of people who responded that they were interested, but without the “friends of friends” we never would have filled a pallet, let alone two. Based on the recommendation of the friend who had previous experience with Natural Mills, I set the shipping rate at 12 cents per pound.

On June 13, I sent out the following email:

Their prices are listed here: Shipping will cost an additional 12 cents per pound. (chart with charges)

Orders will be accepted until Friday, June 24, 2011 and must be prepaid.

If you wish to place an order, please submit your check to me for the amount of grain/seed plus S&H by June 24. I was planning on having the checks payable to me (Laurie Neverman), and then paying for the order by credit card, to speed up the processing. Once the order is placed (probably June 27th) it will arrive in one to two weeks. I will hold the grain for pickup at my home. I figured this will give more flexibility in pick up times than trying to coordinate with a business. (Lead time is typically around 2 weeks, but it may ship in a week. Once our order is placed they will be able to check inventory and confirm delivery estimate.)

Prices are current unless they need to get more stock in of something and there is a dramatic price jump. If there is a major price change up or down, I will contact you directly with the information.

We are aiming for just under 2500 pounds total. This is the amount that can ship on one pallet, and will keep the shipping costs in line with the listed charge.

My home address is: ####

Home phone is: ###

This is my first time coordinating one of these, so bear with me. You may contact me or Natural Mills with any questions. (contact info for Natural Way Mills)

In retrospect, I should have included a preferred order format that matched the order form on the Natural Way Mills website, so it would have been easier to cut and paste orders into the spreadsheet I used to track them in as they came in. I spent a lot of time sorting and retyping. In a few instances, names and product numbers didn’t match, so I needed to contact and confirm the order. I found out that buckets did count for shipping weight, and they were stacked on top of a pallet. Natural Way Mills was very prompt in their responses to my inquiries. They said that needed two weeks lead time for orders, but often shipped in under a week. They said that the current cost per pallet to my area was $225 as of 6/13/11. Things seemed to be going pretty smoothly…

And then it got a little more complicated….

People only wanted part of bag, not an entire bag, so could I arrange splits? It was a dear neighbor who first asked, so of course I agreed, but, like everything else, it took extra time. Organizing this order took A LOT OF TIME. It literally consumed hours, sometimes entire days. As we crept closer to the order deadline, I decided to double check the shipping as it looked like we were going to go over the pallet amount, and I hadn’t even put my order in. It’s a good thing I did, because two significant price changes came up that had not come up before. Here’s the quote:

The first quote is: 2,400# $144.52 + $140.75 for residential/lift gate= $285.27, then if there is an extra pallet it would be $145.00 after those fees – so for 2 pallets it would be $430.27.
for 2,500# I received a quote for $412.00
for 5,000# I received a quote for $582.52

Notice – “residential/lift gate” is only 2400#, not 2500#. This had never been mentioned before. At this point, I already had over 2400#, without my order or the orders of a couple of close friends who I knew wanted to order but had just been delayed with family issues. Both quotes were higher than the initial quote, even though gas prices had gone down at this point. The second price quote was a lot higher, so there was no way we’d come in under budget with the S&H I had added to people’s initial order. I decided to push to fill a second pallet to cover the shipping so everyone could get their order in. After a wild weekend, we ended up with an order 3544 pounds of grain, flour, sugar, salt and other items that was submitted on Tuesday, June 28, 2011.

One question came in from Natural Way Mills – Could we take 50# of quinoa instead of 45? Sure. They confirmed the total cost of the order and I paid by credit card on 6/30/11, but they didn’t send a copy of the final invoice. Hmmmmmm…I had asked to be contacted when the order shipped, but it was a week later and I still hadn’t heard anything, so I contacted them on 7/6/11. Why yes, the order had shipped the day before.

Hello, it did go out yesterday and the pro# is ###### – it shipped with Miracle Express -their phone # is 1-800-642-4618.

I would imagine it will be there tomorrow, but you can call them and have them give you a better estimate on time.

Around this time I start double checking my numbers versus the final bill from Natural Way Mills, and I realize things aren’t adding up. There’s around $80 in extra cost that I can’t account for. I contact those who have ordered, and let them know there were additional costs and that the order was expected the next day. Most people were fine with paying a little extra if needed, but some were unpleasant. Half a dozen people planned to show up to help with the unloading. I contacted Natural Way Mills and asked for a copy of their invoice, to see if I could track down the price discrepancy. They started emailing it a page at a time – and then part way through realized some major errors had been made and stopped sending. The next day they sent a new copy. I then realized where the mistakes had been made.

My original order had 5 pounds of 216 Southern Wild Rice Blend at $3/lb. The invoice lists 25 lbs shipped for $75. My original order had 6 pounds of 612 Redmond salt at $1.45 per pound. This invoice listed 12 pounds of salt for $17.40. The response from Natural Way Mills:

If you notice on your original order that you turned in – you have QTY and SIZE – then TOTAL WGT – we do not have 1# bags of certain items – it is 2# or more on most of these – so as an example – you have 5 for QTY Southern Wild Rice Blend and then in total weight 5#, which was assumed that you wanted 5/5# – it should have said 1 in QTY and then 5# in SIZE/LB, then total weight as you have it. Same with the salt – we do not sell it in 1# – we sell it in 2# – – so you will receive 6/2#.

I challenge you to decipher this from their pdf price listing. We certainly didn’t. How this justifies five 5# bags of rice I have no idea. (I did send a detailed note to Natural Way Mills offering suggestions on how to make their order form clearer to new customers.) Anyway, I started emailing to find homes for the excess while I waited for the truck – which never showed up that day. Emails and phone calls were coming in from people expecting to help sort or pick up their grain, and no truck. I had called the shipping company on Wednesday and they had said to expect it between 8am and noon on Thursday. Around 11am Thursday, I called them again, and they gave me the number of the subcontractor that they had transferred the load to, N&M Shipping. I called N&M Shipping, and was informed rather rudely that they only had a limited number of lift-gate trucks for residential deliveries, so I should have never been promised a delivery that day. She transferred me to appointments, where I left a message with my name, pro number and phone number.

I called again at 1:45 and once again got the answering service, which told me they were in the office from 8:00 am to 5:00pm (but apparently don’t answer their phones or check messages). Now, here’s where I admit my one major screw up – I put the wrong phone number in one email, and of course that’s the one that ended up on the order. So I’m told that the shipping company had been trying to reach me since late morning, but couldn’t get through. Of course, when appointments finally checked their messages after 4pm, they found the correct number that I had left three times and were able to reach me. When I finally spoke with the reasonably pleasant lady from appointments, she told me that even if they had been able to make contact earlier in the day, they simply didn’t have any trucks available until Monday, so the grain would have to sit in the warehouse in Neenah until then. She assures me that the driver will call when he leaves the warehouse, so I have time to contact the people who are coming to unload.

Okay. Lots of phone calls and emails, and I’ve got people lined up to help unload Monday morning in the 90+F heat with high humidity. Monday comes, I’m waiting for the call…and waiting, and starting to get nervous. Finally, the phone rings. It’s the driver, and he’s in Stangelville, which is all of about two minutes from my house. ARgh! Two quick phone calls to the closest friends, one quick email to everyone else, and I’m out waving him into the driveway. He just now noticed the instructions to call ahead.

grain truck

Would you like a healthy dose of irony? Please check out the writing on the side of the truck.

grain truck 2

It says, “On time. We guarantee it.” errr…sort of…unless there’s a miscommunication and we don’t actually have a truck available.

grain truck

The driver backs up and prepares to unload, and the closest friend shows up with her awesome kids, ready to help. (Thanks, Lisa!) Here’s our two pallets, one full of grain, the other with grain, buckets, etc. Here’s “the big one” – roughly 2400#.

pallet unloading

Lisa stepped in and got the kids sorting right away (confession: my boys got overwhelmed with all the commotion and had no idea what to do).

grain sorting

Important note: If there is any damage to the product when it arrives, you must have the driver note the damage on the Bill of Lading (BOL) before they leave, otherwise you will not be reimbursed for any damaged product. (Even with the notes the driver made and photos, this is still questionable. I submitted a copy of the FOB, plus photos, plus weights of the damaged packages, and still have yet to hear anything positive back other than, “We will submit the claim.”) We could see grain and flour leaking as the pallet was unloaded.

One bag had been taped with duct tape – I’m not kidding.

taped grain bag

The freight company said it had come from the mill this way, the mill said they never would have shipped that. All I know is that this is what it looked like when it arrived, and I’ve got a dozen witnesses to prove it.

We had to tape a bag of wheatberries that lost about five pounds all over the truck and my garage floor.

taped grain bag 2

While Lisa and the kids and another “dropped off son” (thank you, Joe) sorted in the garage, my friend, Tami, and I started on the splits inside. What we found to work best was measuring in my gallon pitcher and then pouring into containers. Here’s Tami, hard at it.

scooping grain

Soon nearly every available surface was filled with grains and legumes.

lots of bags

Lisa had to run for another appointment, but Joe continued sorting in the garage while Tami and I kept packing inside. We then discovered another interesting tidbit. Although they said they had shipped five 5# bags of wild rice blend (25# total), only six pounds arrived. At $3/lb, that’s a significant difference. I contacted Natural Way Mills and that was corrected on the invoice. We also discovered that we had received 50 pounds of rye grits and 50 pounds of barley grits, when only 25 pounds of each had been ordered. I found home for 10 pounds of the barley, but am still debating what to do with the rest. I was told they didn’t have 25 pounders available when they were loading the pallet, so they just threw on 50’s but didn’t charge extra. We’re up north and most people don’t eat grits around here.

Here are a couple of the larger orders. I think the biggest one was 660#.

grain pallets

My order was a little more modest – just over 200# – buckets, quinoa, flour, hard red wheat berries, hard white wheat berries and crystallized cane juice.

mill order

In spite of all the glitches with Natural Way Mills, they do have good products at good prices. About a week after the shipment, I received independent third party organic verification on the order, which I wasn’t expecting. I would just offer this advice to NWM: excuses are like armpits – everyone has them, and most are stinky at some point. A simple apology would have been much more pleasant than the surfeit of excuses I was given for the errors that occurred.

So, that’s my saga of the Great Grain Order. I hope you can learn from my mistakes, and perhaps consider stocking up for your family if you can, as unfortunately prices are likely to continue rising.

Ordering grain in bulk - Where to Get it, How to Store it and Coordinating a bulk group grain purchase to stock up on organic grains at an affordable price.

For more details on bulk food storage, consider the book “Crisis Preparedness” by Jack Spigarelli.

Originally published July 2011, updated March 2016.

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The post Ordering Grain in Bulk – What You Need to Know appeared first on Common Sense Homesteading.

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Homemade Weapons You Can DIY To Awaken Your Inner Caveman

Learn to make your own homemade weapons so you’ll have a fighting chance in a survival situation where all you have is nature.

 [You Get One FREE] Weird Little Knife Drives TSA Crazy!

How to Make Homemade Weapons

Why Should You Learn to Make Homemade Weapons?

Let’s say you got lost in the wild, and you somehow forgot or lost your Cold Steel Leatherneck Tanto 39LSFT (or whichever is the best survival knife for you). What do you do?

While your situation is most likely not quite as bad as Tom Hanks had it in Castaway, let’s face it. The only way you’re gonna get out of this situation in good shape is to let out your inner caveman.

Let me explain. Our very primitive ancestors lived in a time when every day was a survival situation. Any tools or weapons they needed had to be made from scratch.

So, should you be unlucky enough to have only the shirt on your back while you’re lost in the wilderness, you’ll have to follow suit. Let the training of your inner caveman begin.

Today’s lesson: how to make DIY weapons in the wild with only the resources nature provided you.

How to Make a Knife | Homemade Weapons

Having a knife, any kind of knife is probably one of the best things to happen should you suddenly find yourself in a survival situation. You can use it to help you find food, build a shelter, and defend yourself against wild animals.

So it’s highly fortunate nature is waiting like a momma at a craft table with lots of materials you can use to create one.

1. Stone Knives

Bone, shell, bamboo, wood, or even an old aluminum beer can may work to perform the puncturing function of a blade. You know you’ve seen these a million times when you’re out hiking.

They’re easy to crack or break or shape into a fairly sharp point which will do in a pinch. Unfortunately, you’re not going to be able to use a chicken bone or an expertly-shaped aluminum can point to skin, chop, baton, or any of the other necessary functions of a survival knife.

This is where the stone comes into play. I’ll start by saying making a knife out of stone isn’t easy, but it can be done.

You’ll need three things: a core rock, a hammerstone, and a pressure flaker. Remember, you’re going to be smashing these together in true caveman fashion.

So, having stones you can reasonably grip in each hand is going to make your life a lot easier. Although, it’s definitely an option to stand poised over one rock smashing down on it.

You, with a two-hand grip, pounding until you’ve chipped away at it a bit. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

2. The Core Rock

rock formation background | Homemade Weapons You Can DIY To Awaken Your Inner Caveman | homemade weapons | deadliest ancient weapons

The core rock is what you’ll be making into a blade. Find any large stone, preferably made from obsidian, slate, chert, or flint with a relatively flat side.

In case you weren’t a rock collector in any of your previous lives, here’s another way to decide if a rock meets the requirements for good knife-making material. Tap or click a rock together with another rock and listen for a ringing sound (like glass).

The more rock sounds like glass, the better it is as a material for your core rock. If you can, choose a rock which is already a bit sharp to reduce the amount of time you’ll need to shape it.

3. The Hammerstone

The hammerstone is a medium-sized, spherical rock, preferably made of granite. It will be used to smash, chisel, chip and shape the core rock.

You’ll be using it to chip off pieces of the core stone and to narrow the edges to a blade shape.

RELATED: How To Keep Your Edge | Knife Sharpener

4. The Pressure Flaker

The pressure flaker, or flaking tool, is a rock with a sharp point to help you refine the blade’s edges. You’ll use your flaking tool after you’ve thinned the edges of the stone with the hammer stone to make the “blade” sharper.

When you start making your knife, you’ll want to be sure to wet the core stone to shorten the time it takes to shape it into a blade. Begin by striking glancing blows near the edge of the core rock with the hammerstone.

Chip away at the core rock until you get the general shape of a blade. Then, use the flaking tool to refine the edges you need to sharpen.

You can also use a stone with a rough surface such as a sandstone to sharpen the edge. Use some rope, cloth, or leather to lash the base and create a handle.

If you are having troubling shaping the rock into a knife, you can opt to create stone blades instead. Check out the videos below to learn how:

Part One:

Part Two:

How to Make a Spear | Homemade Weapons

south african zulu spear | Homemade Weapons You Can DIY To Awaken Your Inner Caveman | homemade weapons | deadliest ancient weapons

We’ve talked about how to make a spear using your best survival knife in a previous article. The same principle applies here.

Even without your Cold Steel Leatherneck Tanto 39LSFT or whichever survival knife you normally bring with you, you can still make a spear using your newly made stone knife. To make a spear, you’ll need to find a five-foot-long stick tough enough to endure repeated short or long-distance throws.

  1. First, pick the end of the stick which has a more rounded tip and use your stone knife to start shaving to create a spear. Once you’re done, be sure to heat the spear over some hot coals to make your spear sharper.
  2. As an alternative, you can also make a spear by tying your knife onto a stick. Find a stick which is about an inch wide.
  3. Measure about 2 inches from one end of the stick. Mark the point, then split the stick into two until you reach the 2-inch mark, creating a sort of Y shape.
  4. This will create a space where you can stick your stone knife before you lash it on with some twine, cord, or rope. To lock the blade in place, put some moss or lichen in the remaining space.
  5. If you haven’t had time to fashion your knife out of stone yet, you can also use broken pieces of shell or glass or splintered bamboo or bone and secure it to the end of your stick.
  6. If you find a way to split your stick without a knife, you can insert the splintered bone or bamboo into the wedge and tie it off like you would when turning a knife into a spear.

How to Make a Weighted Club | Homemade Weapons

While sharp pointy tools are all well and good, you can never go wrong with a blunt homemade weapon. You can use it for hammering or bludgeoning something such as a weighted club.

The weighted club could be one of the deadliest ancient weapons. To make one, you’ll need the following: a piece of wood around 14-16 inches, a medium-sized rock, and some rope.

  1. Once you have all the materials, you’ll need to wrap some lashing 6-8 inches from the end of the stick.
  2. Split the same end until you reach the lashing in order to create a V-shaped notch. The rock you picked out should be shorter than the length of the split.
  3. Insert the stone then lash it securely (above, below, and across the stone). The lashing on the stick above the stone clamps both sides of the split together providing the first point of security, so it’s especially important to create a good, tight lashing above the stone.
  4. You’ll want to make sure you bind the split ends securely so the stone won’t fall off whenever you use it to hammer or pound on something.

This video from Wannabe Bushcrafter will show you how to make a bamboo knife:

Now, hopefully, you never find yourself in a situation where making homemade weapons is going to be a necessity for survival. But, if you do find yourself in such a quagmire, this little bit of information and inner caveman training may be what saves your life.

Which of these homemade weapons do you want to make? Tell us your progress in the comments section below!

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***Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.***

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on April 11, 2014, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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5 Home Remedies For Chigger Bites

Know these home remedies for chigger bites, or better yet, avoid the bug's bites in the first place with helpful tips included here!

RELATED: Top Ways to Deal with Insects [Especially Mosquitos]

In this article:

  1. What Is a Chigger, Exactly?
  2. Where Do Chiggers Live?
  3. Identifying Chiggers Bites
  4. Home Remedies for Chigger Bites
  5. Tips to Avoid Chigger Bites and Chigger Bites Infection

Home Remedies For Chigger Bites

What Is a Chigger, Exactly?

Chiggers are members of the arachnid family. They are extremely tiny, and my guess is you won’t even see them as they jump from the tall grass onto your skin and/or clothing.

Adult chiggers are about 1/60 of an inch and have eight legs. The larvae are red, wingless, six-legged creatures which measure less than 1/150 of an inch.

Because of their red color, you might be able to spot the larvae when they cluster together, especially on white clothing.

What Is the Arachnid Family? It is a large group or class of invertebrate animals where the spiders and scorpions belong.

Where Do Chiggers Live?

Chiggers reside in tall weeds and grass, berry patches, and wooded areas. They could be in your backyard, by the lake, or your favorite hiking trail.

They are most active in summer and fall afternoons – the warmest part of the day.

Identifying Chiggers Bites

Only the larvae bite humans and they tend to choose warm, moist areas of the body.

Chiggers also have claws which help them grab onto your skin. The chigger then attaches its mouth to the skin and injects saliva.

The saliva contains an enzyme which breaks skin cells down to liquid form. Your body responds by hardening skin cells around the saliva, creating a tube (cyclostome) through which the chigger sucks the dissolved skin cells.

Chiggers can stay attached and feeding for several days before falling off.

When the chigger falls off, you are left with reddish bumps. You may notice a bright red dot in the center—this is a remnant of the tube your skin formed in response to the chigger's saliva.

The bumps may look like welts, blisters, pimples, or hives. Bites generally appear in groups and get larger for several days to a week.

While many insects bite exposed skin which is easy to get to, chiggers like to bite in folds of skin as well as places where clothing fits tightly on the skin. Most chigger bites occur around the ankles, waist, armpits, crotch, or behind the knees.

Home Remedies for Chigger Bites

Just remember, no matter what, DO NOT SCRATCH THE BITES! I know, easier said than done. But, breaking the skin on a chigger bite can lead to infection.

Here are 5 home remedies to help with the itching and swelling.

RELATED: Spider Bite? Here’s How To Treat It

1. Vicks Vapor Rub

Vicks Vapor Rub can put an end to itchy chigger bites immediately and will even reduce the risk of blisters. It’s the cooling menthol in it which relieves itching by affecting itch receptors in the skin.


  • Take a hot shower (use antibacterial soap.) Pat dry your skin with a soft towel.
  • Take a small amount of the vapor rub and add some table salt to it.
  • Mix well and apply to the affected area.
  • Repeat if the swelling continues (otherwise, there is no need to repeat the process)

2. Cold Compress

A cold compress can help reduce the itching associated with chigger bites. Its numbing effect helps reduce the sensation of itchiness.


  • Wrap some ice cubes in a thin cloth.
  • Apply the compress to the bites for 10 minutes. Repeat if needed to relieve itching.

3. Baking Soda

Baking soda is another effective remedy to reduce rashes as well as itchiness. It acts as a natural acid neutralizer which helps relieve itching and reduces the risk of infection.


  • Add 1 cup of baking soda to a bathtub filled with cool water.
  • Stir well and soak in this water for 15 minutes and pat your skin with a soft towel. (Do this once daily)

Another remedy using baking soda:

  • Prepare a thin paste of 2 teaspoons of baking soda and a little water.
  • Apply the paste on the affected areas and leave it on for about 10 minutes.
  • Rinse it off with cool water.

Note: Do not use this remedy more than once or twice a day. Never use baking soda on broken skin or open wounds.

4. Oatmeal

Oatmeal contains anti-irritating, anti-inflammatory and soothing properties providing instant relief from itching–one of the common symptoms of chigger bites. It is recommended to use colloidal oatmeal, meaning oats which are ground into an extremely fine powder.

(You can accomplish this yourself by grinding regular oats in a sealed Ziploc bag, using the backside of a spoon to crush the oatmeal.)


  • Add 1 cup of colloidal oatmeal to a bathtub filled with warm water
  • Stir thoroughly
  • Soak in this mixture for at least 15-20 minutes
  • Repeat 2-3 times a day

5. Olive Oil

Olive oil can also be used to get relief from the irritation and inflammation. It is rich in vitamin E and antioxidants which reduce itching and facilitate healing.


  • After rinsing the affected area with water, apply olive oil to the chigger bite.
  • Reapply several times a day.

Another option using olive oil:

  • Mix a few drops of tea tree oil in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and apply on the affected area.
  • Repeat a few times a day.

Tips to Avoid Chigger Bites and Chigger Bites Infection

As summer and fall are prime time for chigger bites, it is best to take the following precautions:

  1. When hiking, stay in the center of the trail and avoid brushing up against vegetation.
  2. Wear long sleeves and long pants when going into the woods.
  3. Apply mosquito repellent on your hands, feet, and exposed skin on your arms before going outside.
  4. Shower immediately after being outdoors and use antibacterial soap.
  5. Wash your clothes in hot water.
  6. Resist the urge to scratch because breaking the skin on chigger bites can lead to a possible infection.

This video from Online Pest Control will show you tips to avoid chiggers and ways to get rid of chiggers:

Chigger bites much like other insect bites aren't only discomforting, they can be dangerous too. Many of these insects including chiggers carry diseases in some cases.

The best way to deal with these bugs is to avoid them or control them with our tips here. But, if you're so unlucky, you also now know the best home remedies to chigger bites!

Have you had to deal with chigger bites before? Tell us how, including more useful tips which worked for you in the comments section below!

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***Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.***

Home Remedies For Chigger Bites |

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on June 28, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

This Article Was First Found at Read The Original Article Here

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9 Good Reasons To Carry A “Survival Stick”

Arm yourself with a survival stick, get savvy with it, but first, find out why as you read on!

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In this article:

  1. Survival Hiking Stick
  2. Survival Stick for Support
  3. Fetching/Reaching Things
  4. Walking Staff Weapon for Self-Defense
  5. Balance
  6. Gauging Depth
  7. Carrying Gear and Supplies
  8. Club
  9. Fishing Rod

Survival Stick: An Underrated Multipurpose Tool?

The Survival Stick in History

A walking stick or a survival cane were popular in the 17th and 18th centuries as a decorative show of power and a defensive replacement for a sword. Yet, the truth is our ancestors have been using them for thousands of years, and for good reason…

…They work! Even the animal kingdom is smart enough to know just how useful these are:

(It may be hard to see, but this gorilla is holding a walking stick to gauge the depth of the water as she sloshes along)

A walking stick is not a new or revolutionary idea. In fact, the use of a walking stick predates history and its use continued on for generations including this present time.

Yet, it is one which is more often than not overlooked. When most people think of a walking stick, it is usually paired with a top hat or seen as a crutch for someone with a walking disability.

Far too few people even realize how important a walking stick can be, especially to someone in the outdoors. We will dig a little deeper into the many uses of a survival stick and maybe safely say, it could be the first multi-purpose survival tool.

Practical and Survival Uses for a Survival Stick

Walking sticks are also known as trekking poles, pilgrim's staffs, hiking poles and hiking staff have quite a few different uses:

1. Survival Hiking Stick

Hold the survival stick in front of you and you can use it to clear your way by parting brushes and branches or leaves and thick tall grasses. You can also use it to clear spiderwebs, especially if you're not too fond of spiders.

Other insects, animals, poisonous plants, and even animal dung can get in the way. Use a survival stick to inspect or poke at those things if you are unsure, and never ever your hands or your feet.

2. Survival Stick for Support

Hiker in Caucasus mountains is crossing mountain river | Good Reasons To Carry A "Survival Stick" | hiking staff
Making your way through an uneven terrain will be more manageable with a walking stick for support. Whether you're going up or down, use the walking stick to either slow you down or hold you up.

You can use your walking stick like breaks to keep you from speeding down or use it to latch on to a rock or crevice when you're climbing up. Besides for yourself, you can also use your multipurpose stick as a support for your tarp emergency shelter.

3. Fetching/Reaching Things

It happens–a supply or gear falling on water, mud, puddle or in an area you dare not walk into. You can fetch or reach for those items with a stick.

It also happens where you need an item over a physical barrier and only a stick can fetch the item for you. You can also reach for fruits, nest, or other food sources up a tree or high structure with a stick.

RELATED: Unusual Weapons From Around The World And How To Use Them

4. Walking Staff Weapon for Self-Defense

To use a survival stick as a weapon, make sure it's a sturdy stick with a finished look and not just any stick you found along the way. You can use it to defend yourself from an attacker whether it's human or animals.

I would suggest to train yourself in some form of martial arts using a stick like a baton as a weapon to have a better handle at it.

You can also fashion a spear with your stick by tying a survival knife on one end. Don't throw this spear though or you risk damaging or losing your knife and stick.

Hold on to your homemade spear and only use it to thrust at your target.

5. Balance

Hiker is crossing the river in Sweden | Hiker in Caucasus mountain | Good Reasons To Carry A "Survival Stick" | survival hiking stickWhen you're crossing a log bridge over a stream or you're going through the stream itself or other bodies of water, a walking stick can help you balance so you don't fall over. If you're walking through a muddy or rocky waterbed, a walking stick will help you up.

If you're up for it and if the body of water isn't too wide across, you can also use a long stick like a pole vault to cross over so you don't get yourself wet.

6. Gauging Depth

Relative to crossing bodies of water, a survival stick is handy in identifying dips beneath the waters which could cause you to stumble. You can also use the stick to identify where it's safe to take the next step.

You can also use this simple trick with the stick when you're traveling in deep snow, marshland, and even the dessert.

7. Carrying Gear and Supplies

Use your survival stick to help you carry gear and supplies. Pack your supplies with a shemagh, tie it tight to one end of your stick then place the stick over your shoulders in hobo fashion.

You can also carry more supplies with your survival stick. Even today, a carrying pole is used by indigenous people all over the world to carry heavy supplies you never thought possible.

Hang bags of supplies or jars of water on either side of the pole or stick, putting a stopper like a notch or tie on both ends so they don't fall off. Place the center of the stick over your shoulders and balance your load to your destination.

8. Club

Man carrying blue backpack | Good Reasons To Carry A "Survival Stick" | walking staff weapon
Use your survival stick like a club to knock obstacle down. A pillar of rocks or other objects may be on your way and a sturdy stick can help you safely knock those.

If you are in a building with glass doors or windows or inside a car, you can break the glass with a stick. Make to knock over pieces around your entrance or exit with the stick, too.

9. Fishing Rod

You only need to bring a fishing kit and your survival stick will make a good fishing rod. Tie a line on one end of your walking stick and fish away.

A DIY fishing pole is actually effective and many a fish has been caught this way.

As you guys and gals already know, I am a stickler for carrying things only if they have multiple uses. This guy managed to fit almost an entire survival kit into a walking stick he built from scratch, for under $20.00.

Check out this video from SOS 2054 I found, and find out for yourself, too:

A humble walking stick will indeed surprise you with what it can do for your defense, convenience, safety, and survival. Since you know now the practical and survival uses of this primitive multi-purpose tool, it won't surprise me if it lands a top spot on your list of survival tools for camping, hiking, or SHTF.

What other uses can you think of for carrying a “survival stick”? Let us know in the comments section below!

Up Next:

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Check out How To Purify Water | 5 Water Decontamination Techniques at

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**Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 11, 2013, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

This Article Was First Found at Read The Original Article Here

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