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Bed Bugs - Few Bites - False Alarm?

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  1. Karen

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Thu Apr 5 2007 1:30:54
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    I have read through the FAQ thoroughly on this site before posting and still have a few questions.

    My situation is that I get one bite maybe once a month and it always seems to be on my left upper arm near my shoulder. I have experienced this probably 3 or 4 times so far. Do bed bugs bite this infrequently?

    I always wear a t-shirt to bed so that particular part of my arm is covered. I have read in the FAQs that bb's usually go for exposed areas (but certainly can find their way up a short sleeve) so this makes me wonder if it was a bb, why it wouldn't just bite outside of my sleeve?

    I know they come out at night because that's when people are present in the bed- but do they also come out at night more often than day because it is dark?

    I notice the bite usually in the morning or before I go to bed so this is what makes me think that it's happening at night or in my bed. It itches just a little, but not enough to need cream or anything. The bite becomes unoticable within the hour and dissapears. How long do bed bug bites usually stay around?

    We don't travel (and probably won't be any time soon- I am now terrified and don't want to stay in a hotel ever again after reading this site) and we have never had an overnight guest. We only moved into this house about a year ago and I have not noticed any bites until recently. I have read in the FAQs that they can hide in woodwork, outlets and light switches and can live up to 18 months without feeding. The house was cleared out of people and all belongings months before we moved in. We had a pest inspection done of the house before we moved in- just a few ants in the basement. If there are any bb's, could they be from the previous owners?

    When I mentioned the possibility of a bb to my husband, he said, "Well why doesn't it bite me?". I have read in the FAQs that everyone's bites look different and they can be affected differently by them. My son also has not had any bug bites. My bite looks the same as when I get mosquito bites but it's the winter here and no signs of them. I have a bad reaction to mosq bites- they turn white, puff out, grow real big, itch like CRAZY, and stick around for a few days until they turn into a little red bump and eventually go away. The recent bite I received did not get big (although was white and puffy), it was very small, not itchy, and went away very fast. Could this just be a common spider?

    I have not seen anything that looks like a bed bug (let alone any bugs at all except the occassional spider). I have read in the FAQ all of the signs to look for bed bugs, their waste and their nests or hiding places. I have not seen any of these signs. So my biggest question of all is... Am I just being paranoid?!?

    I can't sleep.

  2. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Thu Apr 5 2007 2:57:20
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    I am perplexed by the bite only appearing once a month for 3-4 months. If you had one bug, it would probably bite more often. If you do have one bug, say one you brought home by accident from somewhere--anywhere, a bus, a clothing store, a restaurant-- and have for four months, (these are big "ifs") then maybe it is a male or a non-pregnant female (which would explain why it is still alone after 3-4 months). It's possible that it favors the same spot because it lives nearby (eg that side of the mattress). Maybe it bites more often, but you do not always react to the bites.

    That's pretty far fetched, I have to say, but if you really did have just one, and it wasn't a pregnant female, and it did not come from somewhere where more were to follow (ie you did not bring it home from somewhere you go regularly, and it did not walk over from an attached home), then it will die without starting a colony. That is a nice thought.

    It's possible your husband or son are being bitten and don't react (some people aren't allergic). But in this case, I'd expect you to have more bites.

    My comments above are entirely speculative. I have no idea if any of this is possible,a and it is a pretty far-fetched scenario, though it is possible. I don't know of anyone whose had bites only in one spot.

    It also seems possible that you could have some kind of clogged pore or follicle or ingrown hair or something that would flare up now and again in the same spot and go away. I don't know a lot about skin, but something like this seems possible.

    What do others think?

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  3. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Thu Apr 5 2007 2:58:21
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    Oh, and they do bite under clothes. Do you recall which FAQ said they don't? I will need to fix that.

  4. Karen

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Thu Apr 5 2007 7:21:19
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    Hey, thanks so much for responding and for your insite. I really appreciate it as I've been worrying about it for a while. That's what I thought about it living on my side of the mattress. I suspect it probably would be biting more but like you said, it may be and I just may not be reacting every time (although I do have a bad reaction to all other bug bites that I know of). Your theory about it being a male or non-pregnant female makes sense. How long do they live if they're healthy?

    As for being an ingrown hair, it's not that. It's not red- it doesn't look like a rash or a pimple so I don't think it's something like a clogged pore. It's in different spots just on the same arm. Like I said, it resembles a mosquito bite- it just does not swell up as big.

    It said they do bite under clothes but are more likely to bite the exposed areas. It may have been in the comments. I apologise if I cited that wrong.

  5. Bugalina

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Thu Apr 5 2007 7:51:59
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    Karen...If you can afford it....buy the specially made for bed bugs, zippered mattress covers and boxsprings covers....they aren't cheap but they will protect your mattress AND boxspring...AND you should buy the pillow protectors as well. Buy them for all of your beds...These are good even if you hopefully do not have BBS....but this is a pro active step. Keep your room as clutter free as possible and store NOTHING under your bed.....nothing...clean your bed frame down with a good soaking of Murphy's Oil with Citrus..its a contact killer, so if it comes into contact with anything in the frame you'll kill it...get a blue light flashlite and check all around the seams of your bedding before covering it....but you should cover it...Pull your bed away from the wall slightly..check all headboards thoroughly.....It is possible that the tenants prior to you had a problem...ask the landlord ..hopefully you do not have them..but it doesn't hurt to be a little pro active...and to make your home a place where bed bugs are not welcomed..should they try and show up in the future...

  6. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Thu Apr 5 2007 10:28:55
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    My theory is pretty extreme, so I wouldn't count on it, though I hope if it is bed bugs that it is just one.

    Bugalina is right--protecting the bed is a good idea.

    You can get a link to a discount on one brand of cover by going to the FAQ on protecting your bed (part 1). Click the FAQ link below or go to the blog.

    There are other options for good covers, but skip the cheap vinyl ones because they rip easily.

  7. willow-the-wisp

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Thu Apr 5 2007 11:42:27
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    I don't think nobugs theory is too far fetched.
    a--Home could have been infected previously and only a few survived; (maybe an infestation was just getting started and this is the only one (or two or three--yet to be found) who survived, especially during the few months the house was empty.
    So I'm saying there could be a few more around--but so far apart they can't get together to mate. They do tend to want to hide very far away if previous treatments were initiated:it is in their nature to search out other hosts if they just cant get close enough to you becasue of certain types of treatments. Some pesticides they run from but they always look for blood--somewhere. (i'm asuuming they think this out like a math equation--but its stricly likely to be a built in survival tactic.)
    Being such excellent hiders--there could very well be a few more, like, in the wood in the cellar, yet only this one sort of managed to straggle up onto you and find his way to the bed. (It is a little unclear--but I think your saying you are ALWAYS in the bed be it either night or morning when you welt up--right?) And it is especially not too far fetched if you happen to recall if .. the first couple of bites might have been more frequent and you had just not noticed or had written it all off to some other thing: stresses of moving--whatever. Yes, the bb bites are usually much more frequent.
    (Personally--I can't imagine a female BB that is not pregnant existing--and if it did in your home--then it would most likely bite more often. It would be just reaching maturity--or fairly younger (likely to be younger). And even if it's ill from a previous treatment. (That’s an assumption--especially in your case because we don't know if there was a PCO previously there or some do-it-yourselfer job was good but not through.)
    And so... if any of this is even true--it could also be that you react differently as they say at different times.
    A proactive bed cover and pillow cover and inspect/isolate the bed as Bugalna suggests, firstly--it is the proactive thing to do nowadays anyway.
    You seem to be well educated already--without having to have had harrowing experinces like most of us. So ahving said that--if you protect even now--WITHOUT BB's--if you ever did get bb's, you'd be much more easily rid of them with that stuff on the bed anyway.

    BTW--there would be no signs of a nest if there was just a male or two. or sterile female. There were like 50 right under my nose for months in my palce and even getting into my clothes--and I had NO IDEA. I am a good laudry guy: so who knows ...

    To answer your other Q--the darker it is the better they like it: even in daylight-unless starving or dying--they seldom rear their ugly heads in direct sunlight. "Expert hider's" is an understatement: that's how they mainly survive--hiding and fitting into those small cracks to avoid detection. They usually only make a quick trip out for a snack--then they scurry back to their hiding place wherever that is USUALLY ON THE BED SOMEWHERE--especially if it's just one.
    Go for the covers good night and sleep tight.

  8. need-help

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Wed May 16 2007 15:26:09
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    Karen

    I just wanted to comment on something you said and something that perplexes me as well.I have gotten bitten and my husband has not (we sleep in the same bed) If he does get bitten he doesn't even get as much as a spot on him (I go over him with a fine tooth comb every morning) I have only been bitten a few times since Nov 2006 but each bite hurts like heck and lasts for weeks and scars. Ouch! I was wondering if they had a sense of smell since I shower and put fragranted lotion on...do you think they can sense that and go towards the fragrance and then bite me instead of hubby? I know they gravitate toward the warmth of our bodies and our breathing but I was just wondering how they choose which body to bite. I don't think I would be as crazed as I am now if I showed just a small reaction to the bites, just enough so that I would know I was bitten and work on eliminating them. For me the bites hurt so much that I am terrified each time I know I got bit. Oh well, guess I'm just feeling sorry for myself and I know I am just rambling on...sorry! But if anyone can tell me if they know whether these bugs prefer freshly scrubbed nice smelling hosts over the ones that don't shower before bed....

  9. nyjammin

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Wed May 16 2007 15:45:05
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    I used to spray fabric spray on the beds so they smelled fresh before bbs. Now, I don't even do that. My family was getting bitten more with the fabric spray on the sheets. I don't even care about smell anymore, to an extent. I have to take my son's shoes and put them in plastic bags and now they all smell like feet. Oh, well. Better to smell than to have bugs. I read on the bedbugger group that this woman used lavender and tree oil (still do not know if they come together or separate) on herself and the bites were so much less. She had to recently stop because she's expecting and the doctor said to stop. You can shower, but I would ditch the lotion if you can. I would not use a soap that's to nice smelling. My hands get extremely dry and I only use hand lotion before bed when my hands really, really need it.

    I'm not saying this is why you're getting bitten and your husband is not. I'm just saying that when I used a little less nice smelling things, the bites got less on me.

  10. nightshirt

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Wed May 16 2007 16:01:41
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    him not having a reaction does not mean he isnt gteting bitten. he would be getting bitten and he is not alergic to them and therefore no welts appear. my hubbie had that situation but when i slept on the couch and he in the bed he had smears in the morning which meant he was bit at night and didnt know.

  11. need-help

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Wed May 16 2007 22:06:03
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    nightshirt
    Funny you should mention about the couch. When I isolated the bed about 6 wks ago I started to sleep on the couch (cause my bites hurt so much and I was terrified!) and I made my hubby be the bait since if he was getting bit he had little or no reaction. So he was the guinea pig. Each morning we inspected the sheets carefully but no smears of any kind. Ironically, I woke up about 1am Sunday morning (on couch) and figured what the heck I'll go to my real bed....don't you know, by Sunday afternoon I noticed a dead bug on my exercise towel and immediately felt the itches. I had a few bites on my side which I actually think I got while I was exercising that morning. I would hate to think this bug got me in the bed which I tried my best to isolate! Needless to say I went and bought new sheets, blanket and allergen comforter in white (I have triple encasements on each mattress) plastered more vaseline on posts, etc in hopes that the bed stays isolated. Like I said I hope that this was the bug that bit me (cause he's dead) and also that he bit me on the rug and maybe the DE killed him.....here I go again, rambling on and on....its strange, these last few bites do not hurt as much as all the other ones. either maybe because they were on a fleshy part of my body or else I am just getting immuned to them. What a nightmare! Who would have ever thought that I would end up on a forum exchanging BB stories! Thank God I found you guys!

  12. willow-the-wisp

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Thu May 17 2007 1:41:10
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    Folks we sort of have a saying here if you think it's bed bugs it probalby is ... but in these cases it seems less so (except for the fact that need help found the bug)--So ... it just goes to show you all out there, how insidiously this can spread.
    So many come on here and talk of "light" infestations requiring different treatnemts ... to some extent that is true--but the proactivity of isolating your bed 100% is also good for any other type of bug that does not fly like spiders ants ... Proactivley encasing your beds and isoalting the psots is the wave of the future--welcome to that wave! better now than later.

  13. need-help

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Thu May 17 2007 9:46:29
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    I agree with Willow in regard to the isolation and other bugs...these past few months I kept a watchful eye for any other type of pests (before I actually found out it was BBs) cause I am known to react badly to spider bites also and I did find a spider crawling on the blanket awhile back and was relieved thinking that I solved the biting problem! Yeh, right! But at least I feel a little better knowing that I am being proactive for more than just BBs. And my dog is NOT allowed on our bed anymore, not even in the bedroom for that matter. ISOLATION!!!!

  14. mcav1234

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Nov 27 2012 22:08:19
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    I am going through something similar and don't have any explanation. I get bit once a month (maybe less) and cannot figure out why? Trust me, I don't want it to be more, but with it being so infrequent I'm clueless on what to do? Each time I get bit it's in a different spot and I can have anywhere from 2-10 bites. I guess luckily it's not more often but I'm so confused on what's causing it, therefore I don't know how to react. I did have a bed bug problem about a year ago that was treated, several times. Can it really be THIS hard to get rid of every last one of them??? I don't ever want to deal with a bed bug problem ever again, wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy!


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