Bed Bugs or Fleas?(9 posts)
I moved in with my girlfriend 2 weeks ago and ever since then, I began to notice several bites. For the most part, they're in three main spots: the inside of my left forearm, the outside of my left calf, and the outside of my right ankle. Each spot is a little different.
This is where I first noticed the bites. There is about a 2"x2" cluster of several bites and next to it is a 2" bite line with 5-6 bites.
There is a 7" line of about 20 bites. Because these bites are so clearly in a linear pattern, I suspected bed bugs.
It's a 2"x2" cluster of numerous bites.
The ones that I've scratched or tried to pop (thought they were pimples/in-grown hairs at first) just leaked some yellowish liquid and constantly get yellow and crusty on top. Some of the ones that I don't recall scratching also get this. Some other bites protrude from my skin a lot, almost 1/4".
After a couple days of getting more and more bites, we started to investigate and really didn't find anything that screamed "bed bugs." We found what we thought were fecal matter; they were about 1/8" long and flat, black pieces of something. We also thought we might have found an exoskeleton; it was yellow/brown and about the right size but looked like maybe it had too many legs.
So we washed all of our clothes on hot and dried them on hot, sealed up the mattress and box spring, and sprayed rubbing alcohol over every piece of furniture and all over the room, as well as threw away any clothing/blankets that they might be able to burrow into.
We moved 4 days ago (we were getting ready to move anyway) and put brand new sheets and blankets on the bed and put the bed legs in tupperware filled with olive oil (I read something about the bugs not being able to climb tupperware well and drowning in olive oil) and I THINK I've been bite-free. Today, I may have found a couple of more bites, but hopefully, its just some that I hadn't noticed.
I got to thinking that it might be fleas instead of bed bugs because of the absence of fecal matter stains that are typical of bed bugs. Also, all of my bites have gone from being small and pimple-like to looking more like a rash (each bite seems to spread out after a couple of days and look like a tiny cluster of several bites).
Any ideas of what I'm dealing with and how to kill (cheaply) whatever might be left?
You need a target first before you can come up with a treatment plan.
The bite info, while detailed, doesn't help is because everyone reacts differently.
My recommendation is to have a pro inspect your place.
Stop spraying, laundering, throwing things away until you ID your problem.
I read this twice trying to look at the different angles but I cant improve on KQ's analysis other than to say if you can provide an image of scan of the "We also thought we might have found an exoskeleton; it was yellow/brown" it may be enough to ID from.
Otherwise its a matter of confirm then kill.
Bed Bugs Limited
First off, thanks for the replies.
With bed bug and flea bites, is it possible that I wouldn't notice bites until a few days after the fact? I'm thinking that we may be rid of them anyway, but not entirely sure.
And also, what about the fecal matter? My understanding is that bed bug fecal matter is always more of a stain than it is something you can pick up. Right?
I'd also like to note that my girlfriend and I sleep in the same bed. I show a lot of bites, but she doesn't show any. I know that with bed bugs, not everybody always shows. Is it the same for fleas?
Bitten a lot:
Bite reactions vary. Yes, she can be a non-reactor, while you react. You will find variation from bug to bug in your reactions. If it is BB, you will find differences in your bites over time. That's why bites are not diagnosive of anything.
We need photos !
However, in the meanwhile prior to providing us photos, if you wish to see if it's fleas you can do so relatively easily as follows:
> get a desk lamp, the type with the flexible neck
> use a shallow baking pan. put about 3/4 inch of water in the pan with a small amount of dish washing liquid in the water.
> place the pan on the floor in a room where you've beeb bitten.
> place the desk lamp near the pan and shine the lite downward at the water.
> if there are fleas present they will be attracted by the heat of the lamp and jump into the water where the soap will cause them to sink into the water. if there are fleas present you should catch a few to a bunch in anywhere from 24 to 72 hours.
> Note you can substitute a sticky trap/glueboard for the baking dish set up if you wish.
> Also, do not allow the water to completely evaporate or you won't catch any fleas.
> OK, if it IS bed bugs and you're getting bitten as much as you describe then there MUST be physical evidence of bed bugs present for you to find and take photos of to post here. Such evidence includes: fecal stains, shed skins, eggs, carcasses and live bed bugs. You need to inspect carefully.
Hope this helps, good hunting ! paul b.
I am subscribing to this posting, because I am starting to suspect fleas, even though I haven't seen a damn bug in this house worth mentioning in a month and a half! I am going to try the trap! Thanks PBello!
If there are fleas they are generally fairly easy to catch in these sorts of traps.
You need to place the trap(s) in the rooms where the fleas are present.
Good luck ! pb
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