Got Bed Bugs? Bedbugger Forums » Bed bug bites, skin, etc.

Do bbs only bite exposed skin

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  1. done in

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Dec 29 2010 18:05:39
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    I just read FAQs and Resources wanting a definitive answer to: "Do bedbugs only bite exposed skin." Didn't find anything. I've read on this site many times that they only bite exposed skin. If that is true, I'm dealing with something else. I get small red bites and irritation in lots of places that are covered with clothing. The original row of big bites I received were in my bra. Yesterday while wearing a clean t-shirt and sweater I got a very itchy bite below my elbow. Please, someone must have the answer. Thanks.

  2. so unsettling

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Dec 29 2010 18:27:18
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    No, i am sorry to say that they do not bite only exposed skin. I don't know if they actually bite thru clothing, but it is just too easy for them to find a way under it. Some posters have discussed trying to somehow "straightjacket" themselves before they go to bed, but even if this could be effective (unlikely and impractical), it would make the bugs more likely to head for an exposed face. If they are hungry, they will find their way to any skin surface no matter what is covering it.

    I truly hope, however, that what you are suffering from is something else.

  3. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Dec 30 2010 8:54:46
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    Hi,

    Generally speaking bedbugs will only bite exposed skin, this is in part because when up close they hunt via heat so exposed skin will always be more appealing to them.

    They will feed through a membrane when forced to do so but in tests where I have placed them on top of fabric on my arm they have always moved to clean skin to feed.

    If you are getting bites during the day under clothes then its either a delayed reaction from before or unlikely to be bedbugs.

    I do not advocate bite locations as a first round diagnostic of an infestation but int he absence of faecal traces, cast skins and live samples it can help to narrow down other possibilities.

    Hope that helps.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

    In accordance with the AUP and FTC (legal requirements) I openly disclose my vested interest in Passive Monitors as the inventor and patent holder. Since 2009 they have become an integral part in how we resolve bedbug infestations in domestic and commercial settings. The patent numbers are GB2463953 and GB2470307.

    I also have a professional relationship with PackTite in that they distribute my product under their own branding. I do not however receive any financial remuneration for comments I make about products which are all offered because of their technical merits.
  4. so unsettling

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Dec 30 2010 18:11:25
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    If you are getting bites during the day under clothes then its either a delayed reaction from before or unlikely to be bedbugs.

    A delayed reaction from when? When someone slept with everything except their face covered? Most people with bed bugs have themselves well-covered all the time except when taking a bath. If they primarily bite on uncovered skin, then why are not more of us bitten on the face?

    Sorry, David, but I just find this impossible to believe. If they can crawl through what must seem like a mountain of sheets to find us, they certainly can crawl under clothes.

  5. BBcoukHome

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Dec 30 2010 20:38:00
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    Hi so unsettling,

    What I mean about delayed bites reactions is best summarised in the FAQ on bites which can be found here:

    http://bedbugger.com/forum/topic/bite-primer-information-on-bites-and-reactions

    There can be a delay between the event of being bitten and the bite reaction occurring of up to 14 days (longer I have ever seen to date). This is because bite responses can also be attributed to environmental conditions and sometimes a second stimuli is needed to get the classic "bite" reaction.

    I would challenge the "Most people with bed bugs have themselves well-covered all the time except when taking a bath". I have actually worked exclusively on bedbug infestations for longer than anyone else in the world and am credited with clearing around 18,000 infestations which equates to over 35,000 people. I can only recall a slim few adopting a cover all at all times approach. It may be how your are dealing with this but it may also be that you don't actually have bedbugs.

    The why you don't get more bites on your face and only in odd locations where bedbugs are less likely to bite, may also be a strong indication that you have another issue other than bedbugs.

    Now to reply to your last paragraph and please don't take this the wrong way but the biological fact is that what an ecto parasite has to do in order to get to a feeding location has very little to do with how they choose to feed. Bedbugs are extremely efficient at finding a source of food, they sense CO2, heat and possibly some chemical signals as well.

    Having extensively studied bedbugs in the field including working 6 - 8 hour shifts in locations literally crawling floor to ceiling with over 150,000 live bedbugs I do know my prey. They are very skilled creatures, subtle and crafty but always willing to take a meal when they are hungry. They are initially stimulated by CO2 (I have jars in my facility with thousands of bugs that go into a frenzy when you exhale into the mesh tops). They will track the CO2 concentrations to its source but the final assessment of where to feed is done thermally if a signature is present.

    As exposed skin will always be warmer than covered or clothed it is the obvious target.

    Yes they will if needed traverse vast distances and overcome the most elaborate of obstacles if they are forced to do so in order to get to a source of blood but when in close proximity they know their survival is based on feeding and getting away as quickly as possible.

    It is equally true however that given a normal undisturbed infestation bedbugs prefer to locate within a mater of a few feet of a regular source of food, they do not choose the most complex route available, they are in fact quite lazy creatures.

    If you would like me to try and do a short video of bedbugs choose only to feed on exposed skin when released on fabric I will do so but I do have a lot to do to get ready for next week.

    David

  6. jjakk

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Dec 30 2010 21:09:47
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    Glad you asked this question since it's been 'bugging' me since I first came to realize what 'might' be biting me. I sleep in a cool bedroom at night so my sleepwear consists of a t-shirt, underwear, socks 8" above my ankle, a sweatshirt and thick sweatpants. Now for the past 2 months I started feeling itching on my mid or upper back which upon scratching and examination revealed the series of 3 linear or triangular bites. Most of the time I am sleeping I am on my back then occasionally switch to my right side. I had posed the question a few weeks ago 'can BB's bite through a t-shirt and sweatshirt'. There were 90 views but no replies to my question. I figured then that a BB or something else small enough could easily crawl down my back from the collar to find the choicest meat lol. I had been continually puzzled as to why I was only being bitten on my back until today when I found that I had been bitten on the front of my neck just under the collar area as described in my earlier post today 'Why only 3 bites?'. Since I joined the forum and read the posts I was surprised that I was not finding bites previously on my hands, face or neck since those areas offered the easiest and quickest exposure.

  7. scaredsilly

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Fri Dec 31 2010 0:00:04
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    David is the expert here, and I think most would agree with him 99.9% I can tell you from 6 mos of bed bug experience now that twice I have been bitten through clothing. Both times I have given bugs no other option of exposed skin. Once was through my sock on my foot, the other through a very thin night shirt. Most often exposed skin is bitten. However, if I try to thwart the bugs by wearing a repelling lotion or tons of clothing to bed I end up with bugs going under clothing or biting through. I have even wrapped up like a mummy and found bb bites on my eyelid.
    However, my aunt got BB's in the 70's in Ireland and she told me that her initial bites were near her bra area similar to yours so she thought she just had a rash at first. Everyone will tell you bites are inconclusive. Get the BB passive monitor and just hunt like crazy. Unfortunately it took a few months for me to find hard evidence even though I knew I had BB's, I wish I would have used the passive monitor earlier on.

  8. BegoneSpawnOfSatan

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Fri Jun 24 2016 10:58:51
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    Dear Unsettling,

    I have to agree on the biting exposed skin. Now with that said I am not going to say exclusively exposed skin but they prefer exposed skin as it is easier to get away when you move or they are finished. I have pictures of my son having bites all over his neck firearms and legs. These are areas where his pajamas did not cover while he slept at night. We just recently went through a bed bug battle and all of our bites where on exposed skin. I sleep in nothing but shorts and all of my bites were under my arm between my elbow and under arm. They infested m sons bed first. He was always waking up with these bite marks and we couldn't figure out why. Had him to the doctor 3 times for it. Then they got into our bed and that is when I found them. It was all it one room since our sons crib is in there with us for now. They would also bite my feet when I was sitting in the rocking chair in the top of my toes. Those always seemed to be the most annoying ones and they itched the most. My wife also was bitten on the same place as me on her arms but never had signs elsewhere. Luckily we have had a heat treatment and a year of inspections and treatments so far successfully. It had only been 2 months though. I hope this clarifies and helps some people out.

  9. loubugs

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Fri Jun 24 2016 16:08:36
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    BegoneSpawnOfSatan - 5 hours ago  » 

    Please realize that the original post is 5 years old, so it's possible the original poster and follower posters no longer read this forum.

    Professional entomologist/arachnologist. I consult on all matters dealing with insects and arachnids, including those of natural history and biology to pest management and forensic entomology investigations.

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