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Fleas not bed bugs [mysterious unseen jumping and biting pest]

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  1. Nomi

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Aug 20 2013 1:31:49
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    Apologies for posting on this site, but there doesn't seem to be any place on the Internet that sensibly deals with flea problems aside from dispensing the usual advice.

    This may be a long post.

    Background: about a year ago I woke up in my apartment which I had been living in for 8 months previously with no problems, with seemingly out of nowhere lots of things jumping at my face. I couldn't really see what they were, but on occasion I would see a black speck that would jump at me. For the first few days I was in shock not knowing what to do. I had planned to go on vacation so I went ahead with that. Some of these things evidently stayed on me because as I took the bus to my destination I could feel them on me and the guy next to me seemed to be itching a lot too. Anyway I threw away the bag I was carrying and washed the clothes I was wearing and took showers etc. a few days later I seemed to be free of them. When I returned from holiday I knew that there would still be bugs in the apartment. So I contacted the leasing company for my apartment and they sent a couple of guys round. They said they couldn't see any problems but they gave me foggers and sprays for crevices. However, I was a school teacher at the time on my holidays, contracted through a specialist company. I was worried that these bugs could follow me to school, so I contacted the company and asked them what I should do. They tried to help by relocating me to a temporary apartment and hotel room whilst I tried to clean out the apartment before the term was due to start. However, these bugs followed me to both places. Long story short, I was not free of them before term started and my company wasn't convinced they would cause a problem so they told me to go to school. However, despite my best efforts, the bugs did follow me to school. I informed my company they came round to the school but said they couldn't see or feel anything. Eventually 3 months later, with me continually complaining they said that it was probably worth thinking about quitting. Which I did. Many things happened during that time, I went to several doctors about the issue, my company fell out with the leasing company who then refused to do anything more to deal with the situation, I took allergy tests for dust mites and other critters (but not fleas) and came back negative every time. I ended up sleeping in my clothes with my pants tucked in to my socks, wearing a shower cap and face mask and with a dress shirt buttoned up with the collar turned up to cover as much of my neck as possible. Eventually I quit the job in December. I was offered a new job by another company which was due to start in March. I was living in Japan at the time, so I decided to go travelling in Thailand for 2 months in a bid to get rid of these bugs that were still on me.

    I travelled continuously, rarely staying in the same hotel for longer than a night, regularly washed my clothes, yet by the time the holiday was up, I still had the same problems. Namely, these bugs were on me and biting. I started the new job which was only a short contract and the problems reoccurred, my apartment got infested and the bugs spread to my new work place. I have recently finished that job (3 weeks ago) , and I have a new one due to start next week. I have been travelling again, but this time I have thrown away all my clothes and bought very cheap ones which I wear for one day and throw away. I have had showers, gone in the sea, taken saunas, vacuumed myself, sprayed myself with all sorts of repellents - DEET, rosemary, etc and STILL there seems to be a bug on me. Maybe only one. But no matter what I do I cannot get rid of it. I'm getting really desperate now. I cannot afford to have the same problems reoccur in my next job and I'm at the end of my tether after one year of this with no respite.

    What are the likely culprits?
    Mites - this is a possibility, but it doesn't explain the jumping I have felt (things jumping at my face) and occasionally seen.

    Bedbugs - as above, but please note I have had this problem regardless of location and even after throwing away belongings and moving from place to place. I have been at a new hotel everyday for the last 3 weeks and still have this problem.

    I'm imagining it - this is what most people (including doctors and my previous company) think. However, I have many bites and I sense this jumping at my face or from my hair when I have no reason to expect it. Also, others in my environment start exhibiting the same signs after a few days. Some have even commented on it.

    Fleas - closest match, but not perfect. Jumping - felt and seen; bites; sensation of things jumping around my legs. However, I have very rarely seen them. At the beginning, I did. They seemed to be small, dark spots that would jump at me when I came close to them. The last time I saw one that clearly was in April in my apartment. More recently, the ones I think I have seen are far smaller and pale or white coloured. These sightings are far less definitive - I can rarely be sure I have seen them. Although a few months ago I did clearly see one - I felt an itch inside my nose, picked at it and this white speck jumped out, landed on the dark desk in front of me, jumped twice and then back on to me. My theory is these pale ones are younger and the reason I'm not seeing the bigger ones is that I'm killing them before they get that large. The other confusing factors are the fact that they seem to be living on me all the time. Only jumping off when I stay in a place for a long period of time. In theory I should have been shot of them when I moved to Thailand. Maybe they are living in clothes, or my bag. However, I have been changing both of these on an almost daily basis this last month and I still have the same issues. Finally, although I am being bitten, I haven't had the amount of bites people seem to get during flea infestations. Maybe this was due to me having Vitamin B and garlic supplements, but I have long since stopped doing that and although the bites have increased they have only done slightly.

    The signs I'm currently experiencing are the sensations of things jumping - mostly off my head, sometimes around my legs and sometimes I feel things landing on my face. I also feel little nips. These don't usually leave a mark and seem to be aggressive. When I run my heads through my hair, I occasionally feel such a nip. I also get these on my palms and the soles of my feet. Related to this I sometimes feel tickles, particularly on my palms - usually when they are hidden (resting on a table, holding my cell phone, etc). Sometimes when I look at the place I see slight skin abrasions (looks like dry skin but sometimes the skin has been opened up). I also have bites. These can be anywhere - often in my hair or on my legs and feet. I hardly ever feel them until later.

    What I am looking for is suggestions on how to get them off me in the first place. But I also have a couple of small cases in storage. Which I will need to open and access. Doubtless there are more of these bugs hidden away there (I have had these things hidden in the pages of books before). Please note I have already tried many many things to get rid of them, including soaking in soapy hot water with shampoo, washing in showers and scrubbing my body with hard brushes, spraying myself with various insecticides and rosemary oil. Each and every time the same symptoms have returned. Also please note that I'm living in Japan. Many things like white vinegar and DE are NOT available here. It is even very difficult to find hot water washing machines.

    Apologies for the long post but I feel like I have tried everything to no avail. I'm truly desperate for help. Thank you.

  2. Nemo

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Aug 20 2013 6:10:35
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    Sounds miserable. But it really doesn't sound like any pests that I'm familiar with. It sounds like what's bothering you most is the tingling and pricking feeling, and you're not having too much trouble with skin bumps or rashes. Sometimes skin hypersensitivity, itching, and prickling can be contributed to by other medications or herbal treatments you are taking, common dietary deficiencies like anemia, or skin allergies. I'd give the doctors a chance. A lot of people with persistent itching/prickling find it improves with medication. At least give it a try for a few months, since it can take some time for the medication to start working and the itching to subside. Since you've been dealing with this for a long time, it sounds like it could only help. Good luck!

  3. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Aug 20 2013 10:48:17
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    Fleas are possible (this FAQ offers a do it yourself flea trap idea). However, fleas would not be living on you.

    Like Nemo, I'm also not aware of any pests that can live on you and leap on and off you. I agree with Nemo that the sensations can have many causes and doctors may be the best route.

    Medical conditions or medications may cause one to see and feel things that aren't there. Note this is NOT the same as saying "you're imagining it" -- I don't think you're imagining the sensations or what you see, just misidentifying the cause.

    That you have perceived others in your area reacting the same way may be a misperception, or it may be just that itching -- and talking about biting pests -- can easily make others itch too. Come to think of it, I'm itching right now!

    Good luck to you and I hope you are able to find doctors who will help you figure out what's going on.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  4. Nomi

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Aug 21 2013 1:39:47
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    Thank you both for taking the time to reply to me and thanks for suggesting some solutions. I'd really like to believe in your explanations and I'm aware that fleas don't live on the host and therefore shouldn't be on me still. However, there are still some aspects of this that don't seem to fit. For example, the bites. Only yesterday I was bitten 3-4 times by something:- in my hairline at the top of my neck, on my heel, twice on my right hip. All of these are faintly itchy but very red and swollen. They aren't mosquito bites as they tend to be bigger, itchier and yellowy. These ones have a white dot in the middle which I have heard is possibly indicative of fleas.

    I guess what I would like to know is how I can get fleas off me. Forget the fact that you may not think I have fleas, could you just give some advice on what course of action I should take. Thanks again for the help so far.

  5. Nomi

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Oct 15 2013 22:09:09
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    Update (please read above posts for background information).

    I have been living at the same apartment for over a month now and the symptoms I have described have persisted. In addition, I am seeing things jumping around in my apartment, sometimes in a slow arc sometimes much faster. As mentioned above these things are pale coloured and small so are difficult to see against most backgrounds.

    As suggested by other posters I have been to doctors - well to one who is meant to be the number one authority on fleas in Japan. Unfortunately, I haven't made much headway with her. She is of the firm belief that I am imagining it, and has only giving me anti-histamine meds. They have alleviated the itching to an extent, but not the sensation of things jumping on me. She also tested me for allergies all of which came back negative.

    I am finding it hard to reconcile that the sensations I'm feeling are not there in reality. One of the most common is of something darting into my nostrils, this happens regularly throughout the day and usually follows me itching elsewhere (in the hair for example) as if something is trying to escape my attentions. I also often feel collisions around my face, particularly below the eyes as if something is deliberately jumping at my face as I stray near it. At night I often have these sensations as I lie down in bed. And upon waking, one of my sinuses feels very congested. Usually the one in which nostril I have felt the most activity the night before.

    Also I have occasionally felt activity around my anus and even on the surface of my eyeballs, but this is less frequent. As you can imagine, my life is hell at the moment and has been for over a year now. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to get any useful help from anyone, as most people simply don't believe me. Most people's advice seems to be to leave Japan and go back home. As I already went to Thailand for 2-3 months and still had the same issues, I'm not sure this will do anything except spread the problem to others.

    I need this to stop. I need somebody to properly identify what it is (not one of the doctor's I have seen has even examined me properly!!?!?!), I need some advice on how to get these things off of me. I am truly truly desperate for help here.

  6. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Oct 16 2013 1:10:04
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    Hi Nomi,

    That sounds really distressing. I'm sorry I am not sure what to suggest, except to try and see another doctor.

    As I said before,

    Medical conditions or medications may cause one to see and feel things that aren't there. Note this is NOT the same as saying "you're imagining it" -- I don't think you're imagining the sensations or what you see, just misidentifying the cause.

    Of course, I can't personally say that there aren't fleas living on you and bouncing off of you, but doctors who are in the same room with you should be able to confirm this.

    So I hope you will persist in trying to find a medical professional who will examine you closely.

    If there is something there physically that you can see, then someone else must be able to see it and diagnose it. (That you haven't found any doctors willing to look closely yet is unfortunate, but I hope you will persist.)

    If there is nothing there physically that others who examine you can see, perhaps there is a medical or psychological condition that is causing you to see and feel these things. So I hope you can find someone who will help you figure that out.

    And unfortunately, I think that's something that has to happen on the ground as it were, since no one here (on the forums) can even try to see what you're seeing.

    The articles "Invisible Itches: Insect and Non-Insect Causes" by Dr. Michael Potter (entomologist), and my post "Ekbom's syndrome, biting arthropods, environmental & other causes of itching" (which quotes from a Nancy Hinkle article) describe a variety of possible causes which may be relevant in your case, and reading them may be helpful.

    Again, I hope you are able to find a doctor willing to examine you and help you figure this out.

  7. sdwave

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Tue Aug 5 2014 16:01:19
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    Nomi:

    I have had and currently have the EXACT same thing.
    Everything you mentioned occurred last year over the summer -- July through September (I'm in the Southeast USA). It started again this week.

    I have thought it may be thrips or we have had those in addition.

    I know you are not imagining -- my wife finally saw and the white ones and actually helped me take pictures of them last year.

    I am one of those folks that every insect loves. If there are 100 mosquitoes in a room and my wife and I sitting in that room, I will get bit by all 100. She will end up with maybe one.... maybe.

    So these do not bother her, but love me.

    Did you ever find out for sure what they are?

    My wife thought I was imagining them as well up until the very end last year. This year, they came all of a sudden and are all over. My dog is now being bitten and has scratched and chewed so much she has opened sores which are just now healing.

    If I find out I will let you know.... but look up thrips.

    The small black dots you mention are here too but those are a complete mystery. Heck, I even had a "nose" episode just this morning. They are everywhere and love to get into hair. I have the most bites on my shins.

    Good luck.
    --SD

  8. madrob

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    Posted 11 months ago
    Fri Jan 5 2018 19:20:56
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    I know this is a stretch being that this post is 4 years old but im experiencing the same thing and its driving me nuts! Has anyone come to any conclusions? I really hope that you all arent still living like this 4 years later. I can seem to get rid of them for up to 4-5 days at a time if I clean literally everyting in my home (including my home) but this takes me more than a day to accomplish and is tiring. My life consists of nothing but keeping these damn bugs off of me and i cant stand it. I even went through my entire home with caulk and sealed every crack and corner that anything could be hiding in, ive stripped the back and bottom of my couch off for easy access ive thrown away almost all other furnature and keep all of my clothes in plastic storage totes where they can be sealed and even shaved all the hair from my body thinking it may be lice yet still no avail. on the days when ive diminished their population I can tel because I wont feel them jumping on me, my legs dont get swolen and purple/black looking. and im not itchy every where. Ive seen them all over, includng in my shower, my drains, couch, bed (that i no longer sleep in ;because i never sleep anymore, in my shoes, my clothes under and inside cabinets and even inside my stove. There must be an itty bitty baby version causing me hell because I usually cannot see them when they are jumping on me. Ive tried diferent color long socks to help spot the evil things and still nothing. I know im not imagining it because about 7 days after the intense cleaning I can se bigger ones. I will go into a room that i was just in and cleaned and see little piles of what looks like crumbs here and there making these things what has to be the fastest bug in existance because sometimes i dont even leave the room, in fact i just looked down and there are some on my laptop right now and I saw nothing. How can they come out into the open, molt and get on with their business right under my nose without me seeing a thing?!Ive tried foggers and pesticides and nothing works, ive even tried super strong ones, and mixed them super strong to the point my head hurts and even I have to evacuate my home for a day or two before not having a headache just walking in. Ive changed the way i live my life around these damn things, I went from having a life to cleaning immensily and trying to get rid of these pests. Where i used to spend money on things I enjoy I now spend it on laundry and cleaners. The only time I can sleep is when I go somewhere else and even then after a few days it comes back and I can feel them on me usually starting from my head and then all over. Im going on about a year of this and I dont know how much more I can take. If this is helpfulit all started with seeing a bed bug, looked in my couch and sure enough they were there, since then I got rid of that couch and the bed bugs only to have jumpy things attacking me, then lice which I got rid of as well and throughout the whole thing these damn jumping, suoer fast, devil bugs have presisted... when will it end?

  9. Swany

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    Posted 7 months ago
    Tue Apr 17 2018 20:32:54
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    I also suffer this exact condition

    Swany Ottawa Canada April 2018

  10. Swany

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    Posted 7 months ago
    Tue Apr 17 2018 20:40:45
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    this condition seems unbelievable but is very much true. I too suffer exactly as you describe
    How? Why? Difficult to go on living like this. Is there any help?

  11. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 7 months ago
    Tue Apr 17 2018 22:33:53
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    Swany - 1 hour ago  » 
    this condition seems unbelievable but is very much true. I too suffer exactly as you describe
    How? Why? Difficult to go on living like this. Is there any help?

    Swamy,
    I am sorry you have an unexplained cause of itching.
    Please read my post above with suggestions: https://bedbugger.com/forum/topic/fleas-not-bed-bugs#post-182896

  12. Fighterme

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    Posted 7 months ago
    Thu Apr 19 2018 17:48:40
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    Hi everyone I have had the same thing for a year and four months. Having this has ruined every aspect of my life. My symptoms started in my feet. I felt things crawling around and brushing past and then one moment I woke up at my partners house and my head felt alive!! The were jumping all over my head, my shoulders and flying out of the back of my neck it was horrific. I went home after much protest from my bf and had a much needed shower but it only made things 10x worse.

    Went to the doctors obviously they put me down the scabies route and that didn't work, tried light therapy and that didn't work. I got all explanations from the doctors... one that said I had eczema under the skin. That one made me laugh.

    I started to believe that I had some fungus that was reacting badly. That my MS was severely playing up. So I kept treating with coconut oil and tea tree and stayed round my partners house.

    Now I believe his bed is infested too because he is getting little red pinprick bites all over his skin... he doesn't have symptoms but then there are these bites and the crazy amounts of lint that comes off his body.

    I'm thankful for him! He has been with me every step of the way. I'm sure if I didn't have him I would have lost my sanity a long time ago.

    Now here I am a year or so down the line and nothing has changed except for the intensity of the sensation. Just in this past month I've thrown away 4 sets of bed sheets because they were heavily infested no matter how much Borax, ammonia, bleach etc etc I tried on them. They were so badly infested I could hear them jumping around on my sheets I really do not want to throw away my bed as it's 1 years old and was purchased 3 weeks before this madness began..worst thing is the frame is Made out of cloth and very hard to clean.

    I'm to the point where I am feeling a ittle hopeless. Nothing works and things work for a few days and then stops and then they go in to crazy mode and bite you everywhere

    I've infected my old place, my new work place, home and bfs room.

    I would like some suggestions if anyone has any to put an end this hell. The itching, jumping,crawling , popping, falling down my face is getting a bit much for me. GL everyone!!! I hope everyone gets the treatment we deserve.

    Aparently this is collembola. I bought a microscope from Amazon to take a look at what I was dealing with and the picture somewhat matched with what I saw.

    I have an appointment with a specialist from dermatology. I don't have high hope but I can always believe that me and all of us that we can get rid of these little demon.

  13. loubugs

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    Posted 7 months ago
    Fri Apr 20 2018 2:31:34
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    I was one of the authors who worked on Collembola and I can assure you that it isn't your problem either.

    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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