Help, Bed Bugs or Fleas? Confused? yes.(6 posts)
I know, sorry for posting something thats been posted time and time again but as someone who's just moved into his first apartment (with his first infestation) i want to be able to identify this problem fast; internet articles have confused me beyond belief so im just going to lay out everything that might be a factor and hopefully someone has some ideas about this (ive become very neurotic about the whole thing and have been losing sleep - already 5am :/ - so any help is greatly appreciated). so here's the situation, a month ago i moved into a 10th floor apartment and minus the first week i have been bitten pretty much every day (was in denial at first and thought it was some mild allergic reaction to some linens). i should note that since moving in ive taken in the family cat temporarily and some furniture from my beachhouse. so far ive been sleeping on my couch (first w/o covers, now w/) and wake up to find random bites on me. one of my friends who has slept on the couch has had the same problem except his case was worse; the very next morning we all woke up and his bites areas looked red and he said the bites 'hurt'. since then ive been obsessing over what is biting me. my first reasoning was it's probably fleas since i can't remember the last time anyone gave the cat anything to prevent them and i feel like there have been moments where ive caught him biting himself. but then from what i read online most people say that fleas bite the legs and ankles whereas i dont remember being bitten on the legs or ankles much if ever and i can recall bites just about everywhere else on my body (torso, chest, back) where i'd expect bedbugs to be biting me (tho ive heard people say fleas will bite there if u have clothes on (or something like that?)). The thing that makes it more puzzling for me is these bites are never mosquito-bite sized or hurt or itch intensely, always small bumps that itch (almost immediately after i feel what i can only assume is a small bite) for a little then go away after a day or so (like flea bites?) --- though these biting sessions seem to happen mostly at night when the light are off and im about to go to sleep (bed bugs?). also, there hasnt really been a pattern to these bites tho some have shown up near each other, i have scratched some and as a result some have scabbed (though not all), i can't recall if that was any indication one way or the other. i will be laundrying everything again, using some diatomaceous earth, Advantage on the cat, and a flea trap as a precaution <= this i can definitely thank the internet for.
Bed bugs are, in some ways, the pest world's equivalent of what is called in medicine "a diagnosis of exclusion."
There are some health conditions that we have no tests for; we can only observe the data, rule out the things that there are tests for, and then if none of them fit the mark, assume that the diagnosis of exclusion is correct.
Since bed bugs--esp. early in an infestation--can be hard to detect, sometimes you can tell a lot by ruling out other pests first.
I would suggest getting some plug in flea traps and putting them near the couch and near any other places the cat sleeps.
If you get fleas in those, treat the cat and the apartment for fleas first. If the bites go away, there's your answer.
If you've read the FAQs on the main site here, there's also good information about investigating an apartment to look for traces of bed bugs. You may find signs of bed bugs. You may find carpet beetles. You mentioned the furniture coming from a beach house--it might even be sand fleas. We live with a lot more bugs than any of us generally think we're indoors with, so there are any number of possibilities. The best approach is to start ruling out possible pests one at a time; in the meantime, follow the precautions in the FAQs as if you have bed bugs so that you won't spread them if it is bed bugs.
Finally, have you checked to see if the building you moved into is on the bedbug registry? If it's listed, that may help speed up the push to get a PCO in to inspect for bed bugs if you can't find anything one way or the other.
Not a lot to add beyond if you suspect fleas try and plug in flea trap.
Learn the classic signs of bed bugs:
- Live samples - notoriously hard to find as they tend to hide in cracks and crevices
- Cast skins - easier to find as they are often on the outside around hiding places
- Faecal traces - black marks that look like a felt tip pen dab
If you cant find any of the signs after a complete finger tip search of the sofa when I would suggest you look at dust mites next and if that does not resolve it call for a investigational entomologist to see if they can find out what is going on.
Bed Bugs Limited
Look on your cat! Does he have fleas? Look under his collar and chin. Should be easy enough to find... although you could have dun dun dun BOTH! I did this earlier this year. It sucked because one flea survived and I thought the crawling sensation was caused by paranoia. After a few hours I turned the light on and found him immediately. Flea bites HURT and you can feel them on your skin. I don't know why this isn't so for BB. Any thoughts on that, anyone?
Hello and please have your cat checked for cheyletiella mites - "walking dander." Search that term on this site. Good luck.
Just my HO....if you think you got em you do. I knew something was wrong for an entire 3 months before putting 2 and 2 together. I fyou are thinking bed bugs this early in the game - I am very sad and heartbroken to tell you your probably right.
They are beatable though....but I think the only trick is to to all the PCO treatements, DE and launder everything, all the time. But #1 is to become a minimalist...it is a freeing experience though once it is done!!!!
You must log in to post.