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HELP! Possible to have bed bugs but no signs!?!?

(11 posts)
  1. ouchies

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Jul 28 2009 9:20:23
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    In March of 2008 I began getting huge welts on various parts of my body. I first thought they were mosquitoes, then spiders.

    After searching high and low I could not find ANY trace of what it could be. No bug casings, blood stains, fecal stains, bugs....NOTHING. I had my room sprayed for bugs in general and assumed I was hyper allergic to mosquitoes.
    At 12am in September 2008, I felt a bite on my toe, I looked down and BAM there it was, a bed bug.
    I had exterminators come, they searched my room and also found zero warning signs, but because I found one bug, they took care of it. They sprayed my mattress, floor, walls, every nook and cranny. I never had a problem again. BUT, I also never found another bed bug, only one!! My roommate also never had a problem.I bought a plastic cover, and a protect-a-bed and put them both on my mattress after I was told I didn't need to throw it out. Everything was fine after that.

    Flash forward to July 2009...I have now moved into a new, haven't had a problem until last Wednesday. I woke up with 3 bites in a row on my forearm which blew up to a 2" by 2" circle, burning, itching and very red. Saturday night I FELT something biting my foot but when I fliped the covers over, I didn't see anything, and I searched everywhere. Early Monday morning (5am) I got two small bites on my thigh, which is now one the size of my palm.

    I have turned my room upside down, checked my comforter, sheets, mattress (which STILL has the protect-a-bed on it), the wall, my bed frame, pillows- ZERO signs of bed bugs like my previous apartment. I sleep with my window shut because I have AC, and have screens on all my apartments windows. I don't know what to do!!!

    Is it possible to have bed bugs and no warning signs but bites?!?!? PLEASE HELP ME!!! Any advice you have. I am in distress and not sleeping! Thank you in advance...

  2. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Jul 28 2009 12:09:48
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    It's possible, but highly unlikely.

    The thing is that bed bugs, when fed regularly, experience exponential population growth. Hang on to that idea because it becomes important later.

    First, a very early infestation of bed bugs can leave no visible traces, esp. to an inexperienced inspector. If your PCO or you don't have a good eye for bed bug traces, or you only have a few bugs and they have an awesome hiding place, it's possible that for a short time, you may have no signs until the population grows enough for signs to become easier to find or more obvious.

    Secondly, it is possible to get bitten by bed bugs somewhere other than home. I had my apartment treated thermally in June of 2008. The bugs were gone in one treatment. In August or September, I had a bed bug scare. After a thorough inspection from the PCO, I concluded that I'd been bitten by bed bugs at a movie theater. I didn't bring them home. I didn't reinfest the apartment. And I haven't been bitten since. So it's possible that your bites are from bed bugs somewhere other than your home: work, movie theater, public transit, place of worship . . . any number of possibilities.

    Third, it sounds to me like you may not have as much absolute confirmation that you originally had bed bugs as thought. Good PCOs can look at a bug and tell you that's it's definitely a bed bug. I, however, am skeptical that the bug you originally found was absolutely a bed bug in the first place. Bed bug infestations almost always require more than one treatment from a PCO--unless it's a light infestation, a very thorough multi-pronged treatment, and/or uses the one time methods of Vikane or thermal (Which must still be done correctly.)

    There are a lot of look alike bugs that cause bites or bite like responses that a PCO who is inexperienced might mistake for bed bugs.

    Now, I want to be clear. When I say that I am skeptical that you ever had bed bugs, that doesn't mean that you aren't getting bitten or having bite like skin responses. I'm also not saying that you haven't felt bugs on your skin. I am saying that those two things alone are not enough to confirm conclusively a bed bug infestation.

    Having moved into a new apartment, it is also possible that you have been exposed to bed bugs in the new place. It's also possible, however, that you haven't been.

    So what should you do?

    Well, for starters, I'd spend some time looking around the site for info on passive monitors. Using something like the Climbup Interceptors? Would probably help give you some peace of mind.

    Secondly, start educating yourself about what you can do to inspect regularly for bed bugs so as to find an infestation early. That means making your bedroom less bed bug friendly and more inspection friendly. It also means beginning to learn how to distinguish between bed bugs and other common pests that are mistaken for bed bugs. There's a lot of good info on that in the FAQs.

    However, no one around here suggests inspecting any more than about once a month. If you want to go nuts, maybe every other week. What almost everyone finds when looking for bed bugs is that the average person lives with a lot more wildlife in their homes than we think. Too much inspection can lead to anxiety. Once a month inspecting your bed and bedding is a good habit to get into.

    If money is no object and you can find a good handler/dog team in your area, canine detection is an option. However, a good handler/dog team will have the handler inspect visually every place that the dog alerts. If the handler doesn't do so, you're going to be in just as much not knowingness as you are on your own.

  3. ouchies

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Jul 28 2009 13:55:30
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    Thanks, I appreciate all your help. I really do!

    I took a picture of the original bed bug from 2008- I have it still so maybe I should post it here.

    It could be a bat bug but, do they bite too? Whatever bit me in 2008 definitely scored blood because well...Sorry to be graphic but, when I placed the bug into the plastic baggy, some blood did squirt out of it. The original PCO did say, "yep that is indeed a bed bug" and chose to exterminate based on my sample. I do believe he was not as thorough as he could have been, but I don't know what else to think. I also know the difference between a spider beetle and a bed bug, so I am definitely not confusing those two.

    I just wish I could find more clues! Thanks again

  4. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Jul 28 2009 14:31:01
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    Have you ruled out carpet beetles and chitin sensitivity?

    I ask only because the number of bed bugs I had from a several month infestation echoes what we generally know about the reproduction rates of bed bugs.

    If you had bed bugs in March and didn't eliminate all of them, it'd be next to impossible not to be seeing signs now if you'd had them that long.

    If, on the other hand, you have a new infestation, or you were reinfested from elsewhere, then the approach to dealing with the problem is slightly different than if you'd had an established infestation for that long.

  5. spideyjg

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Jul 28 2009 14:44:10
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    Bat and bed bugs look damn similar to the naked eye. Bat bugs have longer hairs and the eye looks different but we are talking stuff you need 20X magnification or so to see.

    See some other bugs that are related....

    http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/insect/05574.html

    Jim

  6. ouchies

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Jul 28 2009 15:14:13
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    buggyinsocal: The problem I am having is that there are no signs of bed bugs, but the bites I am recieving are extremely similar to last years episode. So no, I have not ruled out carpet beetles or chitin...there are no signs of carpet beetles so far. I DO however have a ton of (non harming) spider beetles.

    Last year I couldn't even find more than one bed bug after extermination, I was stumped but it was confirmed that I did have a bed bug that may have climbed from somewhere else, and was feeding off of me.

    I haven't ruled out anything. They are all possibilities. I am just stumped because of having had (one?) bed bug last year with out any spots, shells, or numerous bugs yet getting bit constantly for five months straight. Those bites were unlike any bite i've ever experienced.

    I am very sensitive to mosquito bites. The reaction I am having NOW are of the exact same reaction as the five month episode last year.

    I'm waiting for an exterminator to call me so that they can come check my bedroom out. For now...I sleep not so soundly.

  7. itchfactor

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Jul 29 2009 1:20:53
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    From my own experience, I have had bed bugs since January 2009. It wasn't until the end of June that I finally saw one. I knew what I was looking for because two summers ago I dealt with an infestation at a camp I worked at. Since January, I ripped my bed apart almost nightly looking, gave my mattress a thorough inspection on a weekly basis and never saw a thing. I went to the doctors 4 times and got diagonsed as having scabies, and folculits (sp??). After finding the bugs I went back and told my doctor what I had, he admitted to never have seeing the bites before and thanked me for coming in to let him see them and tell them what they were.

    It wasn't until after my first treatment that one night I just happened to look over the side of my bed and to my horror saw it. All the little black spots, 100's of bugs, their old shells, etc. I was sick, I didn't know how I had missed it all those times that I had inspected my bed looking for something.

  8. ouchies

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Jul 29 2009 14:43:03
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    itchfactor: That sounds really similar to my issue. Were you getting bit constantly or just maybe once or twice a week? I think the most frustrating thing about this issue is that I 1. don't have ANY signs but bites and 2. They aren't biting in a "normal" bed bug pattern.

    Where did you find all the feces and skins? Between your wall and bed?

    I guess I will just tell my story to the new PCO and hope he finds something. It's very frustrating and stressful.

    Also a question for everyone: There is a heat pipe in my room that isn't finished at the floor. Could the bugs be in that hole? If I caulk it up, will that at least help to get out anything that is in there or stop anything from coming back in?

  9. F@ Bed Bugs

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Fri Jul 31 2009 0:15:27
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    just thought I'd mention that the bites aren't always in a pattern of 2 or 3 bites... most of mine have been single bites... only in my first encounter at the highly infested motel with over 150 bites, were the bites in rows/groups of 3 bites, and I imagine they were very hungry bugs and i woke up a few times in the night coughing (which probably disturbed the bugs)... too bad I was too tired/drunk to feel the bugs on me when I woke up in the night I might have avoided this mess if I knew i had slept in a room with hundreds of bugs

    ouchies - 1 day ago  » 
    They aren't biting in a "normal" bed bug pattern.

  10. itchfactor

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Fri Jul 31 2009 3:21:45
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    I found the skin and other waste between my bed and the wall. It wasn't on my mattress though, my box spring and it was right in the middle along the side, so unless I pulled the bed right out I never would have seen it.

    As far as bites I would get bitten at first only once or twice a week but it gradually worked up to every night. I did find it interesting that the first PCO that came to my apartment was like well you know it is bed bugs if you are getting bitten from the waist up, however my feet have gotten it the worse! They also vary in size and as my bites got worse they changed a bit which again made it harder for the doctor to figure out what was wrong.

  11. nycyn

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Dec 13 2010 2:10:33
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    Bumping an OLDIE BUT GOODIE!


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