ID needed for potential cast skin (pic included) + general question(8 posts)
Found odd bug casing(s) today - normally I try to not be bothered by the occasional random bug encounter, but this has the horizontal lines that bed bugs do, so an ID would make me feel a lot better.
Also, in general, how long does it take to know you have or don't have them? I had a potential exposure (visited a relative who had them recently) about 3 months ago and I've been on high alert since. I've checked the bed and surrounding area fairly thoroughly, but have restrained myself from doing things like tearing the cover of the box spring off and other more involved things. No fecal matter on sheets, mattress, box spring (external at least) or bed frame, no blood spots on sheets, no bug/egg sitings, etc. And no bites on either myself or my girlfriend, save for the occasional mosquito bite after being outside at night, etc.
About a month ago, I was finally starting to let my guard down, and then there was a peculiar incident that has reactived my high alert. It was mid-morning (10 am) and I was working at my desk in the bedroom when I absent-mindedly brushed at an itch/weird sensation on my lower arm for just a half-second. When I brought my hand back to what I was working on, I noticed there was blood on the finger I'd used - I looked at my arm, and there was blood there as well. However there was no wound or bite or any source of the blood that I could identify. My mind instantly made the link to bed bugs, and I began to worry that the weird sensation was a bed bug on my arm, and my finger popped it and released blood it was carrying. No bite ever materialized there, but I suppose I could be non-reactive. I've repeatedly told myself that there's no reason to think it was anything - it was outside bed bug activity timeframes, neither people in the apartment have ever found bites, I've never found any symptoms, etc. - but I don't have any other explanations for what could have happened besides maybe I killed a mosquito instead of a bed bug (but that also seems odd at 10 am inside the house).
On mobile but 100% not bedbug, highly likely to be roach nymph.
Bed Bugs Limited
Don't the pieces in the first and second pictures look very similar to, say, this:
(Not my picture, found via Google Images)
That's what has me worried.
Yes they do look similar but they are not bedbug cast skins.
Cast skins will breakdown with time, I have a jar of them in the office which is over 4 years old now and none of the contents have broken down in that way.
It doesn't look like a cast skin/shed skin but the abdomen of a ladybird beetle. It looks like a ventral view. The shed skin image you located online is actually one of mine. Read the legend that accompanies the image and look around there for more images. http://www.flickr.com/photos/lou_bugs_pix
If you compare the body parts of the bed bug sheds and zoom in on yours, you'll see that they don't look that much alike. The shed skin of my images includes a dorsal view of the abdomen and bed bug nymphs have 3 dorsal abdominal glands that can be seen in the shed skin.
The shed skins won't break down over time if kept in a jar. If you shook the jar every day, there would be wear and tear because the sheds would be banging against one another.
Lou, you are wealth of information.
Thanks for sharing it so freely with all of us.
Thanks so much, to all of you. There were some other pieces nearby that looked like a yellow ladybug shell, so I guess this is all just part of the same bug. Whew, that's a relief!
The beetle can be naturally yellowish or can be sun-bleached (if outdoors and in sunlight!).
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