Got Bed Bugs? Bedbugger Forums » Detection / Identification of bed bugs

Is it bedbugs? Is it fleas? Spiders? I am confused and fed up.

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  1. prunesoda

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Mon Dec 26 2011 19:50:16
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    I am desperate. I will explain everything that could even possibly make sense considering this situation.
    First, I will link you to some pictures... which show some, but not all, of the bites I have accumulated in the last couple of weeks.

    bites

    other bites

    The first bit of information, which is perhaps the most useful, is that both my boyfriend and I sleep in the same bed, and he has not a single bite. He is of Spanish decent and I am white. If bedbugs do or do not have a skin type preference, feel free to move along and tell me it is not bedbugs. Whatever is biting me appears to have a preference for me specifically.

    If you still think it could be bedbugs after that, feel free to read along. My boyfriend and I moved into a new apartment in July of 2011 (in PA, USA). I remember at first, I got a few bites around my ankles, but never again after that first week. On November 11th, 2011, we adopted a cat who was treated for fleas and the standard treatments for adoption. It was not until early December, 2011, I noticed a bug bite around my belly button. It was fiercly itchy, but eventually stopped bothering me so much. It scabbed over very quickly, and has since scarred. Then I noticed one (which appeared to happen overnight) around my ankle, then the next night... another........ and another.... and every night after, at least two more would appear. Usually around my ankles. The last few nights (~Dec. 20th) I have noticed them again around my belly button, in the middle of my back, upper arms, and along the sides of my breasts.

    They are all incredibly itchy and eventually end up bleeding, and then scabbing. I am insatiable. I cannot stop scratching them once I feel the itch, until they bleed. I probably have about 30 total bites all over my body, but in relatively concentrated areas.

    Today after work, I went insane.. I put all my clothes, all my bedding, into a washer... with bleach and hot water. I vacuumed every inch of my apartment. I took apart my mattresses, my couch, and sprayed them with both a Lysol product, and a RAID extermination product that is supposed to attack fleas, bedbugs, and mosquitos. I gave my cat an additional anti-flea product.

    Just now as I type this, it appears a new bite has formed on my upper arm. I am at a computer desk and not in or near a bed. We are both very clean people, showering at least once and often twice daily. I am lost. And worst of all, I live with someone else, and yet am in this alone. He has no idea how much this bothers me.

    If nobody thinks it is bedbugs, I apologize for wasting your time... but if you have any clues, any ideas as to what it could be... please redirect me to the proper forums. I have given as much information as possible.

    Additionally... I have never before in my life faced a problem with any bites other than Mosquito, and I believe I know a mosquito bite when I see one, generally because mosquitoes are not very evasive.

    Desperate. Please, any advice welcome....

  2. Alberta has bugs

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Mon Dec 26 2011 20:48:21
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    Hi Prunesoda, you are now at a point where I was, it is very frustrating not knowing what is biting you.
    I am to understand you cannot tell from bites what is biting you, but it sure looks similar to what was biting me.
    I had bed bugs, got rid of them (knock on wood) and then a flea epidemic from some hay brought from the farm to my backyard.
    My cat has been on flea medication for 3 months now, but everytime I let her in the house, I get more problems from fleas, bites on the ankles, feet, belly button area, back and neck.

    Unless you find the bug, you will not know what the culprit is. I would suggest a flea trap, a white bowl with a drop of dish soap in it, put under a light if possible, to see if fleas are in your house.

    I have heard that BB's may like one person over another or are perhaps closer to a harborage, BB's appear to be lazy and opportunistic.

    As far as fleas go I would not rule it out, maybe the medication for your cat is repeling the fleas so they will go after you.

    Either way you need more information on what the insect is that is biting you.

    Good luck and keep us posted.

  3. P Bello

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Tue Dec 27 2011 8:42:52
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    Dear prunesoda,

    It 's possible that BBs may prefer one host over another and some folks may not react to bites so, it's also possible that your BF is getting bit but does not yet know it or show it.

    At this point you must determine what pest is, may be, present.

    > Use a flea trap as desc ribed above. Search how to build a flea trap. Check your pet carefully. Check the trap on a daily basis. If it's fleas, you'll know fairly soon.

    > You need to look for the telltale signs of bed bugs. These include: fecal stains (aka blood spots), shed skins, carcasses, eggs and live bed bugs.

    > Search the resources on this site to see images of what you're looking for so you will recognize these items.

    > If you find anything and are unsure what you're looking at, post digital photos as there are many of us who will look at the photos and let you know.

    > You need to look in the following areas: mattress, box spring & bed frame.

    > Search all the seams, cracks & crevices, nooks & crannies where BBs may hide and/or place their fecal stains & eggs.

    > Note that at 1 mm eggs are tiny and difficult to see.

    > Use a decent flashlight to enhance your search process efforts.

    You should first figure out what critter you have before you start taking control actions.

    You are not in this alone and there's lots of folks here who will help you.

    Good luck ! paul b.

    As a consulting entomologist I provide services for entities such as property managers, health/housing/emergency depts, schools, hospitality/resort/cruise industry, homeowners, food service, retail, pest professionals & product manufacturers. I recommend only efficacious methodologies, products and equipment. Professional relations have included Actisol, AMVAC, Atrix, BASF, Bayer, Catchmaster, FMC, GMT, Eaton, MattressSafe, Nisus, ProTeam, Rockwell, Syngenta & Woodstream. No compensation for product sales occurs. As inventor of Knight Safe bed bug sleep tent provides a royalty.
  4. marcia

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Tue Dec 27 2011 15:14:47
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    I had a very similar situation. Every time I stayed over at my boyfriend's apt, I got bitten. He argued that it couldn't possibly be bedbugs because he never got bitten. It drove me nuts. And the thing is, it was bedbugs. They were living in a dresser right next to the bed. For some reason, they just didn't like him. We found them by the spots of blood they left - a track going right to the dresser.

  5. prunesoda

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Tue Dec 27 2011 19:42:38
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    Thanks all for your advice. I have looked quite thoroughly and not found proof of anything yet, but I know something is there. I will keep searching every day after work. I have not yet torn my dressers apart, nor thought to do so... that is next

    I've accumulated so many bites now, some itchier than others (the foot and ankle ones are the worst) so I'm having a difficult time telling if I've gotten any new ones. I am traveling to visit my parents this coming holiday weekend and I hope that whatever it is I have does not travel with me.

    Do they ever stay in clothes? I could swear I was bitten while at work -- however I might have only just noticed the bite there -- but I'm 99% certain I did not leave my apartment with that bite in the morning.

    Searching and cleaning is overwhelming... but these bites are interrupting my lifestyle. I never thought bug bites could do this to someone.

  6. P Bello

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Tue Dec 27 2011 20:27:23
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    usually they would stay in their harborage, leave to feed, feed, then hide again.

    pb

  7. prunesoda

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Tue Dec 27 2011 20:32:05
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    I do live in a multi-unit apartment complex... I am wondering if I advise my landlord of an infestation, are they legally bound to follow up by help of professionals? I put my flea trap out, and figure if I do not see any evidence of fleas within a few days I can most definitely narrow it down to BB. I don't know that spiders bite this often and I've never seen a spider in my apartment. I'm reading lots of stories of landlords assisting, but nothing of whether they are legally supposed to.

    My landlord just sold to a more corporate housing company called Lindy (PA). I figure, I will have more luck with them than my previous landlord in addressing this. Hoping, anyway.

    I always thought bed bugs were a myth!

  8. Alberta has bugs

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Tue Dec 27 2011 20:37:10
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    Me too, I thought BB's were a myth too!

    One suggestion that I have read about is to wear white socks and see if they pick up anything.

    Another suggestion that I have done for relief is to put mineral or olive oil on your legs. It seems to repel or trap the flea with oil and it will eventually die. Besides it is helpful for the bites.

  9. prunesoda

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Tue Dec 27 2011 20:41:59
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    I have such anxiety trying to sleep, that I cannot do so anymore without a vodka&tonic, a Benadryl or sleeping pills. My bed used to be so sweet, warm, and safe. Now a floor seems better.

  10. Alberta has bugs

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Tue Dec 27 2011 20:43:01
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    Off topic, the more I read about Fleas and Bed Bugs on this site I am starting to wonder if a new category may be needed.

    Eg:
    Is It Fleas or Bed Bugs?

  11. prunesoda

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Tue Dec 27 2011 20:48:39
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    Fleas was my first thought, as that and mosquitoes are the only bites I've ever had in my life.

    It might be helpful to have that section in the forums and resources. Especially for us who thought bedbugs were something people said to be cute... "don't let the bed bugs bite!"

  12. loubugs

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Wed Dec 28 2011 4:12:39
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    Don't bother with the spider bite route. Unfortunately it's a catchall for when no one knows what to identify as the causative agent. Many spider bites turn out to be bacterial infections and not venom-related at all.

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

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Wed Dec 28 2011 15:41:19
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    As an update, I cannot tell if I've been bitten lately so I bought a non toxic permanent marker and circled all my current bug bites to make it easier to tell them apart.

    Yeah... I've become paranoid.

  14. prunesoda

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri Dec 30 2011 6:39:58
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    Have found two strange lumps on my cat this morning. Cannot tell if they are bites or not. But one is definitely dried blood and in a place on the base of the back of her neck. That was where I treated her for fleas (with the flea drop medication), so I do not know if it could be a reaction to the medication or bed bugs. These sons of b*tches are a real pain.

  15. P Bello

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri Dec 30 2011 11:39:09
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    Not sure if I'd adviose on the permanant marker deal or not but if that's what you're going to do, it is what it is.

    Have you found any physical evidence of BB activity since we last posted?

    Remember that there is no magic and if you have BBs there will eventually be some physical evidence to discover. It is possibly that you simply have not yet found it so you may need to continue looking.

    Hope this helps, paul b.

  16. prunesoda

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Mon Jan 2 2012 18:29:16
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    I've seen no evidence as of yet. No fecal stains, which according to many family members I'm speaking to should be showing up sooner or later if they are biting me this ravenously. While I was visiting family, I acquired NO new bites. I've just arrived back home today, so it remains to be seen whether or not I'll be bitten tonight

    I do continue to search in new places every day. Luckily, my apartment is quite small. However, this leaves a whole walk-in closet to search.

    Thanks for the post, PB

  17. P Bello

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Mon Jan 2 2012 18:37:15
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    Dear Prunesoda,

    That a BB might bite a person sleeping in bed and then go hide in a closet rather than the bed frame, box spring, mattress seam, night stand or head board would be a tad unusual.

    Not imposiible but unusual.

    Please maintain your vigilance and let us know what you find, if anything.

    Hope this helps, paul b.

  18. prunesoda

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Mon Jan 2 2012 19:38:33
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    That is good information. I will still check my closet tomorrow, but perhaps not go crazy tearing it apart. My bed is relatively new. Only about a year old - the whole thing. It is an IKEA bed without a box spring. It has two thin mattresses, both as bright white as the day I bought it.

    The carpeting along the walls seems like it could be a bit sketchy, and I have not yet checked behind the wall directly around the head board area. Maybe that's their spot.

    If the biting persists past this week with no evidence of BB or for the sake of my sanity, ANY bug.. I will call my Landlord.

  19. prunesoda

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Tue Jan 3 2012 15:33:00
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    Put bug repellent where I was being bitten most (ankles/feet) and now have a ring of bites around and inside my belly button. Still no sign of them. They are hiding well.

  20. prunesoda

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Tue Jan 3 2012 16:37:03
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    Called my landlord... BOY did I get a reaction out of them! They seemed very concerned when I told them I was nearly certain I had bed bugs. Gave me some bullcrap about how they had "plans" to send an exterminator out for routine maintenance but would see if they could get one tomorrow for me.

    I have definitely tried researching this on the internet, and if anyone even has a number for me to call with questions, I'd greatly appreciate it.....

    My landlord said to me on the phone, "We'll have an exterminator come out and give it a look, no charge to you til we find something." Can they legally charge me if the exterminator does find something? (I live in USA - Pennsylvania) I'm certain beyond all doubt that this infestation is not from me, since all my furniture is new and cat was brought into the home long long before the infestation started.

    Anyone have any good questions I should ask my landlord, exterminator, or anything else? I mean... I'm desperate enough that I'd pay but I do not feel I should have to... this is not my fault.

  21. SoFrustrated

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Mon Oct 1 2012 6:34:33
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    Hi Prunesoda,

    I see that your last post was almost a year ago, and I am just hoping you could give me an update and let me know what ended up happening, as your situation sounds very similar to mine (my first thread from a few months ago gives a detailed explanation). Basically, it has been ONE FULL YEAR and I still don't know what is biting me, after 3 different PCOs, two dog inspections, heat and residual treatment, and Vikane. I moved to NYC a month ago and am getting teeny tiny little bumps on my face and neck, but they are not very itchy and do not turn into welts like the bites I used to get. This morning I woke with one on my knee. I am at my wit's end, I have no idea what it going on. To date I have not found any physical evidence, though I have looked many times.

  22. jpmartin

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    Posted 1 month ago
    Mon Oct 20 2014 19:52:34
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    Just found this thread and so I'm a bit late to the conversation. But I've been having the same issue since the beginning of the year. Bug bites mostly in my abdomen (including belly button), underarms, fold of arms, back of knees and some only on arms and legs. I haven't seen any sign of bed bugs and my dermatologist says that the bites don't look like bed bugs but I'm beginning to wonder if it still could be bed bugs. My husband doesn't get any of these bites! I get at least 2-4 per day and they're so itchy the wake me up and I scratch them till they bleed. I've been using prescription hydrocortisone to stop the itching but it's not a preventative. My naturopath suggested I go more natural and I found that calendula gel works well. We've had a rodent infestation in our attic since about the same time so the derma and naturopath says it might be fleas but the bites don't conform to usual flea bites either. Haven't seen any spiders. I went on vacation for two weeks and didn't get any new bites then. So it is definitely at home. I don't know what else to do! I've told our landlord about it and they said they can send an exterminator but I'm worried that they'll use toxic chemicals and I'm very chemically sensitive. Thanks for the info about the flea trap. I may try that to at least rule that out. Anyone have any resolution and recovery from this?

  23. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 1 month ago
    Tue Oct 21 2014 0:22:22
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    If you have bed bugs and 2-4 new bites per day, there will be 2-4 new fecal stains appearing daily near where you're bitten. If you can't see them, a pest management pro should definitely be able to. However, I'd be surprised if you would not also notice the signs if you're looking.

    We've had a rodent infestation in our attic since about the same time so the derma and naturopath says it might be fleas but the bites don't conform to usual flea bites either.

    Look into rodent mites. They often accompany a rodent problem. They can bite humans if their host becomes unavailable. If it is rodent mites, you will want an experienced pro to address that situation.

    Rodent mites will be quite small but not invisible. You may be able to collect samples on clear packing tape and post a photo here for ID, or show it to a local university extension entomologist or pest control company.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  24. loubugs

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    Posted 1 month ago
    Tue Oct 21 2014 4:47:57
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    I, too, would suggest rodent mites considering that you had/have an issue in the attic. People should not bother thinking about spider bites - it's unfortunately an often overused and unfounded diagnosis.

  25. jpmartin

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    Posted 1 month ago
    Tue Oct 21 2014 12:54:38
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    Thanks for the info! I never knew about rodent mites. I looked at photos online and my bites looks more like those than of bed bug or flea bites. I just contacted our property manager to schedule for the exterminator to come in so hopefully this will get resolved soon!


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