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Kids have bites, atypical pattern

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  1. jellybug

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Tue Jul 11 2017 21:15:21
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    We stayed at a cabin for four nights. My in-laws had bites on lower legs starting after night 1 but were on other side of cabin. We never had any bites and didn't realize there can be a "delayed reaction."

    3 days after we get home, we all started erupting. I have a dozen or so total bites on my torso and around underwear line--also two in my armpit. My husband has a few on his feet and ankles.

    The kids sleep in close-fitting summer pajamas (short sleeved and shorts).

    My daughter is covered, but her worst bites are in her groin area, and her second worst area is underarms, mostly the folds. She also has some in her neck folds (but not elsewhere on neck) and scattered on tummy and back. She doesn't like to wear underwear at night, but her short pj pants are close-fitting.

    My son doesn't have as many but most bites he has are also in his groin and armpits, with a few others. He still wears a diaper at night because of occasional bed wetting, and there are numerous bites well inside the diaper line.

    I don't know what it could be except for bed bugs, especially given the timing and the fact that all six of us got them. However, everything I read on these forums suggests that they go for "obvious places."

    I took my daughter to the dermatologist today, and she said almost certainly bed bugs. But I still feel like -- why did they mostly go for the armpits and groins of my kids? Why not their bare arms and legs, which are (so far) completely clear?

    Chiggers have occurred to me as a possibility, but we are still seeing new bites after nearly a week back, which seems consistent with bedbugs and not chiggers. Also, my stepfather-in-law is 80 and not in robust health--I doubt he went for a walk in the woods the whole time we were in the mountains, so I don't know where he would have picked up chiggers.

    Thoughts? I don't think it's fleas, as I have lived in flea-infested buildings before and had much milder reactions to the bites, but it is a pet-friendly rental.

  2. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Wed Jul 12 2017 4:13:04
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    Hi,

    This is not typical of bed bugs in any way.

    Please take your child to a medical professional and ask them to triage this correctly. It is highly likely based on the symptoms that you are dealing with something like hand foot and mouth or possibly a scabies type mite.

    The dermatologist needs to see a copy of the BMJ 2013 article that confirms they are incorrect to offer a diagnosis of bed bugs on skin reactions alone.

    I can assure you this is a medical issue not a pest issue.

    Hope you get things back on the right track.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

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  3. jellybug

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Wed Jul 12 2017 6:20:37
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    Thank you SO MUCH for your reply.

    I don't think it's hand, foot, and mouth--both of my kids have had different versions of it, and they also had fever and other symptoms that are absent, plus the bites(?) don't look like the hfm blisters.

    The derm seemed very confident it wasn't scabies because we are not itching all the time and the visuals don't quite match--she seemed to have seen a fair bit of scabies, unlike bedbugs. I wish she'd done a scraping to be sure, though.

    Could it be chiggers + bedbugs? My son's neck bites are on fairly exposed skin while he's sleeping, and he seems to be getting a scattering of other bites around collarbone. However, both kids' arms and legs are so far clear except where covered by pajamas.

    Any other thoughts? I can hardly sleep because I'm so anxious about this. Bedbugs seem the only reasonable explanation for all six of us, but I don't see why they'd go for those areas.

  4. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Wed Jul 12 2017 6:59:29
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    Hi,

    The locality of the reaction alone excludes bed bugs because they will not change their feeding behavior, suffice to say its complex but there are strong academic reasons for this (in press at the second).

    The best thing you can do is read up on bed bugs, check the inspection video examples and conduct a thorough inspection to allow you to move past them as a potential cause.

    The only times I have been localized reactions of the nature you have described it has come down tot he options I have suggested, sometimes having been exposed before people bodies over react to the same or similar stimuli as a way of alert you to an issue.

    David

  5. jellybug

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Wed Jul 12 2017 7:30:59
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    Unfortunately, we are no longer at the cabin. I didn't inspect our beds because we had no signs of any bites when we left. My in-laws inspected their bed and headboard and didn't find any signs, but I didn't really look with them. I think they only had bites on their legs, like my husband, but I'm not sure.

    I am in touch with the cabin owner who claims to have done a thorough visual inspection after we left and says she knows what to look for, but ... who knows. The cabin is rented through Saturday, and she says she will have pest control come to do a formal inspection at that time and let me know. We'll see.

    Given the number of bites we have, I feel like an inspection should turn up some signs if it was bedbugs? My daughter has around two dozen in her groin alone--some outside the underwear area, but most in the crease and a couple right by her very private area. My son has fewer, but same pattern in that part of his anatomy. I guess I'll need to take my kids in for a second opinion. Whatever it is does look like bug bites of some kind to me.

  6. BigDummy

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Wed Jul 12 2017 7:50:42
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    As noted above, the bite locations and amounts don't make me think bed bugs. Exposed areas would be targeted as there is no reason to risk detection and bypass an available arm and travel under bedding and clothing to feed.
    Any known allergies? Was the cabin treated with anything prior to your stay?
    Bites located only on the legs could indicate fleas or chiggers.

    HVAC/Locksmith/Bed Bug Control for a non-profit homeless shelter and long term veteran housing.
  7. jellybug

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Wed Jul 12 2017 8:29:18
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    No allergies but the usual seasonal kind. Do chigger bites sometimes have a delayed reaction like bed bug bites? I would be presuming chiggers except that we keep seeing more bites erupt, and we've been back for a week today. (Didn't notice any new ones this morning, but I think there were a handful of new one on both kids yesterday.)

    I just feel like I'm going nuts. I am terrified of bringing bed bugs into our house, which is being remodeled, when we move out of our furnished summer rental. Our home is old (built 1940) and has cracks and gaps everywhere, plus a raised foundation.

  8. jellybug

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Wed Jul 12 2017 9:17:23
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    Also, no unusual treatments in the cabin of which I'm aware. Don't think anything environmental would cause lower leg bites on 3 of us and groin/underarm/torso bites on the other 3, but obviously I have no idea at this point!

  9. BigDummy

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Wed Jul 12 2017 9:30:25
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    The skin of the groin and underarms is different than the rest of your body, that's why I'm asking about allergies. Those locations are also generally not easy access for feeding, the bed bug would have to pass by prime feeding areas to reach those areas.
    It's been a lifetime since I've had chiggers so I'm not familiar with their activities.

  10. jellybug

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Wed Jul 12 2017 12:20:39
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    Just texted my husband, and he wears socks at night, which might be another point for the "not bedbugs" category. Not sure if crew or ankle, but I think he had some bites (or whatever) on his feet, and I doubt they would have shimmied through the elastic.

    I just don't want to get complacent and find out they *were* bedbugs and bring them back to my house, though. I have already alerted the landlord of our summer rental about possible exposure to them, felt terrible about it.

  11. loubugs

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Wed Jul 12 2017 13:27:26
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    Cabin. I wonder if a rodent issue and there are rodent mites that were overlooked. Chiggers are the larval stage of specific mites in which these and the human host reaction forms a stylostome, a feeding tube mechanism. By the time you begin itching from them, the mites have already left. As was pointed out already, can't really diagnose by bite or "bite" reactions.

    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.
  12. jellybug

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Wed Jul 12 2017 15:36:27
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    Thanks very much to all of you. It's a strange world when you're desperately hoping for severe chiggers and/or rodent infestation of a place you spent several nights, but that's where I am. :p

    If it were some other form of mite or bug, would putting clothes in the dryer on high heat also likely kill them?

  13. BigDummy

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Wed Jul 12 2017 15:55:56
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    If you're not finding bugs in your clothing it won't be of any use.

  14. jellybug

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Wed Jul 12 2017 16:09:25
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    I'm not, but I thought the chiggers in biting form and some other mites were too small to easily see with the naked eye

    I've already run everything through the dryer anyway and will continue to quarantine the luggage, at least for the time being--I'm mostly just hoping to avoid future bites regardless of source.

    I guess this is another question--would bed bugs be able to migrate from an attached garage to your house based on smell/CO2 emissions? The bedrooms are all a fair distance from the garage. Our beach pop-up tent and chairs were in the closet with our luggage for several days before we started breaking out in bites. I don't want to take any chances, but I also don't want to throw away perfectly good stuff if I don't have to.

    Also, would it be nuts to try the hot car method with my laptop and other stuff that can't go in the dryer? We live in sunny FL, so I feel fairly confident the car is getting hot enough on warm days. I feel like if I put them in a hefty bag, no one would think "hmm, something expensive in here," plus I could park the car and watch it from a coffee shop or something.

    My favorite leather pumps are in a Ziploc baggie in the trunk as we speak. I'll probably throw them away anyway.

    You have all persuaded me that my kids probably weren't *just* bitten by BBs, but I feel like my in-laws on the other side of the cabin still might have been ... in which case, it's possible some of our bites are related to BBs.

  15. BigDummy

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Wed Jul 12 2017 16:47:09
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    I live in Florida too, the hot car thing doesn't work. I really, really do not believe that your issue is bed bugs, there's nothing in your information that sounds like bed bugs and plenty of more likely culprits.

  16. jellybug

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Wed Jul 12 2017 17:16:56
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    Darn. I wish I were so confident. My daughter seems to be getting a new bite spot right between her eyes on her face (first one there), so that's going to fuel the anxiety for a bit longer.

    My MIL says most of her bites are on her upper arms and thighs with some on her torso, which seems a bit more bedbug typical?

  17. BigDummy

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Thu Jul 13 2017 9:32:24
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    Your fixation on bed bugs without evidence is not uncommon. There are plenty of people that post on here that are certain it must be bed bugs and that their infestation is unique, that their bed bugs are "hiding" somewhere uncommon. The reality more times than not is that there is another cause. We anthropomorphize these little insects and give them the power of reasoning and thought and planning when it just doesn't work that way.
    For peace of mind why not make a few simple passive monitors (you can search for DIY monitor on this site) or buy a monitor and place it on your bed, checking weekly.

    Jelly, check your PMs, sent you a message.

  18. jellybug

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Thu Jul 13 2017 11:55:19
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    Trust me, I am hoping it is anything BUT bedbugs. However, I don't want to be complacent, because I'm worried that they would be difficult to eradicate in my 1940 home with a raised foundation and cracks and crevices everywhere.

    I'm just going to put the evidence pro and con for bedbugs:

    PRO
    *All six people who stayed at the cabin have numerous bites from something
    *My MIL claims she saw two bed bugs on her partner's shoes after they got home. (Didn't see them myself, no idea if their ID is reliable)
    *My in-laws reacted immediately the first morning.
    *My husband, kids, and I had a delayed reaction 3 days after getting home--both reactions would be typical of bedbugs
    *Cabin owner was very responsive when I first contacted her, but now she's ghosting. (We have spoken on the phone once, and I texted her twice asking for updates--no replies to either text. Cabin is rented all week.)
    *Our family dermatologist seemed very confident that the bites were from bedbugs, in part because of the 123 pattern of my daughter's bites.
    *My in-laws bites seem fairly consistent, location-wise, with bedbugs (arms, legs, torso--although it sounds like thighs and upper arms mostly).
    *My stepfather-in-law didn't spend much time outside because he has limited mobility and is unlikely to have picked up something in the woods
    *halp_halp_halp indicated that the bite patterns I'm seeing were confirmed as bedbugs for her on this thread--not sure if she's referring to parents' bites or kids' bites, though, and the OP thinks it was chiggers: http://bedbugger.com/forum/topic/bites-only-on-groin-armpits-back-and-buttocks

    CON
    *The kids' bites are in a weird location since bedbugs don't typically go for groins or underarms
    *The kids don't have any bites on their arms or legs, though they both have some on their necks and torsos
    *Neither my MIL nor the cabin owner were able to detect signs of bedbugs after non-expert inspection
    *There are probably other possible bugs that could account for this, such as chiggers or some form of rodent mite--but no one seems to know if we could expect such a delayed reaction to these bugs.

    So ... I don't think I'm being nuts to be concerned here. I would WELCOME additional input on why it's probably not bedbugs. I am very, very grateful for all of your responses, which are helping me sleep at night!

    We are leaving our rental in about 2 weeks and have some bedbug monitors, but I don't think we'd have any evidence of infestation in that time period--and then we go back to our home, which I want to protect.

  19. jellybug

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Thu Jul 13 2017 12:19:33
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    And many thanks for the PM BigDummy (which I'm sure you're not). Apologies for being so wordy--I can't ever seem to help myself!

  20. loubugs

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Thu Jul 13 2017 16:05:34
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    jellybug - 3 hours ago  » 
    And many thanks for the PM BigDummy (which I'm sure you're not). Apologies for being so wordy--I can't ever seem to help myself!
    *Our family dermatologist seemed very confident that the bites were from bedbugs, in part because of the 123 pattern of my daughter's bites.
    Do chigger bites sometimes have a delayed reaction like bed bug bites? I would be presuming chiggers except that we keep seeing more bites erupt, and we've been back for a week today.

    I don't know why you are fixated on chiggers being the cause. I feel parasitic mites from a rodent might be more encountered in a cabin.
    Your dermatologist is basing a bed bug diagnosis on faulty information.
    And the reactions might not be from bites at all. Groin and underarms are strange places for bed bug interaction.

  21. jellybug

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Thu Jul 13 2017 17:01:20
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    I might be giving the wrong impression with the word "cabin." The place was basically a small house on the side of a mountain--the interior finishes are pretty much the same ones you'd find anywhere. We weren't roughing it at all.

    However, I do hope (ha!) that the rodent mite thing remains a possibility because of the location on the mountain and in the woods.


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