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Let's play a game: Validate my carpet beetle suspicion (and hope)

(10 posts)
  1. Battle of the Bugs

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Mon Apr 10 2017 17:41:23
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    Sorry, think there was a problem with the first post

    Thank you for opening my post. It is most suitable for a reader with mid-level understanding of bed bugs and carpet beetles (how they bite, live, behave), as I'll just cut right to the chase. To make it more interesting for you to read, I've ended it with little debate. Please tell me if you are a Watson or Holmes.

    ------------------------------------------

    Hello, I'm a bed bug survivor from 8 years ago. I got some bites after coming back from travels that are very different from 8 years ago, but by description could still be bed bug bites.

    Here's what they looked like fresh: like:https://www.flickr.com/photos/79617211@N08/33919054346/in/dateposted-public/
    Very swollen and big, no pin pricks visible at first. I think the next day was even more swollen, it felt like a new muscle! I also felt very tired like my body was fighting something (allergic reaction?) Once the swelling has gone down the itching stopped.

    Within days the swelling has gone down and pin picks were visible. Here they are marked with eyeliner with a penny next to it for size reference:
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/79617211@N08/33919054036/in/dateposted-public/

    Notice the closeness of the bites, and the perpendicular pattern on the ride side here:
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/79617211@N08/33960802415/in/dateposted-public/

    Differences compared to 8 yrs ago (sorry no pic):
    They were much smaller - sized of cooked barley at most, and as rounded, pin prick visible in centre while swollen, quite itchy and persistent for a couple of weeks and took longer for bump to heal. Had isolated as well as breakfast, lunch, dinner bite patterns, but were at least 1/2 an inch spaced apart.

    You can stop reading here if you want to be brief and skip to the questions/debate at the bottom

    Other facts: (for the more inquisitive or perhaps those hoping to also be in the same boat)
    1. All bites were on my forearm, and shown in the picture. No other bites anywhere else and it's been 10 days today.
    2.I set a flea trap (container of water + soap + lamp) - nothing
    3. I set climb ups on my bed legs (though it's not very well isolated (blankets might hang low if I sleep and touch things not isolated - but nothing
    4. BB passive monitor set - nothing
    5. Bed bug dog came and checked my car and apt (disclaimer: but there is some clutter) - gave the all clear.
    6. I own a packtite and treated my luggage after travelling
    7. Aye here's the rub - a friend I visited during my travels gave me some clothes. She had some mysterious bites - but wait! Her Dr gave her a blood test and came up negative for bed bugs (apparently they can test for anti-bodies now???), she has pets and they tested negative for fleas. 2 other ppl in her household including her partner, had no bites. She vacuumed and steamed everything and seemed the bites seemed to have stopped last we spoke. Ok, so I'm not stupid. I had access to a Packtite in my travels and treated the clothes she gave me then vacuum packed them before putting in my luggage. I arrive home, took out the vacuum pack and treated the rest of my luggage. Luggage stayed outside my room, but I put the bag of clothes on my bed and opened it to take something out. The next morning I got the bites on my arm closest to the bag on the bed.
    8. The Packtite treatments (both times) where about 2 hrs, atleast 110F, but I am pretty sure I saw 120s and even 130s at some point, perhaps it wasn't high enough/long enough though.

    So Watson says:
    The bites and reactions are so radically different they are unlikely to be bed bugs again. Even if there was documentation that the effect on a person can change, wouldn't it stand to reason they would be less reactive (building an immunity) rather than more? Furthermore, the closeness of the bites can be consistent with the way carpet beetles crawl and their hairs prick. Aha! Carpet beetles need kill temps of 140F, so they could have survived treatment of the friend's clothes and got out of the bag to bite the victim. And no subsequent bites means it was only a couple and probably crawled away to hide. Ruled out fleas and got all clear from a dog, leaves carpet beetles as most likely suspect.

    Sherlock Homes says:
    Without a positive ID of a specimen you can't rule anything out. Linear bite patterns are consistent with bedbugs. People's reactions to bites can change, especially if there are specie variants of the bug, and they could be a mutated or evolved already from the ones that bit the victim 8 years ago. Climb ups and passive traps can be take a very long time (if at all) to show any evidence, especially if the infestation is still small. Bed bug dogs aren't 100% accurate, especially if there's clutter. And they haven't come back YET; bed bugs are known to feed then hibernate. It could be carpet beetles, but bed bugs are possible too, maybe both!

    I hate you Sherlock. I wanna be a Watson.

    "Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth."
    Sir Arthur Conan Doyle ... Oh yeah Sherlock? But you've never had bed bugs!
  2. Richard56

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Mon Apr 10 2017 19:07:22
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    I usually don't pay much attention to what Watson says, but I think your Sherlock is an imposter. The real Sherlock would know that without real evidence -- skins, fecal, eggs -- you cannot deduce bed bugs. The rest is smoke and mirrors. Sound like the case of the missing evidence.

    Richard

  3. Battle of the Bugs

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Mon Apr 10 2017 20:19:12
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    Richard56 - 1 hour ago  » 
    I usually don't pay much attention to what Watson says, but I think your Sherlock is an imposter. The real Sherlock would know that without real evidence -- skins, fecal, eggs -- you cannot deduce bed bugs. The rest is smoke and mirrors. Sound like the case of the missing evidence.
    Richard

    He's not deducing bed bugs, he just said you can't rule out bed bugs. So you are pro-Sherlock then?

  4. Richard56

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Mon Apr 10 2017 20:56:16
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    I think the real Sherlock would know if you had bed bugs. Also your Sherlock has no mention of Moriarty which is suspect.

  5. Ombugsman

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Mon Apr 10 2017 21:28:33
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    Moriarty Lectularius says: Bwahaha. Here we all are safely ensconced deep in the box spring. We've learned not to poop until we're well inside - no traces for Sherlock wannabes. You'll have the Bed Bug Blue(s) (get it) tryin' to find fecal to swab. And why do these fools think we always head to the head of the bed after first feeding and check-in to Cain's Cozy Cottage? Didn't you pay attention in school and learn there are 4 directions: north, south, east and west. And BTW those ClimbUps you keep using are an insult to our evolved intelligence. Resistance To Resistance Is Futile (notice what I did there? Resistance to Resistance?) bah..why am i wasting my time. Now if you'll pardon me, I have an orgy to attend. Sure eventually some rogue youngin will falter and wander off the reservation and give us up - you know kids ::sigh:: - but by then are numbers will be so large and we'll be so sick of one another that many of the ladies will have already scattered anyway. Just give up already and keep checking those ClimbUps for our dumb distant relative, the carpet beetle.

  6. Battle of the Bugs

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Thu Apr 13 2017 8:17:56
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    Caught in the Climb Up!
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/79617211@N08/33198989023/in/dateposted-public/
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/79617211@N08/33854119512/in/dateposted-public/

    Sorry, it's the best picture I could get. I picked it up out of the Climbup with tape, so it's the underside you're seeing here. It's black and grey in colour, domed back.

    Can someone please say carpet beetle?

  7. BigDummy

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Thu Apr 13 2017 9:09:28
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    Carpet Beetlejuice!
    Carpet Beetlejuice!
    Carpet Beetlejuice!

    You are correct.

    Bird dreams are not admissible in court.
  8. Battle of the Bugs

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Thu Apr 13 2017 11:13:17
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    Yes! Yes! Yes! Thank you so much! ... Can you please explain how you can be so sure? Or can anyone else please weigh in?

    I don't think bed bugs have black colour but close up its body structure does have similarities to the bed bug.

    And Sherlock would say - just because you found a carpet beetle, it doesn't rule out that you could still have bed bugs.

    Damn you, Sherlock.

  9. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Thu Apr 13 2017 12:09:21
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    Hi,

    If you compare against this image below you will see the same features but different colouration:

    adult2 by David Cain, on Flickr

    It is thus likely to be a carpet beetle or close relative.

    Hope that helps.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

    If you have found this information helpful please consider leaving feedback on social media via google+ or FaceBook or by like/loving the images.

    In accordance with the AUP and FTC (legal requirements) I openly disclose my vested interest in Passive Monitors as the inventor and patent holder. Since 2009 they have become an integral part in how we resolve bed bug infestations. I also have a professional relationship with PackTite in that they distribute my product under their own branding. I do not however receive any financial remuneration for any comments I make about products.
  10. BigDummy

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Thu Apr 13 2017 13:40:19
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    Battle of the Bugs - 2 hours ago  » 
    Yes! Yes! Yes! Thank you so much! ... Can you please explain how you can be so sure?

    If you focus on just the antennae they can immediately rule out bed bugs. Look at the tips of those antennae, see how they have the appearance of a comb, almost feather-like? Bed bug antennae do not have this feature, the tips are narrow like the rest of the appendage. Hope that helps you to identify your next mystery critter.


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