Need feedback from people experienced with mite habits and appearance(13 posts)
Okay, since August 2011 I have been receiving bites from an unknown bug/source at my house. I found that I had a small flea infestation and got that handled. I also have done extensive bedroom and furniture searches for bedbug evidence, which should have been easily spotted by this time since the bedding is white and the bed itself is a light-colored oak bed. I've used passive monitors and a bed bug beacon for 3,4,5 weeks at a time to no avail both with people both present and gone during the holidays and have been cleared by a K9 inspection. I vacuum and steam and vacuum and steam some more, wash down my wooden furniture with Murphy's Oil Soap on a regular basis, dust the corners and under furniture with DE and yet still I continue to be bitten at night and sometimes during the day by something. No one else in the house is getting bitten or if they are they aren't reacting at all.
A week ago I found a tiny bug by chance that may be the source of the problem. It was a translucent yellow/gold in color, had an oval-shaped body, 8 legs--two sets at the very front of the body set close together and then two more sets at the very back--not really in the leg pattern of a spider but definitely 8 legs. I've since found more now that I know what I'm looking for and here's what I have discovered thus far:
a) They are tiny--the size of a pinhead or a speck of dust. So tiny it's very hard to see them even moving let alone present.
b) They are very easily crushed.
c) They seem to come out at night more than during the day.
d) They range in color from bright translucent yellow to darker gold with the very, very smallest sometimes being a cream color with red spots inside the body.
e) I've now found them in my bed, on the wall by my bed and even discovered some the other day in a bedroom wall socket when an electrician came to our house to investigate some faulty wiring.
f) What I'm finding doesn't really resemble anything I can find on the web--not bird mites, not bed bugs, not spiders or any other type of mite I can think of to look up.
g) Whatever has been biting me prefers my face and neck and chest--anywhere the skin is more delicate and thin. I rarely get bites on my arms or legs and then only where the skin is thinnest--i.e. my wrists or the thigh area even though I've taken to leaving these bare when I sleep in the hopes of inviting whatever is biting me to chew on those less sensitive areas.
h) Whatever bites me is less active if the humidity drops below 40 percent. Temperatures don't seem to make any difference although I live in Southern California, so it never really gets that cold here.
I've gone searching on the web to find anything I can about mites that bite humans. [Side note: do not suggest I go to birdmites.org. That website scared the crap out of me and gave me zero useful information.] I didn't find much and certainly very few pics or physical descriptions of various mites or even spiders that look like what I found. I tried to get a pic to post on here, but even with the camera on full zoom they just aren't visible as anything other than a faint yellow spot. They are that tiny.
So my question is has anyone out there experienced something similar and/or any PCOs reading this--does this sound like a particular pest that you've dealt with? Any ideas what I might be dealing with or sources on the Internet that would give me real information on mites would be very appreciated right now. And if anyone wants to PM me that's fine too.
Thanks in advance for any help/suggestions given.
An entomologist can ID this for you. You could probably pick some up with clear sticky packing tape.
Call your local university extension service (they often have an entomologist who can ID a sample) or an entomology dept.
A large and reputable pest control firm will generally have a consulting entomologist they can ask to ID an unusual sample.
Some experts do IDs of photos here but it does not sound like that is an option.I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
(I'm sure Ive heard your theme song by the Doors.)
If it's mites you actually need an acarologist and not an entomologist.
A few things:
> If there's eight legs it's an arachnid as insects have six legs.
> Some folks may mistake antennae for the 4th pair of legs.
> Remember, there are virtually NO ecto-parasites that bite us that we are unable to see with the unaided eye.
> Of the really small and "difficult to see" biting critters and critters to which biting may be attributed include: mites, bird mites, fowl mites, thrips, & chiggers.
> Those biting critters that are small but readily seen include: bed bugs, fleas, ticks, ants, spiders, mosquitoes, "no-see-ums" and a few others.
The description you provided above is not uncommon however, without the physical evidence of a creature/insect/arthropod that is in fact responsible for the bite incidence then there may not be, and probably isn't, any biting occurring.
Since you seem to be indicating mites, the most common biting mites we encounter enter people's dwellings due to a bird or other animal nest. However, bird mites are the most common occurrence.
Please check out some information in this regard as this may help you make a determiniation.
I'm truly sorry that you are enduring this perplexing problem ! ! !
Hope this helps ! 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.
P Bello - 2 hours ago »
If it's mites you actually need an acarologist and not an entomologist.
I know you're trying to help.
It is my understanding that well-trained entomologists can identify mites.
If the information I have given the original poster about how to get someone to ID the problem
is incorrect, then would you please clarify where my suggestions were wrong?
Simply telling a distraught person to ask an acarologist kind of raises
more questions than it answers. Thanks!
Yes, some entomologists and experienced pest management professionals may be able to properly ID a mite infestation (those who actually study mites are acharologists).
In any case, above are listed the most common situations that a person may encounter with mites and other small biting arthropods.
It is necessary to capture the pest in question and have it correctly identified.
Hope this helps ! paul b.
Never a problem !
WARNING: DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU !
I'm sharing this story for the benefit of others and I hope it helps at least one person ! ! !
Last evening I spent about an hour on the phone speaking with a person located in a city where BB activity is well known. This situation started just about 18 months ago now, began with bites and "progressed" from there.
In recounting the story here's some of the highlights for your review:
> Bites first occurred as a result of a business trip and bugs were seen on the sheets of a hotel bed.
> Two "typical bites" resulted from this initial encounter.
> A canine was called in to confirm the existence of a problem.
> A pest professional was called in to provide bed bug treatment within the first two weeks and a freezing type application was conducted to remediate the bed bug situation.
> Bites subsided for about two weeks but then recurred.
> The pro came back to conduct a retreatment and bites subsided once more.
> Various trapping devices were placed to monitor the infestation.
> Bites recurred resulting in a number of retreatments.
> Due to lack of confidence, another pro was called and has been servicing the home for over one year now.
> Bites have occurred at work and the person has taken to self application of various products both at home and the work place.
> Along the way various items were discarded/removed from the home including: carpet, couch, ez chair, mattress, box spring, clothing and other items.
> Bites continue to occur.
> The technician and company servicing the home "are very nice and appear to be competent."
> Along with the recurring bites, health concerns due related to the constant application of pesticides both home and at work have arisen.
(Insert phone call to "yours truly" here.)
In our telcon last evening the entire situation from the beginning until now was discussed along with related topicality and, of course, a few questions arose. As a result of this conversation, the following tidbits of information were learned:
> The bugs found at the hotel were described durng the telcon. Suitable quality photos bed bug were used for confirmation purposes online during the telcon.
> The victim was unable to confirm that the bugs in question were actually bed bugs. In fact, using alternative photos it was determined that the "bugs in question" were not bed bugs. (ALWAYS take a good photo or retain a speciman if possible.)
> Despite the canine inspection, the presence of live bed bugs in the home was not visually confirmed yet the pest professional chose to treat the home at the urging of the homeowner. (Let's not let the tail wag the dog. No bugs = no treatment.)
> At no time were any biting pests captured or observed within this home.
> It was apparent that a great deal of property, posessions, expense and aggravation had been expended unnecessarily through yesterday !
Key Learning Points:
Absent physical evidence it is unlikely that there is a biting arthropod present.
Note that there are no ecto-parasites that bite people that cannot be seen by the unaided human eye!
No bugs present = no pesticides applied !
No bugs present = further investigation as to what is causing the biting symptoms !
No bugs present = continued investigation and possible consultation with a dermotologist, environmental health professional, cleaning professional or restoration professional.
Bite symptoms may have many causes that are NOT insect/arthropod/pest related.
In my years of experience my observation is that the most difficult place to remove/remediate a pest is from between the victim's ears.
While we may not be able to cure 100% of the people 100% of the time, perhaps we are best served through increased efforts to educate of those concerned. Yes, this may be a difficult and daunting task at times but the biological truth is the truth. The simple fact is that there are no mystery bugs out there biting folks.
DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU ! ! !
Hope this helps ! paul b.
Thank you P Bello and Nobugsonme, you both gave me very excellent suggestions. I now know that my main work will be in a) obtaining a clear enough specimen for ID purposes and then b) finding someone knowledgeable enough to ID the specimen whether it's an entomologist or an acarologist--both excellent suggestions. I had never heard of an acarologist, but once I looked that up online (someone who studies mites and ticks BTW) I was able to find alot more information about mites in general, so thanks to P Bello for that one.
Current suspicion is that what I'm dealing with is some sort of rat/mouse mite since I know we have those under our house as well as a past gopher infestation that I'm not sure is really fully gone. Even so until I get a known biting insect IDed I'm holding off on anything other than continued vacuuming and steaming although the walls and ceiling have been added to that cleaning regimen. I guess I'll just have to look at that as my exercise regimen.
As to bed bugs well after 7 months I should be able to find more evidence than an occasional blood spot on my all white bedding. In fact, I would not even count them in the running at all if I hadn't had two different known exposures to bed bugs around the same time I started getting bit. So they aren't totally out of the running in my books yet since there are several pieces of furniture in my small bedroom that may indeed harbor them, particularly if they realized early on that I would keep examining the bed ad nauseum.
And thank you P Bello for your cautionary tale about needless treatments. In the beginning of all this I nearly fell prey to two different unethical PCOs who were going to treat based on what I said and no real, solid evidence. Thank heavens for this forum, which made me realize no one is spraying anything until I have an actual biting insect whose behavior corresponds with what I'm experiencing. And there are a limited number of those thank heavens. I totally agree it won't be some weird, mysterious invisible all powerful insect--just a really annoying pest that makes me itch like mad once a week and have to slap concealer on my face once in a while. Sigh.
Paul, I have heard cases like this before. Thanks for sharing the story.
And remember, the professional doesn't have to be unscrupulous for these sorts of situations to occur !
It could also happen where inexperience, ego and/or incompetence prevails as well.
Have agreat day ! paul b.
I'm sorry you're going through such a drawn-out and frustrating mystery. You seem very smart, rational, and persistent, and I'm confident you're going to identify and treat the offending critters. Please keep us posted on what you find as your story will no doubt benfit someone else down the line.
I'm going to subscribe to this thread and will send good thoughts to you on your magical mystery (bite) tour. ; ]
Thanks for the kind words of encouragement mindoverbbs, hugs back to you too. Love the phrase magical mystery (bite) tour. Interesting note--I asked the gardeners yesterday to hose down the walls and lawns around our house--no bites last night. I think I'll take a little trip outside tomorrow with a tape and magnifying glass since that sort of points to something coming in from outside that maybe got temporarily washed away in the resulting flood. A sight that will no doubt amuse the neighbors who already think I'm a nutter having witnessed my shrieky dance on more than once occasion after I unwittingly walked into a spider web built across the entrance to my front door.
Sigh, maybe I'm just the victim of a carefully staged psychological war by the bugs to get me out of the place.
Based on the outside wall washing, giving you relief, I would look at having your yard sprayed and windows sprayed with windex or orange/citrus solution.
I am battling something like what you have as well and it is driving me nuts.
BTW do you have a video of this "Shrieky Dance"? or can a man do it as well? Might just bring me some relief!
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