Seeing bites but no evidence of bugs(33 posts)
I don't know if anyone is checking this site anymore. But my family has recently starting being bitten by "something". We have checked all the wall socket, picture (even taking the baking off) and the regeister vents. I have complete disassembled my bed and have seen absolutely NO evidence that there are bedbugs in my home. However, after searching the web and seeing some photos of others that have been bitten by bed bugs, I am convinced that the bites we currently have resemble the photos I've seen. I have, today, completely sealed the floors at the baseboards with Borax and Thyme. I have cleaned the dressers for the clothes to be laundered, and have used the Borax in the dresser drawers as well. I will eventually repeat this process throughout my entire house. I also isolated my bed, put the mattress covers on and have used the tea tree oil spray in between the mattress and box spring. I also use the bowls at under the casters. I am seriously praying that my house does not have these little monsters, but am nearly confinced that they may very well have taken up residence here. We bought this house nearly two years ago and have just now started to be bitten. Any other suggestions would be most appreciated! Please email at [click "PM this user" to send email.]
No one checking the site?
We're pretty active around here.
Anyway, sorry you're having trouble. You need to read the FAQs especially "What are bed bugs?" which goes into detail about some other possible causes of similar marks.
You should also consider whether you've seen any bed bug feces. Although most photos online are of the fecal stains on mattresses (which may look like black marker ink), you also might see fecal specks, which are small specks that may look like little flecks of dark black pepper. They may be anything from mushy to solid (more common I think). They're small. But in my experience, people who have bed bugs often don't see bed bugs, but they do see something--they usually see fecal specks.
The exception if if you just got bed bugs (and I don't know when this started for you), there may be few specks. But they eat, then poop, so you generally would see some of this on bed sheets, pillows, or anywhere else you may be being bitten (like a sofa).
If bites continue but you can see no fecal spots or specks, then you may have another problem like scabies, folliculitis, or even bird mites (which are much smaller than bed bugs, but can cause similar sumptoms. They need different treatment. Entomologist Lou Sorkin suggests using tape applied to window sills, to try and get a sample.)
As much as you want the bites to stop now, it is really important to find out what is causing this and not rush into treatment. A Pest Control professional may be able to see signs where you can't, and many offer free bed bug inspections. But try and find some fecal spots. Keep them, since they may be your only evidence.
And have a doctor rule out scabies and folliculitis. Scabies spreads easily among families, and folliculitis can be caught from water. (One woman wrote to me to say she battled bed bugs for months based on advice bed bug sufferers on the yahoo group gave her; it turned out she had folliculitis.) It can seem really similar.
Did anyone in your home go on vacation, to camp, to visit anyone recently? Did you host visitors? Is someone there a traveler for work?
Finally, if you do have bed bugs, borax and thyme are not going to cut it. You may not want to spend money on professional treatment, but having your bed bugs get worse is much more expensive. The good news, is a single-family home is usually pretty straightforward treatment and should not be too expensive or take too many visits.
Our other FAQs should also help. FOOD grade diatomaceous earth is one substance you might want to use instead of borax, but do look into the FAQ on it, and do consider hiring a PCO to deal with this if indeed you have bed bugs.
I didn't mean to imply that this site is not active. It is actually the most up to date site that I have visited so far. I really appreciate your feedback and have been in contact with Lou. The problem I'm having right now is that I don't see ANY evidence of bed bugs at all. I've torn my bed apart looking for signs. I toke picturs off the wall and have taken the backing out of them also, as well taking off all the wall outlet plates, and have found absolutely nothing that gives me reason to believe we have these critters. Except for the bites, which started with me. Three days later my daughter had them as well as my husband, who generally sleeps in the downstairs bedroom. This freaks me out even more, thinking that they have traveled that far for him when they have the two of us up here to dine on. The thing that is throwing me the most is that typically bed bugs will feed on exposed skin such as arms, neck, face and possibly legs. Our bites are pretty much confined to our torso area. Which may explain some other cause, as you mentioned. I was in the hospital in late May, which really grosses me out thinking I could have brought them from there as I am currently a nursing student. I have also had my niece here for visit recently, but was experiencing the bites before here arrival. The bites began to appear about 4-5 weeks ago, maybe less. But since it appears that we are waking up with them, my logic tells me that they are bed bug bites. My husband removed a nest from the eavespout in the garage in the past month, which correlates with the timing of the bites. So now, not only am I sick to my stomach (liteally vomiting over this) but I'm also confused and frustrated about what is going on in my home. We captured a very small dark bug from the bedroom ceiling last night and upon inspection (and reference to photos on web) realized that it had an elongated winged body about 1/16", which confuses me even further. He is currently in a ziploc back in the deep freeze. I will be taking my daughter to the doctor on Monday and calling a PCO as well. I constantly feel like there is someting crawling on me now. Although, on a lighter side, my daugher slept in my bed with me last night and neither of us woke up with bites. This after I isolated my bed (washing and drying all bedding) and applying zipped mattress covers after steaming. I realize that knowing is 1/2 the battle here and hopefully we will have confirmation soon, which I hope will relieve my physiological response to this dreaful situation. I SO appreciate your response!! I spent hours yesterday reading all the FAQS on this and other sites. I feel I'm pretty knowledgable about these critters at this point, just unsure of whether this is our actual problem or something else that you mentioned. Can the scabies or foliculitis come from a public swimming pool? We are not travelers and rarely have houseguests. We also have no pets. So I'm concerned that perhaps my daughter and husband got them from the public pool, yet I was the first to present the bites. Hence, further confusion. I apologize for the length of this post, but am thrilled to have an outlet in which to present my situation and receive feedback. Thank you so much for your response. I look forward to hearing for you and others in the future. (email removed, click below to PM.)
Scabies comes from contact with skin (or towels or sheets or clothing--even, I suppose, a shared t-shirt or trying on something in a store?)
The removal of the bird's nest suggests it may be bird bugs which are almost identical. Seeing a winged bug in your room does not mean you do not have bed bugs (bird bugs, etc.)
Also that bed bugs bite only exposed skin is not true. Even if your face is exposed it is not unusual to be bitten under clothing. They crawl right under clothes.
hope that helps.
Also, I am deleting your email address. Anyone who wants to can "private message" you without it, by clicking "PM this user" under your post. I think it's safer than putting up your email.
so are bird bugs worse? better? the same? Are they treated the same? Are they easier to get rid or the same? Does scabies bring with it the same intense itching as the bug bites? These are a lot of questions. I hope you or someone here can answer them. Also where do I find the FAQs about getting a knowledgable PCO?
ok found the FAQs on the PCO. Skip that last question...sorry.
We were all checked today by our family physician to rule out scabies and folliculitis. My husband has ~15 bites that he says don't it. My daughter has 5-6 and I have 8-10 and we have both been scratching the intense itching they produce. We had a "dove" roosting in the drain spout outside our garage about a month ago and left it be until she was done, then removed the nest. We have a single family dwelling with attached garage. Well, of course, I was completely unaware that birds carried "bat bugs" which I understand are the same as bed bugs with hair being the only difference (this info. coming from our PCO). Our PCO was here today and took with him 3 different (dead) bugs for observation under the microscope. He also told us that, if he treated our house, he would be using dry Delta Dust, Onslaught, ULSBP50 (a pyrethrin-like substance as bed bugs are becoming resistant to pyrethrin), and Ultraside. Is this the appropriate chemicals to use? He will be spraying the mattresses and all furnishings. Are bat bugs and bed bugs treated the same? So far we have isolated our beds AFTER steaming the mattress and box springs, covered them in protective covers, and laundered all bedding (several times) in very hot water and then dried on high. I have had no new bites in two nites. My daughter was in her room playing today and has a new one on her calf (she's been sleeping with me). My husband has no new bites. The PCO suggested 6 visits and spraying the entire house, which my husband and I agreed to verbally...nothing in writing yet. This PCO was here last year to get rid of a flea problem. We trust him. And he was just in Chicago last week for a seminar on bed bugs because they are becoming so prevelent again. I have also sent an email to Lou Sorkin on this matter and will be posting the results of his reply when it comes in. Anyone else have any thought?
Bed bugs are very similar to BIRD BUGS and BAT BUGS. I would not say birds carried bat bugs, but the effect is similar--they are more or less the same animal, so the treatment is the same. (Note, there are also bird MITES which are a totally different species and require different treatment. It does not sound like you have bird mites, but your PCO would know.)
You did not say if the PCO identified the bug samples.
Anyway, the PCO should probably treat the mattress before you re-seal it in a new cover.
If you have questions about the chemicals he plans to use, leave a message on thebedbugresource.com. That site is run by PCOs and they will know more. Though some of them read and comment here sometimes, most here are not qualified to comment on the use of pesticides. (We often know what's bad, but we don't know everything.)
Thank you so much for the new source of information!! We have a significant amount of birds, squirrels, and rabbits in our yard/neighbood so bird mites can't be ruled out. The PCO took the bugs with him, and won't have time to check then right away due to staffing issues (paternity leave). So we won't know for a least two more days. Although my daughter and I are now 3 night with no new bites. I know...that doesn't mean anything. But at least I'm not itching new ones right now. We probably fed the little buggers for the week already. My husband doesn't appear to have any new ones either...maybe just one that he started scratching...not positive on that either. I hate all this uncertainty! Thanks for your reply. You're awesome!
OK, I was at an infestation a few months ago that turned out to be bird mites. I had the camera with me and took a few nice pictures. As there is some interest I have put up a quick page illustrating them and a few pointers on identifying bird mites.
Oddly enough until this year I had only seen one case in 4 years and now I get 6 this year so far. The trick is to identify the birds nesting area, have that cleared and then treated. Barrier tapes tend not to work as well because they almost always approach from the ceiling.
The web address is:
Hope it helps a little I will get more info on this and another growing biting pest problem carpet beetles when i have a little more time.
nobugsonme and bed-bugscouk,
thanks you two. I did contact Dr. Potter about the chemicals the PCO was tallking about using. This is what he said:
"The products listed by your PCO are all used in different areas:
a) Delta Dust is used in places where liquids can not be applied
(electrical outlets) and sometimes under baseboards where it can remain
b) Onslaught is a liquid residual pesticide that can be applied to most
surfaces (bed frame, dressers, etc.).
c) ULDBP50 is a space spray (aerosolized liquid) that can be used in box
springs and other large volume spaces that are otherwise difficult to treat
with a liquid.
d) Ultracide is an insect growth regulator but is NOT registered for bed
bugs and should NOT be used to treat for them. There are other IGRs that
are registered for bed bug use and your PCO should use those instead.
If these products are applied according to the label then they are safe.
Since each is used in a different manner and in different areas it is not as
though your PCO is lathering on the pesticides.
It does concern me that your PCO has used the term "mixing it up" as this
implies that he/she would be doing something illegal.
Controlling bed bugs does not largely depend on the chemical used (in fact
most are derived from the same active ingredients), but rather how and where
it is applied."
I'm heading to the bird mite website right now to check this possiblity out as well. Because we have no evidence of bed bugs doesn't mean we don't have them. But I would certainly like to know what's got me so dang itchy and whether we should be treating for bed bugs at all. Thanks so much for the help guys...this forum is awesome!!
My bad...it was Sean Rollo that I contacted from the bed bug resource website. Sorry.
Please do post on carpet beetles. I had a BB "expert" here a few weeks ago who identified the bugs I see a lot as carpet beetles. I Googled them, but see there are a lot of species. Is this the case? I find them a lot on my window screen, and was told they seek light.
Well I have good news and bad. When we were first getting bites, I got on the web and started searching for answers. I thought they were fleas. Last year we had an indoor cat that we didn't treat with Frontline because she never went outside (wouldn't go out if ya held the door open for her). Well, long story short we ended up with fleas that we apparently carried back in. When the bites first started, I was waking up with them. I thought that mosquitos were getting in and biting me at night. Well, a week or so later I was getting bit everywhere. Lots of bites on my legs. For those who don't know much about fleas, they can jump up to 7" and as far as 13". So it makes sense that my legs were getting bit up. That's when we called in the pros. He isolated one from my husbands leg, identified it, sprayed, and we were fine. Crisis resolved. Well...a couple of weeks ago I started waking up with bites again. They were on my torso (armpits, sides, tummy, back). So far I have no bites on my legs. ALTHOUGH, I didn't start getting bites on my legs the 1st time until a week or two later either. I visited two of my sisters on the same day about a month ago and had two bites on the inside of my ankle when I got home. One sister has a dog, one sister has a cat. One treats her dog, the other doesn't treat at all. So I didn't have any bites for about two weeks, then the bites on my torso, same as last year. Well, I got on this forum and gobbled up info and ended up encassing my mattress and mattress topper (separately) but didn't encass the box springs. More bites followed... a few. Then we encassed the box spring...the bites stopped. Tonight we stripped the bed to launder the sheets (yes...again!) and saw tons of little tiny bugs under the encassment. Not hundreds!! but a lot. They are not moving. I repeat...they are not moving. We did not see any under the encassment of the mattress and box springs, although there is no way we are going to open them to see if they are there. They are ALL about 2mm long and dark. This is a little encouraging for me because they are the size of...you guessed it!...fleas. I saw one on the encassment, and it "appeared" to be jumping up and down. I think we got it in the ziplock back but there were two bugs in there and they are different. So the PCO will have to ID them. When we inspected the bed for bed bugs there was zero evidence that we had them....further leading me to believe they are fleas. My point is...those of you just coming to this site...DON'T PANIC. I have been sick (throwing up) for days now thinking we have bed bugs. I may be wrong...I pray. Get your PCO in the house ASAP and get the little critters ID'd. It may not be as bad as you think. Although I have yet to confirm my suspicions, I'm am relieved (just a bit) that they may just be fleas. My daughter and I react to them...my husband does not. The same thing that is happening now. So folks...wish me luck as I wish all of you. I will post again when I am positive. Here's hoping it's good news!
I was confused by your photo --the frame is entitled "bird mites," but the caption says "This page is under development and will help people identify bird bugs":
That was probably just an error in your writing, but it might confuse others.
My understanding from entomologist Lou Sorkin is that bird MITES are very different to bed bugs, whereas bird BUGS (aka swallow bugs) and bat bugs are very closely related to bed bugs. Bird bugs and bed bugs are true bugs, whereas bird mites are mites.
As per this fact sheet, bird bugs (aka Swallow bugs) and bat bugs look very similar to bed bugs:
This family tree of swallow (bird) bugs, bat bugs, and bed bugs (all family cimicidae):
Here's a photo comparing bed bug and swallow bug:
See also this on bat bugs: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/insect/05574.html
But bird mites are very different. See:
I am just wondering if the bug samples your PCO took away were identified. I don't understand why he could not identify them at least being in the bed bug / bird bug /bat bug family if that's what they were.
It does sound like you might have fleas instead, though i suppose it's possible that it's bird mites, or even one of the bat/bird/bed bugs. Getting an ID will help. It's good you're getting treatment, but they will need to target the correct pest (or heaven forbid, pests!)
Sorry typo on the first line because the page was written at 1:30 am to get the images out there, mainly because I have not found such a good picture on the web without them being in a lab.
I will do something on carpet beetles but it is not likely to be extensive because time is limited and I don't see that many cases where people have issues with them. In the cases that I do the occupants tends to be more highly strung and may in fact react to the presence of insects rather than bites.
Sample identification can also take some time, if I send them away it can take 2-3 weeks to have them identified.
Night #4 of no bites. Not sure what the critters are under the matress encassment, but they aren't moving and they aren't biting me (or my daughter).
Thanks David--the bird mite images are much better than those on the fact sheets. I will link to them from the blog since this is a common question. I'll wait until the typo's fixed though, to avoid confusion.
I just got an email from Sean Rollo. He and I have been doing a questions/answer thing via email to try and rule out bed bugs. However, he suspects that the tiny dark "spots" inside the mattress encasement may be bed bugs. Holy crap!! We have been bite-free for 5 nights. Anyone have any suggestions on how we obtain a sample from the encasement. I dare not open it inside the house. I'd rather never open it again, but my curiosity is getting high, and I suspect the PCO will want a sample. HELP!
Do you really need to open it up yourself? Could you show the PCO when he/she comes and let him/her get a sample out? Then, if the PCO is there they would be ready to douse any with chemicals. I too would be afraid to open it up and moving it outside to open would only serve to spread anything around.
after feeds they dont have to feed for quite a long time so hence, maybe no new bites. also i dont theink the bb crawled down to hubbie. there are some probably down there already.
I would be someone who would appreciate you sharing your carpet beetle knowledge with us.
FYI. My wife was bitten so badly on her ankles that her ankle swelled and she found it painful to walk. This happened twice right before we discovered a bug greeting us in the morning on our sheet.
I will do carpet beetles as and when I have time. Sorry but work is work and they just put the mortgage rate up and I now need a small warehouse for development it does not pay the bills.
There is also the fact that the main identifiable sign of carpet beetles is the larval cases which are a banded thin skin. I really don't know enough about the biology to talk at length but I will be frank and say I tend to get a high correlation between higher states of anxiety and bite like responses to carpet beetles (and that is a well thought out phrase).
Good quality pictures are hard to take at the best of times but I will see what I can do but bear with us the media has started to realise its an ongoing issue now in the UK and it is meaning extra phone calls to handle.
This is the worst about so far for me, besides not knowing what they are, is the thought of opening that cover up. I duct taped the zipper and do not want to open that for fear of dislodging any eggs that might be there. But the PCO said he would have contact killer on hand to puff in the opening we make. Then we can get our sample, tape up the opening, and re-cover it with a 2nd encasement. My greatest hope is that if we have trapped bbs in there, that the adults are in there too. He did ID a fowl tick in the sample we gave him. They have the same feeding habits as a bb.
Hubby used to lay in the bed upstairs to watch TV at night. He has staying off the bed, period, and has been sleeping downstairs for the past 5 nights in a waterbed with no new bites. Don't know if that means anything... but here's hoping.
well....we were 6 night with no bites and this moring my daughter has one on the back of her calf. I don't have any, and we slept in the same bed. It'a low enough on her calf that if could very well be a fleas bite (God forbid we have those too). The PCO did isolate and identify a fowl tick among the samples we provided (came from window in bedroom). They feed exactly like a bed bugs. And given the amount of birds on our property (and the nest hubby removed), that doesn't surprise me. The PCO is coming next week to spray for the fowl ticks inside and outside the home. I sincerely hope that is all he needs to spray for. He "feels in his heart that we do not have bed bugs" but we won't know for sure until after he's sprayed for the fowl ticks and we keep getting bites. Then we have to do a full on inspection. So I still have no certainty that I am bed bug free at this point. Ugh!!
OK, I was out on a job yesterday and managed to get some good pictures of carpet beetle larvae. They are the most common life stage to see in a property.
The page is a work in progress like the bird mites section and will not be linked to the main part of the site until we do the next over haul in a few months time. I am hoping to transform the site into a guide for detection and identification so that our treatment protocols sit in the middle of the site based documentation.
Yuck. My "carpet beetles" do NOT look like that. Are there many breeds? I call them that because the girl from a pest company who came to inspect me for BBs referred to the bugs I have in plain sight as that. I feel like I am a living entomology experiment with all the bugs that I see.
Confused, as this is the first I hear of carpet beetles biting humans. Is this accurate? I understand how they creep people out and confuse efforts to identify bedbugs, but do they bite? This is never stated in any articles about them.
your carpet beetles probably were not larvae.
who says they bite?
Just uploaded a link to a wiki article that I just found as well. There are 700 species of carpet beetles from what it says. I dare say they are vary in appearance but these are the only ones I have found when doing bed bug work. If you would care to share some pictures they might help others to id them as well.
With regards carpet beetles biting I have not said that they do, please read the page again and think about what it says. If you don't think its clear enough please PM me and I will work on the text as and when I have time. But like others you PM asking for urgent help and don't read the message for weeks don't be surprised if the next person gets a slow response.
David, why are you so upset?
Here is a direct quote from your message upthread:
"Hope it helps a little I will get more info on this and another growing biting pest problem carpet beetles when i have a little more time."
What part of that did I fail to understand or read very clearly? Are you saying I'm too dumb to understand you? And when have I ever written to you urgently asking for help? LOL!
Relax, David, it's only Wednesday.
I do have some fuzzy looking bug that looks similar to the larvae, but I doubt that thing could turn into a carpet beetle- it's too long. (I'm NOT saying they're biting me. I just say that they're around, and have been for a while.) I sent a few pics to Lou for identification a couple weeks ago, and then again last night, but haven't heard back from him yet. My LL is calling an exterminator for me, so I want to let the guy (or woman!) know what I've seen. Still no BB sightings or real evidence after 4 months, though I still get itchy bumps.
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