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Women seem to have a greater reaction to bed bug bites than men...

(8 posts)
  1. Danno

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sat Oct 31 2009 13:14:46
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    We are a laundry service that launders bed bug infested laundry here in Toronto.

    Over the past two years we have noticed that when we speak with our clients about their particular situation an overwhelming number of women (when living with their male partner) report that they experience welting, redness and mild discomfort due to being bitten by bed bugs. Whereas their male counterparts overwhelmingly report little or none of the above mentioned symptoms.

    I have spoken to a medical professional about this and the only thing that he can think of is that perhaps, males may have a higher natural level of Histamine.

    Our operation services numerous clients every week and since we have focused in on this strange phenomenon we have compiled some very interesting numbers on this.

    In our experience, when couples (male and female) report a bed bug infestation in their home, 68% of the males do not report any noticeable indication of being bitten whereas their female partner does. Where both the male and female of the couple report being bitten, the number of females that report being bitten is just over 80%. with their male counterpart reporting about 20%. Out of this group, the 80% of females that reported bites, 60% of them also reported what they would describe as moderate to severe reactions (noticeably visible welts of reddish colour involving mild to moderate discomfort) whereas the male counterpart reported only mild discolouration with little or no discomfort/itchiness.

    There is something very interesting going on here and, not being scientists or doctors we're not sure what to make of it. Yet, it is a very real phenominon as we see it almost every day in our operation.

    As we know, one of the most troubling aspects of having a bed bug infestation is the result of being bitten - it contributes to the psychological effects of the infestation and causes actual physical discomfort to the 'victim'.

    If someone could study why the vast majority of men seem to have a lesser reaction to bed bug bites and identify what it is that reduces (in this group) the reaction to those bites, perhaps a product could be developed that would help everyone - especially those women that seem to suffer a magnified reaction to the bites.

    Comments from medical practitioners would be greatly appreciated.

  2. LVK9

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sat Oct 31 2009 13:40:54
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    Danno, during Pestworld this year I attended a class on bed bugs put on by Micheal Potter. He has done studies and showed the results on reactions to bed bug bites. What he found was that the reactions were the same from male to female and race made no difference. The only displayed difference in reactions was due to age, seniors were less reactive than the young or middle aged.

  3. bait

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sun Nov 1 2009 1:08:49
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    Danno, thanks for your interest in this subject. Your observation is probably correct, but expect it to be debated and debased.

    I believe that men are less likely to be bitten, not just non-reactive. As was stated recently by one of our resident PCOs, laboratory bed bugs behave differently than those in the field.

    Only female mosquitoes bite humans and carry the malaria parasite. It prefers to feed on women, notably pregnant women. These are facts.

    Now, I know the common bed bug is not an Anopheles mosquito. But there are some obvious similarities (human blood being the most obvious). I can only speculate why this parallel continues to be so readily dismissed.

    I put my money on your observations any day.

  4. bait

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Nov 2 2009 14:36:10
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    I bumped this up cuz another posting on this same topic was hi-jacked (by me and others) by a cute sidebar on baby's first words: bed bugs!

  5. watkinsnewan

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Nov 2 2009 15:00:28
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    that is adorable....
    Do you think it could have to do with the whole bleeding once a month thing in woman(BLOOD BB suck your blood)... I am not a professional BUT I think that is it....
    although the other responses make more sense and would be more reliable...

  6. meremortal

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Nov 2 2009 20:17:34
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    Which initially freaked me out on a whole other level! Had desperate thoughts about using double-sided tape for "extra protection", lol!

  7. watkinsnewan

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Nov 2 2009 23:49:16
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    double sided tape on what..... down there....LOLOLO I hope not...

  8. bait

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Tue Nov 3 2009 0:02:12
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    What we need is a field study on bed bugs, something akin to this...

    Short-range attractiveness of pregnant women to Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes
    Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Volume 96, Issue 2, March-April 2002, Pages 113-116
    J. Ansell, K. A. Hamilton, M. Pinder, G. E. L. Walraven, S. W. Lindsay

    Abstract
    Malaria is a major cause of illness and an indirect cause of mortality in pregnant women. It can also cause stillbirths and low-birthweight babies. We have shown previously that pregnant women attracted twice as many Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes, the principal African malaria vector, as their non-pregnant counterparts over distances of about 15 m. In the current study (in 1998/99) we compared the short-range attractiveness of both pregnant and non-pregnant women sleeping under untreated bednets in Gambian villages. First, we measured the rate of mosquito entry under bednets and, second, we calculated the proportion of mosquitoes biting mothers under each bednet compared to their children. The feeding preference of An. gambiae collected under nets was determined by DNA fingerprinting blood samples from human subjects sleeping under each bednet and comparing these to fingerprints obtained from mosquito bloodmeals. Pregnant women were more attractive to An. gambiae mosquitoes than non-pregnant women under an untreated bednet. The number of mosquitoes entering bednets each night was 1·7-4·5 times higher in the pregnant group (P = 0·02) and pregnant women also received a higher proportion of bites under the bednets than did non-pregnant women (70% vs 52%, P = 0·001). This study clearly demonstrates that pregnant women are more exposed to malaria parasites than other women, which contributes to the greater vulnerability of pregnant women to malaria.


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