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Eight years later: carpet beetles vs bed bugs

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  1. prayerfullybitten

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sun Aug 14 2016 17:43:54
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    Hi all. Some may remember me from nearly a decade ago when I was active on the boards, but long story short, living in New York in 2008 I eventually got vikane for bed bugs. Today, I live down south and while I travel almost weekly for work, I inspect every single hotel room and am one of the best bed bug searchers I know (and have found infestations in hotels). I'm also extremely allergic and usually react immediately to bites.

    Long story short, a few weeks ago I started getting bites, and I've lived in my new apartment maybe three months. I spring into action quickly and inspect: nothing. Frame, electrical sockets, nightstand, dresser, crevices - nada. Order new encasements (I stay with protect a bed still), packtite-d sheets after washing and drying (never got rid of the packtite) and dusted with diatomaceous earth. I think I'm in the clear, but five days later I motice new bites around noon after walking a block outside. Freak out, repeat inspection - nothing. I turn my back for a second and what do I see? A carpet beetle larvae crawling on the seam of the mattress. Hairy and all. Then I realize that the 'bites' I have been getting have actually all been covered areas of my skin while sleeping. Yes, the bug could have crawled up my pants leg and up my shirt, but I've gotten bites on covered legs, a covered stomach, a covered arm area and one on my face. And a finger too.

    Given that I've never been allergic to those before (and I actually did notice larvae a few weeks ago in a corner), is it safe to conclude this is the culprit? As much as I search beds and have lived with an infestation before, shouldn't I find it? Also, sheets are clean. No fecal, no blood, only me shedding false eyelashes at night

    Any thoughts?

  2. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sun Aug 14 2016 18:12:07
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    After three weeks of problems, visual signs may be light and hard to spot.

    I'd keep inspecting weekly.

    I'd use bed bug monitors (eg passive monitors in bed and sofa), just to reassure myself: http://bedbugger.com/useful-tools/#passives

    I'd make sure there were no birds or bats nesting (or recently having done so) in or on the home, since bat or bird bugs are very similar and may not leave the same signs in the same places as bed bugs.

    At that point you can't be sure it's carpet beetles. Trying to eliminate those may help confirm.

    Keep in mind other problems can cause similar symptoms (eg keratosis pilaris).

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  3. prayerfullybitten

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sun Aug 14 2016 18:20:54
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    Thanks @nobugsonme! It's been a long time! But shouldn't I find one bug in the frame? And to see absolutely no fecal or blood? I basically tore the bed apart? I also feel stupid because when I moved in, I found an old box of climb ups and threw them away. I haven't dealt with this problem in so long, and I've been so careful, but I should also realize that...it doesn't matter. Even if I've been careful these things still happen.

    I will have the building bring in an exterminator. I travel still a lot so it's hard for them to continue doing their thing if I'm not here on a consistent basis too.

  4. Calamity_Jane

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sun Aug 14 2016 18:36:15
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    I've dealt with carpet beetles twice and from what I know about them it's the hairs on their stages of larvae that cause the appearance of bites. They lose hairs when they shed and those irritate some people. In both places I've had them there was some previous water damage, although I'm not sure that is related. I hope for your sake that it is carpet beetles.

  5. theyareoutthere

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sun Aug 14 2016 20:08:59
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    And it's hard to know if climb ups mean bedbugs. A lot of people have them for monitoring only.

    Good luck!

    They
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  6. prayerfullybitten

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Mon Aug 15 2016 7:31:08
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    Hey guys - an update. The head of maintenance is sending over the bed bug dog today to check my apartment. I've had off and on experience with dogs in the past but know to ask for visual confirmation if they hit. I've had dogs hit before and be wrong. So, we'll see what happens. I admit, nothing beats real visual identification. There is no substitute.


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