Got Bed Bugs? Bedbugger Forums » Tales of Bed Bug Woe

Just not sure.... Mysterious bites!! Please HELP!!!!!

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  1. cstorm1227

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Mon Jan 16 2012 4:53:06
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    Hey all, new here, and new to BUGS in general!!! So here is what I have going on.... on December 11th my 7 year old son had a sleepover for his bday, 6 children came with their sleeping bags, in the living room I laid a large blanket down, and all the children laid in their sleeping bags over the blanket. I did bring out some of my sons pillows for those that needed them. The next day when everyone left I folded up all blankets that were ours and stored them on my sons bed. We were getting ready to move to a new location about 2 weeks later, now my sons still has a hard time sleeping in his bed, so for the next 2 weeks before the moved he slept in my bed, and never went back to his bed. So his linens and anything that was used from the party just stayed on his bed in his room, untouched until a day or 2 before the move day on the 23rd of December. Now at the new location, once everything was in and settled he has been back in his room, of course I lay with his until he is asleep, but he is sleeping in there. A couple days in at our new place, I started to notice, what looked like misquitoe bites on my sons legs, a few clusters on his back, and a cluster of bites on his lower neck. I too then started to notice my own bites, mainly on my legs, more so close to the ankles. They itch like crazy. However my husband has had no bites amazingly, but he has not been in my sons bed with him, and yet I have!? As it continued, everyday there seemed to be a new bite, I started to get concerned and started researching, thought maybe fleas, but doesnt seem to fit the profile. I have NEVER seen any bug, and everyone says that fleas jump and are very noticable!
    Anyway, I immediately call the exterminator to set up treatment, and in the mean time I took my son to our family doctor. I thought that he would be able to identify the bites, but was disappointed to find out that he could not, he did however rule out scabies or spiders. So I then looked to the exterminator with all hope that he would know right away what it was and how to get rid of whatever it is. My son has a bunk bed, so I went out and bought to plastic zippered mattress protectors, and stripped both beds of all linen. Washed all bedding in hot water and got our first treatment from the exterminator. While he was here, he saw no signs of anything really, but we did discuss and both seem to be leaning toward BB, for whatever reason!!?? But again, he did not see any evidence of BBs but treated for them as well as fleas, dust mites and all kinds of other vermin!! I waited a few hours put on the mattress protectors and clean linen. We went about a week after that visit with NO BITES!!! : ) And then, all of a sudden, at least 12 new bites appeared up and down my sons back!! : ( Called the exterminator immediately, he came that day while my son was at school, investigated again, saw absolutely nothing again, but yet treated again even though!! We are now 2 days out for the second treatment, and I am losing my mind, and all the research is not helping, it is very discouraging!!! We are at least 3 weeks to a month in and I have seen NOTHING, I see little specks here and there, but does not at all resemble any of the pics I have seen, just looks like a speck of pepper or maybe fuzz, but nothing. Oh BTW, we have all hardwood floors here, no animals, and painted every room before we moved in??? Please anyone with any advise or just encouraging words, I hate to watch my baby suffer!! Oh yea, another FYI, one of the boys that stayed the night, his father is a truck driver, heard somewhere that is relevant???? Please help!!! Could this even be Bed Bugs if even the exterminator isn't seeing signs????????

  2. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Mon Jan 16 2012 10:57:45
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    What your son's friends' parents do has no bearing on whether or not any of your son's friends may have had bed bugs. Bed bugs are a pest of exposure, meaning that if you're exposed, you may get an infestation.

    No one--not even very experienced dermatologists can diagnose bed bugs from looking at bites. The best even a very experienced dermatologist could do was tell you either what category of bug bit your son and/or rule out scabies (which is one of the only pests that we have a test that can identify that particular species of bug.)

    It's also important to understand that bed bug bites can take many many days after being bitten to show up on someone's skin. The figure I seem to recall is that it can easily take 9 days after being bitten before the bites show up. Even if your son's bites are bed bug bites, it doesn't mean he is being bitten at home. Ditto for yours.

    If you haven't already read the FAQs for the site, especially the first three that everyone should read, I would start there.

    Secondly, I would educate yourself about how to inspect for bugs if you don't already know. I know you've had a PCO in, but how experienced is that PCO in dealing with bed bugs? Bed bugs are a bit different from other pests, and success in the war against bed bugs depends, in part, on choosing a PCO who knows bed bugs.

    Third, I would look to see what other pests that are commonly confused for bed bugs that might be an issue. I agree that from your description, fleas are not the first pest to spring to mind; nevertheless, they should still be ruled out. (Yes, you can get fleas even if you don't have pets. This is especially true if you're in a residence that was previously occupied by someone with pets.) Plug in flea traps are inexpensive and can be helpful in ruling out or helping to discover whether fleas are your problem or part of your problem.

    I would also rule out carpet beetles, which do not bite. However, their larvae have hairs that cause bite like responses in some people. (And yes, carpet beetles are also badly named. You can get carpet beetles without having carpet.)

    Fourth, once you've really educated yourself about inspection for bed bugs, for the next 4 to 6 weeks, I would do a monthly inspection of your home. Passive monitors--like the BB Alert Passives--could help. Please note: you cannot use climb ups and BB Alert passives at the same time, and active monitors are unlikely to be helpful in your situation.

    One of the most frustrating aspects of bed bugs is that it's largely a waiting game. If you have a very early infestation, and you don't have a PCO who specializes in bed bugs, you may not see signs of bed bugs right away, and you may be in the dark for a bit before you get to the bottom of the problem. Of course, the increased awareness about bed bugs is a bit of a mixed blessing. More people know about them, but more people also seems to experience false alarms of thinking other pests are bed bugs when they aren't.

    I hate to say it, but I'm skeptical about the quality of your PCO. Today, most PCOs use integrated pest management. That is to say, they use chemicals and dusts and other tools that are aimed at a specific pest. I don't think there's one treatment that a PCO could use that would work effectively on dust mites (Which PCOs, frankly, can't do much about), bed bugs, fleas, and "other vermin."

    If you really want to get to the bottom of your mystery, if I were you, I would look for another PCO in the area who has a lot of expertise with bed bugs. That would be your best bet for figuring out exactly what is going on. Even if you've educated yourself about exactly how to inspect (if you don't already know. I don't want to presume, but my guess based on what you've said here is that, for example, you might not have taken the plates off any electrical outlets near the bed and looked in there. If you haven't, that may be an indicator that you aren't yet as efficient and thorough at inspection as you could be. Normally, I wouldn't advocate that, but since you're just moved into a new place, that's more important than it might otherwise be.), a PCO with a lot of bed bug experience is always going to be better at inspection than an amateur simply because they'll have a much larger sample set from experience of different infestations in different places and so will be better at guessing where the bugs are most likely to be.

    Specks of pepper sounds a lot more like fleas to me than like bed bugs. Bed bug fecal matter does not brush off. On porous surfaces, it seeps in (as if someone left an uncapped permanent marker with its tip touching the fabric, and the ink bled into the weave of it). Bed bug fecal matter on fabric, for example, will not come out in the wash. On non porous surfaces, bed bug fecal matter looks a lot like a matte black version of candy dots. Those seemed pretty stuck in place in the examples I saw. (I'm not a professional, just an amateur who's been on the boards for a while. I've looked at a lot of photos of infestations, and I recall what they looked like in my infestation. However, what I'm summarizing here is what I understand the professionals to have said and what I saw in my infestation.)

    Hope that helps. Take a deep breath and remember that as frustrating as this is, bed bugs don't spread disease. I know it's crazy-making to have some sort of pest invade your home, but do remember that you're trying to get to the root of the problem because you care about your son and yourself, so you're already being a good parent. Unfortunately, tracking down the specific pest and treating it can take some time, but the sooner you get an accurate read of what pest or pests you're dealing with, the sooner you can start targeted treatment that can rid you of the problem.

  3. DustinBBKiller

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Mon Jan 16 2012 11:18:16
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    Just curious...

    You say you moved into a new home recently. Was this property new construction? Foreclosure? Condo/Townhouse? It is possible you moved into an already infested structure.

    Do what buggyinsocal says, though.

  4. P Bello

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Mon Jan 16 2012 13:00:58
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    Dear cstorm,

    I'm sorry you're going through this and can understand your concerns.

    Comments/considerations:

    > Not to discount what others have posted but; YES, what folks do for a living is a relevant consideration when it comes to BBs. As an example, I've dealt with more than one BB situation where the husband was an "over the road" truck driver and am in the midst of advising on a broad scale BB problem which concerns such "over the road/sleeper" type trucks.

    > Medical doctors may not be trained in medical entomology and, as such, may not be experienced with BBs or other such bites.

    > While it does sound as if there may be BBs, this cannot be confirmed without the presence of physical evidence of BBs or the pest in question if there actually is one. Please note that there are NO ecto-parasites that can not be seen with the unaided eye. That is, you should be able to find a pest or evidence of a pest.

    > Look to the resources pages of this website to learn how to inspect and what you're looking for.

    > Go to my profile and you can review or print article pdfs from the articles page.

    > It is possible that some people within the family will not present bite symptoms while others do. It is not uncommon that the mom/wife has bites while the dad.husband does not.

    Let us know if any additional questions or concerns.

    Hope this helps ! paul b.

  5. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Tue Jan 17 2012 14:57:45
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    Yesterday was not a great day for me, so let me try this one more time.

    What I should have said was this:

    Too often in the United States, at least, bed bugs have been associated (wrongly) with being dirty or poor.

    I'm not sure where that notion comes from; I'm not a historian or an entomologist, so figuring that out isn't at the top of my list of a priorities. But I do know that that wrong-headed notion has done a great deal of damage and continues to do so.

    The fact remains that bed bugs are a pest of exposure. Anyone who is exposed can end up with bed bugs.

    Anyone's daily activities--whether those activities are related to that person's profession or that person's recreation--can put a particular individual at greater risk of exposure.

    It's true that truck drivers' sleeper cabins can be infested. It's also true that a very wealthy person who spends his or her life staying in hotels can be infested. Both of these folks are more likely to be infested than someone who does not--for work or fun, engage in behaviors that put them at greater risk of being exposed.

    The problem, of course, is that on some level, all of us engage in behaviors that put us at some risk.

    What a person does for a living--what a person's social class is--does not matter. What activities a person engages is does. Some jobs do put people at greater risk of exposure. A truck driver may stay in hotels more frequently than an accountant, for example.

    But it's just as true that a stay at home mom who goes to play groups in many peoples' homes is at great risk of exposure if she's a stay at home mom in a city like Cincinnati or New York that is a bed bug infestation hot spot. Heck, if you're really unlucky, and you're a stay at home mom and you go to one play group in a home with an infestation and it's not a city that is a bed bug hot spot, you're still at risk.

    An airline pilot who regularly has to stay at hotels as part of his or her job is also at great risk of exposure. A person who volunteers somewhere where he or she is likely to come into contact with bed bugs is at greater risk of exposure.

    When it comes to puzzling out the source of an infestation, I'd like to see us take into account what kinds of behaviors the people in our home--whether they are living or visiting--have engaged in. I get that for many of us talking about someone's profession is a shorthand for summarizing those behaviors.

    I get concerned, however, when I read a post that I think has the potential to be read by someone who already is more likely to be concerned that he or she is being characterized as working class as being more likely to have bed bugs. I'm not saying that anyone who's posted here is prejudiced against poor people; in order to figure out if that were true, I'd need to know what was going on in each poster's conscious and unconscious mind, and none of us can truly know that.

    I am saying, however, that I'm concerned that people who are already stigmatized because so many people continue to believe that bed bugs are associated with being "poor" or "dirty" might read this thread and think that's what people here mean to say. It is absolutely true that people from lower socio-economic groups often have fewer resources to fight what can be an expensive fight against bed bugs. But it's equally true that for reasons that I don't understand, our society has wrongly associated bed bugs with marking someone as poor and dirty when that's not the case.

    I was (and remain) concerned that some people will read the reference to a truck driving parent as a dig on blue collar workers. Unfortunately, while people might have meant to focus on the behaviors that truck drivers (and academics who must travel to conferences and stay in hotels, or salespeople who must travel with their products from trade show to trade show, and wealthy folks who stay at high end private bungalows on vacation time and time again) engage in that may put them at slightly greater risk than some other people who don't have to engage in behaviors that increase their chances of exposure, others may read the post and hear--whether any of us mean it or not--an echo of that larger social dynamic that wrongly associates bed bugs with being proof that a person is poor and dirty.

    Again, I'm not trying to suggest that anyone here meant it that way. I focus on how readers may interpret a particular set of working, not on what's going on inside peoples' minds.

    Also, I get that many people come to the forum and are freaked out because they're anxious, and that writing clearly and precisely in minute detail is neither a priority nor an easy task for anyone.

    But what I wanted to say was this:

    the fact that someone's parent is a truck driver is not relevant to the conversation if you're focusing on social class. the behaviors that anyone engages in--whether those behaviors are a part of that person's job or recreation are.

    I would, however, prefer that when we talk about behaviors and risk of exposure that we do so in a way that does not accidentally reinforce that larger social dynamic that paints poor people as more likely to have bed bugs. I'm afraid that doing so--even accidentally--will make it even harder for people who already fear being stigmatized because of bed bugs--or because of having bed bugs and being from a lower social class--to feel comfortable seeking help in a forum like this because they will fear being judged because they are poor. Again, I don't think that's anyone's intent.

    But I also think that we can have conversations about how much particular behaviors put people at risk without doing so in language that might alienate some people who need help and advice but might be put off seeking it because of carelessly phrased ways of disseminating important information.

    And speaking of disseminating information, I now have to go work on my actual day job. I'll check in later.

  6. cstorm1227

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Tue Jan 17 2012 17:12:24
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    If I offended anyone, I do apologize. It was around 2am when I was writing out my post and I just wanted to list ANY and ALL things relevant. It had NOTHING to do with social or economical status. As such, I do not consider a truck driver as "poor", my brother did long haul for years, and did pretty good for himself. However, up until this move neither me or my son have experience these bites, nor has my brother (who is in a separate home) or anyone in my family that me or my son have been exposed to. Although, my thinking behind listing his profession was simply to state the possibility of exposure since I do believe, if ever we were exposed before the move (meaning the new house was not infested before us) that it seems most likely with when the bites started to appear that the slumber party could have been the time that we were exposed. Not to say that the child of the truck driver was the one indeed that brought them, just that it seems relevant that someone with a profession that requires alot of travel and sleeping away from home could be helpful in uncovering this mystery I have presently. Again, I do apologize if it was offensive, or taken out of context as a snub, that was certainly not the intention. But I do not subscribed to the idea that truck driver is synonymous with poor. I am just here for help and insight, I am completely out of my realm with all this. I do appreciate the comments thus far and intend on looking into all the information I have received!! And if you have any more info or suggestions, it is very much welcomed!! Thank you

  7. jduk

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Tue Jan 17 2012 17:35:22
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    Hi dearstorm, just to reassure you that the context of your comment seemed clear to me and it is completely understandable that you would be alerted by someone who travels from place to place for a living so please do not feel that you have been offensive. I think once you have been a bb victim you become aware of how people can be scapegoated and that although probably just part of human nature it is ultimately not helpful and just serves as a method of victimising and bullying and I know that was never your intention. I appreciate you are caught in the headlights at the moment and it is scary place to be but you will find help and support here. You are just looking for answers and sometimes it is impossible to accurately pinpoint the events that led to your current situation. I feel for you and wish you success in dealing with the challenges you are facing regards jduk

  8. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Tue Jan 17 2012 17:46:00
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    Cstorm1227,

    I wasn't really afraid that you had offended anyone. I do generally worry when I see conversations that I worry can be read a particular way, but I'm particularly aware of that because of what I do for a living.

    However, I'm also aware that it's often the case that people are very stressed and anxious (and often sleep deprived), but also as I said, I also worry how folks who already feel that they're being stigmatized will respond. I didn't address the post above specifically to you (not that you're not welcome to read it and respond) because I was aiming it at everyone in the thread and everyone who might find this thread much later and read it. Since I've been bedbug free for a while, I tend to take the long view of the possible impact of conversations here. I certainly didn't have that kind of distance when I first discovered bed bugs, and so I guess I just try to bring that perspective to conversations on the boards. I realize that given how we often talk about issues like class, race, gender, religion, and sexual orientation (to name a few), any post that calls attention to issues of privilege runs the risk of feeling like a scolding, but that's not how I intended it for what it's worth.

    Social class is a complicated concept. I didn't want to fall too much into teacher mode (I do teach in my day job). There are very good reasons that social class is defined by a combination of actual income and what one theorist called cultural capital--loosely, how much prestige/respect/ etc. is accorded to a person by the larger society based on what kind of training the person has gone through and what expertise the person has. (The example often use with students is this: many drug dealers earn a lot more money than your average college professor in the humanities--esp. early in his or her career. Starting salaries for humanities college profs at the junior faculty level--even tenure track ones--at four year universities are only around $50 to $60 K a year. Given that you have to earn a PhD to teach at most of those jobs, that's not a great deal of money. So, yeah, drug dealers earn a lot more money than some college profs. Lecturers make even less. However, few parents would be overjoyed if their kids came home and bragged that they were taking up drug dealing as a profession. While college professors don't have a great deal of income, the extensive education they must go through and the prestige accorded to them is cultural capital that being a drug dealer lacks.)

    I'm also aware that while some professional get marked as blue collar--and you would think that that would give them less social status, right?--they are vitally important to our existence. I'm very good at copy editing. I'm very good at figuring out what I write meant to say when I'm looking at a convoluted sentence; that's what I do at my day job. I'm really quick at analyzing texts--written or visual. But when my car won't start, I'm at a complete loss. All I can do is take it to a mechanic. As a result, it's obvious to me that our society relies on a mix of people who are very skilled at a wide variety of jobs--no matter how much prestige or reward the larger society occurs to them. After all, I suspect that there are too many people would look down their noses at someone who says that he or she does pest control for a living, but it's been super clear to me from years on these boards that it's a very complicated, technically and technologically (and chemically!) profession that requires both broad knowledge across a lot of fields and a lot of very specific in-depth knowledge of another several. I certainly understood that about mechanics and welders before my bed bug infestation, but I don't think I had any idea just how much specialized knowledge pest control required until I battled bed bugs.

    Anyway, as I said, my comment wasn't intended as a criticism of you or your attitudes. I just worry about how others will read it.

    And that's what I was responding to both in your post and in some of the responses to it. I admit, my initial post wasn't very graceful or detailed, but as I suspect this conversation makes clear, it's pretty hard to talk about these issues gracefully or in a detailed manner--at least for me--without getting really longwinded.

    It's a tricky balancing act--finding a way to talk online accurately about important information about bed bugs while also not perpetuating stereotypes or dynamics that have nothing to do with bed bugs and that get activated accidentally. And since I'm not actively battling bed bugs, I suspect my focus is more on the long view than the immediate--which may not always be as helpful to people in the throes of an infestation and/or panic about one.

    I do hope that the other information above is useful to you, and I'm happy to clarify anything else I muddled up in that post.

    As for the fact that one child's father was a truck driver, I guess what I was trying to say was this (and, again, I bring this up only to help you get to the bottom of your possible infestation problem not to scold):

    What do you know about how much the parents of the other children travel? Or where they work and what their chances of exposure to bed bugs are?

    For example, my mother works in an office in a non-profit. If I just told you that, and I told you that she doesn't have any direct contact with clients, you might assess her bed bug exposure risk as pretty low.

    But the non-profit she works for runs residential programs in a city where bed bugs are a regular and frequent problem. She doesn't work in the main office; she works in a training center. The people who come in for training are people who have direct contact with clients.

    So while she sits at a desk, schedules people for training, data enters information about their certifications--none of that sounds esp. high risk, right?

    But she works in a center with people who work in residential programs, and I know a number of those programs have had problems with bed bugs often enough that it's a source of casual conversation with other people in my mother's office among her coworkers.

    It is possible that the truck driver father has a higher risk of exposure, but how much do you really know about the exposure risks of everyone else who was at the sleepover?

    *That's* what I mean about focusing on specifics and behavior rather than categories.

    I travel regularly; I fly 25,000 miles a year minimum, both for work (going to conferences as part of my research) and for recreation (since my family lives on the other coast). That would seem to make me super high risk. But I had bedbugs, so I ruthlessly inspect every hotel room. I've taught others to inspect their hotel rooms; at least one friend who passed that info on to another friend saved her friend a possible infestation since she spotted bed bugs in a hotel room she stopped at on her way to a conference. I have a Packtite at home so if I am exposed again, I can treat my luggage before I bring it back into the house.

    How risky one person is or isn't is very complicated because there are so many variables that go into any given situation. I'm not saying that we shouldn't take them all into account; I'm just trying to point out that figuring out what they all are an accurately assessing how influential each factor is is really complicated. That's the other big piece of what I was trying to say.

  9. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Tue Jan 17 2012 18:35:52
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    hi,

    Sorry, but your PCO needs to drop any claims of being professional and you need to get a new one.

    Without confirming evidence of what you are trying to treat you will never know if you have had success.

    Several of the things you post make me think this is not bedbugs and please cease all treatments until you can confirm what it is before you start getting the added complication of potential reactions to repeat chemical treatments into the mix as well.

    One of the biggest second errors is treating 7 days apart which does not take into account the life cycle of bedbugs in any way.

    Please tell this person I personally consider them to be an idiot and I don't often launch into people I have no idea who they are but on this occasion I feel its more than justified.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

    I am happy to answer questions in public but will not reply to message sent directly or via my company / social media. I am here to help everyone and not just one case at a time.

    In accordance with the AUP and FTC 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 pro

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