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NOT bed bugs. Mystery "bites" solved

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  1. murray80

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Aug 15 2013 17:22:21
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    Hey All,

    I thought I would post on here to provide reassurance and a bit of perspective for those who are finding bites but no sign of bugs.

    Back in May-Jun-July I was CONVINCED my house was infested by bedbugs. I was finding "bites" all over me, the kids and my hubbie. I found fecal stains everywhere and suspect "blood stains" on the pillows and duvet covers. I had pest control out and carried out numerous searches to no avail. To say I was desperately frightened and paranoid is an understatement. Everynight I was searching under the beds with a torch, pulling up carpet edges etc. I was going nuts

    Fast forward to mid Aug. I have to admit, I can't have bedbugs. They would have overtaken the house by now and I have found no evidence.

    I still don't know what caused the bites. I think they were probably caused half by the odd gnat bite and half were probably just marks on the skin that are always there but perhaps just aren't noticed when you aren't looking for them! The "blood stains" were probably caused by the odd scratch or stubble rash and for the "fecal stains" who knows?? Also I musn't discount the fact that I had just had a baby. I think I actually developed a postnatal OCD.

    Just to say (although I wouldn't believe it) unless you find evidence, which must become easier to find over time, you probably don't have them.

    I notice there aren't many follow up stories on here for people who think they have bugs.

    Good luck to you all xx

  2. Nemo

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Aug 15 2013 17:59:21
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    Thanks for posting back, I'm glad you do not have bed bugs and the worry is gone!

  3. rs1971

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Aug 15 2013 18:38:57
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    I think that what you describe with the marks on your skin is really common with people who are paranoid about bed bugs. Everyone has all kinds of random blemishes on their skin that they just don't normally notice, but all of the sudden pop out at them when they start inspecting every inch of their body, six times a day.

  4. endless_nightmare

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Aug 15 2013 18:45:09
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    Murray,

    Unfortunately, what you describe is extremely common, psychologists and psychiatrists have new studies regarding this very phenomenon created in part by bed bug fear, bed bug trauma, either with people who never had them or with people that had them and got rid of them.

    The body becomes hyper sensitized, "bites" appear, blood stains, and all sorts of things you never thought of before are now looked at like they are signs.

    People become obsessed, because unlike certain phobia (panic disorder or otherwise) the body reacts with visible signs, bites, blood stains rashes etc. Once the person has learned this behavior it is extremely hard to undo, no matter how many experts, inspections, PCOs, dermatologist, the person will remain convinced that they have insects biting them. They look at their "bites" and they are certain that hidden bugs somewhere are biting them.

    This slowly becomes their primary focus and task in life, the let go of other important tasks, they give all their times and energy to finding the "bugs" and freaking out about them when actually no bugs are present.

    Like I've said before this is probably worst, than an actual bed bug infestation.

    If the pattern is destroyed early recovery is quick. If the pattern is consistently fed and goes on for months (sometimes years) recovery can be extremely difficult and happens after the person has become entirely drained of their energy, mental and physical, it taxes them and everyone around them, of course it's no fault of their own.

    Andrea
    not a PCO
    Spinal Cord Injury Advocacy/Volunteer
  5. Finleyfoo1

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Aug 15 2013 20:29:21
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    Ugh. I suspect I am in this cycle. We have bites and despite no evidence yet I am convinced we have them here somewhere. I can't let it go because we (four different people) keep getting bites. And these are not just normal skin things you never notice. These are large red welts. My husband who is not at all paranoid and usually a skeptic has a lot of bites and even he is starting to think we have a problem. I try not to let it consume me but it is hard because this has never happened to us and I just want to know what is causing this. At this point I would almost be happy to find a giant juicy bed bug so that at least I would know it is true and figure out a way to deal with it.

  6. endless_nightmare

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Aug 16 2013 0:56:29
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    did you read the original post carefully???

    Murray had "bites" on her AND the kids and her husband, JUST LIKE YOU

    and is was not bed bugs, JUST LIKE YOU

    many experts here have told you, that you do not have them, why do you keep on that destruction path??

    it's seems no matter what anyone says on this board, you'll just ignore and go search for them

    Wouldn't you like for those skin reactions and welts to go away? Look elsewhere than bed bugs, and start taking care of the issue, you are not taking care of the issue now

  7. P Bello

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Aug 16 2013 6:24:58
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    Dear Folks,

    I visit many properties where "bites" occur yet no physical evidence of a biting pest is found. Other folks mail or ship me their bug samples for ID purposes as well.

    My experience and observation is that often times on the local level their pest guy tells them there are no bugs and that they are crazy. Despite the fact that this is pretty darn close to the truth, these bite victims stop listening as soon as the discussion borders on their sanity.

    As such, I have found that a logical and methodical process of elimination when investigating these matters tends to work best. Some situations require more effort than others however, the simple basic scientific based truth is that there are no ectoparasites in existence that cannot be detected or will not leave any physical evidence to find eventually.

    In summary, the math is simple:

    No Physical Evidence = No Biting Pest !

    The difficulty lies is conducting a suitable investigation such that all possibilities are eliminated.

    However, once bed bugs turn into head bugs the job gets much tougher and the most difficult place I find to eliminate these people's bugs is from between their ears !

    Have a nice day ! paul b.

  8. Winston O. Buggy

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Aug 16 2013 8:28:41
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    Well put Paul. Just wanted to extend it a bit to the work environment where a number of people can be involved in psychosomatic situations. The most common of which frequently turns out to be an air handling issue in cubicle offices especially older social security type set ups. These areas were originally designed as open spaces with low desks. As areas became subdivided and lower air flow is blocked by partitions an increase in carbon dioxide can occur at the lower level. The result is an itching sensation usually to the lower leg, especially to those with exposed skin. Especially in summer add heat and humidity and all it takes is a fruit fly or fungus gnat from an over watered plant and folks think they are besieged by blood sucking insects, but in reality it is poor air flow. Of course then they start searching the internet and anything is possible.One of my favorites was the insistence that a social service office in Queens NY was infested by Tsetse flies a large blood feeding fly which inhabits mid continental Africa. This was not the case.

  9. Finleyfoo1

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Aug 16 2013 13:02:42
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    Endless nightmare - I am looking into other possibilities, believe me. I just don't post about them here because they are not relevant to bed bugs. That does not mean however that I should stop looking for the possibility of bed bugs. I want to be completely satisfied that I do not have them. I am a very rational person, I am not staying up all night freaking out. I am inspecting rooms methodically. I am investing in passive and active monitors and I am on these forums to learn as much as possible. There is no need to be so harsh. Even if it turns out I do not have them in the end, I will still have a learned a great deal that might come in handy some day.

  10. Louise

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Aug 16 2013 15:08:49
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    Finleyfoo1 - 2 hours ago  » 
    Even if it turns out I do not have them in the end, I will still have a learned a great deal that might come in handy some day.

    Very true.

    Even though it sounds like you're being plagued by something other than bed bugs this time around, learning all you can about bed bugs will absolutely pay dividends if (or when) you encounter them in the future.

    When it comes to bed bugs, knowledge is power. And the more we know, the less mistakes we will make, meaning we'll ultimately spend less time ridding ourselves of these critters.

    Good luck as you seek to resolve your current issue.

  11. BBorNot2Bs

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sun Aug 18 2013 0:58:04
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    Finley, like you i'm being proactive in finding out what's biting me. They say it's not bbs, okay what is it? Help me with the answer to that question instead of assuming i'm a head case. before i knew what a bb was i was experiencing bites. the fear of bbs had nothing to do with my "very real" bites. i'm not throwing money out there on these products because i'm being irrational. this is a problem that has invaded my home.

  12. battlinbugz

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sun Aug 18 2013 11:53:16
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    Great thread. This is also a good reminder for those of us who did have BBs at one time and haven't seen any evidence of them since, other than the mysterious "bites." That was a good point that someone brought up that our skin can have blemishes all over the place anyway. The only reason any little skin abnormality stands out now is because we tend to examine ourselves closer than ever due to all the media attention around BB's. This seems to be true for those who have never had them like Murray, or people who have had them in their dwelling, successfully treated and haven't seen them nor their evidence for months (like me and many others here). I remember coming across on old pic of myself from about 20 years ago and on that pic I just happened to have a breakfast-lunch-dinner line of acne. I'm 99% sure that wasn't BB-related!

    And this is all besides the fact that it's summertime for most of us posting here and we're probably getting bit or having our skin irritated by all kinds of other little creatures anyway, lol.

    Not a pro. I have some knowledge and a success story, both thanks to this site.
  13. Finleyfoo1

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sun Aug 18 2013 11:59:23
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    In our case, we had never really thought of bed bugs but one day we woke up with some very real and very obvious bite marks. It was only once we started doing some research that we ran across the possibility of bed bugs. And these are not just blemishes either. They are something else entirely.

  14. battlinbugz

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sun Aug 18 2013 12:07:18
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    FinleyFoo, I believe you. I hope you find out what the cause is soon and that it's something quick and easy to fix.

  15. murray80

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sun Aug 18 2013 13:54:44
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    Finleyfoo1 - 2 days ago  » 
    Ugh. I suspect I am in this cycle. We have bites and despite no evidence yet I am convinced we have them here somewhere. I can't let it go because we (four different people) keep getting bites. And these are not just normal skin things you never notice. These are large red welts. My husband who is not at all paranoid and usually a skeptic has a lot of bites and even he is starting to think we have a problem. I try not to let it consume me but it is hard because this has never happened to us and I just want to know what is causing this. At this point I would almost be happy to find a giant juicy bed bug so that at least I would know it is true and figure out a way to deal with it.

    Hey, This could have been me a couple of months ago. I was so convinced I even managed to almost persuade my husband. He even took the whole bed apart for me. When I say "bites" some were probably just marks but undoubtedly some were bites. One morning I woke up and went hysterical after finding one very itchy welt on my finger. It had not been there the night before and all our windows had been closed. I could think of no other reason for a bite being there. I still don't know what it was, probably a gnat bite. I was beside myself, I rang the pest control guy, who turned my room upside down. When he found nothing it didn't help, I was just convinced they were hiding I hate to say it but I was so bad the doctor sent me to a psychiatrist who told me I had delusional beliefs. The problem is when they become "head" bugs like someone else mentioned it is virtually impossible to think that something else could be causing it. In the end it was a good antidepressant that helped . After 2 weeks I dared to go sockless in bed and after 4 weeks I sudden;y lost the need to check under the beds every night with my torch. Also time was a factor. The weeks that went by finally convinced me that they could not be there.

    Thank you for all the posts. It really is a horrible situation to be in. I also wished I could find something so I could treat it. It was like living in a nightmare. However, all things pass in time and remember, anyone who is feeling like I did, there is light at the end of the tunnel xxxx

  16. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sun Aug 18 2013 14:03:26
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    Thanks, murray, for sharing your story. It's an awful and confusing situation to be in. I am glad you found a solution and peace of mind.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  17. endless_nightmare

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sun Aug 18 2013 15:22:42
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    Yes, this is a terrible situation, and I understand Finley and Murray and anyone who has gone through this.

    The thing is, even if you don't have bed bugs, it's unpleasant as hell waking up with bites, or bite like skin reaction. You do wonder what the heck it could be, and the smallest research on the internet will tell you it's bedbugs. There is a lot of websites out there, saying, if it's blood stains it's bed bugs for sure. There is also a website where people send out their pictures or their bites, and some woman tells them (just based on the pictures of the bites) if she thinks it's bed bugs or not.

    I remember reading this a while back when I was doing my own research, on this here very site:
    it's in the section about skin reaction, lingering sensations, phantom bites:

    Warning: I strongly discourage anyone from assuming their bed bugs are gone and that the bites are just “phantom” bites unless they have really good evidence this is the case. Bed bugs are really hard to get rid of and they can linger a long time; don’t ignore bites unless you have very good reason to think they are gone.

    it's very old mind you 2007, I guess we know other things since then, but you can also read from other posts around that time and before 2007. That bed bugs can't take several months to be found.

    So I imagine Finley here or other folks in the same boat, stumbling upon that line, adding up the bites and the itching; how else would she NOT be convinced that she had bed bugs??

    As far as myself, I still get bites, and yes Finley those are not blemishes, they are bites, bite like skin reaction, they do not look like anything else, if I go searching for pictures of bed bug bites, I'll find something that look like mine, and if I read that old post from 2007 especially this part: don’t ignore bites unless you have very good reason to think they are gone.

    Then I could flip out and tear my room apart looking for them (again) and not find them.

    Some folks just move on very quickly because they no longer get bites or bite like reaction. But when it's on your body, it's so hard to do.

    Murray you are very courageous and you too Finley, anyone who would wake up with bites all the time after a few weeks would flip.

    I wish there was a quick fix for this condition, it's even more terrible than having bed bugs I think.

  18. Finleyfoo1

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Mon Aug 19 2013 14:23:54
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    I hear what you all are saying. And I would agree that it could be something else if it were just happening to one person, say me. But the thing is that all four of us who live in the house started to get the "bites" around the same time. Out of the blue with no prior history of anything like this. And in the months preceding the "bites" there were a lot of ways we could have gotten ED bugs. A move to a new house, purchasing new furniture, etc. And to make another point, when we are away from the house on a business trip or on vacation, we don't get any new "bites" but as soon as we come home we get them again.

  19. bugs45454541

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Mon Aug 19 2013 15:55:05
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    Murray, could it be that your OCD cleaning got rid of them? I mean if more than one person in the house is getting bitten I cant imagine it being just in your head The same goes to you finley. After all Murray you saw "fecal stains everywhere" and bites. Did someone else confirm these stains as well? I cant see how all this could be in your head unless you lived alone. I am glad you got rid of them though (in your head or not). I am dealing with something that I think is bedbugs. I get bit once or 2x a night. Two nights ago I felt a bite on my elbow, then an extreme itching sensation, then it burned.

  20. murray80

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Mon Aug 19 2013 17:28:47
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    bugs45454541 - 1 hour ago  » 
    Murray, could it be that your OCD cleaning got rid of them? I mean if more than one person in the house is getting bitten I cant imagine it being just in your head The same goes to you finley. After all Murray you saw "fecal stains everywhere" and bites. Did someone else confirm these stains as well? I cant see how all this could be in your head unless you lived alone. I am glad you got rid of them though (in your head or not). I am dealing with something that I think is bedbugs. I get bit once or 2x a night. Two nights ago I felt a bite on my elbow, then an extreme itching sensation, then it burned.

    Hey, Sorry to hear you are having a bad time. I think it is highly unlikely that cleaning alone could have got rid of the bugs if we had had them. I was cleaning alot BUT I have three children so there would have been countless places for them to hide. Panic about bed bugs actually started when my husband complained of 4 bites on his knee. I then glanced at my legs and began to notice little bumps. I then stated to think these were bites. I went to the GP who said that they were bites (I now realise that these were NOT bites, just post shaving bumps) and it freaked me out. I then did the old Dr Google which threw up bed bugs. I had never heard of the buggers before then. I soon became an internet expert reading horror stories and looking for the signs. There were blood stains on the pillows which I think now was my husbands shaving stubble. Lets be honest (those who are paranoid) when you are looking EVERY little black speck or mark could be an effing fecal stain. None of them were of course. I even found a black smear on my curtain. Of course I thought it was a fecal smear, it was probably there years without me noticing it. I do hope you all find a resolution xx

  21. murray80

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Mon Aug 19 2013 17:30:26
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    Oh and also we did have very real bites but I think it was just normal time of year bites from gnats etc that you would probably have never thought about before

  22. ElisaR

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Sat Sep 23 2017 12:37:45
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    Hey!

    I also have had skin problems, which made me to think of bb's in the first place. However, I was just diagnosed with dermatogtaphia, which makes my skin itch. I also get the feeling of cravling on my skin, and red bumps sometimes also. Some materials, like so called "hard" fabrics (net-like cotton for example) and wool, make my skin itch and even cause allergic reactions. And, as a cherry on top, stress and anxiety makes my symptoms worser. I also eat isotretinoin actavis -meds for acne, and they cause my skin to be dry, so I moisturize even three times a day.

    Antihistamin helps, but I have to take 4tbl to get rid of all the itchines.

    All my pics of "bed bug related signs" have proven not to be bb related, and I still panic. It is a long way to getting rid of the idea on having bed bugs ..

    So, skin is a difficult thing, and it should not be trusted when suspecting bed bugs.

    Not an expert! Just one really easily anxious and extremely paranoid person. I try to help, mainly focusing on the psychological side of bb's. Haven't had an infestation myself. I have experience of carpet beetles though. Many years actually, I lived in a house full of them.
  23. loubugs

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Sat Sep 23 2017 18:41:30
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    dermatogtaphia

    You meant dermatographia. Just misspelled.

    Professional entomologist/arachnologist. I consult on all matters dealing with insects and arachnids, including those of natural history and biology to pest management and forensic entomology investigations.
  24. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Sat Sep 23 2017 21:10:29
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    Congratulations!

    Moving this to Success Stories. Many times, "success" is discovering the problem wasn't bed bugs at all.

  25. hideous

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    Posted 3 months ago
    Thu May 23 2019 10:49:30
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    I can relate and reading this thread is giving me hope. One major factor for me is that I'm terrified of bugs. I have an irrational fear of them, especially bugs from the cimex family such as stink bugs and other insects with small legs and large bodies. Other insects like beetles don't scare me as much and neither do worms. The only thing I dislike more than stink bugs and other bugs with the same shape is spiders and centipedes. I had both in my house, especially cellar spiders, I also had house centipedes but it seems they have gone extinct recently. Now I am full of bite marks but I think it's an adverse reaction to a medicine called Fluconazole. Still, the thought of bed bugs is starting to interfere with my daily routine, because I stop to look for spots and tend to spend a long time to examine my body for new bites, I've been late to work and sleep deprived because I spend up to 4 hours every night to search for bugs. So far I found a very small amount of other bugs and some spiders, but no bed bugs. I even found fecal stains from spiders, I would have never looked for that in a normal situation.

    It really doesn't help that my doctor, who prescribed me with an unusually high dose of Fluconazole (200mg daily for an entire week which from what I can tell is used for extreme cases of fungal meningitis and other horrible diseases and not a few spots of ringworm), who also told me to keep taking it despite the red bumps, and then told me that the bumps looked like bites but he wasn't sure, made my paranoia a million times worse. But doctors are humans too, they make mistakes.

    I hope that these bumps will go away and I'll be able to update my post so that we'll know that fluconazole allergy looks identical to bedbug bites down to the infamous triangle\line\spiral\zigzag patterns. Even though the leaflet for Fluconazole says that it can cause red bumps, rash, itches, and other crap on your skin, I just can't let go of the idea that bugs are behind this due to the similarity to actual bug bite pics. The large amount of bites on me though means that I should have found something by now.


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