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Reasonable explanation for bites under clothing / covered areas?

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  1. odaat

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Thu Aug 15 2019 23:19:28
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    I've been reading up on the question of how common it is for bed bugs to bite on covered areas and why might some people have more bites on covered areas than exposed areas. Interestingly, in this bite research, 50% of reactive poeple had bites on the chest or back (often covered) and only 21% had bites on the face (always exposed).

    As I understand it, the working expert opinion on this forum is that bedbugs highly prefer exposed skin due to a combination of heat attraction and convenience, and it would be unlikely for bed bugs to produce a bite profile that consisted mostly of covered area bites. Per David in this thread:

    They will track the CO2 concentrations to its source but the final assessment of where to feed is done thermally if a signature is present.

    As exposed skin will always be warmer than covered or clothed it is the obvious target.

    If a bed bug finds itself on top of clothing, it makes sense that the bug would be attracted to and move to warmer exposed skin. There are some accounts of bugs biting through clothing, but it seems pretty rare. However, the skin/space under covered areas would usually be warmer than exposed skin and therefore could attract the bed bug into the covered space -- reasonable logic, yes? A possible x-factor in this theory would be how bed bugs might assess a covered area as a potential danger. Consider that a small gap/space to us is a huge space to a bed bug.

    Thoughts?

  2. connorosull

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Thu Aug 15 2019 23:44:18
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    Cant see full post

  3. odaat

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Thu Aug 15 2019 23:47:33
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    I've been reading up on the question of how common it is for bed bugs to bite on covered areas and why might some people have more bites on covered areas than exposed areas. This bite study seems to indicate that it's fairly common -- 50% of reactive people had bites on the chest or back (often covered areas).

    As I understand it, the working expert opinion on this forum is that bedbugs highly prefer exposed skin due to a combination of heat attraction and convenience, and it would be unlikely for bed bugs to produce a bite profile that consists mostly of covered area bites. Per David in this thread:

    They will track the CO2 concentrations to its source but the final assessment of where to feed is done thermally if a signature is present.

    As exposed skin will always be warmer than covered or clothed it is the obvious target.

    If a bed bug finds itself on top of clothing, it makes sense that the bug would be attracted to and move to warmer exposed skin. There are some accounts of bugs biting through clothing, but it seems pretty rare. However, the skin/space under covered areas would usually be warmer than exposed skin and therefore could attract the bed bug into the covered space -- reasonable logic, yes? An x-factor in this theory would be how bed bugs might assess a covered area as a potential danger. Consider that a tight space to us would be cavernous to a bed bug.

    Thoughts?

  4. Arata

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Fri Aug 16 2019 1:40:53
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    I think experts in this forum mentioned bedbugs prefer not to stand on human skin while feeding. As a result, the bites will be close to clothing/bedding (close enough to be covered by clothes when you wake up?), or they could even stand on our clothes to feed.
    Obviously just non-expert guessing

  5. BigDummy

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Fri Aug 16 2019 9:12:56
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    It would be an interesting experiment, but without actually testing it's just an idea.

  6. odaat

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Fri Aug 16 2019 10:08:49
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    I think experts in this forum mentioned bedbugs prefer not to stand on human skin while feeding

    I read this claim in another thread but I'm fairly certain the one I read was not from an expert. I am highly skeptical of this theory as it seems like a very precarious/limiting preference. However, it could be one explanation for the straight-line bite pattern.

  7. odaat

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Fri Aug 16 2019 10:12:54
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    It would be an interesting experiment, but without actually testing it's just an idea.

    Yes, it just seems like a somewhat contentious issue (expert opinion vs testimonial evidence) and I have yet to come across a discussion of my possible explanation.

    Other possible factors to consider:
    - An optimal or "warm enough" temperature threshhold of preference
    - Sleeping position
    - Bedding conditions
    - The bug's route of access

  8. BigDummy

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Fri Aug 16 2019 10:27:29
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    odaat - 16 minutes ago  » 

    I think experts in this forum mentioned bedbugs prefer not to stand on human skin while feeding

    I read this claim in another thread but I'm fairly certain the one I read was not from an expert. I am highly skeptical of this theory as it seems like a very precarious/limiting preference. However, it could be one explanation for the straight-line bite pattern.

    No, it's pretty common, why risk detection by walking on the skin. And yes, it can cause multiple feeding locations to appear in a line, depending on the surface and the person.

  9. BigDummy

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Fri Aug 16 2019 10:28:47
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    odaat - 15 minutes ago  » 

    It would be an interesting experiment, but without actually testing it's just an idea.

    Yes, it just seems like a somewhat contentious issue (expert opinion vs testimonial evidence) and I have yet to come across a discussion of my possible explanation.
    Other possible factors to consider:
    - An optimal or "warm enough" temperature threshhold of preference
    - Sleeping position
    - Bedding conditions
    - The bug's route of access

    Get yourself a box of sorted adult males and see what you can find.

  10. lalmaroad

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Fri Aug 16 2019 10:49:54
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    In my experience I only had bites on exposed areas. Lower,upper arms,lower legs and ankles. I had a row of 5 bites along my lower arm but only that one time. I imagine it came to be that way depending on several bed bugs lined up feeding on my arm that was resting on the mattress. Kinda like pigs at a trough.

    Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. ~Groucho Marx
  11. odaat

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Fri Aug 16 2019 13:38:32
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    I accept that exposed skin bites are more likely (the evidence clearly shows this), I just question the level of unlikeliness of bites under clothing claimed by some expert opinion.

    I've had a well-known bed bug academic researcher explicitly tell me that bed bugs will never (yes, "never") go under clothes to bite, so if you have bites in clothed areas then it's not bed bugs. This is a ridiculously false statement (see previously referenced bite study) and is a grossly irresponsible thing to tell someone, who might take the "expert" at their word and not investigate further for bed bugs.

    Just to be clear, I understand and accept that bites alone should never be used to diagnose bed bugs.

  12. Iwantmylifeback

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Fri Aug 16 2019 14:05:18
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    I want to add that in my case one area on my back it’s been somehow extremely attractive to bed bug ..I have been bitten severely last year that to this day I have white lines (scars on that area and to this day I still receive bites in this area (not that many bc Iam still fighting them and My bites subsided.
    Isn’t not strange ?Do bed bug leave some kind of fermon on the skin and despite showers they can “smell “that this area it’s good for feeding .
    I have received bites also on arms and ankles but my back it’s like a main target !
    I have been thinking maybe bc back doesn’t move like the rest of the body ?

  13. BigDummy

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Fri Aug 16 2019 14:06:47
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    I guess I'm just missing your point.

    To get under clothing a bed bug would have to find the edge of that garment and then enter, which certainly could occur, but at that access point would be exposed skin.

    Perhaps never was a poor choice of word, but the overall message makes perfect sense to me as a generally accepted scenario. And again, we're having a fairly precise discussion about "bites," one of the key factors used in mis-identification.

    Without taking the time to set up a proper experiment I hardly see the point; what you accept has no bearing on the actions of a bed bug, they will continue to bite how the bite, completely oblivious to the question.

  14. odaat

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Fri Aug 16 2019 14:22:51
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    BigDummy, the point is whether or not bite locations is a valid indicator for dismissing bed bugs as a possible cause. The previously referenced bite study and testimonial evidence on this forum indicate that bites under clothing are common and therefore a dismissive attitude towards such bites (as that of the academic researcher I mentioned) is illogical and arguably irresponsible.

    Experiments aren't the only way to obtain meaningful information.

  15. BigDummy

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Fri Aug 16 2019 14:41:57
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    So are you asking that if there is no fecal staining, cast skins or live samples, but there are bites, depending on the location of those bites bed bugs are either being dismissed or diagnosed?
    Comprehension is clearly not my friend today, sorry.

  16. BigDummy

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Sat Aug 17 2019 15:18:27
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    odaat - 1 day ago  » 
    I've had a well-known bed bug academic researcher explicitly tell me that bed bugs will never (yes, "never") go under clothes to bite, so if you have bites in clothed areas then it's not bed bugs. This is a ridiculously false statement (see previously referenced bite study) and is a grossly irresponsible thing to tell someone, who might take the "expert" at their word and not investigate further for bed bugs.
    Just to be clear, I understand and accept that bites alone should never be used to diagnose bed bugs.

    Was it in a thread here? Maybe if I can see the context in which it was used it'll give me an idea.
    If you're saying that bites are exclusively under clothing I would tend to agree that it's not bed bugs.


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