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What causes the skin reactions associated with bedbug bites?

(8 posts)
  1. ITortureBugs4Revenge

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Fri Feb 14 2014 4:37:57
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    I have always wanted to know what bedbugs possibly inject into the skin while feeding on someone that causes the characteristic red welts to form on most of their victims. Is it some kind of digestive enzymes, bacteria, e.t.c.?

    .....I am NOT an expert.....

    Any advice i give here is based solely on my own personal experiences in dealing with bedbugs & other household vermin.
  2. ITortureBugs4Revenge

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Fri Feb 14 2014 4:55:37
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    Btw, just to clarify things i am well aware that bedbugs don't in fact "bite" but instead pierce the skin. I just use the word bite because the word is so familiar to people when talking about bedbugs.

  3. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Fri Feb 14 2014 7:27:03
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    Hi,

    In short its more complex than that.

    Some of the factors that cause the skin reaction are:

    • Bodies response to the physical damage of piercing the skin
    • Immune mediated response to the bedbug or something transferred during the bite
    • Response to the air quality at the time of the bite
    • Response to the air quality after the bite

    They do not transfer a digestive fluid as flies do when feeding or bacteria. In essence the bedbug actually wants the host to be as healthy as possible so they continue to be a source of food. Haematophages that harm the host do not get to feed as frequently from the food source and thus its a huge evolutionary disadvantage.

    Hope that helps.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

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  4. Canuck

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Fri Feb 14 2014 8:32:56
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    I was fortunate enough to be in a short conversation about colony feeding techniques with Michael Jiva-Sothy at the recent Bed Bug Summit (Denver 2014). He mentioned the bacteria on the outside of the bug is a large contributing factor and suggested wiping the area with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol. It has worked like a charm for myself seriously reducing the inflammation and itching. I imagine it would not be as effective if done hours after a 'bite' has occurred and possibly the alcohol would dry out the skin and exacerbate the reaction. Sheree

    Sheree Swindle / certified K9-assisted bed bug inspector
  5. loubugs

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Fri Feb 14 2014 13:08:27
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    A bit technical, from paper on sialome (saliva) of bed bug.
    Previous studies with C. lectularius salivary gland homogenates has identified a novel type of secreted apyrase enzyme that hydrolyzed ATP and ADP. This enzyme destroys these nucleotide agonists of platelet and neutrophil aggregation that are released by injured cells. A still molecularly uncharacterized factor X activation inhibitor was also identified, as well as a nitric oxide (NO) carrier, named Cimex nitrophorin, that carries the unstable NO gas molecule to the host tissues, promoting vasodilatation and inhibiting platelet aggregation. Recombinant Cimex nitrophorin was recently identified as an allergen in patients with severe allergy to bed bug bites. There are also unique enzymes and proteins, some of which appear to be antimicrobial, located in the bed bug saliva.

    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.
  6. ITortureBugs4Revenge

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sat Feb 15 2014 5:12:47
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    Great. Thanks for that info guys. Btw, i read somewhere that an "anesthetic" in bedbug saliva could be the culprit. Has anyone else here heard of that?

  7. loubugs

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Feb 17 2014 14:48:12
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    I'm not sure there really is an anesthetic. If you look at acupuncture needles -- there's no anesthetic used when the needles are pushed into your skin. Maybe it's a similar situation when bed bugs bite? Other insects, too, some may have numbing qualities in the saliva, but not sure if all do.

  8. ITortureBugs4Revenge

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Wed Feb 19 2014 4:19:32
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    Interesting, and it brings to mind how the opposite is true in the case of mosquitoes, which at least in my case produce an instant and very noticeable (Like being pricked with a needle) sensation right as they penetrate the skin. A similar sensation with flea bites also.


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