General Question

anniereborn's avatar

What in the world is biting me ?

Asked by anniereborn (14754points) 1 month ago

For 2 or 3 weeks now I am getting these itching spots, which I assume are bug bites. It only happens at home. But it doesn’t seem to matter what room I am in or what time of day it is. I have searched and searched everything to see if I can find any buggers and I can’t. The bites are only under my clothes. I have researched this to death and cannot find a thing. They almost look like mosquito bites but aren’t white in the center. Someone please help!

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61 Answers

janbb's avatar

I’ve been getting strange insect bites in the house at certain times of year for a few years. For a while, I thought they were fleas and did a whole flea treatment regime. But now I think they are no see’ums that some how get into the house.

However, if your bites are big and on your torso and if they’re three in a row, they may be bed bugs. Strip your bed and see if you see any sign of them. If so, you need to clean everything and call an exterminator.

filmfann's avatar

Do you have pets? They could be flea bites.

anniereborn's avatar

@filmfann
@janbb

They aren’t flea bites. My one kitty isn’t scratching at all. I have had flea bites in my life too many times. I know what they look like sadly.
As for the bed bugs thing, I did strip the bed and looked. I saw nothing, but washed all in hot water and hot hot dryer cycle.
Once in awhile there will be two in a row, but mostly just a single bite.

My sister mentioned “no see ums”. But what the heck do you do to get rid of them?

janbb's avatar

I read up on home remedies and tried most of them. One is putting out bowls of vinegar mixed with Dawn. I don’t think they did much good.

It hasn’t been as bad yet this year so I am tolerating them so far but if it gets worse, I plan to call an exterminator.

The fact that they are only on your torso is a puzzlement though which does make me think of bed bugs.

My bites are very small. Are yours large?

anniereborn's avatar

@janbb They are like mosquito bite size, but sometimes spread bigger. I had one that got to be about 2.5 inches long and an inch tall

SnipSnip's avatar

There are many different kinds of fleas. The ones on dogs are different than the ones that infiltrate a house and there are also carpet fleas. If you have a bite that caused a 2.5 inch raised welp see a doctor, health department, or at least consult with a pest control person to find out what in the world it is. People can be allergic to fleas and get large welps while others are hardly bothered at all.

janbb's avatar

@anniereborn I once went to my dermatologist and he biopsied one of the bites. He confirmed that it was an insect bite but not what kind.

My bites that I think are no see’ums are very small, just little pricks but itchy for a day or two.

The fact that they’re on your torso brings me back to bed bugs.

anniereborn's avatar

@janbb why do they only bite on the torso?

janbb's avatar

That’s what I had heard but this article doesn’t seem to corroborate that. It does give you lots of info though:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318083#_noHeaderPrefixedContent

janbb's avatar

Oh – I remembered where I got the torso idea. It was when my son had bed bugs in his apartment years ago and the bites were on his torso. I thought I had read it then too.

JLeslie's avatar

Maybe spider bites.

You could look at the piping around your mattress or lift your mattress and see if you notice any bugs lurking.

Are you sure you haven’t been outside at dusk or in the evening? If it’s a mosquito bite in the evening, you might not notice it until the middle of the night or the next morning.

cheebdragon's avatar

I’ve never seen a mosquito bite that was white in the center. How long do the bites last and how intensely do they itch? Spider bites (ime) are a little more painful than itchy &/or the kind of itch that hurts when scratched.

smudges's avatar

Is it possible that it’s a rash or reaction to something like your laundry or shower soap? Like hives? Especially if you’ve never seen them.

anniereborn's avatar

Well folks, I was able to get into my GP. Her “best guess” is bed bugs. Hooray for me! She’s going to see if she can get some help for me through any community program since I am low income. I have a washer at home, but no dryer. It would cost a fortune to wash everything I own at a laundromat. But I know even that isn’t enough to make them go away. Not sure what I’m going to do here.

smudges's avatar

Major bummer! Sorry to hear that @anniereborn 8(

anniereborn's avatar

Oh I love this…...

Effective natural bed bug treatment comes down to six simple steps:

Steam Clean Your Home
Wash All Fabrics
Vacuum Your Home
Apply Diatomaceous Earth
Clean Up
Repeat as needed

SIMPLE??????

As if losing Jeff (Darth Algar) wasn’t bad enough. Now I have this

janbb's avatar

@anniereborn I am so sorry. My son had it happen right before he was leaving on a trip and had to go through those steps.

Are you in a rental by any chance? If so, your landlord may be able to help.

Can you enlist the help of your sibs in the cleaning?

anniereborn's avatar

@janbb I am in a rental, but I hesitate to call on her. She has already been so kind in helping me out with things since Jeff died, including reducing my rent.
As far as siblings, only one lives in the area (well an hour away) and she has a lot of health problems. My father IN law and his girlfriend would surely help, but HE just ended up in the hospital. Lord have mercy on us.

janbb's avatar

@anniereborn I would talk to the landlord. They helped my son and they have an investment (perhaps even a responsibility) to getting rid of the bedbugs before they spread elsewhere.

anniereborn's avatar

@janbb I live in a duplex. (two story. I live in the back half). It is all walled off. I wonder if they could even end up in the front half.

cheebdragon's avatar

Wouldn’t there be evidence of bed bugs though?

kneesox's avatar

@anniereborn, so sorry for your troubles on top of troubles. Itching can drive a person nuts. And this extreme remedy is major labor-intensive.

Someone I know told me that she fends off bedbugs by standing each of the legs of her bed frame in a pan of water, because the bugs won’t cross the water. I don’t know if that helps once they’re already there, though. She also travels a lot, especially to Hawaii and Mexico, and actually takes her own bedding to hotels. Sounds kind of extreme, but she doesn’t get bothered by bedbugs. (She didn’t say how she makes sure they don’t ever come home with her.)

anniereborn's avatar

@cheebdragon That is what I thought too. But the Dr said sometimes they aren’t able to be seen.

She DID say there is a chance it could be chiggers, but her guess is bed bugs. I am currently doing a lot of research on chiggers that end up in the house.

JLeslie's avatar

Wait, white in the center? That can be an ant bite. Is it painful or just itchy? Do you live in a hot climate where you have fire ants? Are you allergic to bee stings?

Can you sleep in another bed or your sofa for now?

smudges's avatar

Before you begin that long clean-up process, I would suggest that you make sure that it’s bedbugs. One thing to look for is small blood spots on the linens, and especially on the mattress. Also look in the seams of the mattress for body parts and their exoskeletons. Use a magnifying glass if you have one, if not, borrow or buy a cheap one.

“Typically, uncovered areas of the body are affected” is one statement I found and thought of you. “The most common areas to find these bites are on shoulders and arms since they are exposed while you are sleeping” is another one. “Also it is important to realize that medical professionals cannot give a positive diagnosis simply by examining bite symptoms, they can only suggest some possible explanations for what may have caused the bites/symptoms to occur.”

I found 3 really good websites, one is a pest control site, one is the CDC. From the brief reading I’ve done, it doesn’t sound like you have bedbugs. Hope I’m right!

https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/bedbugs/faqs.html
https://www.aikenpest.com/blog/post/how-to-tell-if-you-have-bed-bugs
https://www.bedbugcentral.com/bedbugs101/how-do-i-know-i-have-bed-bugs

anniereborn's avatar

I found This. I am going to see how this goes first.

smudges's avatar

^^That detector looks like an excellent idea!

jca2's avatar

I’ve had fleas and I am pretty sure I have had bedbugs. For the fleas, I tried all sorts of home remedies (dish soap in a plate of water with a light, etc.) and I tried all sorts of over the counter stuff (flea dips for the cats, flea powders for the rug, sprays, etc.) and nothing worked until I called a professional exterminator.

About six years ago, I ordered a bed for my daughter from a chain furniture store which it turns out is known for furniture with bed bugs, which I didn’t know at the time. I started getting bug bites when sleeping in the bed. We shut the room off and didn’t sleep in it for about a year, and the problem went away. I remember I had bites all over my arms and I was wearing long sleeves in the summer, and my boss was saying it looked weird. I couldn’t tell her I had bug bites all over my arms.

A good friend had bed bugs and she said she and her roommate bleached the walls and all the furniture (literally, bleach and water) and it worked. It included vacuuming and washing all the bedding too.

jca2's avatar

I should add that when my daughter’s bed had bed bugs, I looked very carefully in the room, day and night, and saw nothing. A friend who’s an exterminator gave me these sticky things that you can stick on the wall or on the side of the bed that will catch bugs so that an exterminator can make a determination, and nothing. The exterminator did tell me if you see a bug, don’t squish it because then they can’t figure out what it is. Try to put it on tape without squishing it, or put it in a plastic baggie.

anniereborn's avatar

@jca2 I have also read that they hate rubbing alcohol. I may get a spray bottle for that. Being careful of anything flammable of course !

jca2's avatar

@anniereborn: From what I understand about bed bugs, they are the hardest bug to get rid of. Many people end up throwing out their furniture.

JLeslie's avatar

Did you buy a new mattress or travel recently?

Did you try to see if you could find them on your mattress?

janbb's avatar

@anniereborn That product looks good for detection but the description says you’ll need to call a pest exterminator for extermination. I know that cost is a factor but you might want to go to that step sooner rather than later.

In my experience with various pests, home remedies did squat and pulling out the big guns really helped.

I agree with @jca2 that bed bugs are the hardest to get rid of. My niece brought some home from a European Air Bnb a few years ago and it was awful.

Hugs!

jca2's avatar

@anniereborn: If it helps you put it into perspective, when I first had fleas, about 14 years ago, and bought all kinds of over the counter remedies (sprays, powders, flea dips for the cats, flea bombs for every room), after the energy and the cost of the various things, that was close to $400 or more. Then when I signed up for the year contract with the pest control place, that was over $500. Once the professional came and sprayed, I didn’t see one thing in the house for about three and a half weeks. Then I saw one flea, called the place to come spray again (which they would have done free as part of the one shot deal but I did the year contract), and I never saw another flea in the house again.

My point is that it might be worth it for you to go with a professional service right off the bat, instead of paying for home remedies plus the time and energy involved with the home solutions.

janbb's avatar

@jca2 Care to share a Coke?

smudges's avatar

@janbb “I’d like to teach the world to sing…in per-fect har-mon-y…”

smudges's avatar

I still think the detector is a good idea. Then you’ll at least know if it is bedbugs and it wouldn’t cost much to find out.

anniereborn's avatar

@all
Yes, that sticky thing is just for detection. I am still not convinced it is bed bugs. There seem to be a lot of things that point to it and a lot of things that don’t. Darth Algar just died, I barely have the money to pay rent. I am not calling an exterminator until it seems clear what I got going on here. No one has been in the house that have bed bugs. I haven’t traveled anywhere at all or been on any public transport.

JLeslie's avatar

Could it be a rash or hives? New laundry soap? New dryer sheets? You are under a lot of stress, maybe your immune system is a little haywire.

anniereborn's avatar

@JLeslie I don’t think there is anything new. But yeh, stress is major so that could be a big factor. I think the Dr would have been able to figure if it was a rash or hives.

kneesox's avatar

Are you taking any new meds? or eating differently?

jca2's avatar

@anniereborn: Do you have pets? I ask because it could possibly be fleas. Fleas are tiny and they jump so you might not see them unless you’re looking for them. Fleas are what brought me to Fluther, when my daughter was a baby and I was very frustrated and wanting to learn how to eradicate them.

jca2's avatar

@anniereborn: I just want to add that with fleas, they’re about the size of a sesame seed so they look like dirt unless you know what to look for and where. The adult flea will lay where he (or she) can jump onto a host, so they will be on the floor near a path, and they smell blood which is when they jump on to the host walking by. The dog or cat flea doesn’t prefer human blood, so they jump on, bite and jump off.

I found out after the fact that the problem with bombs (flea bombs) is that the bomb goes throughout the room, so obviously on top of cabinets and the tops of hard furniture – all over. The flea is not going to be up there, he’s going to be on the floor waiting for the blood to walk by. The professional exterminator only sprays on the floor, he is not spraying up high, where the fleas will not be. They will be in soft furniture, like couches and beds.

I learned so much about fleas when I had them, I could have taught a course haha. They were very frustrating, to the point where I cried when I called the pest control place to inquire about services, and the lady asked “who is living in the house?” I told her “I have a 12 week old baby.” She said “that’s nice.” I started crying and said “It might be nice if I didn’t have fleas but I feel like they’re everywhere.” I told her i was having the rugs ripped up and she told me not to, because once the exterminator comes, you literally don’t see one living bug in the house. I ended up having the rugs ripped up anyway, because I didn’t want the baby to be crawling (when she was big enough to crawl) on a rug that had been doused with pesticide. It was a big relief, though, when I signed up for the pest control services, because I no longer had to deal with trying to figure out how to eradicate the fleas and what my next step would be.

anniereborn's avatar

No bites last night! I inspected the bed with a magnifying glass at 4AM. There was nothing. I am thinking it might be something I am bringing in from outside. There has been new landscaping done here in the past couple of months. Plus all the moving of earth for the two new decks. I have not been outside for 24 hours.

filmfann's avatar

Open the drapes, letting direct sunlight warm the carpet. After a few minutes the fleas will be visibly jumping.

smudges's avatar

Very glad it doesn’t appear to be bedbugs!

Response moderated
janbb's avatar

@anniereborn Can you update us on the situation, please? Have you gotten an answer as to what they are?

anniereborn's avatar

I still have no idea what they are. I still have not seen anything. My bites seems to be going down quite a lot. Maybe one a day, sometimes none. I have been staying away from walking in grass for now.

anniereborn's avatar

@fodell Can you post a link about either of those “non dog” fleas? I search for “carpet fleas” and all I get is ways to get regular fleas out of your carpet.

@janbb Thank you for asking after me :)

jca2's avatar

In the extensive research I did when we had fleas, I never heard of “house fleas” and when I google it now, I get cat and dog fleas but nothing that is non-cat or dog comes up. From what I know, fleas in the house are animal fleas, and they either take a ride in on the host, which is cat, dog or human.

There can be fleas in the yard and an exterminator should spray the yard, too. I had fleas on the deck a few years ago. These are animal fleas. Animal fleas don’t like human blood (I think I mentioned that above), so they will jump on a human, bite and jump right off. On a cat or dog, they will stay.

If you are avoiding the grass, @anniereborn, and you don’t have so many bites now, you may have fleas in the yard.

smudges's avatar

… you may have fleas in the yard.

If that were the case I would think she’d have bites on her legs and ankles, not covered areas. Personally, I don’t think it’s fleas, she’d see them – dark brown and the size of a sesame seed. I’ve had flea infestations in a house and you see them!

anniereborn's avatar

@jca2 Yeh, but, I will get bit randomly at home hours after being outside. Does that even make sense if they were the fleas outside? And yeh, I haven’t had any bites below the knee.

longgone's avatar

I’ve been bitten by all sorts of mosquitoes in different parts of the world, and the bites are certainly not always white in the center. If they look and feel like mosquito bites, I would assume that’s the answer. Mosquitoes can bite through clothes, they are extremely stealthy, their bites can be small but also reach the size you mentioned.

If there’s any standing water in your home or yard, they might be breeding there (which would explain an increase in bites). A bucket of rainwater is enough. You would see their larvae swimming around in there.

Strengthening hugs to you. I hate that you’re dealing with another stressor.

janbb's avatar

@longgone But it’s very odd that they’re mainly on the torso. Most mosquito bites are mainly on the exposed areas.

longgone's avatar

@janbb I don’t know…of the 23 bites I’m currently enjoying, 20 are under my clothes. I think it depends on your style, to some extent. Tight, tough clothes and bare arms – they’ll definitely bite the exposed areas. But if you’re more like me, wearing loose and airy clothes in summer, they’ll just bite wherever they want.

anniereborn's avatar

@longgone Owch, 23 bites?! I think the highest number I have had on me at one time was 7. And those were not all acquired in one day. So, I think the most I have had itching at one time was three. The funny thing is, when hydrocortisone wouldn’t stop the itch, when the prescription cream wouldn’t stop the itch, rubbing alcohol did.

longgone's avatar

Yes, it’s not lovely. But they don’t all itch at once, and I can mostly ignore them. I’m glad I’m not allergic like many of my family members – their bites swell up to crazy proportions.

JLeslie's avatar

I’ve had 20 bites at once more than once. Dusk! Don’t be out at dusk with any parts of the body exposed. I’m a mosquito magnet. I figure I don’t have to worry about West Nile infection, I’ve probably had it already. That’s what I tell myself when there are cases in the area. The workmate of my neighbor in TN died from it.

White dot in the middle usually is not a mosquito.

anniereborn's avatar

@all. I didn’t mean a white dot in the middle. Or even white. But all the mosquito bites I have ever had in my life had a raised pinkish middle with the surrounding skin being darker pink or red or whatever.

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