General Question

janbb's avatar

Chiggers or no see-ums?

Asked by janbb (58697points) 5 days ago

As some of you who follow my exciting story may know, I have periodic episodes of really, really itchy insect bites. They seem to happen both inside and outside the house – and I can’t see them! I though some years ago it was fleas and did a whole flea thing but it isn’t. Lately I feel it’s no see’ums but I just was reading about chiggers and maybe it’s them.

Here’s the deal: I can’t see them, I think they’re inside in my office as well as outside, small welts from the bites and they itch like crazy for several days. I had an exterminator which helped some but not completely.

What says the collective?

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23 Answers

canidmajor's avatar

In the Bahamas they call them “Flying Teeth”.

Chiggers love restricted spaces on your person. Under the waistband, bra band stuff like that. Are they being…er…invasive in your clothing?

janbb's avatar

@canidmajor No – they’re nipping at my ankles and legs for the main,

kritiper's avatar

Set up a desk lamp on the floor over a plate of water and leave the lamp on over night and any other lights off. See what may appear in the plate in the morning.
Do you have any pets?
I suspect fleas.

stanleybmanly's avatar

As I’m sure I said previously, since others are apparently unaffected and you have yet to isolate a visible suspect since the fleas, I would suggest employing scrapings from affected areas to slides for examination under a microscope. You must know someone with one you can borrow. Our skins are just crawling with critters, and I suspect you have uncommon allergies to anything from their dander to other obnoxious leavings which don’t afflict the rest of us.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

No -see-ums used to bite my youngest son when he was 3 or 4 years old around his neck and head. Swollen glands in neck.

Fleas tend to bite between the floor and mid-calf.

Chiggers leave sometimes large red areas from the saliva injected into you body, very itchy.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Legs and ankles. That’s a genuine clue. Are they seasonal as well?

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@janbb I have no clue what could possibly be causing your bites, but I can offer you my heartfelt wishes for your relief.

jca2's avatar

When you say legs and ankles (especially if it’s the legs below knee height, which you didn’t specify but just in case), then to me it’s spelling fleas.

chyna's avatar

I keep thinking that too @jca2, but she hasn’t seen them and I would think she would see fleas.

jca2's avatar

@chyna: Times I’ve had fleas, they’re so miniscule that unless you’re really looking for them, you won’t see them. Even if you’re looking for them, they’re hard to spot, depending on how bad the infestation is.

kritiper's avatar

Fleas are real jumpers and if they are in my bedroom, I can hear them hit the blankets.

jca2's avatar

What I used to find with fleas is, if you stare obsessively at a black spot, and then reach out quietly and touch the black spot, if it’s a flea, it will disappear (because it jumps unless you squeeze it and kill it). If it’s not a flea, you’ll still have the black spot there (meaning, it’s probably dirt, which of course doesn’t move).

Also, if it’s a flea and you throw something on it, it will jump elsewhere and if you look hard enough, you’ll see where it landed.

janbb's avatar

It’s not fleas. As i said above, that’s been eliminated from the calculation.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Do you walk outside much, like in the grass? Unless they’re yard fleas I can’t imagine anything except allergies.

Zaku's avatar

I’d say move to the West Coast, where we don’t have any no-see-ums and no chiggers, and I think no flies that bite humans either. Just rattlesnakes and mountain lions. ;-)

stanleybmanly's avatar

I wouldn’t be so sure. It isn’t just the palm trees that thrive absent those Northeastern Winters

anniereborn's avatar

I finally figured out what my “bed bugs” were, so I will impart that knowledge. Perhaps carpet beetles. They do not bite and they are not the problem, but their larvae are. They also do not bite but some people get contact dermatitis from them.

chyna's avatar

^How did you get rid of them?

anniereborn's avatar

@chyna A ton of vacuuming anywhere and everywhere. A lot of laundry, especially all bedding. They don’t live in beds per se. But, they are attracted to body oils as well as natural fibers.They really like things like pet hair. They are a pain to get rid of, but not as horrible as bed bugs. And if you aren’t allergic to the larvae at least you don’t get itchy and bitten.

seawulf575's avatar

I had a bad case of chiggers when I was younger. Here are a couple things to look for:

Do you live in an area where chiggers are normal? Usually a warmer clime, but if they are in your area, others that have lived there a long time will be able to tell.

If you do have chiggers in the area, do you ever go into foliage? Flower beds, tall grass, etc? The chiggers live on leaves and hop to a host as they pass through the foliage.

If you get these “bites” are they bumps or just itchy areas?

If they are bumps, look for a little (pin head size) dark red spot (hence their other name: red bugs) in the middle of it. That is the chigger.

I know of two home remedies to get rid of them. The first it to individually scratch each little bug off. Have to target the bug…merely scratching won’t do it. This is an extremely irritating way to do it, but it will get rid of the bug. The other way is to wash the affected areas with a fairly strong bleach solution.

janbb's avatar

Thanks Wulfie! I don’t think there are chiggers around here but there also weren’t no see-ums until recently. I see little bites but no red dots in the middle. From what @canidmajor said, I’m going back to that theory instead of chiggers. I’m going to a dermatologist later in the summer and will see what they say.

@All The major group of bites has subsided for now and I just have a few big itchies left. But it’s made me very skittish about being outdoors and even in my office.

anniereborn's avatar

@janbb After researching all kinds of bugs I feel skittish to go anywhere!

janbb's avatar

@anniereborn That’s true! I’d invite you to come visit but maybe best not!!

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