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Can you identify these bug bites?
May 31, 2007 8:03 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone identify the insect(s) that caused these bug bites?
posted by banished to Science & Nature (23 answers total)
 
fleas? I need context.
posted by thebrokedown at 8:09 PM on May 31, 2007


chiggers? If so, put clear nail polish on the bites to stop the itch.
posted by rcavett at 8:11 PM on May 31, 2007


Maybe bed bugs?
posted by I Foody at 8:12 PM on May 31, 2007


Having several bites in a line like that is characteristic of bed bugs, I'm sorry to say. Here's an example.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 8:26 PM on May 31, 2007


I don't think it's fleas - my house got infested once due to my lovely cat, and my bites were 1) almost exclusively around my feet/ankels, 2) much smaller bites (the size of pinpricks), and 3) much more numerous and concentrated.
posted by gatorae at 8:28 PM on May 31, 2007


Yeah, I'm leaning towards bedbugs, too... if you're in NYC, especially, as that area is going through an endemic. But we do need some backstory if we're to give any sort of accurate answer.
posted by calhound at 8:28 PM on May 31, 2007


Another vote for bedbugs
posted by winston at 8:28 PM on May 31, 2007


Went to a cottage by the water on 5/26/07. On soft land, near a ditch, mosquitoes and other insects present, but we were not outside too often because it was raining. But the bites appeared 4 days later and were itchy on 5/30/07. I slept right next to her and have no bites.
posted by banished at 8:35 PM on May 31, 2007


Thirding the reaction to bedbugs, although they seem to get more welt-y. This might help in bite identification, and the site as a whole is a good resource for you if indeed you do end up having a bedbug infestation.
posted by WCityMike at 8:51 PM on May 31, 2007


Many people don't react to bedbug bites — there's been plenty of 'WTF?' reactions where a husband has no bites but a wife does.

Take the sheets off your bed and check the mattress seams, and behind the bedboards. Check the cracks and crevices of any bedside furniture with a flashlight.
posted by WCityMike at 8:52 PM on May 31, 2007


They look too small to be bedbugs, and bedbug bites don't usually itch much. I would also vote for fleas or chiggers or something very small like that.
posted by ch1x0r at 8:54 PM on May 31, 2007


They were very itchy for sure.
posted by banished at 9:19 PM on May 31, 2007


Obviously this might not be the case because you're lifting up some clothes for the picture, but I got some similar irritation just by passing through some tall grasses and having a contact histamine reaction (I'm very allergic, apparently)

But if you were, say, rolling around in grass, I can see how it could happen. :P
posted by cowbellemoo at 9:57 PM on May 31, 2007


It's a bit hard to tell from the photo, is there a chance she was wearing clothing--halter top, bathing suit--that exposed her skin along that line of bites?
posted by nenequesadilla at 10:04 PM on May 31, 2007


Weren't rolling around in grass (were mostly inside), and she wasn't anything exposing her skin because it was raining and kind of cold. I am thinking it wouldn't be bedbugs because like WCityMike and ch1x0r said, the welts / bites are not that big, plus they itch a lot. Is it possible since the bites didn't appear for 4 days that the bites didn't come from being at the cottage at all? I had never heard of chiggers, but that could be, unless they stay mostly outside, because we were mostly inside.
posted by banished at 12:12 AM on June 1, 2007


Those are definitely aphid bites.
posted by Balna Watya at 12:42 AM on June 1, 2007


Bedbugs don't itch? Are you kidding me? For me they were insanely itchy, and blew up to massive welts. Having said that, my flatmate (who unfortunately introduced them to the flat) had no reaction at all, yet his bed was absolutely crawliing with them. I have the heebie jeebies just thinking about it. For your sake, I hope to god they're not bedbugs, they're notoriously difficult to eradicate.
posted by Jubey at 1:28 AM on June 1, 2007


Those are indeed bedbug bites. You see how they're in a bizarre straight line? Bedbugs are pretty much the only things that do that.

The upside is that they don't carry any human diseases, so beyond being annoying and gross you're fine. Check under your mattress - sometimes you can actually see them.
posted by borkingchikapa at 4:14 AM on June 1, 2007


you might want to mention where you are in the world, as tiny biting bugs have been moving around to new habitata recently.
posted by mr_book at 5:33 AM on June 1, 2007


Looks like chiggers to me, they commonly bite under an elastic waistband or tight spots in clothing, and usually come in a cluster. Combined with recent history of being around grass, it would fit. On the other hand, if you slept in a bed where transients come through a lot, it could easily be bedbugs.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 6:18 AM on June 1, 2007


I agree that they are bedbug bites, because as mentioned above bedbugs feed in a line like that. The size of the bite will have 100% to do with your allergic reaction to the bite, as well as how much they itch. For me they itched horribly.

They are especially out of control in the NYC area and I have heard reports recently of outbreaks of bedbugs in the California area. The only way to know for sure is to pull out your mattress and check around the seams for blood trails. Depending on how old they are you may not see anything, or you may see very large nasty bugs all over the bottom of your bed. I just hope for your sake you don't catch them in the middle of the night.
posted by trishthedish at 7:27 AM on June 1, 2007


It's entirely possible that you could sleep in a bedbug infested bed and not get bitten while the person sharing the bed with you was eaten alive. Apparently, body temperature is important to the bugs and even small differences can result in one person getting bitten and another not.

As others have pointed out, that string of bites is characteristic of bedbugs. If they are disturbed mid-feeding, they simply shift over a bit and bite again. This is why victims often find a line of 3-4 bites.

As for the itchiness, everyone reacts differently to bites, but many people complain of persistent (and at times maddening) itchiness. This was certainly my experience, and it was aggravated by the fact that the bites took forever to heal. But again, everyone reacts differently so I wouldn't base your assessment on that factor alone.

It sounds as though these bites occurred somewhere other than your home. Given this, I would suggest you not take any chances but wash your clothes and sheets immediately in hot water and THOROUGHLY vacuum your bedroom/apt/home. Then I would monitor your partner to see if she gets any more bites. If she does, it will unfortunately be time to call an exterminator. Hopefully though, you haven't brought them home with you.
posted by anonymous78 at 3:44 PM on June 1, 2007


Did you remove the image? Can't identify nothing.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 2:15 PM on June 2, 2007


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