Can you get mosquito bites in the winter or should I be concerned about bedbugs?
November 27, 2010 3:47 PM   Subscribe

BedbugParanoiaFilter: I found a mosquito-looking bite on my torso. Can you get mosquito bites in the winter or should I be concerned about bedbugs?

It's whitish in the centre with a spreading red area around it, which is exactly how my mosquito bites tend to look (I am slightly allergic). It does not itch, however, like my mosquito bites usually do. I've inspected myself thoroughly and can find no other bites.

I do live in Vancouver, Canada where bedbugs have been a problem. I also ride public transit all the time which is supposed to be where a lot of people pick them up.

Could this be bedbugs? How can I check my apartment for bedbugs? I am really panicky about the thought because I can't afford to pay an exterminator and replace my stuff, and I don't even have anywhere else to stay.

Anonymous because I'm embarrassed about my paranoia. Thanks.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Bedbugs will not just bite once.

There is a bitch of a mosquito in my apartment as I type - they don't completely disappear until the temperatures are consistently below 60F.
posted by omarlittle at 3:51 PM on November 27, 2010

If it's one bite, and it's an isolated circumstance (you don't get more bites throughout the next few weeks), it's probably not a bedbug bite.

I'd say wait a few weeks and see if any more bites show up. Then troll other bed bug threads for the various capture techniques. A popular option is to put double-stick tape on your bed's legs, or to stand the bed's legs in dishes of baby oil.
posted by Sara C. at 3:59 PM on November 27, 2010

Don't freak out just yet. Even if you do have bedbugs you won't need to replace everything.

If you really want to be sure you'll have to show your bite to a doctor who knows how to determine what kind of insect it is. You could try to catch a bug, by placing double sided tape around your bed legs and maybe one will crawl up and get stuck. You could also have someone come in and inspect.

I don't know what the tenant laws are up in Canada, but I would imagine they're not that dissimilar from those in the U.S. Most cities do have "warrant of habitability" laws on the books, which means that landlords are required to provide you with vermin free living quarters. Bedbugs are considered vermin. If it comes to it, your landlord should pay for the exterminator.

Having dealt with bedbugs before in an apartment situation, please note, that your neighbors could also have the bugs, so check with them. If they do your whole building should exterminate at the same time. If you don't, then the bugs can just travel from apartment to apartment infesting and reinfesting your space.

If you do have bedbugs, don't get rid of your mattress just yet. You don't want to get a whole new mattress just to have it get reinfested. Instead buy some allergy covers for you mattress and box springs. They're designed to keep out dust mites, which are much smaller than bedbugs so they'll keep the bedbugs from nesting in your mattress.

There's lot of other stuff you can do on your own. Check out the bedbugger yahoo group.
posted by brookeb at 4:02 PM on November 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Are you sure it is a bite - could it possibly be ringworm (fungal infection)?
posted by gudrun at 4:39 PM on November 27, 2010

I got bit by a mosquito just this past week. I'm in Northern Utah, so it's pretty cold here. I'm sure it was a mosquito because I found the little bugger and killed it.
posted by TooFewShoes at 5:52 PM on November 27, 2010

I also live in Vancouver and take public transit. I get isolated bites like this occasionally, and it's never turned out to be bedbugs. I vaguely assume they're spider bites or something.
posted by twirlip at 6:00 PM on November 27, 2010

FWIW, I'm in Vancouver, and there's currently a few mosquitoes in the apartment. So, don't assume they all die with what Vancouver calls Winter.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 6:48 PM on November 27, 2010

Could it be a zit? Or a flea bite?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:51 PM on November 27, 2010

I live in New York, and just two days ago killed a whopping mosquito in my car.
posted by Andrhia at 8:16 PM on November 27, 2010

MRSA can start out looking like an insect bite, too. If it gets bigger over the course of the next day or so and starts to hurt, don't wait - go see a doctor.
posted by brownrd at 10:06 PM on November 27, 2010

Actually bedbugs may bite only once in one spot. But still, if you only have one bite in one spot, I would avoid stressing out about it too much. See if you get more bites, in multiples, in different areas of your body.

It's so hard to actually find a live bedbug (especially in small infestations, which yours would definitely be if you only had one bite.) Don't put yourself through the stress of worrying on such scant evidence.
posted by houndsoflove at 4:39 AM on November 28, 2010

In bedbug-frenzied NYC, I've heard several anecdotes this month about "I got bitten by a mosquito! In November! I'd have guessed it was a bedbug but I killed that bugger myself!"
posted by chelseagirl at 7:44 AM on November 28, 2010

Could it be a spider? I just had a spider drop down from the ceiling onto my arm yesterday, and it's 28 degrees F here. Spiders don't bite humans as often as mosquitoes/bed bugs/fleas/etc, but they do bite sometimes.
posted by Vorteks at 11:32 AM on November 28, 2010

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