Do any other bugs besides bed bugs leave blood traces?
December 13, 2012 10:05 AM   Subscribe

Do any other bugs besides bed bugs leave blood traces?

Two unhelpful PCOs over the past six months have told me that they don't think I have bedbugs, because they haven't seen signs of cast skins/fecal matter or live bugs.

I've been getting bitten for six months now and my landlord won't do anything until I get positive ID. But, I have also been seeing blood streaks very similar to what is shown in this guide.

I do have a confirmed carpet beetle infestation, but those wouldn't leave brown smears/streaks on my sheets, would they?

I'm absolutely certain I have bed bugs, but sans positive ID--maybe it could be something else? The smears are what, in my mind, make it absolutely positively bed bugs.
posted by ArgyleGargoyle to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
Fleas? But you'd be able to see those if you paid attention. That's all I can think of besides bedbugs.
posted by emjaybee at 10:10 AM on December 13, 2012

Yeah maybe fleas, but they also leave little telltale spirals of poop. Plus you would feel them skittering along your limbs at night, very disconcerting.
posted by Max Power at 10:22 AM on December 13, 2012

I've been bitten by fleas in a house where I never saw poop spirals or any signs of the insects. Just bites. Yuck.
posted by DaveZ at 10:29 AM on December 13, 2012

I have carpet beetles too, and we only ever see them on or near the floor, never in the bed. So yea, I don't think it's carpet beetles.

Where are you getting bitten? When the family cat had fleas one summer, we would get bitten on our ankles and lower legs mostly.
posted by cabingirl at 10:47 AM on December 13, 2012

Oh hai I have knowledge
Do you have three bites in a row?
It is strange that you've found no carpaces -- the fuckers molt early and often.
posted by angrycat at 10:53 AM on December 13, 2012

Hello all, thanks for the input.

I don't have the 3 bites-in-a-row thing, but extensive research (I swear I've read every post on shows that one doesn't have to have that pattern.

FWIW, I get bites on my neck, my back (parts where there is easy access/clothes don't cover), haunches, just above the waistline of my underwear (although I wear sweats to bed, they are pretty loose), stomach, arms/shoulders. Pretty sure they aren't fleas : /

It may be carpet beetle dermatitis, but yeah; extension entomologist says that they don't really crawl into one's bed. I've done the whole bed-legs-in-cups thing, and caught like 1 beetle, but no bedbugs. Numerous inspections show no bedbug skins. But those traces...
posted by ArgyleGargoyle at 12:25 PM on December 13, 2012

During my nightmarish year with bedbugs, none of the PCOs ever found anything until the last (of several! like, more than six!!) visits, and then they only found a single bedbug, marooned in the Climb-Up Interceptors I'd placed beneath my sofa's legs. But I caught a couple of live bedbugs when they were crawling across my sofa toward me. (Oh, God... even talking about this still gives me the shivers!) Because I had the evidence, I received treatment. But as you can gather, the treatment did pretty much nothing to solve the problem.

The PCOs were undecided whether it was a "minor but persistent infestation," or a series of reinfestations from my or my roommate's workplaces. Who knows? My point is, you can have a case of bedbugs that eludes detection by PCOs. (And if so, I'm terribly sorry, and full of empathy for you.)

Things you might consider, in order of increasing expense:

1. Purchase Climb-Up Insect Interceptors and place them beneath every piece of furniture that has legs. Also purchase a passive bedbug monitor to stick on your boxsprings. Check them all regularly for signs of bugs, cast skins, fecal matter.

2. Hire a bedbug-sniffing dog to confirm that you've got bedbugs. (Their reputations vary tremendously; do your research and get recommendations from internet forums, etc. before hiring one. And by recommendations, I mean, recommendations of the specific dog, not just the company.) Note: a good dog handler will do a visual inspection as well. Don't settle for less! Best case scenario here, the dog doesn't hit on anything. Best worst case scenario: the dog and handler find the, ugh, nest, and then you can capture a couple with a Ziplock bag and do a show-and-tell for your landlord.

3. Spring for a heat treatment that kills everything in your apartment. Super expensive. Pretty damned effective.

4. Put all of your stuff in a moving truck, drive it to a state that allows Vikane treatment, and flood all your belongings with deadly, poisonous gas capable of killing even insect eggs. That's what I finally did. And then I took my belongings to a new apartment, where - knock on wood - I've had no troubles.

(That said, I STILL use Climb-ups and mattress encasements, because once you've had a brush with these critters, you never, ever want to be caught unprepared again.)
posted by artemisia at 2:40 PM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

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