Summer buggin', happened so fast
August 15, 2014 6:16 AM   Subscribe

I have some kind of seasonal bug bites and it's freaking me out and driving me crazy. What is going on!?

Every year, around late-summer through October, I start getting random unexplained bites while I sleep, usually on my arms, sometimes on other appendages. (This year, so far, it's just been on my arms and neck.) They're a weird collection of bites: Some look exactly like mosquito bites, some are itty bitty pinpricks, some balloon up to massive proportions, some show up in groups, some are completely alone and random.

I then go through the ensuing panic about bedbugs, examining my mattress, looking for sets of bites, trawling the bedbugger forum in utter terror. Etcetera. Nothing. And then the first chill comes and it usually stops immediately or soon after.

Five years of this. This has happened in three different apartments, multiple mattresses. My wardrobe has changed. I don't think I have any pieces of furniture that are the same as the first time this happened. The only similarity is the season and the location (NYC).

So I'm at a loss. I'm tired of totally panicking every time this happens. A few qualifying factors: I have cats, although I have only had them for a year and a half. I don't own any houseplants. Right now, I'm living in a shithole where there are about 30 different places bugs could get in because I'm pretty sure the building was constructed by a drunk person.

Also, I rarely leave the house because I work from home and I don't buy furniture off Craigslist.

And mosquitoes love me. I have no doubt that at least some of these bites are mosquitoes. We have seen lots of mosquitoes in our apartment. Maybe all of the bites are (hallelujah!?), but they don't all look like mosquito bites.

Last: I found my cat in hot pursuit of an itty bitty brown insect crawling between the floorboards the other day. From all my experience staring at bedbug pictures online, I don't think this is a bedbug — it was much too skinny, not rounded, and about 3-5mm long. I didn't think much of it at the time but now I'm panicking.

ALSO: I am aware it still could be bedbugs. I am SO AWARE. But I'm looking for other things that could be going on because so far bedbugs has come up inconclusive.

I'm trying to move and rent out my room so I'd like to get this figured out. Thank you!
posted by good day merlock to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
It's been my experience that a lot of mysterious bug bites while sleeping are spider bites.
posted by edgeways at 6:25 AM on August 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Since they might be indoor mosquitoes, do these things first:

1) Sleep under a bednet:

2) Put stoppers over all your drains to cut off their water source:

3) Use an electric flyswatter to kill any you see:

I used to have indoor mosquitoes and those three things helped a LOT in cutting down on my bites. It was very gratifying to wake up in the morning to a couple of mosquitoes hovering on the other side of the bednet -- "We can SMELL her," I imagined them thinking, "Why can't we TASTE her?" Then it was zappin' time.

If you're still getting bit at night even after hanging up a bed net then it may be time to call an exterminator for bedbugs. But start with the anti-mosquito solutions first because they're a lot cheaper and may completely solve your problem.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:22 AM on August 15, 2014

No ideas, but very interested in the answers, too. My wife and I sleep in the same damn bed, but she wakes up covered in bugbites while I do not. Symptoms are otherwise the same as gdm's.
posted by Mogur at 7:31 AM on August 15, 2014

I'm also a mosquito magnet, and while some people, like Mogur, get bit and have no reaction, I get big itchy welts. Mosquitos are jerks. They'll take a taste, and maybe you move, so they try again, and then decide perhaps your exposed neck will have tastier blood. Also, spiders.

To get rid of spiders, vacuum frequently, especially in out of the way places, and use a broom, dustmop, swiffer, whatever, to dust the ceiling and corners. If you get mosquitos in the house, check the screens for holes, and find their entrance so you can seal it up. I generally read before bed, and will lull the little bastidges into thinking it's safe, then kill them when they come in for a snack. They get in when I leave the door open too late in the day. Sometimes you can take a deep breath, then blow at the mosquito It will sense the CO2 and follow it back to you, in arm's reach for a death blow.

I remember seeing a link for building a bed bug trap if you need to rule them out. Since they live in your home, the population tends to grow, and I don't think they're seasonal, so it doesn't sound like bedbugs to me.
posted by theora55 at 7:54 AM on August 15, 2014

Response by poster: Yeah, another thing to note (thanks Mogur!): My boyfriend, who frequently sleeps over, has never been bitten. He also does not get mosquito bites.
posted by good day merlock at 7:56 AM on August 15, 2014

good day merlock: "They're a weird collection of bites: Some look exactly like mosquito bites, some are itty bitty pinpricks, some balloon up to massive proportions, some show up in groups, some are completely alone and random."

I don't know if it depends on how long the mosquito gets to suck on me or other factors, but I have had that kind of variety of reactions to what were definitely mosquito bites.
posted by desuetude at 8:45 AM on August 15, 2014

some show up in groups

my cat

Do any of them look like flea bites? (Note, that picture is of a lot of flea bites for one area.)

Also, if you're trying to google different bugs, you might have better luck googling pictures of bites and working backwards.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:12 PM on August 15, 2014

Response by poster: Yeah, pretty sure its not a flea bite. No symptoms with my cats.
posted by good day merlock at 1:13 PM on August 15, 2014

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