What is biting me?
September 14, 2018 5:07 AM   Subscribe

I live in the Richmond VA area - a suburban house with a heavily wooded backyard and a large deck. The last few nights when taking the dog out at night I've come back in with 3 or 4 red, itchy welts on my legs.

- I'm only outside for 30-60 seconds. My dog doesn't waste time.
- I don't leave the deck.

When I come back in my legs are immediately itchy and the red bites are apparent within a couple of minutes. Here is the weird part though. If I put a little hydrocortisone cream on my legs the itching stops almost immediately, the welts fade, and there is no sign of the bites the next morning.

- This is unlike any mosquito bite I've ever had in my life as they linger for a day or two.
- I don't feel the bite, which I think rules out noseeums.

My wife is having the same issue.

What is biting us, and do we have any options other than slater ourselves in DEET to go outside for 60 seconds?

Note: It's a rental house, so fence in the yard, so we don't have to leave the house with the dog, is not an option.
posted by COD to Health & Fitness (7 answers total)
It still sounds like mosquito bites to me (in NC, hi neighbor!), maybe a different species than you’re used to so your reaction is different (and milder). Is your skin exposed, like you’re in shorts and short sleeves?

Besides deet, lemon eucalyptus oil works well against mosquitos and smells better than deet imo. You could also wear long sleeves and pants that are loose against your skin, since mozzie mouthparts aren’t that long.
posted by Drosera at 6:04 AM on September 14, 2018 [3 favorites]

That is exactly my reaction to mosquitos, especially this summer in the mid-Atlantic (howdy from MD!), including the way the bites linger. They are so much worse if I scratch them at all. I carry hydrocortisone on me like some people carry chapstick.

In terms of other options, we've had some luck with both of these outdoor contraptions: a manual on-switch, battery-powered lantern thing with butane and insect repellent inserts and a permanently-on and lit but silent insect death trap.
posted by juliplease at 7:39 AM on September 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

Fleas? You might have some wildlife living under your deck? (some friends had a terrible time with fleas from foxes nesting under their deck).
posted by vunder at 11:02 AM on September 14, 2018

I think it takes a while for mosquitoes to find you, maybe tracking CO2. I usually have 15 minutes of safety before they attack. Also they would go for your arms too. Fleas could very well be the culprits, jumping up from ground level.
posted by Botanizer at 11:17 AM on September 14, 2018

Fellow Richmonder here -- sounds like no-see-ums, maybe
posted by newmoistness at 12:32 PM on September 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

Also in Richmond. Maybe chiggers?
posted by 4ster at 2:15 PM on September 14, 2018

My reaction to mosquito bites recently changed. Suddenly it was like I was getting flea bites, but it always happened right after I'd been outside waving off mosquitoes. Red welts would persist for days -- sure, I was scratching them, but in the past they'd just evaporate after minutes or hours or so.

The weirdest part is that all this started immediately after I got an allergy panel done, to see if I was allergic to any plants or foods. We didn't test for insects. It just seems like one of those tests triggered a new behavior in me.
posted by intermod at 9:43 PM on September 14, 2018

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