what's biting me? (not bedbugs)
December 1, 2019 7:51 AM   Subscribe

I keep on getting mosquito-like bites at night, but it's not bedbugs - I just had a very reputable company inspect visually and with a dog for bedbugs, and they found nothing. Bites are mainly on my ankles, but sometimes on arms and torso. We have no pets, so I don't think it's fleas, although there was a dead possum in our crawl space earlier this fall. I did see a mosquito in the house a few weeks ago, but it's cold now and I think they must all be hibernating. Ideas?
posted by schwinggg! to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by theora55 at 8:01 AM on December 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

Dust mites?

This happened to me several years ago. I had small red marks on my arms and legs.

The solution was to vacuum the mattress.
posted by cranberrymonger at 8:11 AM on December 1, 2019

It could very well be fleas, especially if they are biting your ankles. They can last a very long time without feeding indoors, and you yourself could have brought them in from outside originally.
posted by itsflyable at 8:26 AM on December 1, 2019 [7 favorites]

In my experience, almost certainly spiders. What do the bites look like?
posted by HotToddy at 9:07 AM on December 1, 2019

My friend had flea bites on her ankles because unbeknownst to her, the office cat would sleep under her work desk at night, depositing fleas in the rug that bit her the next day. Any chance you’re spending time close to a pet’s bedding space somewhere over the course of your week?
posted by nouvelle-personne at 9:31 AM on December 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

Fleas seem most likely to me, but are you totally sure you don’t have any mosquitoes still living indoors? They may be dormant outdoors but can stay active in your warm house if they are there.
posted by Dip Flash at 11:24 AM on December 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

Posting pics would likely be helpful. Flea bites and mosquito bites and spider bites all look different.

The fact that they are mostly on your ankles suggests fleas. Flea bites will generally occur multiple times in a line. How badly do you itch? Flea bites itch like craaaaazy. Ask me how I know. Or rather, ask meow how I know.
posted by nirblegee at 3:23 PM on December 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

I once lived through a couple of flea infestation - eradication cycles in the basement. The easiest way to determine if the place was still infested was to walk through the area wearing white socks - but not so thick/fluffy that the bugs could disappear into the nap. It was easy to see the bugs jump onto the fabric.
posted by she's not there at 4:23 PM on December 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

Odd one but we were once infested by some sort of mite that crawled in from our attic, across the ceiling, down the wall and into our bed. There was literally a trail of them once you looked closely enough. I think it was caused my a dead bird or such in the attic causing them to go after us as a secondary target. Look around for any paths from your bed to access points.
posted by Ferreous at 5:10 PM on December 1, 2019

I get dermatitis once or twice a year that sometimes resembles bug bites and itches intensely. The first time it happened I thought it was bedbugs. Usually my torso and thighs are affected. You may have true bug bites (and the ankles part seems suggestive) but just thought I'd mention the possibility of an alternative cause. A doctor should be able to tell the difference.
posted by emd3737 at 6:24 PM on December 1, 2019

If it quacks like a mosquito, it may very well be a mosquito. I certainly get a few every year that manage to move into my house and find a drop of water in which to reproduce.
posted by desuetude at 8:32 PM on December 1, 2019

If you've got houseplants, waterlogged saucers, soggy potting soil, or the plants themselves can provide indoor breeding grounds for mosquitoes, fleas, and other bugs.
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:13 PM on December 1, 2019

Speaking of skin conditions: urticaria, which can appear during changes in weather (like the cold temperatures and parched air at this time of year), or in response to that wool blanket you started using when the temperature dropped, or ___ (please see link). Hives can show up regularly in different places, while looking (and itching) an awful lot like bug bites.
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:24 PM on December 1, 2019

It sounds like fleas and they’re biting you because there are no pets to bite. Are the bites itchy hard and small dots? Are they cloistered together? Photos of the bites would help. I had a flea infestation without a pet once and it was awful. I had to bomb the house a couple of times, replace all the bedding and generally be uncomfortable for a month while I was eradicating those little jerks.
posted by katypickle at 4:48 AM on December 2, 2019

+1 sounds like fleas. Spider bites are more of an on-off occasional thing, because spiders have no particular incentive to bite you.
posted by serelliya at 11:26 AM on December 5, 2019

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