Summer is most people's favorite season for a reason: Its days are packed with backyard barbecues, pool parties, and long days at the beach. But while the dog days provide sunshine and sangria, they also contain a nuisance found not during the rest of the year: bugs.
And it's not just that they're annoying, either; unfortunately, many of these irritating insects also have the potential to cause serious harm, thanks to their venom and the diseases they carry. So if we can't avoid bugs altogether, then what is there to be done to prevent a trip to the hospital?
Well, for starters, memorize the signs we've compiled here that a bug bite is doing some serious damage to your body. Though swelling is a common reaction to most bug bites, excessive swelling can be a cause for concern.
If you notice that the area around your bite is continuing to swell after a few days—or even that the swelling is extending to other parts of the body—then it's vital that you seek medical attention to identify the type of bite and receive treatment accordingly.
Thanks to your body's autoimmune response, most insect bites will swell at the sight of puncture, but few will bruise unless there's something serious going on. Should a mysterious bite start to turn black and blue, it's likely that something is happening inside your body that needs to be checked out, like an allergic reaction to a mosquito's saliva or even a staph infection. Though uncommon, bug bites can cause severe allergic reactions that result in fatal heart attacks.
If you ever notice a bug bite on your body and subsequently begin to experience chest pain, head to the hospital right away. These symptoms are indicative of a more serious issue, such as anaphylactic shock, and they shouldn't be ignored. Feeling dizzy after getting bitten by a bug could mean that you are allergic to said pest, according to the University of Texas' University Health Services.
In other cases, it could also mean that you've been bitten by a black widow spider—and either way, you'll want to seek medical attention. Nausea can accompany several serious bug bite complications, including Lyme disease, Chikungunya virus, and venomous spider bites. Luckily, most of these complications can easily be treated by a medical professional, so long as you address them as soon as they start showing symptoms.
Never ignore a bullseye rash surrounding a bug bite. In most cases, this rash is a telltale indication of Lyme disease, a tick-borne illness that, if left untreated, can cause arthritis, neurological disorders, and heart palpitations.
If your temperature starts to spike after getting stung by an unknown bug, then you might be dealing with a brown recluse spider bite.
Unknown & Mysterious Bug Bites
Unfortunately, these spiders have venom more dangerous than that of a rattlesnake, and so if there's even a slight possibility that you've been bitten by one, you should head to the doctor immediately.
If you come back from an exotic vacation to a country like Brazil or China and begin to experience profuse sweating coupled with other symptoms like a high fever and diarrhea, you might be dealing with malaria. Because vaccinations to prevent malaria are required before traveling, it's unlikely that you'll ever come down with this mosquito-transmitted illness, but it's best to beware of the warning signs nonetheless.
Yet another reason to protect yourself from mosquitos in the summertime is Dengue fever. Uncommon but possible to contract in the United States, this illness can cause everything from pain behind the eyes to severe headaches—and, as it progresses, it can result in bleeding from the nose and gums, circulatory system failure, and liver enlargement.Your bedroom is supposed to be more than just a place to sleep.
All of this is ruined when you have a bed bug infestation, which can lead to being covered in annoying, itchy bites and keep you from sleeping as well as you need to. Getting bitten at night with no other signs of bed bugs is not uncommon, but there are several possibilities as to the actual cause.
As you likely know, bed bugs feed on humans, or rather, on their blood. As such, they leave marks just as mosquitoes and other pests do when making a meal out of unsuspecting people. You want to look not just for discoloration, but also for swelling or bumpiness, which can indicate a bed bug bite. But, since bed bug bites can often look very similar to other types of bites or even rashesyou will need to look for other signs of bed bugs before you make a final determination that your home has been infested.
When looking for these signs, you will need to use tools such as a flashlight and magnifying glass, as bed bugs and their eggs are very small:. As gross as it may sound, look first for blood stains on your mattress or sheets. If you have been bitten more in certain areas, such as your upper back, look at corresponding areas of your bed for blood splatters. Fully-fed bed bugs can also burst in your bed if you happen to roll over them in your sleep, leaving larger, more visible blood splatters on your bedsheets.
This will often be very tiny black streaks that you probably would not even notice without a bright light and magnifying glass. This is proof that the bugs have been in the area. Bed bug shells are another tell-tale sign of an infestation. Bed bugs shed their shells as they grow to maturity, and the resulting shells are a pale color and only perhaps half as long as a grain of rice, which is about the size of the actual bugs.
Use all of your senses when looking for bed bugs. Although bed bugs can make a home out of just about any area where they can find safety and rest until their next meal, there are certain places that they are more likely to locate themselves. Bed bugs often live inside of box springs, which provides them with a secluded area that is dark and away from humans.
It also keeps them close to where you sleep for when they need to feed again. Under the mattress is another place bed bugs may place themselves for many of the same reasons.
Keep in mind that they may also live around your bed frame, as well.Signs of Bed Bug Bites - Health Checks
Dressers, which provide lots of clothes to hide in and little cracks, are a popular place. In my experience, the best and most effective bed bug traps are usually the ones that are designed to work in the simplest of ways.
MYSTERY BITES: Insect and Non-Insect Causes
You also get a very generous 8 interceptors per pack. Your ceiling may also have cracks that bed bugs have gotten into. These little holes provide a place for bed bugs to hide or place their eggs. One thing that you must keep in mind when looking for bed bugs is that you may have actually been bitten by a different type of insect.
There are a lot of similarities here. First of all, they are both very small types of bugs that are parasitic and prefer to infiltrate indoor environments with controlled climates.
Mosquitoes are another possibility, though less likely. Mosquito bites do have the same itchy feeling and bumpiness that bed bug bites can have. However, if you have been bitten by mosquitoes, the bites are likely to be located in different areas than with bed bugs, since bed bugs bite a lot in areas of your skin that touch your bed or furniture your back, for instance. Mosquitoes are more likely to bite any area that is uncovered when outside. Scabies are one last possibility.
These nasty parasites are different from bed bugs in that they actually burrow into your skin and deposit eggs there. You can also call a company that provides dogs specifically trained to sniff out bed bugs.If bites or welts are found on the body in the morning, it is sometimes assumed to be bedbugs.
Several other insects, however, also bite during the night, including mosquitoes, bat bugs, mites and fleas. Many of these bites look the same, so it's still a good idea to look for bedbugs in the mattress or other clues to figure out what caused the bites. Most types of mosquitoes prefer to feed at dawn and dusk, but some types bite at night. Mosquitoes are more likely to feed at night if it's warm out and if mosquitoes have a way into the house, such as an open window or a torn window screen.
Bedbug bites look similar to mosquito bites; both have a characteristic wheal and flare reaction. Bat bugs are similar to bedbugs, but they only live where colonies of bats are found. Bat bugs leave once a colony of bats disperses.
These bugs sometimes bite humans, but their real source of food is bats. Removing a bat infestation or sealing off the area between the bat infestation and the sleeping area eliminates bat bugs. Mites that live on birds and rodents that nest in the building sometimes bite humans at night. Bites from mites usually cause red papules that are very itchy. Trapping rodents and discouraging birds from nesting in the air conditioning units usually eliminates a mite problem.
Fleas live on pets and bite humans in their sleep. Fleas usually leave several bites on the arms and legs. Flea bites have reddened centers, unlike bedbug bites, according to Penn State. Flea bites also tend to be smaller and harder than mosquito or bedbug bites. Bedbugs leave bites that look like mosquito bites.
If it is suspected that the bites are caused by bedbugs, take the bed apart and look for bugs in the seams of the mattress, the joints of the bed frame and underneath box springs. The bugs or the dark spots of their excrement are visible during an infestation. If the bed has bedbugs, the pests are also likely going to be found in furniture and other places throughout the home. Rebekah Richards is a professional writer with work published in the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution," "Brandeis University Law Journal" and online at tolerance.
Richards earned a master's degree at Carnegie Mellon University. Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story. Cranshaw, et al. Share this article. Rebekah Richards. Show Comments.Parasitosis is the condition of being parasitized, bitten, or lived on by another organism. This fact sheet is intended to shed some light on situations where diagnosis of a biting problem is difficult to obtain.
Other arthropods that are sometimes found indoors and are capable of biting or irritating human skin include:. Most of these pests infest homes temporarily and can be controlled via pesticide treatment, eliminating the source of the infestation, or just a simple bath in the case of thrips or pyemotes mites. Arthropod bites are often hard to diagnose without an examination or a good description of the bite sinformation about how and when the bites occurred, and ideally a specimen of the suspected pest.
Although many biting arthropods leave clues that help with diagnosis such as the pattern and types of lesionsit is often very difficult to determine the cause of a bite with certainty without a specimen or observation of the bite or sting taking place. It is essential to diagnose, at least in a general sense, the cause of a problem before prescribing a treatment.
Without a confirmed pest identification, use of pesticide sprays or lice creams should be avoided. Pesticides generally kill insects and mites by affecting the nervous systems of these pests.
Pesticides can affect humans in the same way if overused, or used improperly. Creams and shampoos designed for the control of scabies or lice are pesticides. These products are generally safe when label directions are followed; but even over-the-counter medications can be dangerous if over-applied or used improperly. In the same way, household pesticide sprays and foggers should not be used repeatedly against unseen pests.
Although people may initially believe that such applications help usually temporarilythese types of applications may cause more long-term health problems than they solve. Wiping up a crawling insect and placing it in alcohol is fine for larger specimens.
In cases where pests are extremely small or difficult to observe such as with mitestape or sticky traps are useful for specimen collection. Use tape to pick up small specimens directly from the skin. Sticky traps are cardboard cards with a glue surface for capturing small crawling insects. They can be purchased through do-it-yourself pest control stores, online, or through pest control companies.
Roach hotels, such as are commonly sold in grocery and hardware stores, are also suitable for small specimen collection. Place several sticky traps in areas of the home or office where bites are believed to occur.
Along the edges of walls and under and around beds are good locations. Even very small mites can be seen with the naked eye or a 10X magnifying lens once trapped on a sticky board surface. Many different kinds of harmless insects are liable to be trapped on sticky boards. Field guides with pictures can help with identification and are available in most libraries and bookstores.
When identification is in doubt, bring the sticky board to a pest control company or other qualified expert. Samples of vacuum cleaner bag contents, or sweepings, or general collections of dead insects are seldom helpful in diagnosing problems with biting arthropods.
Mites are small arthropods with eight legs, more closely related to spiders than insects. Several mite species can be found in homes and offices. Some are associated with stored foods, such as grain, cheese, and flour mites. These are most commonly found in food storage areas with high humidities. Others, like bird and rodent mites, are found in buildings with bird or rodent infestations see factsheet.Most insects with the exception of certain species of mites and also scabies are visible to the naked eye.
If you have welts or red bumps that you think are caused by bug bites, be certain before you start applying pesticides and insecticides and trying to kill something that is not there. Bugs, bedbugs, mites, spiders, and other insects frequently annoy people and cause them to itch, scratch and worry. Sometimes this is a real occurrence.
Sometimes it is purely imaginary and if not resolved, may lead to nervous disorders, imagined itches, excessive scratching, bleeding and even extreme fear of pests that do not exist. If you are one of the growing numbers of people that are being "bitten" by something, but you can't see it, then don't feel all alone. Sometimes, the "bugs" may be real.
Sometimes they lay totally within the mind of the affected individual. If you are faced with the possibility of an imaginary infestation, a very careful and thorough examination of the premises should be conducted before applying any pesticides. It is important to know that itches can be caused by many things.
Of course the number 1 suspect is always the bite or invasion of certain pests known to bite humans, such as bedbugsfleaslicecertain mites but not house dust mitestickssome species of thrips or psylids and so forth. If there are no signs of any bites, or bite marks, and you cannot see any visible bugs, then the chances are that the problem is not insect related, and is an "itch". If however, small red dots do exist, then diagnosis of those dots needs to be performed.
In cases where a single red bump is visible, there is a good chance that it is a spider or insect related bite. If there are multiple red dots or bumps, then a diagnosis needs to be made by a qualifed physician. Petechia is a very common disorder or condition where a small red or purple spots have caused bleeding into the skin. If Petechia is a consideration, then you absolutely need to consult with your Doctor. Bug and insect bites usually have a red swollen center and contain "pus" which can be either whitish-yellow or yellow-brown due to a pyogenic bacterial infection.
Common irritants encountered in the workplace or other environments include tiny airborne particles of paper, metals, ceramics, fiberglass fibers, or other insulation materials. Exposure to chemicals, changes in temperature or humidity seasonal changes, like the dryness that occurs when the winter heating season beginsor simply reaction to scratching due to some other condition may be involved.
Before applying pesticides for bugs and insects, you need to be absolutely certain that an infestation exists. If an insect bite is visible and there is real evidence bite marks, bumps, redness, etc then the insect needs to be identified before ANY pesticide is applied. Simply applying pesticides indoors to try and kill something you can't see and have no evidence of is like shooting a gun into the air hoping to hit something Ron Dawson A. The danger is that over application of pesticides indoors is likely.
Applications of various pesticides without any real target pest can cause frustration, depression, and cost a ton of money. If a true problem with a biting bug is identified - for example, with bedbugs or mites, then the situation should be treated and managed appropriately.
Most pest control companies will not deal with a customer that has itches and is scratching from an insect that cannot be found or cannot be identified.
Treatment for insects and application of pesticides without a true target pest is illegal in many states. That is why if you are suffering from itching and are scratching then you need to take control of the situation, and think logically about what is happening. If however you have bug bites and your doctor cannot diagnose any physical condition that would cause you to think that you are being bitten by insects then there are some things that you can do to help.
Doing so could cause acute poisoning and could land you in the hospital, or even worse, cause death! Remember, pesticides are designed to kill. Don't use them on your body without a medical prescription or advice from your doctor.
If you can't find any target pest - don't treat.Share on ThriftyFun This page contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution! People, even firewood sitting in a garage can contaminate furniture with microscopic mites - I believe they're everywhere in the outdoors. I got a loveseat from my sister and slept on it, the next morning woke up and had been slimed, covered heat to toe with - nothing I could see, but boy could I feel them.
Advertisement I ran to the shower, Dawn kills mites a veterinarian told me; use hot water like a quart, add Dawn and some hydrogen peroxide - and spray like crazy.
Hair spray sounds like a good way too, like I read on here. They don't like cedar oil, tea tree, lpeppermint, make a bottle with hot water and add a little carrier oil and then drops of whatever kind of oil you want to try.
My apartment is infested with tiny red mites that get all over everything - most of the time they're so tiny they can't be seen. Keep your place clean and dusted, I have to dust my computer area every day, and if they get in your hair, alcohol will stop them, or hydrogen peroxide sprayed onto your head in the area will help.
Even if you can't see them, they are microscopic and will get into everything.
Invisible Bugs That Crawl and Bite You Can't See
Keep after them and don't give up! Ask a Question Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question. I stay at my boyfriend's house on the weekends and I can't go a single night without getting bit. My boyfriend never gets bit.
Getting Rid of Invisible Biting Bugs
This has been going on for a few months now. I thought it was fleas because his mom has 3 dogs that aren't properly bathed or groomed, but the dogs are downstairs and do not go upstairs, where his room is.
We have done several things to try and get rid of the bugs. We've done DIY flea traps never caught anythingwe've used flea and other bugs powder for the carpets, we've put baking soda all in the carpet another thing I read online that works better than flea powderwe've sprayed the room, washed all blankets and pillow cases, vacuumed, vacuumed, and vacuumed again, and we're about to do it all over again with washing everything vacuuming and spraying the room.
There's no way it's bed bugs. We have taken flashlights and searched all over the room, edges of carpet, the bed, everything. We've searched many times and have never seen a single bug.
My boyfriend also has an air mattress, not a normal one. There are no bugs whatsoever on or in his mattress. It has to be the carpet. I'm the only one getting bitten and it's driving me crazy. I barely get any sleep at night and my boyfriend has to listen to me complain about these phantom bugs. It's putting a strain in our relationship. I want these bugs evicted, but we can't even figure out what they are.
We're trying and it's really hard. We've ruled out bed bugs, mosquitos, and spiders. There's no way I could get bit for months and never seen a web, a bed bug, or a mosquito flying around.
Also, it's only when I'm sleeping. We can lay on the bed and watch TV and never get bit. But the second I fall asleep I'm getting bit. We also work late nights and sleep all morning, some afternoons so it's not like these bugs are nocturnal, unless they're also on our sleep schedule. Please help me try to figure out what's biting me, and what I can do about it.A number of insects and mites can bite and leave a red, swollen, itchy bite mark.
There are also many other causes of skin irritation that can be mistaken for bug bites see below. In many cases, therefore, what appears to be a bug bite may in fact be caused by something else. Below you'll find a list of insects and mites that do bite as well as some things that can be mistaken for bug bites. I am frequently asked to diagnosis the cause of bug bites that seem to appear for no obvious reason. There is no insect or mite to identify and the person has either a vague description of what may have bitten them or, ironically, an extremely detailed description.
Most people who contact me believe there are many insects and mites that bite us. In reality there are very few that actually bite people. Take a look at the list of insects and mites below that actually do bite people. If you can not clearly identify one of these as the cause of your bites then you should consider some of the other possibilities.
In the descriptions below notice that the bites are all very similar red, itchy bumps making any diagnosis from the bite alone nearly impossible. Bed bugs cause large, red, splotchy, itchy, mosquito-like bites.
Bedding and furniture can be infested and bites generally occur at night. Bed bug infestations are relatively easy to detect but can be difficult to controlsee this article for details. There is a small number of mites that bite people resulting in itchy lesions.
A very few also pose some health risk by transmitting disease ticks or developing persistent conditions scabies. These articles should help you identify and treat the mites that affect people. May invade homes when nests are disturbed. Fleas there are many species tend to be somewhat specific to a particular host animal.
The one that most often impacts people and pets is the cat flea. This flea prefers cats and dogs but will also bite people see this article for life history and control options when homes and pets are infested. Allergies - since the red itchy skin lesions caused by real bug bites are an allergic reaction to proteins in the bug's saliva it should not be surprising that other types of allergies closely resemble bug bites.
Food and respiratory allergies cause hives and itchiness that resemble bug bites as well. In fact, allergies are the number one cause of these skin reactionsthey are far more common than real bug bites.
For airborne allergens like mold spores the new air purifiers with HEPA filters can be very effective at cleaning the air of contaminants, see this article about air purifiers that remove airborne allergens. Toxic chemicals - such as cleaning solvents and pesticides can cause severe skin lesions in sensitive individuals. Botanical insecticides are generally safer for indoor use and far less likely to cause problems they work, too!
Physical irritants - anything from fiberglass splinters to dry skin can cause irritation. In the case of dry skin a simple room humidifier can give fast, inexpensive relief. Dry, itchy skin is mostly a problem during winter months when central heating in our homes tends to dry the air. Drug side effects - especially stimulants like amphetamines which are notorious for causing outbreaks of skin lesions caused by scratching to relieve the "crawling" sensations; even prescription drugs can cause these same effects.