How to identify bed bug bites?

Bites are one indicator of a bed bugs, but bites alone aren’t conclusive. The world contains a lot of biting insects and everyone reacts differently to bug bites. Can you guess which bugs made which bites?

Mystery Bites 1
Mystery Bites 3
Mystery Bites 5
Mystery Bites 2
Mystery Bites 4
Common Biting Insects

We often receive phone calls from people truly distressed by itches, who say, “I’m being bitten by bugs.”

Most of the time the callers are suffering from insects we control:

  • Bed Bugs
  • Fleas
  • Bird Mites
  • Assassin Bugs (Conenose Bugs, Kissing Bugs)
  • Spiders
  • Flies
  • Mosquitoes

However, we can’t identify biting bugs by the bite mark alone. Each person’s immune system reacts differently to bug bites. Some people are highly allergic to all bites, others barely get any inflammation. Scratching can also change the inflammation level of the bite area, or result in an open wound that has nothing to do with the biting insect.

We need to see the biting insect in order to identify it. (In fact, it is against professional standards to apply a treatment unless the pest has been identified.) If itching isn’t caused by any of the household pests above, then the problem might be scabies or lice. The best way to identify the problem is to call us for a pest inspection.

The human itch mite (scabies) burrows into the skin, often between the fingers, or the bend of elbows, knees, and groin. This is considered a medical problem and is easily diagnosed and treated by a doctor. If itching is limited to the scalp, then suspect head lice.

Now and then, however, a caller will suffer from an invisible itch—an itch caused by something we can’t see. While there are only half a dozen insect species likely to cause itchy bites, there are hundreds of household products, environment factors, and health-related conditions that can make you itch.  An excellent list of these itch triggers is found in “Invisible Itches: Insect and Non-Insect Causes,” from the University of Kentucky.

Itching is real and causes real distress. We hate telling someone we can’t find evidence of bugs. With a bug infestation there is a clear protocol for control, and for itch relief. When confounded by itching without a known source, consider non-insect causes.  Thrasher Termite & Pest Control will always welcome your call to verify or eliminate bugs as the source of your problem.