What is biting me?

Asked May 12, 2014, 3:23 AM EDT

Hello and thank you in advance for your time!

I have an office in my basement. I've worked here since last May. About a month to two months ago, I began feeling small bites on my legs and arms. I only have small marks on my skin where something has tried to burrow into my skin. I caught two of these things...they're extremely small, maybe 10mm long. We had an exterminator spray the office, but I didn't have the criminals caught yet, so I couldn't show them to him.

Where can I take these specimens to be examined? These things are causing me great pain...I need to fix this. I've attached a picture that I took with my iphone...it will probably offer very, very little information, but it's there.


Broomfield County Colorado

2 Responses

Diagnosing a sample such as this is difficult as there are many possible causes, including many that do not involve insects/mites, that cause symptoms often described as insect bites. A review of some of the causes in Colorado is discussed in the publication: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/insect/bug_bites.html

At this time of year swallow bugs are an issue in homes on which swallows were nesting the previous year. Fleas being picked up outdoors (originating from rabbits, fox, skunks, squirrels) and carried in on pets is a possible cause of biting insects that also occurs around this time of year. And at any time of year there can be bed bugs as well as various mites associated with pets that incidentally bite people.

The photos you have provided do not provide enough detail to determine what they are. However, they appear to lack the segmentation or appendages that would be characteristic of an insect or mite; if so they are not the cause of the bite.

As it is impossible to diagnose suspected bites from symptoms alone, the only assistance we can provide is to offer to examine specific items suspected of being insects/mites and then identifying if they are. If you do have some samples of this type then they can be sent for identification to CSU. Samples are often best provided on clear tape, which can be fastened to a card; alternately sometimes good samples can be acquired by use of the various sticky insect traps commonly sold at hardware stores.

Most often samples of insects are first submitted to the CSU Extension office of the county where it originates; the link for Broomfield County is: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/cedirectory/c_detail.cfm?index=8&countyA=Broomfield

Alternately they can be sent to Dept. BSPM-1177, attn. Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523. If samples are mailed to this address please provide email contact information.

Whitney - THANK YOU so very much for this information. I have contacted the Broomfield office and will take them there immediately. Mikila (hopefully spelled correctly) said that, if she can't identify them, she will send them to you for further investigation.

Until then, GO RAMS!! 8-)