Bug bites in house. We are being bitten. Bites itch for a small time. Red...

Asked February 27, 2015, 3:25 PM EST

Bug bites in house. We are being bitten. Bites itch for a small time. Red circular and raised with black sliver in center of bite, almost like a barb. No bugs found. Bitten predominantly in bed. Any ideas?

Wayne County Ohio

3 Responses

Bed bugs are fast moving insects that are nocturnal blood-feeders. They feed mostly at night when their host is asleep. After using their sharp beak to pierce the skin of a host, they inject a salivary fluid containing an anticoagulant that helps them obtain blood. Nymphs may become engorged with blood within three minutes, whereas a full-grown bed bug usually feeds for ten to fifteen minutes. They then crawl away to a hiding place to digest the meal. When hungry, bed bugs again search for a host.

Bed bugs hide during the day in dark, protected sites. They seem to prefer fabric, wood, and paper surfaces. They usually occur in fairly close proximity to the host, although they can travel far distances. Bed bugs initially can be found about tufts, seams, and folds of mattresses, later spreading to crevices in the bedstead. In heavier infestations, they also may occupy hiding places farther from the bed. They may hide in window and door frames, electrical boxes, floor cracks, baseboards, furniture, and under the tack board of wall-to-wall carpeting. Bed bugs often crawl upward to hide in pictures, wall hangings, drapery pleats, loosened wallpaper, cracks in plaster, and ceiling moldings.


The bite is painless. The salivary fluid injected by bed bugs typically causes the skin to become irritated and inflamed, although individuals can differ in their sensitivity. A small, hard, swollen, white welt may develop at the site of each bite. This is accompanied by severe itching that lasts for several hours to days. Scratching may cause the welts to become infected. The amount of blood loss due to bed bug feeding typically does not adversely affect the host.

Rows of three or so welts on exposed skin are characteristic signs of bed bugs. Welts do not have a red spot in the center such as is characteristic of flea bites.

Some individuals respond to bed bug infestations with anxiety, stress, and insomnia. Bed bugs are not known to transmit disease.

Tell-tale Signs

A bed bug infestation can be recognized by blood stains from crushed bugs or by rusty (sometimes dark) spots of excrement on sheets and mattresses, bed clothes, and walls. Fecal spots, eggshells, and shed skins may be found in the vicinity of their hiding places. An offensive, sweet, musty odor from their scent glands may be detected when bed bug infestations are severe.

Control Measures

A critical first step is to correctly identify the blood-feeding pest, as this determines which management tactics to adopt that take into account specific bug biology and habits. For example, if the blood-feeder is a bat bug rather than a bed bug, a different management approach is needed.

Control of bed bugs is best achieved by following an integrated pest management (IPM) approach that involves multiple tactics, such as preventive measures, sanitation, and chemicals applied to targeted sites. Severe infestations usually are best handled by a licensed pest management professional.

For additional information see:http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/2000/2105.html

Hello and hank you for the response. I wanted to update you on our situation! So upon searching and searching for bed bugs or other parasites I turned up not a single sign of anything that would point to an infestation of some sort. I washed my sheets and the next morning the only one who woke with more "bites" was my youngest daughter who, the night the bites appeared had come to our bed in the middle of the night. She had more spots with the splinters (which can be removed but is painful!) so! I took her bedding off and threw it in to a heap by the laundry. About to pick it up and I see on her pillow (sheet was on top of pillow) about 50-100 1mm spines/splinters that were reddish brown and black. Thought that was weird but was looking for live bugs so didn't investigate further...until!!! I removed her sheet from the washer and was inspecting it. Upon inspection I felt a stick into my finger! Immediately a red bump appeared and when I touched it, it itched! I got my tweezers and was able to extract a small sliver. I threw the sheet away (a microfiber blend) and began researching. Talked to an exterminator who mentioned a short sentence on carpet beetle larvae. Began looking into that. Carpet beetle larvae have spiney type things that when shed (casing or squished) and introduced to static (like that of a human sleeping on microfiber) stick up and can quite easily puncture human skin. I began looking for carpet beetles. First stop was closet where sheet was housed (sheet had been on the bed for 1 day only and in the closet for approx. 2 days prior) I found 2 dead adult carpet beetles at bottom of closet and figured i was on to something. KNowing that the closet most likely wasn't where this all began, i recalled that the laundry basket that the sheet was in as of monday of last week, had sat in my dark closet (outside walls of house, baseboards close by, etc) for over a month before i got to put it away. I searched whereever i had put clothes from that basket. I found one live larvae crawling in my clotes with spines that matched the color of the ones on the sheet, and 3 casings or larvae and perhaps an egg or two. I have since been in the process of washing nearly every clothing item, sheet, towel, etc in the house as well as cleaning and vaccuming drawers and vaccuming carpets. We keep a clean home and I inspected cupboards, laundry room and pantry for any bugs, etc and found nothing. I know this was the problem now but I am now wondering if I should look further for an infestation? I have seen these little buggers at my previous homes just never inside a bedroom sheet. Still have yet to find any sign of egg, larvae, casing or adult beetle since the orginal discovery. Have a few bags left of clothing to wash. Have been washing all materials in hot hot water with detergent and then drying, hot once and dry low once (to remove static). Any other suggestions? I did take pictures of the larvae and two dead beetles but cant upload from here. SO... any advice on further action to take? Thank you so much!

Sounds like you have taken the necessary steps and are well on your way to eliminate the problem. My only other thought would be to call an exterminator (or maybe 2-3) to get their take on the problem reoccurrence. The eggs can take 2-3 weeks to hatch and I'd hate for you to repeat at that time. Here is a fact sheet from Colorado Extension that might be helpful: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/insect/05549.html

If you search further, put Extension into the google title to get factual, non biased information. good luck!