Bed Bug?

Asked January 2, 2018, 6:08 PM EST

Hello, I came acrosss your site whilst trying to identify a nymph which I found crawling on my phone screen. I noticed them crawling on my screen when i was on my sofa and in bed and automatically thought they were bed bugs. I have closely inspeceted my bed and sofa and not found any other signs of bed bugs or other bugs. The picture here is of a smaller bug I felt on my arm shorlty after seeing a slightly larger,browner in colour, bug on my phone screen. I`ll upload a picture if I manage to get one.
Please help...Still itching!!

Outside United States

4 Responses

Thank you for contacting eXtension. This is going to be a tough one, but I will send it along to an expert once you let me know your geographic location -- our system is reporting simply "Outside United States".

I a am in the Uk, england

Hi----this just came here goes.........

This little critter in your photo is almost transparent. I assume it is also minute---like you can barely see it? If you find it again---or another one---perhaps you can get a photo of it crawling over a dark surface? That would provide good color contrast.

It appears to have one body region with 4 pairs of legs---which takes us to the Acarina,...mites and ticks. No bed bug---whether recently hatched or elderly---looks anything like your specimen.

Here in the US (New Mexico, specifically) I have had a number of 'itchy cases' this past year involving what we can call generically 'bird mites.' People find tiny mites either on their skin or crawling up their walls---submitting their photos or specimens for ID. I attached photos of 3 of these mites associated primarily with birds. 'Chicken mites' infest birds other than chickens, too---as do the others.

Again, in New Mexico, nearly all of the folks I have helped this year admitted to having birds nesting on or in their homes---or they have chickens as egg-laying pets. Birds like starlings, pigeons, swallows, various 'blackbirds' are potential hosts for bird mites that may also invade homes. When the birds leave the nests, their parasites can be left behind. Some mites may survive on a succession of bird species over the spring and summer. Hungry mites may wander in pursuit of food. I assume it's cold now in England, so the mites probably started wandering earlier, allowing plenty of time to wander indoors and find you.

From what the scant literature on these mites suggest, the mites prefer birds as hosts over humans, but the mites have to taste their potential victims to tell the difference. Some people may be very reactive to these bites with affected areas turning red, swelling and with intense itchiness. Others may also have exaggerated itching from just seeing or thinking about the mites crawling on them. Either way, that can be most unpleasant and require action to remedy the problem.

Until the situation is resolved, consider using a spray-on 'insect repellent' with DEET.

The best approach for controlling an infestation is to locate and remove bird nests and any dead birds around or in those nests. I assume migratory birds in England have some legal protection from people. You might check with local officials that deal with pest animals or wildlife to determine what your regulations are and what is permissible when.

If you're doing nest removal yourself, a mask and disposable gloves should be worn to prevent transfer of mites, and any potential bacterial infections. Nests might be found around eaves and in chimneys, in roof spaces, in cavities in walls, in foundations and basements, around porches, or on window ledges. If you can't find hidden nests or nests are easily accessible, call a pest control service for help.

In the meantime vacuum, vacuum, vacuum carpets, rugs and hard surfaces. Wash washables with soapy water.

To eliminate bird mites around nesting sites, treat these areas with an approved insecticide such as a surface spray or insecticide powder. I don't know what might be available in England, but if you intend to buy and apply it, READ THE LABEL and apply it accordingly. If you can't buy such products 'off the shelf,' a professional pest control service would be your best bet again.

In the future, prevent birds from occupying spaces in or on houses by repairing broken tiles and blocking openings in eaves, roof or other cavities.

So this should take care of the mites anyway. If you capture something else and get a good quality image with color contrast, we'll see what that might be and what options you have.

I hope this helps.

Thank you for your reply to my question. We do have chickens and a pet parrot. Also I recently handled a baby pigeon ( about a week ago) that fell from its nest. So I suppose any of these could be the host of the critters. I will follow your advise and try to eradicate them from our Home. If I come across any more of these I will send a icture. At least I will sleep a bit better tonight after turning my bedroom upside down in search of bedbugs... not to find anything at all! Thank you so much for your helpful information... kind regards Latie.