Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Bird or Rodent Mites


QUESTION: I live on the fifth floor of a high-rise apartment building that is forty two years old in Tampa FL.  My computer desk sits right in front of a large bank of windows in the living room. I would like your opinion on an infestation I’ve had since early August.
I’m a very avid researcher. My findings have pointed to this infestation being either bird or rodent mites.  Please, note brief synopsis below.
August 17th:  Bitten while using my computer in the evening. Twelve/Thirteen bites on my neck Three/Four on my face.  Franticly, tore off my shirt, grabbed a water bottle to spray them off.  Saw nothing but black specks.
August 30, 31 and Sept 1st:  Bitten constantly every night while attempting to watch television in the living room, no sleep.  
All these attacks have been very vicious.  Bites feel like pinpricks. They can bite right through heavy clothing.  
Sept 3rd to Sept 16th:  Temporarily re-located to another apartment.  No biting, but crawling sensation on my body every night.  Don’t see an actual insect.  Used a lint roller to remove black specks and some hairy, fuzzy things from my skin.  Do the same to clean off my clothes.  These things are also present in my automobile and workplace.  No matter where I go they are always on me.
Sept 16th to 23rd:  Checked into a hotel. Still experiencing the “creepy crawlies” nightly.  Sept 21st Went back to apartment to use my computer, attacked again.
Sept 25th:  Saw a dermatologist to biopsy bug bites.  Final report delayed but definitely not delusional.
I’ve seen black specks on the wall behind my couch, on the door and desktop.
I take two showers daily to remove them from my skin. My whole life is encompassed with this battle. Just keeping up with the laundry, cleaning, vacuuming is tiring. Coordinating treatments for my home, car and body to collectively eliminate this pest is challenging.
The mental anguish, disruption of life, sleep deprivation, excessive stress can be unbearable. Eliminating the source in this environment is nearly impossible.

ANSWER: Linda,

Bites from bird/rodent/nest mites (see http://www.livingwithbugs.com/bird_mites.html for a picture of these mites) are painless (itchy, but painless) so I think something else is going on. There are no insects or mites that cause the kind of symptoms you are experiencing. I think it is more likely something in the environment or an allergen that you are coming into contact with at home. One common culprit is mold so if you've had any issues with moisture/mold that would be my first guess. Fortunately there are relatively easy tests for allergies including mold. Sorry I can't be more specific.

Jack DeAngelis

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Since you are retired. How long has it been since you explored and/or became more informed as to what is happening in the world? Related to insects of course. Are you selling Botanical Pesticides? Is this your mission? Mission: To provide accurate, up-to-date,unbiased info for solving common insect and mite problems etc. If so, the up to date portion needs tweaking.

I've studied the answers you give people inquiring about this problem. Each time you attach www.livingwithbugs. This may also include an allergen/environmental guess. Wanted to submit this question as a test. Well, you did not disappoint me with your automated reply. THESE ARE BUG BITES.INSECTS THAT CRAWL WHEN NOT BITING. HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH ALLERGIES OR MOLD.

I am still fighting this battle and unfortunately will continue to do so. Without any assistance from people who don't know what they are talking about due to ignorance or being misinformed.

Nearly a thousand people started a petition addressed to the CDC imploring there help with this issue. Which is spreading more every day. Just this past week I met and/or listened to accounts from people who have experienced this microscopic insect that bites humans. Then clings like a parasite. Exterminators being called to office buildings to fumigate due to employees being bitten at there computer.

It's sad that people become desperate for accurate answers from professionals that just can't deliver. Just say "you don't know"

Attacking me does you no good. Instead of flailing about trying to blame others who are genuinely trying to help you, collect some actual data. Convince me, the CDC, drug companies that this is real. You won't convince anyone with bluster alone. And, by the way, try to be honest and polite in the process.

Jack DeAngelis

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Jack DeAngelis


I can answer questions in any area of entomology (study of insects, spiders, mites, ticks, and other terrestrial arthropods). Contact me about home and garden insects, insects that bite and sting, and insects that damage homes such as carpenter ants and termites.


20 years as university extension entomologist, now retired; currently publish a website about home and garden insects.

see www.livingwithbugs.com/resume.html

Ph.D. in Entomology

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.