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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/bugs / getting bitten ... supp info


QUESTION: so very sorry; I just sent you a question and neglected to tell you where I am ... I'm in the New York city area.

ANSWER: Laurie,

I didn't get the first part of the question. Can you re-send?

Jack DeAngelis

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QUESTION: sorry. I've been getting bitten for appx 7 weeks now. Confirmed "bug bites" through 3 dermatological visits including biopsy of 1. It started only on my hands. After 1 1/2-2 weeks, the bites were only on my right thigh. Now there are some on my left thigh, too, mostly upper, although initially there were some around the knee and upper calf. They seem to stay in same general area. Usually only 1 bite per day, but occasionally 2. I'm the only one in my house getting bitten. My husband sleeps in the same room but in a separate bed several inches away. One morning after he left for work a couple of weeks ago, I slept in his bed for a few hours. That night he got bitten 3 times under a soft knee brace he wears. But that was it; he hasn't gotten bitten since. The bites start out light red/pink, then I notice a head, and several of them have gotten swollen. They are very itchy. Concerned about bedbugs, our box springs and mattresses are encased with specialized bedbug barrier encasements, and now I put another one around my covers. We've repeatedly washed the bedding in steaming hot water with vinegar or Borax added, dried in dryer and have steamed the beds, bedding, headboard, bed frame, wall behind the bed, and nightstand. I bought a new pillow and pillow encasement. We added another mattress protector encasement treated with premethrin around the box springs. We've sprayed organic bed bug repellent around my bed and headboard and nightstand. On Friday I just spread out diatomaceous earth around my bed and on my headboard and side of nightstand. Under the 4 wheels of my bed frame (the only place that touches anything) I now have Dixie soup bowls with diatomaceous earth; before that, I had glue traps. We've seen nothing resembling any bedbug or insect, dead or alive in all this time. I've checked and rechecked the bedding and the drawers in and under my nightstand. The ONLY thing I have found, and I'm not even sure it's anything, but perhaps you know, I've attached. The 1st one I found in my bed, on my sheet, was greenish and I brought it to the dermatologist but he didn't think it was anything and threw it out. The others I've attached, 1 from my bed on my sheet, 1 was from my husband's bed the day after he got bitten, and 1 was on the floor next to my bed in the diatomaceous earth, and these are more brownish-reddish. (They are attached to a tape I used to pick them up.) I have not slept properly in 2 months and people are now afraid to come to my home. Could these be something you recognize, and if so, how can I get rid of them? If they are not anything, do you have any recommendations?? Thank you so much.


The pictures do not look like insects, at least not whole insects. My guess is these are either small seeds or possibly debris of some kind. Usually when people experience the type of skin irritation you describe and can't find an insect or mite (despite all the things you've tried) the cause turns out be something other than a "bug". See for a list of the insects and mites that do bite people and some things that can be mistaken for bug bites. In this case my guess you are experiencing some type of allergic reaction, possibly food allergy. Food allergies can sometimes look very similar to the lesions caused by bug bites.

I's suggest talking with an MD about food allergies and possibly being tested. Sorry I can't be more specific.

Jack DeAngelis

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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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.


Ph.D. in Entomology

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