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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Bedbug bites but no signs of them.

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QUESTION: Happy New Year Walter.
My wife and I have recently found small, itchy bumps on our arms and some on her leg.  My bites are 2 to 6 bites long and in a perfect line on my arm (pictured).  My wife has 2 to 3 bites long and some that have slightly turned red and SLIGHTLY raised on her leg.  She even found-what I googled and researched a good 2.5 hours on-to be a single bed bug on herself one evening.  It had a flat, shield shaped back end with blackish lines going across it. I took a picture of it but it didn't come out very well.  It's about the size of a poppy seed.  Today we took apart our bed, and box frame.  Took off all covers and opened up the frame covers.  No "black soot" looking fecal matter in the corners (or anywhere) of the memory foam mattress or inside the wood skeleton of the frame.  I did however find the "outer skin" of what looked like the same bug she saw crawling on her that one evening.  It was on the floor under the bed.  How can we locate them to direct our assault on these pests? We have two small children, so chemicals we would like to stay away from.  I'd like to also stay away from exterminators because past experience have proved they don't know bugs as well as they say they do.  Any help and gameplan would be GREATLY appreciated.  Any other info you need, just ask.  Thank you sir!

ANSWER: Hi Patrick
Let me address the bites first. Bites consist of a medical problem and requires the advice of a dermatologist if they keep reoccurring or get infected or do not heal. Identifying the cause is difficult even for a doctor. I am not sure these are nor allergic rashes
I have examined the insect photo and I cannot see enough detail here from its condition. I can tell you it is not a bedbug. It does not appear to be a mite nor any other bug that I can think of that bites. I would have to see a better photo if you see more of these.
You are correct in not using chemicals at this point nor using exterminators. I have been in fights with the Bug Guys for years. They just spray without know what they are treating


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

QUESTION: Thanks for the speedy response.  Tonight we put everything back together in our bedroom.  I firmly placed duct tape sticky side up around the entire perimeter of our bed with nothing else making contact with our bed from the floor.  *If* it is bed bugs, I should see a few as they try to feed on us, correct?  We haven't noticed any new bites in about 9 days.  Should I get some better looking specimens (the one photographed was taken with an iPhone), I will use my SLR camera and get you usable images.  And how sure are you that "I can tell you it is not a budbug"? My wife and I were confident about that assumption via the characteristic 'in line' bite marks.  But then again you are the EXPERT.  :)   When the bugs become available I will repost them on this thread for further inspection.  Thanks.

Answer
Since you have not caught an actual bedbug and are no longer being bitten you can rule out bedbugs. The photo you sent me does not look like a bedbug and you have seen no blood spots on the sheets.  You also said the insect was the size of a poppy seed. Bedbugs are larger then this. Since you have not been bitten in 9 days it would seem you no longer have a problem. If the bites come back or if those you have do not go away I would still advise a dermatologist
walter

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Walter Hintz

Expertise

I can answer any questions about insects and spiders.

Experience

I have taught science for over 57 years. I am presently teaching biology at the college level. I have done extensive graduate work in entomology.

Publications
Momentum Magazine The Ohio Journal of Science

Education/Credentials
B.S. In Ed Kent State Unuv M.Sc The Ohio State Univ National Science Foundation Fellowships: Electron Microscopy Univ of California Entomology Kent State Univ

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