Sunday, August 25, 2013

Household Bugs -- Which Bugs Bite?

Something Bit Me During the Night!

It's easy, when you wake up with an unexplained itchy bite, to assume that during the night a spider or a centipede bit you -- that one of the little monsters crept out of a hiding place, found a soft spot on your leg, and just to be ornery, gave you a bite. But neither spiders nor centipedes suck blood, or want anything at all to do with you. You're a gigantic threat to them! Why would they even want to crawl into bed with you? 

So what bit me?

If you have a bite, it's most 
likely a mosquito waited for you to go to sleep and then had lunch at your expense. If it's winter and there are no mosquitoes out there, then I'm afraid the next most likely culprit is a bed bug, especially if there's more 
than one bite, and they really itch. In that case check out this article about bed bug identification and control. Remember -- spider bites generally don't itch much.

So mosquitoes and bed bugs are the most likely culprits. If you can rule those out, consider the possibility that your itchy bump isn't a bug bite at all -- it's a "hive," a minor allergic reaction to laundry detergent or some other innocent household substance. Some people develop this harmless reaction and never really figure out what caused the irritation.

Okay -- you're pretty sure it isn't a hive, and it's not a mosquito, and you don't have bedbugs. There is a chance that you were bitten by a spider. But for that to happen, the spider would have to leave its safe little web and crawl many spider-miles to wind up in the rough, heavy environment of your blankets and sheets. According to research, you could expect this to happen, at most, a couple of times a year. That poor little spider is most likely going to run away, not bite you, and if you happen to roll over on it -- which could happen maybe one every few years -- chances are that bug will be squashed.

If, and it's a big if, the spider does manage to bite you in self defense, you're not going to notice it. Spiders with enough size and venom to leave a noticeable bite are relatively uncommon in your home. Most likely the little thing will bite you before it gets squashed, and you'll never even notice the little bump (it's on your back, remember!).

Centipedes have even less reason to be in your bedclothes, and unless you live in Hawaii where certain species do have a record of nocturnal bites, you're not in any danger. They eat the little bits and crumbs on the floor of your basement, in dark corners. Why would they take the trouble to visit you in your bedroom?

I hope this post helps you sleep better. 

Bedroom bug bites: Busted!

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