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What Is Itching Me In My Bed? It Is Not Bed Bugs

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Almost everyone gets what appear to be bug bites from time to time. Sometimes we tend to think, “What is itching me in my bed? It is not bed bugs”. Wounds, rash, itching, or the sensation of something crawling over the skin may accompany the irritation.

Even if there are no visible bugs, the nuisance can be enough to warrant a call to an exterminator. Unfortunately, pesticides may not be the solution. Unless and until the underlying cause is identified, the discomfort will persist.

It is critical to understand that there are numerous causes of bite-like reactions, some of which are related to pests and others not. If insects or mites are the sources of the problem, pest management professionals can typically help.

If no pests are discovered, the customer may require the services of a dermatologist or other related professional. The following information is intended to assist folks who suspect they have a biting bug problem but have not identified the source of irritation.

What is itching me in my bed? It is not bed bugs.

Bedbugs aren’t just found in beds, despite their name. They can also be discovered in sofas, chair cushions, and gaps in furniture.

what is itching me in my bed? it is not bed bugs

If you’ve noticed red, itching areas on your skin, you may be concerned that you have bedbugs.

The bites, however, can be difficult to diagnose until you locate evidence of the insects in your home. They can be incorrect for different insect bites or pores and skin illnesses.

A bedbug bite cannot be diagnosed with a test, but a doctor may be able to assist you in identifying them by ruling out other diseases such as hives or fungal infections.

Sources of Irritation (Other than Bed Bugs)

Bedbug bites might look very similar to other forms of bug bites. The following bugs have been observed to be active at night.

Biting Pests That Are Hard to Find

Lice:

Lice can also cause itching and irritation. Infestations appear on the scalp and other hairy parts of the body. Lice are tiny, whitish-grey insects that the client or physician can see on close inspection.

Lice

Treatment of premises is neither required nor suggested because they largely remain on the host. Human lice are typically spread through close physical contact or the sharing of headwear or combs.

Fleas:

Fleas are a typical source of insect bites in the house. Fleas move quickly and jump if they are startled. They are usually noticed due to their brownish color and being roughly 1/8″ long. Bite wounds are most commonly found on the lower thighs and ankles, resulting in a tiny, red, firm, irritating welt.

Fleas

Fleas are most commonly linked with pets, although infestations can also develop from the presence of mice, rats, squirrels, skunks, possums, or raccoons. For fleas to establish themselves, animal hosts must be present for extended periods – a brief visit from a dog or cat, for example, is unlikely to produce difficulties. 

Thrips:

Thrips are straw-colored, small (1/16″) insects that graze on plants. They have piercing mouth parts to drink plant liquids, but they may also bite humans. The bite is as painful as a pinprick. Massive numbers of these insects may become airborne in late summer, falling on people’s clothing and skin.

thrips

Air currents may carry some into factories, warehouses, and other structures. Although houseplants are rarely a source of these or other biting pests, they should be checked during inspections.

Spiders:

They are frequently blamed for unidentified bites. Most spiders are gentle, shy creatures and bites are sporadic. When spiders bite, it is usually in response to being crushed or threatened; they do not ‘pounce’ on a person like a fly.

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Like other suspected biters, a spider bite is challenging to diagnose based on the lesion. In the absence of an actual spider biting, such diagnosis, even by doctors, should be taken as little more than a wild guess.

Sandflies:

Sometimes known as biting gnats, punkies, or no-see-ums, breed outdoors in swamps, marshes, and other damp environments. They are vicious biters, but their presence sometimes goes overlooked because they are so tiny (1/32″- 1/8″).

sandflies

Biting insects, fortunately, rarely breed indoors. However, several other innocuous microscopic insects (e.g., fungus gnats) appear indoors and must be recognized to assuage customer concerns.

Irritants that aren’t pests

Pest management methods can be implemented if biting insects or mites are discovered during the inquiry. If no such pests are found, the individual should be directed to a dermatologist, industrial hygienist, or other associated experts.

The following are some of the more prevalent (non-pest) irritants to which these creatures may be exposed.

The Home Everyday objects

In houses and buildings, they can produce skin reactions comparable to “bug bites.” Soaps, detergents, cleansers, cosmetics, hair products, pharmaceuticals, paper/cardboard, printing inks (as from multiform carbonless form), and some types of apparel, particularly those containing fire retardants, are among the most frequently implicated products.

The site of the rash or irritation can sometimes point to the source. A rash on industrial workers’ hands and arms, for example, could be caused by cleaning agents or products they’re handling, such as cardboard.

If a hyperlink can be set up among those potential irritants, avoiding further exposure may be sufficient to resolve the issue. A dermatologist can certify that a specific substance is blamed rather than a bug.

Factors of the Environment

When many people experience itching and irritation in the absence of pests, the culprit is generally some irritant in the environment. 

  1. Tiny pieces of paper, fabric, or insulation are among the most prevalent. When they cling to the skin, they can cause symptoms ranging from moderate prickling or crawling to extreme itching followed by a rash, welts, or blisters. When fibers or fragments are present, the discomfort usually develops on exposed regions of the body such as the arms, legs, face, neck, etc. Such issues are typical in places that process a lot of paper or cardboard, such as offices, filing rooms, and distribution centers. 
  2. Whether new or well-worn, carpets, draperies, and upholstery shed fibers that can irritate the skin. Due to the shedding of fiberglass and other contaminants, laundering garments or blankets in a washer/dryer that was previously used to clean drapes can also irritate. Other solutions include sound-deadening fibers from ceiling tiles and insulation fibers emitted by heating and cooling systems. These are more likely if the ceiling or air-handling system has just been repaired.
  3. Static electricity, which boosts the attraction of particles to exposed skin, can exacerbate irritation. Low humidity, electrical equipment, and nylon in carpets, upholstery, or women’s stockings all raise static electricity levels and the possibility of particle-induced discomfort. Body hair also moves due to static electricity, creating the sensation that something is crawling over the skin.
  4. Volatile indoor pollutants can also irritate. Although such substances are most commonly associated with headaches or eye, nose, and throat irritation, some of them can also induce welts and rashes. Ammonia-based cleaners, formaldehyde emitted by plywood, carpet, cardboard, tobacco smoke, and solvents and resins in paints and adhesives are among the most frequently implicated materials. Reactions are common in industrial environments or buildings, getting new paint, wall coverings, or floor coverings. If the client suspects indoor air pollution, they should consult with an industrial hygienist to monitor allergen-producing chemicals. Most major cities have internet directories of environmental health monitoring companies.
  5. Floors, furniture, and work surfaces should all be carefully cleaned if suspected fibers or shards. In offices, static-reducing techniques such as increasing air humidity and placing static-resistant carpets under chairs can be implemented. Seating areas can be treated with anti-static sprays. Dryness on its own can create irritation, resulting in a condition known as ‘winter itch.’ Itching occurs as skin loses moisture, which is especially problematic in the cold and elderly. Temperature fluctuations can make skin more sensitive and cause similar reactions. In such cases, a skin moisturizer or consultation with a dermatologist may be beneficial.

Medical Problems.

Health problems might also induce symptoms that are misdiagnosed as bug bites. Itching and discomfort are normal throughout pregnancy, particularly in the third trimester. Diabetes, liver, kidney, thyroid problems, and herpes zoster all have similar symptoms (shingles).

Other typical reasons for similar symptoms include food allergies and prescription drugs. Skin irritation can be triggered by one’s overall emotional condition, including stress at work or home. Several skin disorders that can look like bedbug bites are:

Hives:

Hives are small red bumps or welts that appear on your skin due to an allergic reaction. Typically, the lumps are raised and exceedingly itchy. They can be either red or skin-toned. Hives may be present if the marks on your skin become larger or spread quickly to other parts of your body.

Hives

Miliaria (heat rash)

A common skin ailment caused by inflammation or sweat duct obstruction. It is commonplace among newborn babies and adults who live in hot, humid settings. Symptoms vary, but red, itchy pimples are a common occurrence.

Miliaria

Fungal infections

They are most commonly seen in moist areas of the body, such as your feet, genitals, and under your breasts. A fungal infection can produce an allergic reaction, resulting in an itchy, bumpy rash on another portion of your body.

Fungal infections

Dermatitis herpetiformis

It is an autoimmune skin disorder that affects just a few people. It causes painful blisters and a flushed appearance to the skin. Celiac disease affects the majority of patients with dermatitis. Knees are the most commonly affected: elbows, buttocks, scalp & back pain.

Dermatitis herpetiformis

Conclusion

There is no easy way to identify the mystery bites’ concerns. Often, the itching or irritation is caused by something other than insects or mites, and pest control will not help.

Approaching each case thoughtfully and methodically increases the odds of finding a solution. Such feelings are confirmed for the client and should be addressed with caution and attention.

About the author

A biotechnologist by profession and a passionate pest researcher. I have been one of those people who used to run away from cockroaches and rats due to their pesky features, but then we all get that turn in life when we have to face something.