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Bugs You Can't See Biting You? Read On!

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Invisible and Imaginary Bug and Insect Bites


elderly lady

Bugs and insects you can't see biting you may be real or imaginary.

Most insects with the exception of certain species of mites and also scabies are visible to the naked eye. If you have welts or red bumps that you think are caused by bug bites, be certain before you start applying pesticides and insecticides and trying to kill something that is not there.

Bugs, bedbugs, mites, spiders, and other insects frequently annoy people and cause them to itch, scratch and worry. Sometimes this is a real occurrence. Sometimes it is purely imaginary and if not resolved, may lead to nervous disorders, imagined itches, excessive scratching, bleeding and even extreme fear of pests that do not exist.

If you are one of the growing numbers of people that are being "bitten" by something, but you can't see it, then don't feel all alone.

Sometimes, the "bugs" may be real. Sometimes they lay totally within the mind of the affected individual. If you are faced with the possibility of an imaginary infestation, a very careful and thorough examination of the premises should be conducted before applying any pesticides.

It is important to know that itches can be caused by many things. Of course the number #1 suspect is always the bite or invasion of certain pests known to bite humans, such as bedbugs, fleas, lice, certain mites (but not house dust mites), ticks, some species of thrips or psylids and so forth. If there are no signs of any bites, or bite marks, and you cannot see any visible bugs, then the chances are that the problem is not insect related, and is an "itch".

If however, small red dots do exist, then diagnosis of those dots needs to be performed. In cases where a single red bump is visible, there is a good chance that it is a spider or insect related bite. If there are multiple red dots or bumps, then a diagnosis needs to be made by a qualifed physician. Petechia is a very common disorder or condition where a small red or purple spots have caused bleeding into the skin. If Petechia is a consideration, then you absolutely need to consult with your Doctor.

Other Itch Causes Include:

  • Seasonal allergies.
  • Sky dryness, especially in the winter.
  • Soaps and shampoos used in bathing.
  • Static electricity.
  • New clothing, allergic reactions to dye's, chemicals.
  • Airborne irritants.
  • Dermatologic conditions.
  • Reaction to medications.
  • Systemic diseases such as diabetes, chicken pox, and many others.
  • Excessive scratching that can lead to itches and skin related disorders.
insect bite on face

Bug and insect bites usually have a red swollen center and contain "pus" which can be either whitish-yellow or yellow-brown due to a pyogenic bacterial infection.

Common irritants encountered in the workplace or other environments include tiny airborne particles of paper, metals, ceramics, fiberglass fibers, or other insulation materials. Exposure to chemicals, changes in temperature or humidity (seasonal changes, like the dryness that occurs when the winter heating season begins), or simply reaction to scratching due to some other condition may be involved.

Recommendations To Deal With Bugs Biting You

Before applying pesticides for bugs and insects, you need to be absolutely certain that an infestation exists. If a true problem with a biting bug is identified - for example, with bedbugs or mites, then the situation should be treated for and managed appropriately.  However, if you cannot find any solid evidence that pests exist, then the application of pesticides INDOORS IS NOT RECOMMENDED, and a trip to your family doctor and / or dermatologist is in order.

Most pest control companies will not deal with a customer that has itches and is scratching from an insect that cannot be found or cannot be identified. Treatment for insects and application of pesticides without a true target pest is illegal in many states. That is why if you are suffering from itching and are scratching then you need to take control of the situation, and think logically about what is happening.

If however you have bug bites and your doctor cannot diagnose any physical condition that would cause you to think that you are being bitten by insects then there are some things that you can do to help.

  1. Wash all clothing items in hot soapy water to kill insects
  2. Place all clothing items in sealed plastic bags
  3. Vacuum and clean all floor surfaces
  4. Wash all bedding and linens in hot soapy water
  5. Have carpets and rugs professionally steam cleaned
  6. Change soaps and shampoos when you bath or shower
  7. Use EcoSafe "Sticky" Bug Traps placed around the home or room to capture insects for indentification
  8. Use CB 80 Aerosol to fog the room or home. Take precautions before using foggers indoors
  9. Use Sterifab to treat sofa's, mattresses, linens and other sensitive areas
  10. Treat outdoors only using a general purpose insecticide such as Demon WP or Talstar as a preventive only
  11. Use moisturizers and skin lotions when you start itching


NEVER SPRAY FLEA CONTROL OR INSECTICIDE PRODUCTS ON YOUR SKIN! Doing so could cause acute poisoning and could land you in the hospital, or even worse, cause death! Remember, pesticides are designed to kill. Don't use them on your body without a medical prescription or advice from your doctor.

Advice For Pest Control Professionals About Delusional Bug Bites

Bugs you can't see and emotional or sensory problems such as an overwhelming fear of bugs or if no insect is involved, the delusion of their presence maybe the true problem. When confronted with these situations, pest management professionals should not put themselves into the position of making a medical or psychiatric diagnosis or recommendation. A general knowledge of these other causes of itches can be very helpful in reporting the absence of pests to the client. Another useful approach is to give the affected client a small, stoppered vial containing some rubbing alcohol. Ask the client to put any of the biting pests into the vial, for later inspection. If no pests capable of biting are found in the vial upon close examination (e.g., under a microscope), this evidence can be very effective. Explain that no evidence of bugs could be found and that certain medical conditions, chemical irritants, or medications may cause itching.

Suggest that relief from the sensation of bites might be obtained from medical attention. Do not suggest that the client see a psychiatrist, but rather a physician, who can investigate the possibility of some dermatologic problem. In many cases, scratching and itching is the result of a skin disorder, or some dermatologic issue and is not insect related. In industrial situations where airborne particles or severe humidity changes might be involved, environmental changes may be needed to remedy the problem.  If a family residence situation is involved, the family physician should be consulted.

Whatever the problem, the pest management professional should not attempt a pest management treatment if no insect pest is involved. Remember that it is illegal to use a pesticide where no pest is present. In addition, treatment for a pest that does not exist is not the most ethical approach. Recommendations for the client to visit their family Doctor or Dermatologist is the most logical and best suited recommendation.

Honesty is the best policy. To retain the confidence of the client, be frank in making a recommendation. Show continued interest in the problem, and offer to talk with the physician or others who might become involved. Treat the client with dignity, consideration, and patience.

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