Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Ee-yowtch! Bug bites, but what?

  1. Sep 28, 2010 #1

    DaveC426913

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Sunday night I sat outside for three hours. I was wearing long pants and a sweatshirt and there was a mosquito candle on the table in front of me. There are confirmed mosquitos still in our yard, though I did not swat any away that night.

    A few hours after coming in, I found I had about 9 mosquito bites, all of them in the crease of the back of my left knee. All within a two inch area. I got no other bites anywhere on me.

    If they are indeed mosquito bites, they would have had to ignore all the exposed skin on my head/neck/face/throat and hands, and instead fly up my one pant leg, land at my knee and bite me nine times.

    I'm trying to find alternate cuplrits to explain the bites. Spiders or ants, on the edge of the chair, maybe biting through my pants? No.

    I thought maybe chiggers, that tend to bite many times near creases and stuff.

    But these are exactly like mosquito bites (though big, tightly grouped and quite itchy).

    I have a pic but that won't tell you much. They look and feel like mosquito bites.

    Ideas?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 28, 2010 #2

    Monique

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I had the same situation in Japan, I was covered in DEET and was wearing long pants. Still some bug managed to bite me just below the knee in the morning hours. It didn't appear to be mosquito bites, because the kind of skin reaction was different than usual. I was, and still am, puzzled by the origin.

    I hate mosquitos. The fall has already set in two months ago, but I still find mosquitos in my room every night. All I need to do is wake up (usually around 3 am) and find a mosquito camping out above my pillow, which I then catch in a glass and get rid of. The same ritual every night. Today I was stalked by another mosquito, but now in the train. It didn't want to leave my side, but I was fortunate to not get bitten. If you don't want to bitten by bugs, you just need to hang out with me: I'm a better bait.
     
  4. Sep 28, 2010 #3

    lisab

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Fleas, maybe?

    I think I'll go with spider, though. One may have crawled up your pants....*shiver*.

    Oh great, now I have the heebie-jeebies.
     
  5. Sep 28, 2010 #4

    Monique

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I often get bitten by fleas as well (in public places, I don't own pets) :yuck: They are very easy to recognize though, I always catch them while biting. It is a good candidate for Dave though, fleas do like to bite in the same spot multiple times.
     
  6. Sep 28, 2010 #5

    DaveC426913

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Hmm. Fleas.

    Well, the grouping fits.

    Though flea bites are usually tiny and red, aren't they?
     

    Attached Files:

  7. Sep 28, 2010 #6

    turbo

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Could be the mites that are responsible for sarcoptic mange in dogs. VERY itchy bumps.
     
  8. Sep 28, 2010 #7

    Monique

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Looks like flea bites to me, they usually become red after a day. The swelling is quite strong, it could have been a different kind that you have a stronger reaction to than usual?
     
  9. Sep 28, 2010 #8

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    How far are you from the bed bug plague that's taking over NY Dave?
     
  10. Sep 28, 2010 #9

    turbo

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Dave, dog mites love to bite in creases where the skin is very thin. You won't notice them while biting - only afterward when your immune system kicks in.
     
  11. Sep 28, 2010 #10

    lisab

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Dog mite gives man nine bites!
     
  12. Sep 28, 2010 #11

    Dembadon

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I think it is more likely that they were caused by something that was already in your pants before you put them on, rather than by something that somehow made its way up your pants to that specific spot on/behind your knee.
     
  13. Sep 28, 2010 #12

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    We've had an outbreak of spiders here. They've sprayed all around the outside of the apartments and around the windows, so all of the spiders have come inside for safety. I regularly turn my clothes inside out and shake and thoroughly check my shoes before getting dressed now. I've never seen so many different spiders.

    I think it's a flea or a spider Dave.
     
  14. Sep 28, 2010 #13

    Dembadon

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    In https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=262090" thread, which was created around the same time of the year (fall) about two years ago, you had a similar episode. Chemisttree thought they might be chiggers (post #15). Could this be a repeat occurrence? Were you able to verify if they were chiggers or not?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  15. Sep 28, 2010 #14
    The spider bites I have always seen had a crater-like center. I don't know if that is always the case, but I have seen a fair number**.

    The bites sure look like mosquitos to me. I have never seen human flea bites, so I can't say much there.


    **when we were kids my brother had a monster wolf spider snacking on him for s few nights until we lured the bastard out and killed it. He probably had 50 bites on him in the end.
     
  16. Sep 28, 2010 #15

    lisab

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Ouch, that's a bad place to get even one bite.
     
  17. Sep 28, 2010 #16

    lisab

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Wow, I'm impressed! You have a memory like a steel trap!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  18. Sep 28, 2010 #17

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I had forgotten about his attack last year.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  19. Sep 28, 2010 #18

    Dembadon

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Actually, I noticed it in the 'similar threads' area at the bottom of this thread. I was even more surprised when I saw the seasonal correlation.

    I wish my memory was that good!
     
  20. Sep 28, 2010 #19

    DaveC426913

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Don't think so.

    Well, then they waited around for 12 hours before biting.


    Wow. Even I didn't remember that. Two years ago next week.


    I have remembered that, an hour before going in, I chased a spider out of the tent over my head and it dropped on the ground. Shortly after that, it zoomed across my belly while I was stting and I had to shake it off. So, spider on the ground right at my feet, hanging from me by silk...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  21. Sep 28, 2010 #20
  22. Sep 28, 2010 #21

    DaveC426913

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Well I get heat rashes; I don't think this is from heat (it was quite chilly out - did I mention I was actually wearing something that had long sleeves? Before December?)
     
  23. Sep 28, 2010 #22
    Yeah but sweat can cause it. It is under the knee after all.

    But sometimes they appear rather randomly on my skin. Itch for about ten minutes and then disappear.
     
  24. Sep 28, 2010 #23

    DaveC426913

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Yeah. I'm pretty familiar with how my bod reacts to heat.


    These have been nasty, nasty itchy for two days. Like, enough for me to actually actually apply stuff on them (and I hate applying stuff). I apply it about every four hours.
     
  25. Sep 28, 2010 #24
    Sounds nasty.
     
  26. Sep 29, 2010 #25

    Dembadon

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Another unlikely scenario. :grumpy: I made the poor assumption that you put on the pants just before going outside.


    The following quote is from http://www.medicinenet.com/chiggers_bites/page2.htm" [Broken] (don't know how reliable this website is).
    Hardly a case-closing discovery, but it fits the time-frame nonetheless.

    How cold was it? The site claims that "[c]higgers do not bite at colder temperatures (below 60 F or 15.5 C)." I'd guess it was colder than that if you were wearing pants and a sweatshirt, but people's comfort-level thresholds for air temperatures are different, so I figured I'd ask. Another observation that could rule out chiggers is that you were appropriately dressed, as the site suggests "[l]ong pants and long-sleeved shirts as well as thick socks and high shoes or boots can help prevent infestation. Pants legs should be tucked into shoes or boots if possible."

    Perhaps it was the spider. Can you describe your arachnid admirer?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook