View Full Version : My daughter is getting bitten at night! Help!

10-28-2004, 05:25 PM
My daughter seems to get as many as 8 or 9 bug bites overnight every once in a while. Sometimes it will be just one or two, other times more. When it happens, it seems to happen frequently, like 3 or 4 times in a week to 10 day period. But then it will stop for a few months.

We can't for the life of us figure out what in the world is biting her.

We've washed her bedding in hot water several times, but then she gets bitten again.

No one else in the house is getting bitten (I have an 8 year old son and a 1.3 year old daughter).

Three months ago we moved! So she has a new room. So if something were in the room, it followed us. I've been through all her stuff in her room and can't find any signs of a creature.

Before we moved, the two girls shared a bedroom and the youngest wouldn't get bitten at all.

I've looked over her mattress and box spring as carefully as I could, but I see no evidence at all of wear or creature infestation. Since it was just her getting bitten, and it moved with us, my second thought was that the mattress had a broken spring or something else sticking her. Also, we keep a plastic cover on the mattress as well as a fitted sheet. The bed was inherited from my wife's grandmother. It is probably 6 or 7 years old.

The bites cause a red area about 0.5 cm across to form (although I don't know how much of that is due to my daughter scratching it.) There is a raised area in the center just a millimeter or two in diameter. The very center is red as though it were bleeding. As a matter of fact, there are small spots of blood on the sheets after this happens.

The bites appear to be mostly on uncovered areas of her body.

How do I find whatever this is? Can I try to match the bite marks to a creature of some sort? Any good sites for doing this?

Thanks for any and all advice.

10-28-2004, 05:35 PM
Possibly bedbugs. (http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Bedbugs?OpenDocument)

They are apparantly a problem again in the U.S.

10-28-2004, 05:37 PM
You all might be getting bitten, but not showing a reaction.

We had this problem (chiggers in the sheets) and I was getting half inch across itch bumps, while Ardred didn't seem to be at all... until I got up close and underneath the hair on his ankles were dozens of little bug bites. He just doesn't react the way I do.

We washed the sheets and comforter and sprayed down the mattress with bug killer. Worked for us.

10-28-2004, 05:37 PM
You could try getting a plastic covering for the mattress and boxspring (the kind that completely covers each piece and zips up). See if that stops the problem.

10-28-2004, 05:39 PM
It sounds like bedbugs (http://www.unisci.com/stories/20013/0725014.htm). - if this is the case, they'll be hiding away in nooks and crannies during the daytie, possibly not in the actual bed, but elsewhere in the room - cracks between floorboards, behind furniture etc.

10-28-2004, 05:39 PM
We went through this and finally concluded it was fleas. We don't have any cats, but a lot of our neighbors let theirs wander around. Even if you don't have pets you can bring them into the house on your clothes. They seem to die off eventually.

10-28-2004, 05:51 PM
According to this site (the Penn State Entomology (http://www.ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/bed_bugs.htm)):

While bed bugs are not considered to be disease carriers, their bite can produce irritating, itching and burning sensations. Bed bugs feed rapidly, becoming engorged in less than ten minutes. The act of biting is usually not felt, but later there is an allergic reaction to the protein found in the bed bug’s saliva. A colorless wheal or lump develops at the bite location; in contrast, flea bites have reddish centers. Discomfort from bed bug bites may last a week or more. Occasional bites indicate a beginning light infestation of adults; many bites result from a heavy, long standing population of nymphs and adults.

It doesn't sound like bed bugs.

10-28-2004, 07:19 PM
I'll check the bites tonight to determine if there is a redish center or not.

I am also surprised that the bed bugs or fleas or whatever this is hasn't moved onto other parts of the house.

Thanks to all who have responded so far. I'll keep checking back to see if anyone has any other ideas.

Can anyone find pictures of the difference between a bed bug bite and a flea bite?

10-28-2004, 07:33 PM
Bed bug bites. (http://www.dph.sf.ca.us/ehs/images/EnviroTimes/BedBug_bites.gif)
Flea bite. (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/imagepages/2051.htm)

Amazon Floozy Goddess
10-28-2004, 07:35 PM
If you happen to rule the other two out, another possibility could be assasin bugs. Two of these horrible things got in my house one time, and I wound up with two months' worth of unbearably itchy, red, weeping welts on my legs, ankles and torso. I finally found them, killed them, and the biting stopped. They have the ability to melt into cracks and corners during the day and come out at night to feed. There are many different kinds, but the ones I had were black and shiny, rather wasplike, with a Gonzo-like beak. I learned a lot about them from Colibri , actually - I don't have a cite right now but I can see if i can find one for you.

10-28-2004, 07:41 PM
My granddaughter, when she was little, would get "bites" much like you describe. It turned out to be like zits, as in acne. It went away with the onset of puberty.
Wierd, huh?

Amazon Floozy Goddess
10-28-2004, 08:32 PM
Link 1 (http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/2000/2082.html)

Link 2 (http://www.exn.ca/Bugs/AssassinBugs.cfm)

These might help.

Don't worry about anything scary you may read about them concerning diseases: It seems the North American variety are generally just a nusiance, but in South America they can spread Chagas' Disease.

In the second link, the picture you see of the big black one is the one that bit me.

10-28-2004, 08:37 PM
I'm surprised no one thought of scabies (http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dpd/parasites/scabies/factsht_scabies.htm) .

That would help explain the bites continuing at a new address.

10-28-2004, 10:14 PM
In my experience with fleas, the bites typically happen around my ankles and lower legs, since the fleas like the carpet. Also, they itch like crazy for two or three weeks each. How long do your daughter's bites last? It doesn't sound like fleas so far. Fortunately for me, modern pet treatments have all but eliminated them.

Bedbugs still sound most likely to me.

10-28-2004, 11:07 PM
The bites on my daughter look quite a bit smaller than the bedbug bites shown in the above link. But I still haven't rulled them out.

I tore my daughter's bed apart tonight but didn't find any other signs of the bedbugs. There were simply no traces of blood or the "sickly sweet" odor described in some of the links. There are a few dots of blood on the fitted sheet, but I imagine that came form my daughter and not from the creature. I also looked around the flooring, but still didn't see anything.

Unfortunately, none of these other descriptions seem to match up well with what I've seen. I'll try to get a picture of her bites online in the next few days in the hopes that someone might recognize them and/or confirm my belief they don't really resemble either the bedbug bite nor the flee bite.

Fortunately, my daughter doesn't seem the least bit disturbed by this. We really only find out she has had another "attack" when we give her a bath or see her the next morning without a shirt.

10-29-2004, 02:38 AM
Flea bites often tend to appear in little rows or groups near parts of the body that have been tightly covered, especially just below and above elastic waistbands in underwear, the tops of socks etc.

If your problem is bedbugs, you probably won't find them easily as they are quite active and very reclusive - they may be hiding up somewhere else other than the bed. The best way to find them is to catch them in the act - if it were me, I'd set the alarm clock and look for them in the bed at hourly intervals (just for one night) - obviously you'd need to discuss this with the occupant of the bed first.

10-29-2004, 04:54 AM
Heh, never knew bedbugs were real. I've only heard about them on TV-series and similar, so I always assumed they were about the same as the monsters under your bed.

Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
10-29-2004, 07:57 AM
Break out the bug bombs, & fumigate.

10-29-2004, 08:27 AM
We had fleas a while back. They bit the bejeezus out of my husband, but left me and my son alone. It was just awful for him. He appear to be allergic to them.

Also, we had a little microscopic bug that hitched a ride on our kitten when we first got her. The two of us were ready to tear our skin off. But once the kitten was cleared, we immediately felt better.

These bug threads always freak me out. I always end up itchy for the rest of the day.

Mr. Slant
10-29-2004, 09:00 AM
Have you ruled out spiders?

10-29-2004, 09:28 AM
Kind of an off the wall suggestion, but could they possibly be hives, and not bug bites at all?
We had a situation where my niece was waking up complaining of itching, and was constantly scratching "bug bites"... Only happened to her, did not even happen to other people who slept in my niece's bed.
Then she spent a couple of nights in a sleeping bag in the living room (as part of a sleep over) and all of a sudden the "bug bites" were gone.
They returned when she went back to sleeping in a bed, and persisted even when she slept in her parents bed. Eventually someone noticed that they were kinda flat on top and looked vaguely like hives.
We finally traced it to the fact that they were using a different fabric softener on the sheets and towels then they did on the regular clothes... (or a second form of fabric soften or something, apparently they are big into soft sheets). Yhey changed softener, and the problem went away (it returns from time to time when she stays in a hotel, or visits someone elses house, but now that we know the source of the problem, it can be solved with some benedryll at night). Only my niece has this particular sensitivity/allergy, so she was the only person in the house who was affected, and had they moved during that time, I'm sure the problem would have followed her.

10-29-2004, 10:02 AM
Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor - I plan to try that next weekend. But it would still be nice to find out what this is first.

Mangetout - I have gone into the room while she is sleeping and poked around. I haven't seen anything the couple of times I've done it, but I might have to be more aggressive with my investigation. Also, the bites she is experiencing tend to be in uncovered areas, not around the elastic of her pajamas.

Kalhoun - We have had a dog for 5 years. This started about a year or so ago, so I don't think it is the dog. But, at this point I'm not going to rule out anything. For now, my plan is to inspect her and her room a few more times during the night, fumigate next weekend, and if this still persists get the dog completely cleaned at a vet. After that I'll call a professional extermination service.

Jonathan Woodall - Spiders were my first thought. We get A BUNCH of spiders in and around our house. Both houses, actually. In this new house we were killing 3 or 4 spiders a day. But, they were all in the downstairs portion (the bedrooms are upstairs) and no one else is getting bitten. I have torn apart the room looking for any evidence of spiders, but I've not seen anything. It is still a thought, though.

Pandora - My wife does that laundry, so I can't say for certain if she uses different detergent/softener/whatever for the sheets than for regular clothes. However, the bites or reaction or whatever this is occurs for a short period of time, then will stop, then will come back. It could match up with when the sheets are changed on the bed, but it hasn't seemed that way. If anything, the outbreaks seem to occur when the sheets need to be changed. This last part makes me think the sheets are getting reinfested so maybe just more frequent washing will help clear this up.

I'll keep checking back, so keep the ideas of what to check coming!

10-29-2004, 10:58 AM
I second the Hives suggestion. I had hives for years and didn't realize it. I'd wake up in the morning and there would be a 6 to 8 inch line of tiny red whelps across my torso. Not every night and not just in one spot. We bugBombed, changed sheets, changed mattresses... nothing helped. DeHusband would joke that I was allergic to tiny ants walking across me during the night. I had them rarely growing up then more often after marriage. Turns out my little hives were caused by heat. They were more common after marriage because DeHusband has a waterbed (with a heater).

The next time she wakes up with whelps, mark them with a kid-friendly marker or pen. Hive will move or grow. Bites stay in one spot. Also, if after major fumigation and the whelps come back, take her in to her pediatrician and see is she can be tested for allergies.

10-29-2004, 11:18 AM
I vote for Hives too. I have hives and the itching always is worse (or seems worse) at night. I too wake up with tiny blood spots on the sheets and "bite marks" on my skin. Are any of the "bites" in locations that she could NOT reach to scratch? Like in the middle of her back? That might rule out hives.

10-29-2004, 12:33 PM
Is there any associated leg cramping or muscle pain thereabouts? If so, it may be similar to a malady my sister contracted when she was young. If there is are any such symptoms, I'll dig up what I have on it.

10-29-2004, 05:22 PM
You haven't sang;
"Good Night, Sleep Tight
Don't Let the Bedbugs Bite"
For her, have you! :dubious:
And did you think I was joking about the zits (#11, or so)? It could have been hives my grandaughter had. I don't know. Never had that.
It sure sounds like she might have something systemic.

10-29-2004, 05:32 PM
caveman - no leg cramping, but thanks for the suggestion.

mangeorge - my game with my kids is "Have sweet dreams!". Then in the morning I ask if they had any dreams. If they didn't, I put them back to bed. So.. I guess I'll have to start telling my daughter to avoid those bedbugs! Besides, she NEVER has any dreams! I apologize for not responding to the zit theory. In this case, I really don't think this is zits. They certainly don't look like the zits I had when I was a teenager. Also, she is only 5 so it is highly unlikely. If this does continue, she will be seeing a doctor, and hopefully he will be able to identify this one way or another.

10-29-2004, 06:01 PM
No harm at all, sixor9. I just realized my reply might've seemed a little odd. What she (my granddaughter) had wasn't very common.
Your daughter's story sounds just like my granddaughter's. Especially the part about the attacks being sporatic, but persistant when they do come. Also the description. Her's would have little red "bumps" in the center, sometimes shiny, which would often kinda erupt and leave small blood spots on her bedding. And they did itch.
Good luck with your kid, who probably does dream :)

10-29-2004, 06:24 PM
Hmm, If you think shes allergic to the bedding, cut out a small square of the fabric, tape it to her torso with a band aid. If shes allergic hives/whelps will develope under it. Might save you a trip to the doctor.

10-29-2004, 06:36 PM
Hmm, If you think shes allergic to the bedding, cut out a small square of the fabric, tape it to her torso with a band aid. If shes allergic hives/whelps will develope under it. Might save you a trip to the doctor.
Subcutaneous puppies?
Sorry. Sorta. ;)

10-30-2004, 04:48 AM
Iceland would like to point out he is not responsible for producing bites on a girl

On this occasion :cool:

12-10-2012, 09:20 AM
Hi Sixor9,

I know your post is from a long time ago but I am experiencing the exact same problem and wondered what you did to resolve this problem.

I would really appreciate any help.


Fish Cheer
12-10-2012, 09:50 AM
He has not posted here in eight years, but maybe other people have new ideas.

12-10-2012, 10:34 AM
Thanks, I'd appreciate any advice from anyone with a similar problem.

12-10-2012, 12:47 PM
You might have better luck starting a new thread with the specifics of your situation. Many people will see this is a zombie thread and move on.

Good luck.

The Man In Black
12-10-2012, 05:56 PM
Hang garlic at each entrance to the room. That should keep the Vampires away at least. The Zombies are a different matter.

12-10-2012, 10:47 PM
It doesn't sound like fleas so far. Fortunately for me, modern pet treatments have all but eliminated them.

In the eight years since I wrote that, those modern flea medicines no longer work and fleas are again a problem. Has anyone else noticed that? I've tried all the major brands of once-a-month pills and our pets still have fleas.

12-10-2012, 11:37 PM
In the eight years since I wrote that, those modern flea medicines no longer work and fleas are again a problem. Has anyone else noticed that? I've tried all the major brands of once-a-month pills and our pets still have fleas.

Generally speaking, the stuff you can readily buy at the grocery store isn't nearly as effective (or safe) as the stuff you can get from a vet. Along those lines, I recommend Revolution brand, which as a nice bonus, also takes care of heartworms, as well as fleas and ticks.

12-11-2012, 12:42 AM
topicals like Advantage II still work pretty well on fleas on dogs. It cannot be used on cats (if you like your cats).

08-13-2015, 03:25 PM
Hi I did you ever find out what was biting your daughter? I'm going through the exact same thing with my little girl! Heelp 😣

08-13-2015, 03:37 PM
Wow, two zombie resurrections on this one.

Since this was first posted in 2004 and the OP didn't reply to the resurrection in 2012, the OP is probably not amongst us anymore.