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Bed bug, sarcoptic mite, mange, ticdk, flea, sand flea, hives
August 21, 2009
About four months ago, my Great Dane (18 months) went to the doctor with bleeding ear tips caused by constant scratching and shaking of her head. The vet said she had an ear infection but did not find a mite. He gave her cream and she got a bit better, however….She soon developed small dark circular spots of darker fur on her neck..Took her back to the vet and he said it was nothing…
Eventually she got much worse…lost all sorts of fur and was extremely itchy…The vet thought mange so he put her on revolution. Finally a few weeks later she was brought back and had a ringworm test…the ringworm test was positive. That same day my landlord called to say there was poison ivy in my yard.
A few weeks later after the dog was being treated…the cat lost all the fur on his ears. He was sooo itchy just like the dog. The cat was tested for ringworm twice and was negative. A day after I broke out in little red marks that were not a bump but were like little line that were so itchy I went to the hospital..They said it looked like scabies. My vet said that the dog, cat and I could not possibly have the same mites, because the mites on them can’t live on me for more then 24-36 hours at a time and my mites could not survive on them..We have all now been treated chemically for mites, and fungally for ringworm. No avail! I am dying here, diabetic and my poor little pets are so itchy too. HELP..What else could this be? The vets are all stumped,.all three and two human doctors too!!!
K Pollock
Keswick ontario canada

Dear K,
While we empathize with your anguish and your pet’s pain and suffering, if three veterinarians and two doctors couldn’t diagnose this upon seeing the patients and taking tests, we have little faith that we lowly photography professors will have much luck.  We would also refrain from blaming bugs because of the cross species infestation, though fleas will bite cats, dogs and people as well as a host of other warm blooded creatures.  Severe Flea Bites might lead to so much scratching that there is hair loss.  Perhaps it is some other environmental factor.  Have you considered moving?  Though we have no idea what the problem could be, this is a definite candidate for the Worst Bug Story Ever section of our website, though again, we must clarify that we are not even sure that a living organism is at the root of the problem.  If you post a comment on this posting, you may eventually get assistance from one of our readers.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

reddish brown bugs with antennas and wings                         Inbox        X

Reply

Marie to bugman
show details Jul 13 (1 day ago)
a form has been submitted on July 13, 2009, via: comments-and-questions/ [IP 98.167.236.8]
reddish brown bugs with antennas and wings
Monday, July 13, 2009
My house is infested with these red bug that have wings and antennas. They look like specs. Some you barely see.
They are in the carpet, sofa on my bed sheets. I even found them in my linens closets. I thought they were bed bugs, but read that bed bugs are nocturnal and only feed at night. These bugs are biting all day and night. I can’t see them when they bite me, but can feel them. Then I itch like crazy. It feels like I rolled around in fiberglass. I walk around with spray bottle filled with alcohol to spray on my.
They wake me up at night. I turn the lights in my bedroom and inspect the sheets. Then I see red specks all over my sheets. I remove them with clear packing tape. Then spray my sheets with alcohol. This has been going on for a couple of months now.
I live in a new subdivision in Chandler Arizona. Since the housing market failed, there were no homes on each side of me or in back. Now that the interest rates have gone down, business is picking up for the builder. They have dug a home on each side and back of me – all at the same time.
Our state is known for dust storms and monsoons. I think during a bad dust storm, these bugs may have come in thru the vents of my home. Because now they are blowing in thru the a/c vents. I tested this by placing a white sheet on my bed during the day. I checked the sheet for any bugs. Then when the a/c comes on, I go back into my bedroom and check the sheet again and found alot of tiny red bugs. So whoever is laying the eggs must be living in the attic.
I had the exterminator spray in my home, but they are still biting me.
They are supposed come out on Wednesday and bomb my house and I will have to leave for 5 hours.
I’m now in the process of asking the builder to reimburse with these fees.
I had to throw out sheets, towels, pillows, clothes because they were loaded with these red bugs.
I am sick and tired of this infestation!
Marie
p.s. I will try and upload some pictures to you

Please send photos Marie.  In the meantime, we are putting you on the Worst Bug Story Ever page.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Hello bug man I have a contender for the worst bug story ever from Atlanta GA
So, I do work for a pest control company, but in my own heart I am very much a live and let live person and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your site! Certain pest (German cockroaches, brown recluses, things like that) I am against, but I do believe there are many beneficial and beautiful pests in nature and in our homes. Well, when I was about 15 we lived in a small trailor in a trailor park outside of Atlanta GA. I happened to be home by myself one night and my mother had left me some money to order pizza. I ordered the pizza and ate a few slices, then left it sitting on the counter. I was sitting in the dark, watching music videos on MTV when I went to go get another slice. I grabbed one out of the box and took a bite. It tasted weird, it smelt weird and suddenly I realized there were things crawling all over my face and arms and I had no idea what it was. I ran to the sink and immediately started throwing up and trying to rinse off my face and arms, as soon as I switched the light on I saw there were millions of the little sugar ants crawling all over my pizza. They were crawling all over my face and arms and when I say millions, I mean MILLIONS!! Til this day I will accidentally smush an ant and the very familiar smell causes my stomach to dry heave. I threw the pizza in the sink and frantically tried to rinse off my face and arms, when my panic finally subsided I opened the pizza box on the counter and it was infested with ants. In a matter of an house they had completely covered my pizza. Needless to say, I never ate anything that I had left sitting on the counter without thoroughly checking it 1 st again. Thanks!!
Jacklyn D. Warren-Gregg

Hi Jacklyn,
We have our own collection of personal reasons the imported Argentine Sugar Ant is our own most reviled insect. One winter after a significant El Niño storm in the 1980s, Argentine Ants had their nest flooded by all the water and they entered the home of our editorial staff long before we began What’s That Bug?.  They moved into the box spring that was on the floor.  Starving student that we were, we slept on a twin mattress atop the box spring without any bed frame.  We awoke covered in Argentine Ants and spent the rest of the night sleepless.  The next day after the rain subsided, we took the box spring outside and waited until the ants moved out.  Argentine Ant invasions in that particular rental were the worst that we have ever encountered, however we have been troubled by Argentine Ants wherever we have lived or worked in Los Angeles.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

This huge centipede was IN MY UNDERWEAR for over an hour…please help!
I was running errands with my sister. Stopped in for a bottle of water and noticed something kinda “pokey” down in my underwear. Got back in car. Dropped trou. Nothing. Drove home. Felt poking again. Dropped my pants and Hello…this was there. Did it bite me? Exactly *how* alarmed should I be? I am in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He appears to match more than one photo on your website. This experience has made me question the existence of God. I am looking into inpatient therapy. Seriously. I can’t stop scratching my whole body. Did it *have* to be in my panties? My cousin says it’s “punishment for former misdeeds”, but I’m not all that bad. My sister can’t stop laughing.
Katie Hastie
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Hi Katie,
Your letter is so amusing. We don’t want to appear insensitive to your trauma, but your letter did make us chuckle as well. Since you have provided a nice sense of scale for your specimen, we can tell you that your Centipede is not huge, as there are reports of 8 inch long Centipedes, especially from Texas and Oklahoma. We believe this is Scolopendra heros, and though all specimens don’t have red heads, it is commonly called the Red Headed Centipede. If your youngster had bitten you, you would know it since Centipedes have venom and the bite is reported to be quite painful. It probably just wanted to find a nice warm spot to curl up and rest a bit.

Oooh! Thanks Daniel,
I’d kinda been thinking it was scolopendra polymorpha, but hey – you would know! I appreciate your response. I’ve been researching it for hours now…the good news is: statistically I can’t imagine that something like this could possibly happen to me twice in a lifetime! I think truly I was okay until I picked yesterday’s cargo pants up off the bathroom floor and put them on. He must have been in there. It’s actually a miracle that he didn’t show himself while I was behind the wheel – that would have made for a nasty pileup and a ridiculous story for the cops. Great work and many thanks,
Katie

Comment: (08/30/2008) Centipede bite feels like . . . Maui-style
Aloha Daniel –
Please tell Katie in Santa Fe that the bite of a centipede is nothing like you’ve ever felt before. Yes, she was very lucky it did not bite her as she drove. This memory is from over 12 years ago. I was bitten by an 8″ chocolate/red ‘pede in Hawai`i in my bed about 1/2 hour after going to sleep. You feel like a hot poker has jabbed you. Worse than a bee or wasp sting. Yes, there is a toxin injected into the body. There are usually two parallel bites – about 3/8″ long & about 1/8 wide. Treat yourself for shock – Vitamin C, “Rescue Remedy” by Bach, and then for flu – echinacea & golden seal tabs. Poultice of baking soda on the bite – water w/ a drop of Rescue Remedy. Years later, my semi-feral cat rolled onto one and got bit between the shoulder blades. About 3-4 days later the cat wanted me to open the wounds and drain them. Was very patient and tolerant of me squeezing the toxin and infection out of him. Suggest to Katie to keep her bathroom drains covered up. They come up them into our homes that way. Keep a pair of cooking/bar-b-que tongs handy to grab them. The folk tale in the islands is that someone is jealous and is sending those emotions and thoughts to her. Just an FYI – Enjoy your weekend! Thanks for all you do!
Eliza

Correction:  January 7, 2009
Thats actually not Scolopendra heros they are far larger and do not occur in NM. That is Scolopendra polymorpha sometimes referred to as the desert tiger centipede.

Update June 2, 2014:  A similar experience
Subject: desert centipede
June 1, 2014 4:46 pm
I just wanted to comment on the experience of the gal with a centipede in her pants.  It just happened to me too.  I left my jeans thrown over the edge of the bathtub last night and put them back on in the morning to do yard work.  When I came inside, I felt something picky on my thigh and, having read her story, peeled off my jeans.  There was a 4″ centipede on the thigh of my jeans!  It is no longer with us.  I generally enjoy bugs and teach my grandkids to watch and enjoy them, but centipedes are the exception to the rule!  I have drain covers in my bathtubs to try to keep out the centipedes but they are still managing to get into my house.  Any idea how?  Last month I watched a centipede and a triangular shaped bug doing battle in the same bathroom and that was interesting.  The dark colored bug actually looked like it injected something into the side of the centipede and it appear to kill the centipede.   Any idea what that bug might have been?
Signature: Santa Fe Mary

Dear Santa Fe Mary,
We have added your comment to the original posting.  Perhaps the Centipedes are seeking a warm location much like Scorpions crawling into shoes at night.  We cannot think of what the predator you saw might be.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Bug? Dilemma
Dear Bugman,
I’m nearly at my wits-end. I work for a pest control company and I’ve had a gentleman calling me trying to verbally describe a bug that is “burrowing” into his (and his wife’s) skin. He’s been to several Doctors, Dermatologists, and Emergency Rooms – nobody can identify the problem.
The gentleman described the bugs as winged and ant-like in appearance. Daily, he and his wife have to “dig” these insects out of their bodies – they claim they burrow into their skin, about 1⁄2 an inch down, and feed and/or lay eggs. He says his urine and stool have become green – (a possible by-product of medications that he’s been prescribed). He further claims he has passed larvae in his stool, and they “adults” sometimes crawl out of their bodies (nose, ears, etc.). He fears they are killing him; his wife is hysterical every time he calls. I don’t know how to property treat the house because I’m unsure exactly what I’m dealing with. All the literature I have doesn’t really list any parasitic or blood-feeders that aren’t standard fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, mites, or bedbugs. He’s sent bloodwork, samples, etc to local universities, but they all tell him it will be 4-6 weeks before they get any results. They put him on medications to fight infections, and he says when he started the meds the bugs because crawling out of him. The most strange thing is that he swears he’s got “sacs” in his body where there may be eggs. Scans have shown that he does have larvae in his lungs. He said he was a missionary years ago, so it may not be a pest exclusive to Florida, where we are located. I don’t know if this falls into a true “bug” category, but this was the only place I could think to turn. Your website is fantastic and a great resource for my industry. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Scott Murrell
Operations Manager
Premier Lawn and Pest Management

Hi Scott,
We are struck dumb by this poor couple’s dilemma. We really don’t have any advice to provide. Travel to tropical countries, especially missionary duty deep in the jungles, sounds to us like a sure recipe for contracting unusual diseases and parasites. While we have no advice for you, we would advise you to let yourself off the hook on this one. This is well beyond the scope and domain of an exterminating company. This couple needs medical attention. This is, however, a strong contender for our Worst Bug Story Ever.

Update: Delusory Parasitosis perhaps
(06/14/2008)
About “Internal parasites”
Dear Daniel,
Well, this sure sounds like a classic case of delusional parasitosis to me! I know you can’t say that on WTB. You can read about delusional parasitosis here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delusional_parasitosis and here: http://delusion.ucdavis.edu/delusional.html All good wishes to you, WTB is great!
Susan

Thanks Susan,
We did strongly consider that possibility. Charles Hogue refers to this disorder as Delusory Parasitosis or Delusory Cleptoparasitosis.

Hi again Daniel.
The only hesitation I have is, that when people read one or two really weird horror stories (which are probably in reality cases of delusional parasitosis or DP) on WTB (which has a lot of credibility) and where these weird stories are pretty much presented as being (probably or possibly) a real case of actual bugs, well… I am concerned that it might encourage more people to think that this could actually happen, or is happening, to them. My husband’s brother had a case of delusional parasitosis a couple of years ago. It was really weird dealing with him about it; there was no way to get through to him that he might actually be misunderstanding what was going on, that no insect species could behave in the way he described. I think he actually had some formication going on (I have had that a fair bit and I know how it feels) and he was extrapolating from there that it had to be actual insects. For more info on formication take a look at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formication Then there is that “Morgellons” phenomenon or belief system which seems to be spreading like wildfire. Maybe you are familiar with it? If not take a look at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morgellon You guys are doing so much worthwhile work with WTB in terms of helping people get over their fear of insects and be more rational towards them, I am just wondering if these weird DP stories might have the capability to push more than a few people in the opposite direction… All good wishes,
Susan

Update: 906/15/2008)
In regards to the PARASITIZED COUPLE
Your latest story about the couple plagued by unknown parasites ( Internal Parasites (06/12/2008) Bug? Dilemma ) reminded me of something I read about once. Morgellans Disease, which I think one of the symptoms is delusional parasitosis. More info can be obtained at the following link: http://www.morgellons-disease-research.com/delusional-parasitosis.html Regards,
Anthony

Update: (06/17/2008)
reply to the Internal Parasites or Delusory Parasitosis?
Hello,
Along with checking with their dermatologists, they should be checking with qualified entomologists. Unless we see the results and “scans showing larvae in the lungs” I would say Delusory Parasitosis. I work for a mosquito control and I had a man call and say that they had a bad case of “no see ums”. He said that they were getting into their skin and were everywhere. They were coming out of the grown left and right. He kept blaming the water company for flooded yards. I sent my surveillance crew to investigate the area to make sure there wasn’t any flooded areas and to check for possible mosquito breeding. They came back and told me that the guy was crazy. There was no water and he kept pointing to these bugs that didn’t exist. Plus he started to chase the “bugs” with pesticide. I know that insects make up 75% of the living creatures on earth and there are a lot of things that are unknown. So there could be a small chance of some strange insect doing this. He said he did missionary work several years ago so the problem couldn’t just show up now. To have something this strange it would have to be foreign not from Florida. His description of the insect doesn’t ring a bell for me either. I would advise Scott Murrell to step out and recommend that they ask an entomologist with experience in exotic species. He can’t treat what he can’t see. By the way I love your site. I constantly get asked to identify insects so sometimes I cheat and just come to your website. J
Ashley

HELP FOR DELUSORY PARASITOSIS
Ekbom Syndrome
October 21, 2009
Here at the University of Georgia we are conducting a research project on Ekbom Syndrome (the clinical name for delusory parasitosis). We know responding to these individuals can take a lot of your time, so please feel free to refer them to us at 706-542-9033 or Insects@uga.edu.
Dr. Nancy C. Hinkle
Insects@uga.edu
http://arjournals.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.ento.54.110807.090514

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Thanks for the Worst Bug Ever column
Dear Bugman,
Thank you for your "Worst Bug Ever" column. I am really scared of bugs and I’ve been a bit distressed lately with the number of bugs I’ve seen around the house as the temperature where I live is getting warmer. I think the bug I’m seeing around the house yesterday and today is a House centipede as you keep writing back to many inquiries about it but the one I see is small, skinny and grey and doesn’t look nearly as elaborate as any of the pictures I’ve seen. I usually see it in the warmer months of the year, I think. Anyway. After reading your "Worst Bug Ever" column which I neglected to see last time (was trying to identify the western conifer seed bug last autumn) I realize that although I’ve been distressed it cannot compare to the tampon and infestations!! 🙁 Maybe that’s not what you meant the column to do but just wanted to let you know 🙂 I also see that after reading through your site for a while that there are some really beautiful insects. But I can’t lie, I don’t see myself getting any more comfortable than viewing from far away or from your site….
I’ve told a number of my friends about your site and it’s weird that even though we’re afraid of bugs we spend 2+ hours on your site. Thanks for all that you do!

Dear Anonymous (to avoid embarassment),
Thank you for your letter. We are sure we will hear from David Gracer regarding the dietary benefits of eating Maggots. We are thrilled to hear your upbringing has led you to finely honed cleaning skills, but we are not sure exactly what your mother’s tub bugs were. There are many possibilities. Your current sighting is probably a Silverfish.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination