Some Insects that bite are parasites. Parasites need a warm blooded host to feed on. With parasites, the insect will inject a salvia that acts as an anticoagulant that allows the blood to flow more freely so the insect can easily obtain the blood meal. This salvia is what causes the itchy reaction because many people may have a varying degree of allergy to the substance.
Fleas: Fleas are a parasite (as described above) and need to take blood meals to reproduce and mature. Fleas can be one of the more annoying pests in a home or yard. Generally on an adult person, the flea bites mainly occur on feet and ankles although they can bite other parts of the body. Fleas will generally bite two or three times in a row before getting off a person. On a small child who tends to sit, play or watch TV on the floor, they may get bites all over the body. Children are shorter people and fleas can travel higher on them. A flea bite will be itchy but the severity of the itch depends on each persons allergy to the bites. Some people have no reaction at all and others will itch and swell for weeks from a given bite. If you suspect you have a flea problem, see our page on Fleas.
Ticks are a parasite (as described above). Ticks require a blood meal to molt and breed. Unlike the flea, a tick only gets on the host long enough to acquire a blood meal and then drops off the host to molt or breed. When the tick is ready to lay eggs, it generally likes to find a place at the base of a plant or tree. The Female tick then lays up to 1000 eggs and when the eggs hatch, the baby ticks will climb onto the tips of the bush, or low tree limbs to wait for an animal to walk by and brush the branches. The tick can then easily hitch a ride and begin feeding. Some ticks carry diseases such as lime disease, and tick bites should be avoided. If you experience a tick bite while the tick is still attached it is important to remove it correctly. Contact a health professional for advise on correctly removing the tick. It is also a good idea to keep the tick until you are certain you have not acquired a tick bred disease (should you have symptoms, the tick can be tested). A tick bite reaction can vary depending on the person. Reactions to a tick bite may be a raised red welt, to a rash like appearance. A bullseye appearance is generally associated with possible lime disease. Any unusual symptoms such as paralysis, partial paralysis, fever, infection, heart palpitation, sore joints, etc. should be reported to your doctor immediately.
Mosquitoes: Mosquitoes are another insect that inflects an itchy bite. Mosquitoes are also parasites (described above) and the female mosquito requires blood meals to lay eggs. Mosquitoes tend to be nocturnal but can be active during the day or near breeding areas. Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water or very warm moist areas. Eggs are laid in standing water and the larva develop undisturbed. Reducing standing water in yards can help reduce mesquite activity. Since mosquitoes can fly over great distances, control is sometimes difficult. Ensure the screens to your windows and doors are in good repair and fit tightly. Be aware of ground cover that is watered frequently in the summer that stays moist all day, if possible adjust your watering system so these areas dry out routinely.
Above is enlarged photos of a bedbug adult, nymph, bedbug eggs
and the last one is a bedbug nymph on a dime
Bedbugs are another insect that is a parasite (described above). Bedbugs have become more common recently in the Santa Clara County. It seems that there are some common factors we have found associated with bedbug infestations. Travel to others states and countries can be a way of transportation, visitors from other states or countries bringing them to the home, children/adults spending the night at other homes that may have bedbugs or moving into a home where bedbugs are already established. Bedbugs tend to take awhile for the homeowner to identify. The bites are itchy and red (the intensity of the itch depends on the individual's allergy) and occur during the night when the bedbugs come out in search of a blood meal. The bedbugs will generally infest the bed frame and/or nearby furniture so they won't be far from the host and will come out each night to feed. One of the easiest ways to identify a bedbug problem is that normally blood spots will be found on the sheets. As the bedbug feeds it will excrete blood that causes these spots. When examining the bed for bedbugs, they or their evidence can be found in folds or gathers of the mattress. box spring, bedding or in the bed frame and rails. Using a flashlight at night can also be a way of finding bedbugs on the move. Bedbugs generally require the help of a professional exterminator. Treatment of the bed, baseboards and other areas such as bed stands need to be treated. Bedding needs to be washed routinely and eradication can take time. One treatment may not be enough and patience is required. When most people have bedbugs identified, patience becomes very difficult for the homeowner.
Rat Mites are another parasite (described above). Rat mites in the home is a direct result of a Rat problem in the structure. The Mites live in the nesting areas of rats and are transported by the rat. Rat mites only feed when they need to molt or breed. When the rat abandons the nest or the rats are killed and are no longer available to feed on, the mites can travel into the structure of the home and seek out people to feed on. Since rats tend to nest in bathroom walls and are also nocturnal, people tend to pick them up while going through their evening bathroom rituals before going to bed. Once the mite gets on the person, the person carries them to bed and generally gets bit while sleeping. The mites will bite repeatedly and the bites can sometimes can resemble a sparse rash. The bites tend to be very itchy and annoying.
Generally the life cycle of Rat Mites are about 63 days. There are very specific ways of treating for rats and the mites. Your technician would identify the rat problem and begin the process of eradicating the rodent problem. At the same time the technician will perform the service to control the mites. The process to kill the mites may include: dusting attics and/or sub areas where the rats travel, dusting wall void opening such as plumbing pipes, treating the bathrooms and rooms were rat mites are migrating into. Again patience is necessary throughout this process because mite problems are normally the result of a rat problem that's been in the structure uncorrected for a long period of time and the population of the mites get very high. Because the mites hang around the nesting areas and won't come out until ready to feed, it is difficult and in a lot of cases impossible to directly treat the rat nest (in inaccessible areas inside the walls). People tend to be impatient to rid the home of mites once mites are identified. There is no immediate remedy in most cases and several applications may be necessary to keep the home more comfortable. The good news is that if the rodent problem is solved and repairs to the structure are made to not allow future rats back into these areas, the mite problem should end within nine or ten weeks. More information on rat control and rat mites can be found on our Rats/Mice page.
Spider Bites are not very common but do occur. Spiders are not parasites. Spiders generally bite humans in defense. If a spider feels threatened, such as poking or picking up a black widow, it may bites in an effort to protect itself or it's nest. Other spiders, such as garden spiders, may bite for the same reasons but generally these bites occur at night when people are sleeping. The spider may bite when someone rolls over on it or moves arms, legs or the body that makes the spider defensive. The spider may also bite if it's desperate to feed and decides to give someone a try. The severity of the bite from a spider, again will vary depending on the person. The spider bite is not generally very itchy, instead may feel sore or bruised, may welt or swell and can be a hard lump or soft sore lump. Some times in the center of the bite you can see where the spider pierced the skin. The spiders doesn't take blood but injects an enzyme that is to dissolve tissue. When the spider bites an insect, the insect will dissolve into a fluid and then the spider can drink it. In a human, the bite is normally just a nuisance like a mosquito bite or flea bite. Some people have a more severe reaction to the bite which can be infection, fever or blood poisoning. A bite that becomes infected or a red line traveling from the bite sight needs immediate medical attention from a doctor. Any bite that does not seem normal should be examined by a doctor. See our page on Spiders for more information.
Bees such as Yellow Jackets, Wasps, Hornets, Honey Bees ect. sting and some can also bite. Bee's are not parasites. The sting or bite is defensive. The Bee may get stepped on or may see someone as a threat to the bee or the bee's nest. Multiple bites/stings can occur because the bee can emit a scent or signal to other bee's to attack. Bee Stings and Bites are itchy and the severity of the itch and swelling depends on that persons allergy to bees. Some people are so allergic they will die with one bite or sting. Other people may have an irritating itch for a few days and others will itch and have serious swelling. Difficulty breathing and lethargy requires immediate medical attention. If you are "deathly" allergic, you or your doctor may suggest keeping a bee kit with you at all times. See our page on Bees for more information.