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Tiny red bugs with painful bite

  • katielane18

    Joined Travelfish
    13th May, 2010
    Location United States
    Posts: 13


    Hello, everyone! I have been googling all night and morning and can't find anything so I'm hoping someone here can help me!



    I was laying in bed last night (I'm in peninsular Malaysia) and I felt something on my back. I was laying on top of the blankets so I thought the blanket was just scratching my arms so I just kept moving it. After this went on for half an hour, I got off the bed to move the blanket and I noticed a bunch of tiny (like a pinprick tiny) bright red bugs. I went to get the hostel owner and we lifted up the blanket and found one larger brown looking bug and a lot of the tiny red ones. When we killed one the red ones it left a steak of red on the sheet (my blood I'm assuming). Now my back is covered in intensely itchy red patches.

    I thought maybe they were chiggers but all the things I found said you can't feel their bite and I definitely could. I'm mostly asking because I'm wondering how aggressively I should treat my clothes and bag. I would appreciate any help anyone can give me!


    Thanks!

    #1 Posted: 24/8/2011 - 08:46

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  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location New Zealand
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    Did they look like this?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bed_bug

    I haven't had the misfortune of dealing with them, but they sound nasty. They are spread from hotel to hotel in people's bags, etc so yes, you should inspect your bags, etc.

    If they are indeed bedbugs, there has been various discussions about them on TF in the past - including various tips on how to deal with them. Have a search on the site and see what you can find.

    Good luck!

    #2 Posted: 24/8/2011 - 08:58

  • katielane18

    Joined Travelfish
    13th May, 2010
    Location United States
    Posts: 13

    I don't think they're bed bugs. As far as I know, you usually can't feel bed bugs biting you. And these were even smaller than bed bugs and bright bright red.

    #3 Posted: 24/8/2011 - 10:19

  • wanderingcat

    Joined Travelfish
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    bedbugs have a distinct smell (like almond essence) when crushed.

    one larger brown looking bug and a lot of the tiny red ones

    larger brown one = adult & tiny ones = nymphs?
    photo of the 1st-5th stage nymphs & adult here (scroll to bottom).
    nymphs don't have the dark brown colour of adults yet so they will appear whitish (before feeding) or red (after feeding).

    #4 Posted: 24/8/2011 - 10:45

  • katielane18

    Joined Travelfish
    13th May, 2010
    Location United States
    Posts: 13

    I didn't notice a smell at all. I'm thinking it's probably a good idea to "treat" my backpack, just in case. Any thoughts on how to do this?

    #5 Posted: 24/8/2011 - 11:17

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6377
    Total reviews: 10

    Treat your backpack with Deet, that should take care of it. I don't know what you were bit by, but if your skin doesn't clear up within a few days, you should probably see a local dermatologist (I would not wait until you got home - a local physician will be more familiar with local infections and, depending on your health care program, it will doubtless be a LOT cheaper here). In the meantime, I would wash the infected area with an anti-bacterial soap to minimize any secondary infections.

    #6 Posted: 24/8/2011 - 13:33

  • goonistik

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Philippines
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    #7 Posted: 25/8/2011 - 08:54

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6377
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    goonistick
    You got that right. I got one on my neck once, and it sucked.

    #8 Posted: 25/8/2011 - 16:47

  • katielane18

    Joined Travelfish
    13th May, 2010
    Location United States
    Posts: 13

    Yuck! No, thankfully it was not those. The general consensus is that they are, in fact, bed bugs. The bites are covering my whole upper half and some of my lower half. They are incredibly itchy and swollen but I don't seem to be getting any more since the first night. Phew! Either way, a real annoyance but no big deal. You gotta love budget travel!

    #9 Posted: 25/8/2011 - 16:59

  • goonistik

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Philippines
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    Katielane

    Even 5-star hotels can get bedbugs.

    You may wish to consult a dermatologist. Ask about applying a corticosteroid cream to treat the bites. The cream will help with the swelling and itching.

    #10 Posted: 25/8/2011 - 22:29

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  • goonistik

    Joined Travelfish
    7th January, 2010
    Location Philippines
    Posts: 545
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    Katielane

    Even 5-star hotels can get bedbugs.

    You may wish to consult a dermatologist. Ask about applying a corticosteroid cream to treat the bites. The cream will help with the swelling and itching.

    #11 Posted: 25/8/2011 - 22:34

  • SBE

    Click here to learn more about SBE
    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Global Village
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    Be glad it wasn't a rove beetle! You inadvertently squash them and don't feel anything at the time but about 24 hours later it looks like someone has thrown vitriol at you. I've still got a faint scar on my inner elbow where I must have squashed one in my sleep and it's 6 months later now! Good to be aware what they can do to you though...they don't look any more alarming than an earwig in your garden.

    Have you been to see a local dermatologist yet? I got covered in sandfly bites (or something) once in Thailand and went to see a dermatologist in Chumphon. It wasn't a fancy hospital, just a clinic on the street and I was the only foreign patient but the treatment he prescribed worked great and the consultation+medications cost under $10. I think it was a mixture of oral anti-histamines and cortisone cream like Goonistik mentioned.

    #12 Posted: 26/8/2011 - 03:40

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6377
    Total reviews: 10

    Good advice from SBE here. My experience with local medical care has been exceptionally good. And since this is their neighborhood, they are going to be much more familiar with the kind of insect bites (and what they look like) native to the region than would a western doctor. And it will be cheap.

    #13 Posted: 26/8/2011 - 10:34

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