I wake up with bug bites but my husband does not, what could be wrong? Bed bugs, for example, require an ample supply of blood for survival.
It’s normal to see bug bites on your body while your partner has none. There are several reasons bugs bite one person and not another—some could be myths now accepted as the truth while others are possibilities. With this publication, you can tell why your husband is not having those bites, even though you share the bed with him.
I wake up with bug bites but my husband does not
It’s not sorcery—it’s the bugs! But why are they after you alone? Below are possible reasons you wake up with bug bites but your husband does not:
1. Your partner might be wearing a repellent
Your partner may not be having those bug bites because of a bug repellent or repelling product on them. Bugs can be repelled with chemical treatments and the scent of essential oils in domestic products.
If your partner applied any of these products before bed, it could be repelling bugs like bed bugs, fleas, mayfly, and booklice, to mention a few. Essential oils could be present in the following products:
- Shampoo and conditioners
- Body washes
You can think of essential oils as the distilled plant essence. However, plant-based bug repellents studies like Marta Ferreira Maia and Sarah J Moore’s publication shows that some essential oils can repel insects to varying degrees, including citronella oil, eucalyptus oil, and catnip oil—other oils are clove oil, patchouli, peppermint, and geranium.
2. It could be allergies
Consult your doctor to ensure that it’s not a disease, contamination, or allergies that are causing the bug bites.
You’d have to take the time to properly check your room for pests. Examine mattress seams, look under the corners of the box spring and make use of a small mirror, if deemed necessary, to examine the headboard and bed frame.
Bed bugs, for example, become purplish-red and cigar-shaped after feeding. Their fecal deposits made of digested blood look like a scattering of pepper. If you don’t come across any bugs and haven’t traveled recently, you may want to explore options like detergents, current medications, and allergy issues—these could be the causes of the bites and itchiness.
3. You’re pregnant
Bugs could be attracted to warmth and C02. These pesky creatures search for your body to feed on by tracking down Carbon dioxide output. Thus, your metabolic rate (the amount of C02 released from your body while burning energy), is a huge factor.
Pregnant women have higher metabolic rates, exposing them to possible bug bites. A pregnant woman exhales 21 percent more C02 than a non-pregnant and tends to have a higher body temperature, attracting bug bites in bed.
4. Bug bite affects each person differently
Your husband may be taking the bites as well, just that a bite from pests like bed bugs affects each person differently—Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Common bite responses can include:
- absence of physical bite signs
- small bite mark
- chronic allergic reaction
Bed bugs, for example, are not considered fatally dangerous. However, an allergic reaction to several bug bites will require medical attention.
5. Bugs on your side of the bed
When you experience bug bites but your partner doesn’t, there may be a growing infestation on your side of the bed. The bites may not necessarily be bed bug bites but other insects.
Mosquitoes and fleas are some of the pesky creatures that can bite you at night. You want to closely examine the spot you were bitten. If the bites are located in areas of your body that touch the surface of your bed and are in large clusters, then you are dealing with bed bugs. However, if you notice only a few bites in small red, itchy clumps (no more than 3-4 bites in the cluster, you could be dealing with fleas or mosquitoes on your side of the bed.
If you own a pet or a pet was brought into your house by another person recently, it could very well be fleas, if you hear any sort of buzzing sounds, then it could be mosquitoes.
6. You’ve had direct contact with your pet before bed
If your pet has brought fleas into your home, your carpet is their most likely living area, so, they’ll attack the lower half of your body and reach for warm, moist areas like behind your knees or inside your elbows. If the bugs are bed bugs, you should be experiencing irritating bites on the upper half of your body, around the arms, neck, and face.
7. Your side of the bed is warmer
Bed bugs, for example, typically feed on warm-blooded bodies. They are attracted to your body due to heat and exhaled carbon dioxide. While sleeping, you are not active and your head is surrounded by the exhaled carbon dioxide, luring in bug bites around your head and neck region. Nonetheless, bed bugs have been known to bite other exposed parts of the body and your warm, cozy bed is just as attractive to bugs.
Bugs like bed bugs are attracted to warmth and moisture and can detect this up to 3 feet away. Bed bugs do not jump or fly, so they have to stay closer to your sleeping place. Once they sense your heat, they get to work, causing the bites you experience but that your partner doesn’t. Bed bugs can travel more than 100 feet in a night but mostly live within 8 feet of where you sleep—CDC.
8. It may not be bed bugs or other bugs at all
It does not necessarily mean that you have bugs, even though you think the bites are from bugs. Although you may likely have reasons for believing that the bites are from bed bugs, they could be other pests.
Nonetheless, if there are noticeable signs of bug bites, you should have your bed inspected.
9. Your husband hasn’t reacted to it yet
This may seem odd but according to a study “Sensitivity to bites by the bedbug, Cimex lectularius” published on John Wiley & Sons, Inc., the widely cited figure of 20% not reacting is based on literature from about 80 years ago. This study shows that about 18 out of 19 people were sensitive to bed bug bites but only after repeated exposure, in most cases.
The time for symptoms to show took between seconds to 10 days. This could, therefore, mean that the bites you experience may have taken place more than a week ago.
The study also shows that sensitivity increases over time, so if you don’t react and therefore see an infestation as a non-issue, it can change and the symptoms of the bite could get severe.
Signs that other pests are biting you
a. Small bugs in the cracks and crevices of your home
You think finding bugs in other areas of your house, especially small cylindrical-shaped insects, could be bed bugs but you may be wrong. Some people even confuse German roach nymphs with bed bugs anyway. Roach nymphs are quite cylindrical whereas bed bugs are shorter and oval. Both pests live in harborages and are nocturnal, but unlike bed bugs, cockroaches don’t naturally feed on humans but can bite, causing irritation, lesions, and swelling. If you don’t see roaches in your bed, you are not having bed bug bites.
b. Bugs with wings are not bed bugs
Did you see bugs without wings? It’s an indication that there are no bed bugs since bed bugs do not have wings. You may be mistaking carpet beetles for bed bugs, which are also sometimes found in the bedroom. They, however, have distinct wings, with their larvae similar to caterpillars.
c. Your bed looks completely clean
If you think that you might have bed bugs, looking closer at your bed should be the next step. However, if you inspect your bed closely and do not spot stains, that’s another sign that there are no bed bugs.
Bed bugs will leave tiny blood stains or black dots looking like mold or black pepper sprinkled on your mattress seams or creases in your sheet corners.
How to stop bugs from biting you
It could be difficult to identify bug infestation. Usually, you want to look for tiny stains next to your bedding seams, mattress, or upholstery, which are hotspots for bugs. But if you can’t find the bugs but keep getting bitten, do the following:
1. Heat your room
Heat will get rid of bugs like bed bugs. Not the traditional increase of the thermostat but slow roast temperatures, which go on for hours and long enough to eliminate bugs from their hideouts.
Consider contacting a pest control company, they are equipped with special heaters installable in the room to get rid of the bugs. Your entire room needs to be touched, including the walls. Heating can take up to 3 hours before you occupy the room again.
2. Heat your clothes
You also need to heat your clothes to get rid of any bugs or eggs. Set the dryer on high, throw your clothes in and leave for around 60 minutes, then put them inside a clean sealed bag. Your clothes, sheets, blankets, and other bedding will need to pass through this process. You can use two-gallon ziplock bags to store single outfits.
3. Seal your mattresses and pillows
Your pillows and mattresses should be sealed in covers with zippers rated for allergy relief. Bugs in the zippers can’t escape and will die after some months.
The covers are a good method for preventing an infestation because bed bugs are always close to any available source of food. Nonetheless, they will hide well enough to lay eggs and your mattress and pillow fit make up the perfect hideouts.
4. Contact pest control professionals
Bug bites do not pose medical threats. To treat a bite effectively, avoid scratching the area, apply an antiseptic, and use an antihistamine. If you suspect an infestation, inform your landlord or contact a professional pest exterminator to get rid of the bugs.