What’s Biting Me in My Own House?

By Chris Williams on February 10, 2015.

hand-bitten-by-bugWe often get calls from people who feel they are being bitten by something in their home. Sometimes the cause is obvious, but in other cases, we may not be able to find the source of the bites. In warm weather months especially, people are bitten when outside (from chiggers, mosquitoes, thrips, etc.), but the bites may not show up until hours, or even days, later and are then blamed on an unknown indoor source. Below are some of the possible unseen causes of indoor bites:


If you have a pet, your pet might have fleas. Fleas stay on the animal and would only bite people under certain special circumstances. When fleas are the cause of people bites, it’s usually when there is no longer an animal present for fleas to feed on, or when there are high flea numbers.

Bed bugs

Bed bug bites occur mainly at night, mainly in the bedroom, and often in groups of two or three bites at a time. A professional inspection of the bed area can usually determine whether bed bugs are the cause of recurring bites.


Sometimes, bird or rodent mites can bite people. Like fleas though, mites do not prefer to feed on people. These situations are rare and usually occur when a bird or rodent has left or been removed from a nest, leaving the mites without a host. The mites will leave the nest and look for another animal to feed on temporarily.


Spiders will occasionally bite a person, but only when they are defending themselves from the prospect of being smashed. Most accidental spider bites occur at night in bed, and are single events.

Biting flies

Although mosquitoes and biting gnats are primarily outdoor pests, they can find their way inside and people can be bitten indoors. These bites are usually a one-time event, although mosquitoes can breed indoors in unusual circumstances.

Miscellaneous bugs that can bite

Many other kinds of insects are capable of biting in self-defense, but most rarely do. They are not blood feeders and since they are not adapted for biting, most have jaws that only give a weak pinch. These are single episode bites.

“Invisible” bugs

Sometimes, the feeling of being bitten cannot be traced to insects or arthropods at all. The “bites” may be from a dermatological or medical condition, or the result of skin irritation from chemicals or other factors. There is also a psychological syndrome called delusory parasitosis where people believe their bodies are infested by pests.

Photo credit: AlphaTangoBravo / Adam Baker / Foter / CC BY

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