View Full Version : Biting bugs in my sofa

Oct 1, 2012, 04:58 PM
I love to lay on my couch and read. For the last 5 months, I have been bitten on my lower legs, ankles, and feet. I tried spraying vinegar under the cushions, and in the crevices. It seems to help for a day or two, but then it starts again. I've found microscopic brown crusty things, oval in shape under the cushions. But they're so tiny I can't tell if they're insects or not. I've checked all of my beds in the house, and found them to be bug free. This occurs only in the living room, on the sofa & loveseat. Any ideas? It's getting extremely annoying to have to constantly scratch my legs & feet. People at my gym ar beginning to think I have some strange disease.

Oct 1, 2012, 05:20 PM
Couple questions... do you have a cat or dog? Where did you get the couch? How long have you had the couch? Does this ONLY happen on the couch?

I'm thinking fleas and/or bedbugs possibly.

Oct 2, 2012, 05:43 AM
Yes I have 2 cats, and no they don't have fleas. I bought the couch new about 6-7 years ago. Fleas were my first thought too. But, neither one of them are scratching. Just me. So if they are bed bugs. How do I get them out of there?

Oct 2, 2012, 05:50 AM
Gather some in a jar and take them to an exterminator or find someone with a microscope.
There are thousands of kinds of mites, which they might be.
OR just young fleas. You can see the flea shape and legs under a magnifying glass. The legs all tilt towards the end of the flea.
There are many sites online with enlarged pictures of biting insects.

(PS: when my cat had fleas, she didn't scratch and they weren't visible except right near her nose, where I saw several deep in the fur.)

Oct 2, 2012, 04:21 PM
:( ...they might be just young fleas. You can see the flea shape and legs under a magnifying glass. The legs all tilt towards the end of the flea.

Insects grow in stages. Each stage is called an instar. Young insects feed, get a little fatter, and molt whereupon the old skin, (=exuvia), is cast off, and the new skin (=exoskeleton) emerges from underneath the old skin. The number of instars an insect grows through depends on the species of insect.

Insects have different types of growth strategies where, depending on species, an insect only gets bigger and does not change its basic shape nor grow wings (=no metamorphosis); OR the insect nymph changes slightly and the final instar, which is the adult reproductive stage, grows wings (=gradual metamorphosis); OR the insect larva changes dramatically from an often, but not always worm shape, to a quiescent pupal stage, then emerges as an often winged adult reproductive stage (=complete or full metamorphosis)

Ants, wasps, beetles, butterflies, moths AND fleas undergo complete metamorphosis. A "young flea" looks nothing like the adult flea most people are familiar with. A larval flea does not have legs and barely has a recognizable head. They have the classic worm insect look. Larval fleas don't even bite. They feed on the dead sloughed skin and dried blood of the host.

A flea with legs is an adult flea, essentially an "old flea". The adult flea is the final instar. It will not grow anymore.

Click on the following links for images:
Flea larvae (https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&newwindow=1&safe=off&q=exuvia&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&ion=1&biw=1024&bih=727&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=uXNrUODDMMbS2QXWhYCIDQ#um=1&hl=en&newwindow=1&safe=off&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=larvae+flea&oq=larval+flea&gs_l=img.1.0.0i10i24j0i24.1294.4100.0.5681.11.11.0 .,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&fp=eb02893357190215&biw=1024&bih=727)
Flea adults (https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&newwindow=1&safe=off&q=exuvia&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&ion=1&biw=1024&bih=727&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=uXNrUODDMMbS2QXWhYCIDQ#um=1&hl=en&newwindow=1&safe=off&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=adult+flea&oq=adult+flea&gs_l=img.12...188852.191156.2.193682. 14.577.4j2.6.0...0.0...1c.1.VLuSTpmcoDE&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&fp=eb02893357190215&biw=1024&bih=727)

Oct 2, 2012, 05:00 PM
Good info... I learned something on that one I never did learn in biology. Had to give that a well deserved greenie.

Oct 3, 2012, 05:08 AM
Yes, greenies for gnahcd. Glad to have your expertise.

I've never seen a bedbug in person, but pictures of them are lighter than adult fleas, which are dark brown.
I kept a white bowl of water handy to drown fleas in. You can see their longer hind legs clearly against the white background. I also discovered that fleas can get out of fresh water (because of minute air bubbles), even after wiggling underwater for 10 minutes, so let it go stale. Or put detergent in it.

Nov 15, 2012, 02:29 PM
You might try setting a bowl of water with dish soap in it next to couch at night. Then set a table lamp next to the bowl and leave all the other lights off. In the morning examine the bowl, if they are fleas you will find some in the bowl.

If you suspect bed bugs examine the seams of the couch cushions for black splotches , eggs (smaller then a grain of rice), or what appears to be empty shell of bed bug. Bed bugs molt as they grow leaving behind the out grown shell.

Nov 15, 2012, 03:09 PM
It sounds like bed bugs.. I have a friend who got bits on her arms, neck, everywhere. They were in the couch.

Everything has to be super cleaned and, you may need to get an exterminator to remove them..

Sorry to bear bad news but, it is what it is