The Bugman

Bite marks: Bedbugs, mites or spiders?


If you stay in a hotel or motel – or anywhere else – and you wake up with bite marks, there are some things to consider. Could it be bedbugs? Of course, that is possible, but there are also other possibilities. In many hotels and motels, the room will be inspected for bedbugs and if none are found, managers will say it isn’t their problem. There are other possibilities and whoever is in charge of the rooms needs to realize this.

If bedbugs aren’t present, then it is possible there are dermanyssid mites in the room if pigeons or swallows are nesting on the building. If birds leave a nest infested with dermanyssid mites, the mites can go in the building and bite the occupants. A much lesser chance is that the bites are from ceratopogonid flies (no-see-ums). These flies have to breed in very damp soil. If there is damp soil near the building, then ceratopogonid flies could be the cause of the bites. They are small enough to fit through a window screen. If any pests are found in a room, then all the nearby rooms should be inspected as well. Not everyone shows bite marks when bitten by bedbugs. I have been bitten and never showed a mark. If no pests of any kind are found, then you should probably see a dermatologist, as the bite-like scars may be a result of some chemical reaction.

Some people believe it could be spider bites. If it is one bite, you may have rolled over on a spider and it would bite you. If there are multiple bites, it isn’t spiders. Spiders don’t normally bite people unless they are squeezed or if they are guarding their eggs. I pick up spiders all the time, including black widows and brown recluse arachnids, and none have ever tried to bite me, as I never squeezed them. I have posted many photos of me holding black widows and other spiders on my Facebook page. Spiders need their venom to get food and do not like to waste it biting people unless they really feel threatened.

Finally, if you hire someone to inspect your home for bedbugs, make sure they are knowledgeable about dermanyssid mites and ceratopogonid flies. If they are not, call another company.

A spider Christmas:

A long time ago, a mother prepared for Christmas Eve. She cleaned and scrubbed her home, chasing the spiders from the living room with her broom. The spiders fled to the attic and listened to the excitement below as the Christmas tree was put up and decorated. When all was quiet again, the little spiders crept back downstairs to see the beautiful tree. They were filled with happiness as they crawled along every branch, admiring the glittering beauty of each ornament. But alas, by the time they had finished climbing through the tree, it was completely draped with their dusty, gray cobwebs.

When the Christ child came, He smiled as He looked upon the happy little spiders. However, He knew the mother would be heartbroken when she saw the shrouded tree. So He reached out and touched the webs and, blessing them, turned them into silver and gold. Now the Christmas tree sparkled and shimmered and was even more beautiful than before. Thus the custom to have tinsel of silver and gold and a spider ornament among the other decorations on the Christmas tree was born.

So if you find a spider in your Christmas tree, it is a good thing. I want to wish everyone a very merry Christmas. Happy New Year, too! May all of your bugs and spiders be cute and friendly.

If you have any pest questions, you can contact the author at or (505) 385-2820.

Editor’s note: Fagerlund is experienced with how to safely handle spiders. Parents should be cautious in allowing children to pick up spiders.