December 22, 2012 in Features

Readers itching to solve bug bite topic

Kathy Mitchell

Dear Annie: I want to reply to “Twice Bitten,” who is being bitten by tiny bugs. I had the same problem. After several visits to the dermatologist and tests with no diagnosis, I tried lavender soap and lotion. Bugs do not like the smell of lavender. You also can sprinkle lavender flowers on your carpet and use lavender sachets in your hamper and in and around your bed. – Also Been Bitten

Dear also: We heard from hundreds of readers on this subject. When we initially did our research, we found too many possibilities to print. So here are a few more:

From Casper, Wyo: My friend had a similar experience after a cruise. It turned out she had contracted scabies, probably from an infected mattress.

East Coast: As a pest control technician, I get many complaints like this. After a thorough inspection and finding no visible pests, I suggest quite a few of the same options you did. But I have noticed that this often happens when the weather turns colder and our furnaces kick back on. It tends to dry out the skin, with the sensation of being bitten by bugs. A humidifier may do the trick.

Ontario, Calif.: I had a similar problem, and it turned out to be rat mites. We got rid of the rats in our attic, but their tiny mites dropped down into the house. Our exterminator identified them when I put one under a microscope.

Washington State: “Twice Bitten” should see a doctor and ask about the Norwegian scabies. Unlike regular scabies, they do not leave the telltale tracks and are harder to identify.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailbox@, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.

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