A question about poisonous bugs

Over the course of about 50 days, I had about 100 poisonous bugs bite me. The venom could be seen pooled under my skin. I used Neem to handle the effects of much of it, but some seeped out onto my skin, which then stuck onto my clothes.

Does anyone know if the poison on my clothes is still active? I wouldn’t want to spread it to anyone else through the laundry machines.


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Welcome to the forum, @bebes9

I’ve moved this out of General and into Nature Talk as this isn’t related to iNaturalist.

Generally, I would suggest you consult a physician or poison control (in U.S.A. or foreign equivalent) about the best way to manage bites, venom, poisons etc. Also, without an idea of what order of insects (or arachnids?) you’ve encountered, I’m not sure anyone will be able to assist you with information.


Chances are, the fluid beneath your skin was primarily yours – the venoms involved usually involve a very small volume. Also, if your skin isn’t broken, any venom compounds aren’t likely to cause any problems at all due to contact. On the other hand, if what you’re dealing with is an allergic reaction, then there could be a bit of an issue. It’s not likely to survive a trip through the washing machine, though – if you’re really concerned, go ahead and wash the clothing involved in a load separate from anything else, and you should be fine.


OK, thanks…I couldn’t quite tell where to put it.

I was trying to upload two pictures… one of the bugs and one of the venom. I ended up putting them on my observation page.

I know they look like bed bugs, but the bites do not present the same. The itching is what I think caused the venom to come out and onto my skin and clothes.

The Neem and hot, hot showers is what saved me.


I also wanted to add that when I use a topical version of Neem on a bed bug bite, the itching goes away in 5 minutes and doesn’t come back. With these bugs, I had to use both topical and internal versions just to keep it under control. Once the bugs stopped biting me, I could then resolve the problem.


Please provide a link to the images. In addition what part of the country are you in.

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I’m so new to this website, so I don’t know how to do so many things, but if you tap on my icon, I think you’ll get to my observations.

I live in New Jersey, but I am quite sure these bugs are not from anywhere near here.

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Even if they hitchhiked to NJ with you from some other location (say, in your suitcase), you set the location to where you first observed them. You could mark them Captive/Cultivated to indicate that you carried them home and explain in the description field that you found them after a trip to . Or you could consider that they traveled here using their own methods, which means they’re not captive.


I am not finding any observations, please place a link to your observations here.

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Are you sure it’s venom pooled under your skin? A lot of biting insects leave behind pustules. The fluid that comes out of it isn’t infectious, and even if it were, a round in the laundry would actually help break down any toxic compounds.

It would also help if you knew precisely what bit you. You mentioned bedbugs, but those leave behind itchy sores, and their saliva is an irritant, not necessarily a venom. Circumstances as to where you received the bites - where on your body, as well as where exactly you were, and what time - would be very revealing.

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The photos you posted are definitely of some sort of bedbug (family Cimicidae). They don’t produce any kind of venom, although their saliva does have compounds that prevent blood clotting and act as anesthetics so that they can feed during the night unmolested. The saliva is injected under the skin, so it’s not transmitted to other people. Most people don’t really have any reaction to the bites, since they don’t contain anything specifically meant to cause a reaction, but some people do experience an immune reaction to them (only ~30% do). That is caused by your own body’s immune system reacting to the saliva, it’s not really caused by the saliva itself. That reaction also can’t be spread from person to person. Since it’s your own body producing the reaction, that means that how you’re affected will vary. Many times people develop worse symptoms through time as they are exposed to bites (that’s probably as bad as they’ll get, it’s very rare for bedbug bites to be worse than that- but that could explain why you said that previous bed bug bites would go away quickly and this time they don’t). I will say that you probably shouldn’t be scratching them too much… it won’t really help anything, and it could potentially lead to infection.

If you want to read more about it, there are a lot of resources out there. The main one I used is this paper, although there are many less technical sources out there.


Hmmm for whatever reason I can not see the images, however I have no reason to think the Id now given is incorrect and would certainly echo what @dep has said.

The pictures are here- https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/bebes9

They were put into my room by creepy people. I only have a gut feeling, but they might be either from Africa or cultivated to be extra mean. I got a bed bug bite during this ordeal, and it was nothing compared to the other bugs.

nickcarlson… If you go to my observations page on iNaturalist, you can see two pictures of what my skin looked like. The reason I’m concerned is that even when there were no bugs biting, I would start to itch in an incessant kind of way and over larger and larger areas of my skin. And it seemed like my pillow case would irritate me on my neck, thus leading me to the idea that it was venom that had a longer life and a mind of its own.

@bebes9 I’m so sorry you’re experiencing this. However, I think this might be veering out of the scope of iNaturalist and the iNaturalist forum, they’re not places for medical or pest control advice. If you can, I recommend asking a medical professional about any ongoing skin issues, and contacting your landlord or a local pest control company about the insects in your room.


OK, I hear you.

Can I just say…well, here’s the thing…it’s not that I have a medical problem, and I caught all the bugs that were put into my room.

My only real question is…does anyone know scientifically whether poison from a bug, that gets on sheets and clothes, continues to be active. If so, what will deactivate it. I tried Epsom salts.

I just thought this might be a place where someone would know about that.

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If you’re in the US, I think most states have an Extension service that can answer lots of questions like this. Additionally, the city or county might have a public health department that can answer or direct you to where you can get an answer.


I did call poison control for the state, in the US, but I think they are more about poisons people ingest…so, she didn’t really have an answer. What is an Extension service?

Thing is, I just put a shirt back on that I haven’t worn in a month, and my elbow started itching, so I think that’s a sign that I’m on to something.