CLOSED: Please Help ID! Attacked During Night!

Walters, MN


My husband woke up this morning covered in bites, and 19 hours later I took these pictures. (The photos really don't do the actual bites justice when compared to seeing the bites in person)

He describes the bites as itchy, and a little burning sensation, but that probably comes from scratching at them & irritating the bites, despite his best attempts not to.

This was his first night home from travelling, and I do worry about bed-bugs, however he shared a two bed room with his father who did not get any of these bites. This morning after sharing the same bed I had no bites. My children in the house have no bites either.

He has probably (Conservatively) at least 50 bites covering his legs, arms, shoulders, feet, and even one behind an ear. We also have cats and dogs that are indoor/outdoor animals, however the vet said that fleas generally prefer animals to humans and it would have to be a sizeable infestation for the fleas to be on people. (I do use frontline and advantix on our animals)

As the day has gone on the redness has spread making the bites change from smaller more "pinpointed" type marks to larger ones, and are "hard" to the touch when I applied some anti-itch cream.

Some of the bites look to have a double pinprick point where maybe 2 fanges would have pierced the skin, while others only seem to have one, and even others have no discernable "entrance" point.

The only other observation I can list is that while not occuring in perfect rows, the bites do seem to have a pattern of occuring in "lines" anywhere from 1/2 to 3" apart. Along both of his back shoulders running down either his arms for example are "groups" of about 8-10 bites per side, each where you could imagine a critter of some sort "running along"

He saw a spider in our room tonight that he said was one of the fastest he has ever seen and he was able to catch it and I snapped a photo. (Being from Minnesota it is that lovely time of year when it is warm during the day, and cold at night causing many critters to seek shelter inside) He said the spider was very aggressive and actually "reared up" raising its front legs and fangs. When we flipped the spider over, the fangs seem especially large for the size of the spider which I would estimate to be approx 1cm in it's "curled up" dead position that can be seen in the photo. (But the fangs do seem un-remarkable when the spider is right-side up)

Please let us know if it is possible for one spider to inflict so many bites, or if the bites could be from fleas, or chiggers, or bed-bugs, or what the heck is going on! And if a spider, please let us know what species if possible.

I'm not really an anti-spider or bug person for the most part, I just prefer to seem them outdoors where God intended!

Thank you very much in advance for any insight you may have regarding our mysterious attacker!

This message was edited Sep 16, 2012 12:36 PM

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Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

It seems unusual to me that a spider would stay on a person and inflict many bites.

Was he in any woods or fields recently?

Minot, ND

The spider appears to be a harmless grass spider - compare its eye pattern with - it would not be responsible for these 'bites.'

Walters, MN

Yes He has been outdoors in mostly tall grass and fields possibly woods?

He left last Tues from Minnesota, spent night in North Dakota Motel, Continued to Havre Montana where he stayed the night.

The next days (Wed 12th & Thurs 13th) he was in Rockey Boy Indian Reservation (Bear Paw Mountain area of Montana) prepping jobsites for some underground utility construction we will be doing there next week.

Thursday night was another North Dakota sleep-over.

He Returned home Friday, and still had no evidence of any bites until Saturday Morning.

Who knows for sure how many places he stopped along the way as well, (emergency rest-stops and such as it is a 19 hour drive 1 way)

Thank you for helping, and please let us know if you can identify the culprit if it is not the spidey!

Walters, MN

Oh, and yes I think you are right Flapdoodle, the eye pattern and even the stripey pattern on the abdoman? Thorax? (so sorry I really know very little about bugs / spiders) is also a match.

That brings me back to being creeped out again because it's certainly still an unsolved mystery... Please help! Thank you!

Minot, ND

It is very difficult to identify a specific culprit unless you actually catch/see something in the act of biting. Also, there are several other causes of minor skin lesions that can look very much like bug bites.

Walters, MN

I would like to agree with you, but because of the "tracking" pattern these bite marks seem to have (you can visualize something crawling along and taking a chomp every 1/2" to two inches or so) I am thinking it is probably not a "skin condition" or random allergic reaction.

On the otherhand, I am worried he is "stressed" and perhaps it is auto-immune related or something like that?

And after thinking long and hard, I think that something like this happened to him once before, down to the 1-2 day dely from travelling and then "cropping up" after being back home on a different trip he had to take to Missouri (I think) about 3-5 months ago?

Minot, ND

A trip to Missouri could have involved contact with chiggers, but such would not have occurred with the recent travel history. Night-biting flies (mosquitoes and biting midges ('punkies') also are possible causes.

Blytheville, AR(Zone 7a)

Sometimes chigger bites won't show up for 24 hours.

(Zone 7a)

It's also possible that the bites caused a case of hives on top of it all. You said you noticed some of them did not have actual 'entrance' site? Has he been to a Dr.?

Fallbrook, CA

Could be chiggers. Not sure why no one got bites but...
My husband was traveling in Central America and his feet and ankles got covered in chigger bites. He was miserable. A friend took him to a guy who makes an herbal concoction of tropical herbs. It's called Mayan Oil. Yo can check out the website at This stuff really works. He got relief from the itching within seconds and the next day they were barely visible. He couldn't believe it. You should try it. Hope it helps.

Fallbrook, CA

Just noticed that he was walking in tall grasses. It is almost certainly chigger bites. Mayan Oil will help! Http://

DISH, TX(Zone 8b)

I don't know how it got there, but I can bet that is a brown recluse. When I saw the image I thought it was, then just to be positive I looked it up. We have really had a problem with them here this year, I have been bitten a few times already. Their venom can react different ways, depending on the person, and the spider, wether it is young are adult. I have seen them make hideos holes in people, and other reactions, then, in other people like myself, they just make small festering spots that just keep festering until whenever, then the spot will just get itchy and flake forever. I sure hope you are one of the ones that is a little immune to the bite.

Minot, ND

The spider at the start of this thread most definitely is NOT a brown recluse, or any other member of that family for that matter.

(Zone 7a)

I agree, NOT a recluse. The eye pattern is all wrong, for one, and the legs are striped whereas a BR does not have that. I see nothing that says BR.

mid central, FL(Zone 9a)

my vote is for chiggers or poison ivy. take a daily soak in cool vinegar water. if he gets worse, go to an ER clinic.

Decatur, GA

To avoid chigger bites drink an ounce or two of pickle juice before you go out. Works like a charm.
Not much use after the bites though!

Winter Park, FL(Zone 9b)

Old thread, I hope he is feeling better. You thought it occurred once before, and are aware of stress flares relevant to a wide range auto-immune disorders. If it occurs again, a biopsy via a dermatologist could prove enlightening.

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