Itching and Infestations: Explaining the Unexplained

Most of us have experienced itchy skin from a biting insect at least once in our lives. Insects and spiders such as mosquitoes, ticks, mites, bed bugs, fleas, and head lice can and do bite people. But have you ever felt like something bit you, but you didn't see what did it? This happens to all of us from time to time, but some may feel like they are getting bit constantly, are itchy, or have the sensation that bugs are crawling on them or underneath their skin. Yet they can't find the bugs. Because the insects may be too small or too fast to catch, it might be hard to convince others of the problem.

This unexplained itching feeling can be very bothersome to those experiencing it and can lead to stress. The issue is addressed in UC IPM's newly revised Pest Notes: Itching and Infestation: What's Attacking Me? Authored by UC Davis entomologists Lynn Kimsey, Robert Kimsey, and Eric Mussen, this updated publication contains guidelines on what might cause itching sensations and also provides an extensive reference section for more information.

With any unexplained itching, the first person to contact should be your primary health care provider or family physician. Medical professionals are licensed to diagnose itching conditions and recommend treatment for these conditions.


By Elaine Lander
Author - Urban & Community IPM Educator
By Karey Windbiel-Rojas
Author - Associate Director for Urban & Community IPM/ Area Urban IPM Advisor