Bed Bugs Bites How Do They Look

How do bed bugs bites look? All their distinctive features

This post is part 2 of The ultimate guide on how to get rid of bed bugs bites.ВSo, how do bed bugs bites look? When trying to find a solution, it is important to understand the problem. In this regard, when trying to get rid of bedbugs it is important to have an idea of how they look.

Bed bugs are small in size with the adult measuring Вј an inch. These bugs are flat in shape with well-developed legs and no wings. With the help of their legs, bed bugs can easily crawl up vertical surfaces in mere seconds! They have visible antennae; their appearance is mahogany in color with varying shades from a straw-like tint to a deep reddish mahogany.В Although adult bed bugs take on a brown color, this ends to change once they are done feeding-they tend to take on a reddish color.

Although the adult bed bug does have the vestiges of wings known as wing pads, they don’t develop into full-blown wings that would enable the bugs to fly. As for what they use for feeding, bed bugs have mouthparts that are divided into two. Part of the mouth will secret the saliva that is designed to numb a given area; so that when the bed bug uses the other part to feed, you will not feel anything until is too late.

How do bed bugs bites look? Their shape

In most cases, bed bug bites are mistaken for bites from other bugs such as fleas and mosquitoes. Depending on an individual’s skin type, bed bug bites may take on different shapes. One person may get rushes while another may end up with blisters. Yet another person may end up with red welts.

How do bed bugs bites look? The line of movement

A line of bed bug bites

Generally speaking, bed bug bite marks are normally in groups of three or more. They end to form a straight line, with the bite marks being in close proximity to each other.В In case you have a bed bug infestation then and more than one bed bug happens to feed on the same spot then you might not have a straight line of bed bug bites, but rather a huge number of bed bug bites that are close together!

Considering their small size, taking a close look at bed bugs may not be so easy. You may need a magnifying glass to take a close look at the bed bug. Luckily, you don’t need to have a magnifying glass to get a good idea of what bed bugs look like. There are a number of enlarged pictures readily available on our website.

As for the bed bug bites, most pictures show that the bites tend to be close together and leave a red mark or two on the skin.

Do bed bug bites itch?

Different people react differently on bed bug bites. While one person may not even know they have been bitten, another person may have a mild to severe reaction to the bite. Thanks to the saliva that bed bugs excrete, you may have an itching reaction to the bite. This is because the saliva does contain proteins that may cause itching.

When the bed bugs are done feeding and you notice the given area later, you may find that the area looks small and flat or it may be raised. Ultimately, you may end up with an inflamed body or one that is itching, red and blistered.

When it comes to bed bug itching, much as the urge may be irresistible to scratch the given spot, you should resist it. When you feel like you can’t take the itching anymore, you need to consider using an anti-itch cream or any number of home remedies such as applying honey, a cold cucumber slice or simply washing the area with soap and water.

The reason why you should resist scratching the given spot is that scratching may result in an infection.

Can bed bug bites look differently?

Bed bug bites may appear differently on different people’s bodies. One person may end up with a rash on the affected area while another may end up with blisters. No matter the final outlook however, it is important to understand some of the bed bite basics.

Generally speaking, bed bugs will leave bite marks that are close together. They may also leave bite marks that are in a straight line unless if the bed bug’s feeding was disrupted one way or the other.

One bed bug is more than capable of feeding a number of times during the night on a given host. When it comes to looks, bed bug bites can take on the form of red bumps, welts, blisters or even pimples depending on the host’s skin and reaction to the bed bug bites.

If you notice blood on your bed sheets in addition to some of the signs mentioned above then you could be having a bed bug problem. In addition to the blood, you may also notice feces or cast skins on your bed.

Bed bugs tend to bite exposed skin. As such, the bites will often be noticed on areas such as the neck, arms, legs, ankles or chest. The bite marks may be grouped together in a small area or they may form a straight or zigzag pattern on the body.

Conclusion

Bed bug bites may be hard to determine especially if you have never seen one before. However, with the help of pictures it is possible to at least make an informed decision on whether or not what you have is a bed bug bite, eczema, a mere rash or a bite from a bug other than a bed bug.

Pay close attention to new marks on your skin. If you are not sure, it is best to visit a doctor to help you determine whether or not what you have is a bed bug bite.

GO TO CHAPTER 3 OF THE ULTIMATE GUIDE ON HOW TO GET RID OF BED BUGS BITES >>>>

Bed Bugs FAQs

What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are small, flat, parasitic insects that feed solely on the blood of people and animals while they sleep. Bed bugs are reddish-brown in color, wingless, range from 1mm to 7mm (roughly the size of Lincoln’s head on a penny), and can live several months without a blood meal.

Where are bed bugs found?

Bed bugs are found across the globe from North and South America, to Africa, Asia and Europe. Although the presence of bed bugs has traditionally been seen as a problem in developing countries, it has recently been spreading rapidly in parts of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and other parts of Europe. Bed bugs have been found in five-star hotels and resorts and their presence is not determined by the cleanliness of the living conditions where they are found.

Bed bug infestations usually occur around or near the areas where people sleep. These areas include apartments, shelters, rooming houses, hotels, cruise ships, buses, trains, and dorm rooms. They hide during the day in places such as seams of mattresses, box springs, bed frames, headboards, dresser tables, inside cracks or crevices, behind wallpaper, or any other clutter or objects around a bed. Bed bugs have been shown to be able to travel over 100 feet in a night but tend to live within 8 feet of where people sleep.

Do bed bugs spread disease?

Bed bugs are not known to spread disease. Bed bugs can be an annoyance because their presence may cause itching and loss of sleep. Sometimes the itching can lead to excessive scratching that can sometimes increase the chance of a secondary skin infection.

What health risks do bed bugs pose?

A bed bug bite affects each person differently. Bite responses can range from an absence of any physical signs of the bite, to a small bite mark, to a serious allergic reaction. Bed bugs are not considered to be dangerous; however, an allergic reaction to several bites may need medical attention.

What are the signs and symptoms of a bed bug infestation?

One of the easiest ways to identify a bed bug infestation is by the tell-tale bite marks on the face, neck, arms, hands, or any other body parts while sleeping. However, these bite marks may take as long as 14 days to develop in some people so it is important to look for other clues when determining if bed bugs have infested an area. These signs include:

  • the bed bugs’ exoskeletons after molting,
  • bed bugs in the fold of mattresses and sheets,
  • rusty–colored blood spots due to their blood-filled fecal material that they excrete on the mattress or nearby furniture, and
  • a sweet musty odor.

How do I know if I’ve been bitten by a bed bug?

It is hard to tell if you’ve been bitten by a bed bug unless you find bed bugs or signs of infestation. When bed bugs bite, they inject an anesthetic and an anticoagulant that prevents a person from realizing they are being bitten. Most people do not realize they have been bitten until bite marks appear anywhere from one to several days after the initial bite. The bite marks are similar to that of a mosquito or a flea — a slightly swollen and red area that may itch and be irritating. The bite marks may be random or appear in a straight line. Other symptoms of bed bug bites include insomnia, anxiety, and skin problems that arise from profuse scratching of the bites.

Because bed bug bites affect everyone differently, some people may have no reaction and will not develop bite marks or any other visible signs of being bitten. Other people may be allergic to the bed bugs and can react adversely to the bites. These allergic symptoms can include enlarged bite marks, painful swellings at the bite site, and, on rare occasions, anaphylaxis.

How did I get bed bugs?

Bed bugs are experts at hiding. Their slim flat bodies allow them to fit into the smallest of spaces and stay there for long periods of time, even without a blood meal. Bed bugs are usually transported from place to place as people travel. The bed bugs travel in the seams and folds of luggage, overnight bags, folded clothes, bedding, furniture, and anywhere else where they can hide. Most people do not realize they are transporting stow-away bed bugs as they travel from location to location, infecting areas as they travel.

Who is at risk for getting bed bugs?

Everyone is at risk for getting bed bugs when visiting an infected area. However, anyone who travels frequently and shares living and sleeping quarters where other people have previously slept has a higher risk of being bitten and or spreading a bed bug infestation.

How are bed bugs treated and prevented?

Bed bug bites usually do not pose a serious medical threat. The best way to treat a bite is to avoid scratching the area and apply antiseptic creams or lotions and take an antihistamine. Bed bug infestations are commonly treated by insecticide spraying. If you suspect that you have an infestation, contact your landlord or professional pest control company that is experienced with treating bed bugs. The best way to prevent bed bugs is regular inspection for the signs of an infestation.

This information is not meant to be used for self-diagnosis or as a substitute for consultation with a health care provider. If you have any questions about the parasites described above or think that you may have a parasitic infection, consult a health care provider.

Bed bugs bites how do they look

Information about bed bugs bites, pictures of what do bed bug bites look like, how to check if you have been bitten by bed bugs and advice on how to stop the itch.

Bed bugs are nocturnal insects that feed mostly at night when their hosts are asleep. In the day, they hide in cracks and crevices of walls, bed frames, bookshelves, basically anywhere that gives them easy access to humans, although they are fast moving insects that are able to travel great distances.

Bed bugs bite their hosts by using their sharp beak to pierce the skin and inject their saliva. Like mosquitoes, their saliva contains an anticoagulant (to prevent coagulation of the blood) as they suck and also acts as an anesthetic agent to prevent the victim from feeling the bite. Therefore, while sleeping, humans rarely feel any sensations of being bitten, but will only realize the day after.

Nymphs (young bed bugs) take about three minutes to feed, while a full-grown bug feeds for ten to fifteen minutes. After feeding, they then crawl back to the nearest crevice to digest.

Pictures Of What Do Bed Bug Bites Look Like On Humans

A young woman with numerous bed bug bites on her back and buttocks.


Bed bugs bites that are swollen on forearm.


A picture of a cluster of bed bugs bites on the inner side of the arms.


Bed bugs bites on the lower back/buttocks of a woman, sitting on the bed that gave her the bites.

So, my story starts in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I am currently attending university and have lived in residence for the last 3 years. I started developing this really bad rash the last few months (more than a few actually) and I thought it was heat rash because I would only get it when I sweated or got hot. However, I just checked the side of my mattress and low and behold, black dots everywhere. This has caused me such embarrassment because everywhere I would go leaving the house, I would have these hives looking rash all over my arms. I am finally moving out of residence and saying goodbye to these horrid blood suckers once and for all. I even tried allergy medicine with antihistamine because I thought it was an allergic reaction, which it is, but you cant really cure allergic reaction to bed bug bites with zyrtec, benedryl, or claritin.

thanks and I hope my story helped!

What Are The First Signs And Symptoms of Bed Bug Bites?

Often, the bites of bed bugs are mistaken or misdiagnosed for other common household insects since the bites can look almost identical to those caused by other parasitic blood feeding insects such as mosquitoes, fleas, ants and lice.


image credit: urbanentomology.tamu.edu

Nevertheless, bed bugs bites can be easily recognizable once you know what are the symptoms to look for.

The first tell tale symptoms of bed bug bites are the multiple small, flat or raise welts on the skin that will always appear in a linear three in a row or clustered pattern because of the bed bugs tendency to feed on the same location more than once. Experts usually describe the three in a row bite marks as breakfast, lunch and dinner. The welts can turn red, flare up and become itchy. Scratching the bitten areas may also cause the welts to blister, have an infection or leave scars.

The next tell tale sign that may indicate your bed is infested is that you will get bitten every night while you are sleeping and develop similar clustered pattern large itchy welts every morning.

Other possible signs of an infestation are tiny blood spots on bedding materials of dead bugs that are crushed during feeding or staining on the mattress from the waste of the bugs.

Bitten by bed bugs? Share with us your experiences here.

Bed Bugs Vs Fleas, Spiders and Mosquitoes Bites – What Are The Differences?

Even though bed bug bites cause itchiness and irritation to the skin similar to flea, spider and mosquito bites, there are a few differences.

The bites of bed bugs usually appear as small, red welts and tend to show up in groups or in a line formation on the hands, feet, neck and other exposed body parts during sleep. For most victims, the bites will cause intense itching for several days.

Since bed bugs feed at night, you may most likely notice that you have been bitten only after you have woken up in the morning. Sometimes, the bites may also tend to appear more rash-like rather than bite-like, which is why the symptoms of the bites can sometimes be mistaken for other types of skin rashes caused by laundry detergent, soap and other cleaning products.


Victims of bed bug bites on arms (image credits:tripadviserandaaron)

Flea bites can look very similar to the bites from bed bugs since they also occur in groups and itch a lot but the bite marks of fleas are typically smaller and more pinkish in color. Common household flea bites also tend to occur mostly on the lower part of the body around the legs, ankles and behind the knees.

Most of the time, the only way of knowing whether you have being bitten by fleas is asking yourself if you have recently come into contact with any household pets like dogs and cats or wildlife animals such as raccoons, rabbits and rats that typically carry fleas that bite humans. Most of the time, children end up with flea bites playing with their dogs and cats. There are also cases of individuals being bitten by sand fleas which are found commonly around beaches, wetlands and swamps.


Multiple flea bites on legs

The characteristics of a spider bite is usually large, isolated swelling that show up immediately after the bite revealing that the skin may be pierced. Depending on the toxicity of the spider bite, one may feel the painful sting of the bite much like the sting from a bee and the pain can last for a few minutes to as long as a day or two.


Symptoms of spider bites on hand and leg (image credits:graelaanddoug)

When an individual is bitten by mosquitoes, the bites tend to flare up quickly as pale pinkish bumps with uneven swelling on the skin. Reactions may vary but most individuals will experience itching around the bite area for a few hours with the itch gradually disappearing after a day or two.


Large welts and swellings of mosquitoes bites ( image credit: jenn )

Again, for those who are still unsure about what insects bit you, entomologists and pest control experts receommends that the best way to identify whether one is bitten by bed bugs is to physically check for the signs of the bugs themselves. Look for the live bugs or other signs of recent activity like the outer exoskeleton casings where the bugs shed, droppings and newly formed dried blood stains on the bed sheets.

For the uninitiated, read this post on how to check for signs of bed bugs at home and in a hotel room.

Where Do the Bites Most Commonly Occur?

Any exposed areas of the bodies while one sleep are target spots for a bed bug to bite and suck on for blood. The face, neck, back, hands, arms and legs are the most common areas where bed bug bites occur.


Two day old cluster pattern bites marks of bed bugs on women back.

How Long Does the Bite Rash Last?

Reaction to bed bug bites depends on the individual. Some people will not have any reaction at all while for others who are quite sensitive to bites, they may have localized allergic reactions and develop blisters or rashes that can be extremely itchy as they get bitten repeatedly.

Typically bed bug rashes will show up a few hours after the actual biting but there are some cases whereby the rash does not appear until a few days or even a week later since this is dependent on the allergy reaction to the person who is being bitten.

Generally, the rashes of bed bugs will last for two to three days and then slowly fade away. However the rashes can last much longer if the person is more allergic prone. Often it will require some medical intervention to finally clear up the skin rash completely.

Do Bed Bug Bites Transmit Disease?

Are the bites of bed bugs dangerous or contagious? Even though these tiny and bloodthirsty pests are really bothersome and considered a nuisance, their bites are fairly harmless and are not known to spread any diseases.

Nonetheless, on very rare occasions an allergic reaction to the bites has caused nausea, sickness and even shock. Some people may also be affected psychologically and not be able to fall asleep.

A Reader’s Comment on The Effects of Bed Bug Bites

I started with hundreds of bites on my body a year ago. I ended up in the ER because I had no idea what was wrong with me. I then went to 3 specialist, had biopsies and still no one knew what it was. I was able to move from that apartment in 3 months to a different complex. (because of the bed bug infestation that I had never experienced before. I am still getting bitten, severe itching, scars all over my legs, arms, neck and crease at top of my legs before entering private parts. No prescription has helped. I’ve had many. Calamine lotion helps with the itching but it’s messy and leaves a residue on your skin. I’ve had cortezone shots for the itching. did not help.

I have to wear clothing to help cover the marks to be able to work. My mattress and box springs have been encased in bed bed zippered bags since December, and then adding another cover over that this year. I cannot afford to trash my mattress. I did however trash my bedding and started over. My pillows are also protected with a zippered covering.

The itching is horrible and the same bite marks I’ve had for at least a year seem to be re-infecting. They get red and swollen. I also have several on my body that have started to go away or I mean you have to look really close to see. I started tanning and the heat helps and also starts tanning the scratched skin to blend with my normal skin.

This is HORRIBLE. I actually think just today I caught one on my bed and then looked on the computer and it does look like one of the species. I drowned it with 2 more I think I found. I heard they were sensitive to light so I sleep with the lights on. I’m not even sure anymore if all the itching is real. It could be psychosomatic. I always have a feeling something is crawling on me. It’s like when you see an ant on a picnic and can’t get that thought off your mind and start itching. The bite usually is invisible to the naked eye, but once you start itching, the area expands to the skin torn off.

Diana Sinclair

How to Treat Bed Bug Bites?

For fast relief from the discomfort and itchness of the bites, you are advised to run it under lukewarm running water for approximately a minute and clean the affected area with an antibacterial soap, which will minimize the inflammation and irritation as well as take your mind off it.

For a stronger treatment for the skin rashes, severe itchiness or to prevent infections, you can apply local antiseptic lotion, antibiotic cream or oral antihistamine. Some of the recommended topical steroid creams for the treatment of the bites are hydro-cortisone – Cortaid Intensive Therapy , for example – that helps to stop the itch and resolve any rash quickly.

How to Avoid Getting Bitten Again?

First, try to confirm the presence of bed bugs even if you suspect that you have been bitten by the tiny blood feeders.

It is best to first visually inspect your bed and room for any telltale signs of the bugs. If the brown critters are found, one can contact a reputable pest control company for the extermination of bed bugs .

For homeowners who are looking for ways on how to prevent getting bitten, here are some useful steps one can take to protect yourselves:

  • Clear away unwanted clutter and clean your room thoroughly. Vacuum carpets and seal any cracks in the wood floors.
  • Wash all bedding and clothing in hot water for at least 20 minutes. Bed bugs are very sensitive to heat and will die at temperatures above 120В°F.
  • Use a quality bed bug spray to kill off any visible bugs one can find especially around and behind the headboard, bed frame as well as upholstered furniture near the bed. Follow up the treatment with professional insect powders such as Diatomaceous Earth by applying it around the bed and carpet to defend the perimeters.
  • If you are still worried, one can also use thick, double-sided tape to tape it around the bottom of the bed frame or use professional traps as a tool to detect and prevent bed bugs before they bite.
  • Encase the mattresses with bed bug proof covers that are designed to contain fleas and bugs. Similarly, the pillows and bolster must be encase too to be effective in preventing bed bug bites. The covers will work both ways to prevent new infestations as well as trap existing bugs on the inside from getting out to feed.

Note: For travellers, read this travel checklist on how to prevent bed bug bites when staying in hotels and how to avoid bringing bed bugs back to your home from your holidays.

Other Related Topics

Bed Bug Rash
Identifying bed bug rash and what remedies can help stop the itch and clear the rash.

Bed Bug Repellent
Get the truth about the effectiveness of bed bug repellent, what you need to do to prevent the bites and how to get rid of those blood sucking pests.

Bed Bug Pictures
See and identify what do bed bugs look like.

This website’s mission is to provide comprehensive information about bed bugs .
Popular topics include how to kill bed bugs , bed bug rash , bed bugs treatment and what do bed bugs look like .

What Do Bed Bug Bites Look Like? Here’s Exactly How to Spot the Symptoms

If you wake up with a line of three to four itchy, swollen bumps, it could be due to bed bugs.

Waking up with a fresh set of itchy bug bites can bring on its own set of worries. What, exactly, was biting you in the middle of the night? Was it a spider? Mosquito? Or—possibly theworstcase scenario—could it have been bed bugs?

Although bed bugs might not be the first thing we think of when we wake up with a bite, the crittersdoget their food source from our blood—and will leave a little red bump in their wake after getting their fill.

But the trouble with identifying a bed bug bite—as is true for a lot of insects, including mosquitoes—is that it can be hard to identify the source of the bite, as everyone reacts differently to being bitten based on what their body’s immune response is. “Everybody’s going to respond differently,” saysTimothy Gibb, PhD, a clinical professor of entomology at Purdue University. “Same thing’s true with a mosquito bite. Some people are going to swell up and it’s going to itch. That same mosquito could bite someone else and it’s hardly noticeable.”

In fact, Gibb says some people may have no response when being bitten by a bed bug at all, based solely on how their immune system handles the bite. That’s why it can be difficult to determine whether your bite is the result of a bed bug just by looking at it.

But therearea few things that can tip you off to the fact that bed bugs are the culprit of your bites. Here’s what to know, including bed bug bites pictures to help you visualize the symptoms.

What do bed bug bites look like?

The key bed bug bite symptom to look for is a red, raised bump, says Gibb, similar in appearance to what you would get when bitten by a spider or a mosquito. But what sets bed bugs apart from other insects is that oftentimes,their bites will present in a line on one part or side of your body. This is the result of what’s called “probing.”

⚠️ Bed bug bites show up in a line, most often in a cluster of 3 to 4 bites.

“They probe the skin in several different places, I think probably to find best access to draw blood,” says Gibb. In fact, if you have screens on your windows—thereby keeping out other insects that might bite—but are still waking up with aline of 3 or 4 bites on your arm, it’s safe to suspect that bed bugs might be to blame, saysEdwin Rajotte, PhD, a professor of entomology at Penn State University.

Another way to determine if your bites are a result from bed bugs is to look for the insects themselves. They naturally like to hide in on your mattress, especially in the corners, near the head end, and in the cord that goes around it. They also like to camp out behind the headboard, behind any pictures on the wall, and in any electrical sockets.

Adult bed bugs are about the the size of an apple seed and are very flat from top to bottom—almost as thin as a piece of paper—with a brownish color, says Rajotte. Baby bed bugs are also brownish in color, but pinhead-sized. Another key identifier? Look for black spots on your sheets, mattress, and mattress cover, which could be bed bug feces.

Where do bed bugs bite, exactly?

Bed bug bites willmost commonly occur on the arms, neck, or trunk of the body, says Gibb, although they’ll bite anywhere they can find exposed skin. And—as their name suggests—bed bugs will bite you at night while you’re sound asleep.

“We’ve found it’s most active when people are most sound asleep, and that’s usually from about 2:00 to 4:00 in the morning,” says Gibb. “That’s natural for a parasite like that to do that because it’s going to protect it. People won’t see it, they won’t feel it. It makes their survivorship much more probable.”

Are bed bug bites itchy? Do they hurt?

Although some people will say a bed bug bite hurts somewhat—though not as intensely as the sting of a bee, for example—most complaints are due to the itching the bites cause, says Gibb. And that itching is due to the chemicals the bed bug inserts into your body during the bite, adds Rajotte.

“They’ve become what I consider the perfect parasite, because their mouthparts are kind of interesting,” says Gibb. “They will inject an anesthetic prior to biting, so people won’t feel it. And then they inject an anticoagulant that allows the blood to run easier for them to suck that up.” So while that system works great for thebugs, those left-over chemicals will usually lead to some uncomfortable itching on your end.

How long do bed bug bites last?

Although the duration and intensity of a bed bug bite will hugely vary from person to person, you typically won’t feel the effects of a bed bug bite—like itching and those raised red bumps—until mid-morning after a bite due to the anesthetic the bug injects, says Gibb. “So they certainly don’t feel it when the bite is occurring, but shortly after, probably within a day, for sure,” he adds.

From there, a bed bug bite will stay with you for typically at least 24 hours, though theycould last three to five days after the initial bite, says Gibb. At that point, the bite will then start to slowly dissipate.

How to treat bed bug bites

If you’ve received a bed bug bite (and the itching that comes along with it), chances are, you’re going to want to speed up the treatment process. But unfortunately, the best way to do that is also thehardestway to do it: not scratching the bite, says Gibb, which will just further irritate the area.

If you’re having trouble keeping your fingers away from the bite, you can also try using an antihistamine—think Benadryl or Allegra, which are meant to curb allergy symptoms—to help mute that itchy feeling.

And if bed bugsarethe cause of your bites, realize there’s no urgent need to panic. Yes, they might cost you a pretty penny and can be a pain to get rid of, but bed bugs can’t do any serious damage to your body.“They don’t kill people,” says Gibb. “A parasite would have a hard time surviving if it killed its host, and these do not.”

In fact, they don’t even transmit anything dangerous to you.“They’ve never been shown to transmit any diseases,”says Rajotte. “Unlike mosquitoes and ticks and things, which can transmit some pretty bad diseases, bed bugs do not. And so while they’re annoying and all that, they’re not going to harm your children or anything like that. They’re just annoying and you need to get rid of them.”

Ready to banish them from your home? Here’s our expert-approved, step-by-step guide to getting rid of bed bugs for good.

Everything You Need to Know About Bed Bug Bites

Bedbugs are small insects that feed on blood from humans or animals. They can live in your bed, furniture, carpet, clothing, and other belongings. They’re most active at night, feeding on people while they sleep.

Bedbugs can be 1 to 7 millimeters long. They’re flat, oval-shaped, and reddish-brown in color. They don’t have wings, so they rely on animals or humans to carry them from one place to another.

Although bedbug bites are rarely dangerous, they can be very itchy. In some cases, they become infected or cause an allergic reaction.

If you suspect there are bedbugs living in your home, it’s important to get rid of them.

Some people don’t develop noticeable symptoms from bedbug bites. When symptoms do develop, the bites tend to be:

  • red and swollen, with a dark spot at the center of each bite
  • arranged in lines or clusters, with multiple bites grouped together
  • itchy

Bedbugs can bite any part of your body. But they’ll usually bite areas of skin that are exposed while you sleep, such as your face, neck, arms, and hands. In some cases, the bites may develop into fluid-filled blisters.

If a bedbug bites your skin, you won’t feel it right away because the bugs excrete a tiny amount of anesthetic before feeding on people. It can sometimes take a few days for symptoms of bed bug bites to develop.

Bedbug bites often become noticeably red and swollen. Multiple bites may appear in a line or cluster in a small area of your body. The bites tend to be itchy. They may cause a burning sensation.

If you have bedbugs living in your home, they may not feed every single night. In fact, they can go multiple days without eating. It might take a few weeks to realize that the bites are part of a larger pattern.

Scratching bug bites can cause them to bleed or become infected. Learn more about the symptoms of an infected bug bite.

If you suspect there are bedbugs in your home, look for signs of them in your bed and other areas. For example, they often hide in:

  • mattresses
  • box springs
  • bed frames
  • headboards
  • pillows and bedding
  • cracks or seams of furniture
  • carpeting around baseboards
  • spaces behind light switches and electrical outlet plates
  • curtains
  • clothes

You may see the bugs themselves. You may also find drops of blood or small black dots of bug droppings in your bed. If you find bedbugs, call your landlord or a pest control company.

To contain and eliminate the infestation, it helps to:

  • Vacuum and steam-clean your floors, mattresses, furniture, and appliances.
  • Launder your linens, drapes, and clothing using the hottest settings of your washing machine and dryer.
  • Seal items that can’t be laundered in plastic bags and store them for several days at 0°F (-17°C) or for several months at warmer temperatures.
  • Heat items that can be safely heated to 115°F (46°C).
  • Fill gaps around your baseboards and cracks in furniture with caulking.

Several insecticides are also available to kill bedbugs. A pest control company may have access to insecticides or equipment that might be difficult for you to buy, rent, or use on your own. Find more tips for managing bedbug infestations and learn when to call a professional.

In most cases, bedbug bites get better within one to two weeks. To relieve symptoms, it may help to:

  • Apply anti-itch cream or calamine lotion to bites.
  • Take an oral antihistamine to reduce itching and burning.
  • Use an over-the-counter pain reliever to relieve swelling and pain.

In rare cases, bedbug bites can cause allergic reactions. If you develop signs or symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, call 911.

Sometimes, bedbug bites can cause an infection known as cellulitis. To reduce the risk of infection, wash the bites with soap and water and try not to scratch them. Learn when it’s time to visit your doctor for treatment.

In addition to over-the-counter medications, there are several home remedies that may help relieve the symptoms of bedbug bites.

To soothe bitten areas, it may help to apply one or more of the following:

  • a cold cloth or an ice pack wrapped in a towel
  • a thin paste of baking soda and water
  • certain types of essential oils

Although more research is needed, some studies suggest that camphor oil, chamomile oil, or some other types of essential oil may help relieve bug bites. Take a moment to learn more about seven essential oils that might help treat bites.

If you suspect that your baby or child has been bitten by bedbugs, check their sheets, mattress, bed frame, and nearby baseboards for signs of the bugs.

To treat bedbug bites on your baby or child, wash the bites with soap and water. Consider applying a cold compress or calamine lotion.

Talk to your child’s doctor or pharmacist before using topical steroid creams or oral antihistamines to treat the bites. Some medications may not be safe for babies or young children.

If your child is old enough to understand your instructions, ask them not to scratch the bites. To prevent scratching, it may also help to trim your child’s nails and cover the bites with a bandage.

Bedbug bites and fleabites are quite similar in appearance. Both can cause red bumps to form on your skin. Both can be very itchy.

When fleas bite you, they typically bite the lower half or your body or warm, moist areas around joints. For example, they may bite:

  • your feet
  • your legs
  • your armpits
  • the inside of your elbows or knees

Bedbugs are more likely to bite upper parts of your body, such as your:

If you suspect that bedbugs or fleas have bitten you, check for signs of the bugs in your home. Bedbugs often hide in the seams of mattresses, cracks of bed frames and headboards, and baseboards around beds. Fleas tend to live on family pets and in carpet or upholstered furniture.

If you find bedbugs or fleas, it’s important to treat your home or pet to get rid of them. Get the information you need to identify and treat infestations of these pests.

Bedbug bites and mosquito bites can both be red, swollen, and itchy. If you have a line of bites that appear in a small area of your body, they’re more likely to be bedbug bites. Bites that appear in no apparent pattern are more likely to be mosquito bites.

Both bedbug bites and mosquito bites tend to get better on their own, within a week or two. To relieve itching and other symptoms, it may help to apply a cold compress, calamine lotion, or other topical treatments. Taking an oral antihistamine can help as well.

It’s also possible to confuse bedbug bites with spider bites, ant bites, or other insect bites. Find out more about the differences between these types of bites.

Sometimes, people mistake hives for bedbug bites. Hives are red bumps that can develop on your skin as a result of an allergic reaction or other cause. Like bedbug bites, they’re often itchy.

If you develop red bumps on your skin that get larger, change shape, or spread from one part of your body to another in a short period of time, they’re more likely to be hives.

A small group or line of bumps that appear on one part of your body without changing shape or location are more likely to be bedbug bites.

If you develop hives along with breathing difficulties, dizziness, nausea, or vomiting, get medical help right away. You might be experiencing anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. Learn more about anaphylaxis and other potential causes of hives.

Spider bites can be red and itchy, much like bedbug bites. But unlike bedbugs, spiders rarely bite more than once. If you only have one bite on your body, it’s probably not from bedbugs.

Spider bites often take longer to heal than other types of bug bites. Some spider bites can cause serious damage to your skin, especially if they get infected. To reduce the risk of infection, wash any bug bites with soap and water.

Some spiders are poisonous. If you suspect a poisonous spider has bitten you, get medical help right away.

Bedbugs can live in any home or public area. But they’re common in places that have a lot of people, a lot of turnover, and close quarters. You may be at increased risk for encountering bedbugs if you live or work in a:

  • hotel
  • hospital
  • homeless shelter
  • military barrack
  • college dorm
  • apartment complex
  • business office

Unlike some types of bugs, bedbugs don’t transmit diseases when they bite. But in some cases, bedbug bites can become infected. Potential signs and symptoms of an infection include:

  • pain and tenderness radiating from the bite
  • redness, swelling, or warmth around the bite
  • red streaks or spots near the bite
  • pus or drainage from the bite
  • dimpling of your skin
  • fever
  • chills

If have a bedbug allergy, you may also develop an allergic reaction after being bitten. This may cause painful swelling or intense itching around the bite. In some cases, it can also trigger a potentially life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis.

If you suspect that you’ve developed an infection or allergic reaction to a bedbug bite, contact your doctor. Get emergency medical care if you develop any of the following after being bitten:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • fever
  • chills
  • dizziness
  • trouble breathing

Bedbugs don’t just bite humans. They can also feed on family pets.

If you have a pet who’s been bitten by bedbugs, the bites will likely get better on their own. But in some cases, they might become infected. Make an appointment with a veterinarian if you suspect your pet has an infected bite.

If you hire a pest control expert to get rid of bedbugs in your home, let them know if you have a pet. Some insecticides may be safer for your pet than others. It’s also important to wash your pet’s bed, stuffed toys, and other accessories where bedbugs may be living.

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