How Bed Bugs Looks

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.

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 >>>>

Bugs That Look Like Bed Bugs

Due to the recent increase in bed bug infestations, waking up to find a bug in your bedroom can cause loads of anxiety and worry. Before you start resorting to desperate measures, take some time to learn to recognize bed bugs and common bed bug imposters. Below is the list of bugs that look like bed bugs.

To make a distinction, Lets start with what does bed bugs look like

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are small, brownish-red insects that feed on blood. They are attracted to warmth and carbon dioxide, so they often live in bedding or mattresses and emerge at night to feed on sleeping humans.

The anatomy of a bed bug consists of an oval shaped body, a small broadly attached head, and compound eyes. Bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed (4-5 mm in length).

They have segmented abdomens with tiny, colored hairs that give them a striped appearance. Their antennae are shorter than their legs and have four segments. Bed bugs do not have wings and must crawl to get around.

Now that you can identify a bed bug, take a look at common bugs mistaken for bed bugs and how you can tell them apart.

1. Bat Bug

Diet: Bat bugs feed strictly on blood, but as the name infers, they prefer to feed on bats or sometimes birds, rather than humans. If their source of food leaves or is eliminated, they will go in search of other food and may then bite humans.

2. Swallow Bug

Appearance : Like Bat Bugs, Swallow bugs are also extremely close to bed bugs in appearance. Through magnification you can see that their bodies are covered all over in fine, long hair that is longer than the width of its eye.

Diet: A swallow bug’s preferred blood meal is a cliff or barn swallow. When their primary food source is not available, swallow bugs will feed on human blood.

Habitat : Swallow bugs are typically found living in swallow holes or nests, but will move into homes and businesses if necessary for survival. In homes, swallow bugs are often found coming out of walls or on ceilings, especially on upper floors close to possible swallow dwellings.

3. Spider Beetle

Ap pearance : Spider beetles are reddish-brown to black with shiny globe shaped abdomens. They are smaller than bed bugs, measuring between 1.5-3.5 mm long.

Some varieties have cream colored hairs on their head and legs, while others are completely brown. Spider beetles have long legs, 2 body segments, and 2 long antenna. When seen from above, these beetles resemble a spider.

Diet: Spider beetles are scavengers that eat cereals, grains, dried fruit, and even bird or rodent droppings. They do not typically bite humans.

Habitat: Spider beetles forage at night and are most often found in household pantries or attics. During the day, spider beetles will hide in dark cracks and crevices near their food source.

4. Book Louse Bug

Appearance: An adult book louse is much smaller than an adult bed bug, growing only from 1-1.5 mm long. They are translucent white, gray or light brown and have three clear body segments.

Sometimes booklice are mistaken for bed bug nymphs because of their light color, but their elongated shape and pronounced head helps to identify them.

Diet: Booklice feed on fungi and mold, as well as cereals, pollen, fragments of dead insects, and other things that have mold growth. The do not bite or feed on humans.

Habitat: Since they eat mold and fungi, booklice are most often found in moist places like kitchens and bathrooms. If you see them in the pantry, it may signal mold growth in the food.

They can also be found under wallpaper, in furniture, on the sides of windows, and other humid places.

5. Cockroach Nymphs

Appearance: At the nymph stage, cockroaches are similar in size to bedbugs and are the same characteristic reddish-brown color. They have a small head with a flat body, but are more cylinder shaped than bed bugs.

A good distinguishing factor is that cockroach nymphs, like full grown cockroaches, have long antennae and two cerci (appendages) at their rear end.

Diet: Cockroach nymphs do not feed on blood like bed bugs. Cockroaches are omnivores that eat both plants and animals and are known to eat almost anything. They prefer sweets, starches, and meats, but if food grows scarce, they may potentially bite humans.

Habitat: Cockroaches live near food sources where it is dark, warm, and moist. In homes, the bathroom and kitchen are favorite dwelling places, and cockroaches may cluster under sinks, in cupboards, behind the refrigerator, or in cracks and crevices.

They are most active at night when they come out to forage.

6. Wood Ticks

A ppearance : Wood ticks, also known as dog ticks, come in a range of colors, but are often brown with gray patterns on their backs. Wood ticks have a wide, oval body with a flattened top that expands and makes their shape more round as they feed on blood.

Ticks can range in size from 3.5-15 mm depending on when they ate last. Ticks have two primary body sections and are members of the arachnid family, which means that they have eight legs.

Diet: Like bed bugs, ticks survive on the blood of humans and animals. While bed bugs bite in lines or clusters, ticks will find one warm place to latch on and then burrow their head into the skin until they have finished eating.

Habitat: Ticks live primarily in wooded locations in tall grass, leaves, shrubs, and other brush. They do not jump or fly, but instead cling on to passing humans or animals.

The most common places to find ticks indoors are on pets, near pet dwellings, in small crevices, or in between floor boards.

7. Fleas

Appearance : Fleas are black to reddish brown and are smaller than bed bugs, ranging from 1.5-3.3 mm long. They also appear narrower and more oval shaped.

Fleas are flat in the vertical plane, whereas bed bugs appear flat horizontally. Fleas also have long, powerful legs with the hind pair being thicker and adapted for jumping.

Diet: Fleas are also blood feeders. Fleas prefer animal hosts over human ones. If an animal isn’t close by, however, fleas will not hesitate to bite and feed on humans.

Habitat: In the outdoors, fleas prefer to live in shady, cool places with lots of vegetation. When they find a host, they can hitch a ride into homes. Fleas generally tend to congregate in carpets, on pets, or in areas where pets sleep or spend time.

8. Black Carpet Beetle

Appearance: Black carpet beetles are approximately 5 mm long and round in shape. They typically have shiny black bodies with brown legs.

There are many other varieties of carpet beetles that will vary in color and can have brown, gray, or even yellow markings. Unlike bed bugs, carpet beetles have wings and can fly.

Diet: Carpet beetles are attracted to flowers and feed on pollen and nectar. They also eat a variety of animal products like silk, hair, wool, and even other dead insects.

Carpet beetles do not bite humans, although the bristly hair of a carpet beetle can cause an allergic reaction on some people, which can lead to red skin rashes and welts.

Habitat: The preferred habitat of the carpet beetle is bird, rodent or insect nests. Once they enter homes, they can often be found between walls, in chimneys, crawlspaces, attics and basements, or anywhere there are indoor plants or dead insects.

Now What?

You find a creepy-crawly in your home and have used your new found knowledge to identify it as a dreaded bed bug… now what? While they are difficult to get rid of, with a little patience it can be done.

It is possible to try do-it-yourself bed bug removal. This consists of deep cleaning your home, washing and drying all textiles in high heat, and sometimes chemical treatments as well.

While it can be done, it is important to follow proper instructions for best results and safety.

If you have a large bed bug problem or cannot completely eliminate the bed bugs after a few attempts, it might be time to call a professional exterminator that is certified and specializes in bed bug removal.

Pest management companies use an integrated approach to ensure that the adults as well as the eggs are eliminated.

Bed bugs and their lookalikes can be tricky to identify and treat, but with a little knowledge you can take back your home.

Bugs Often Mistaken For Bed Bugs

Sonny HenegarFollow

Manager at IBBRA, LLC

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Since bed bugs are new for so many that have never heard about them, and people are used to insects they have grown up with, it is often that people mistake other bugs for bed bugs. Sadly, professionals have treated for bed bugs when it was carpet beetles. Yes, even professionals have mis-identified other insects for bed bugs. OK, so we are not perfect but let us all work on perfecting our skills.

When a person observes a small bug crawling across their bed, because of bed bugs in the news, they automatically assume it is a bed bug. Well in many cases, it is, but in many cases, it isn’t.

The most important part of any professional treatment is identifying the bug for what it is and what it is not, because life cycles, nature and treatments vary with each insect.

Some people are allergic to any bug bite like me. A flea, a fly, a mosquito, it doesn’t matter what it is, I get a reaction.

Now, it does make a difference in having “bites” and actually knowing the bug that bit you. Many people assume the bite they have is from a bed bug where in many cases it could be that evening bar-b-q or sitting out at dusk that yields a mosquito bite or two. This, “not knowing or assuming can lead to infestations”.

I’ve been asked to take some of the information in my Bed Bug Health Effects – the Physical and Mental Implications of Bed Bugs book and share.

I specifically wrote this book to assist dermatologists and general practitioners when addressing a person with rashes, allergic reactions and mysterious itchy bites. Strange but true, many doctors make the diagnosis as food, medicine or material allergies when it is a case of bed bugs.

OK, if you’re a practitioner don’t beat yourself up because you don’t automatically know if it is a bed bug bite. Everyone reacts differently and it is hard to tell unless you have the “bug in a bag” to show us.

Another reason I was compelled to write this book was I had been receiving calls from Health Departments across the nation that had been dealing with people calling in with these mysterious rashes and bites.

I remind people that you can’t just look at the rash or bite and know for sure it was from bed bugs and the best thing to do is bring a specimen to the doctor’s office.

The sky is not falling and bed bugs are not taking over the world (yet) but we all need to know the signs and symptoms that accompany having bed bugs before we run to the doctor.

Most of the time, bed bugs bites will go away on their own in a few days just like a mosquito bite. But, there are people that can get a more serious reaction that requires medical attention. In six years, I have experienced several calls where a person had blisters and welts that were inflamed, infected, and required immediate medical intervention. Two callers had an anaphylactic reaction and needed to go to the hospital.

The bite from a bed bug can irritate symptoms of other underlining conditions as well. Only you know your body and if at any time, you feel the need or are suspect of a more serious problem from any bite, rash or reaction, do not delay in seeking immediate medical attention.

So let’s take a look at some of the culprits that are often accused of being bed bugs.

First, let’s look closely at the bed bug and examine its physiology from eggs, through instar development to adult.

These are highly magnified bed bugs eggs. Notice each egg has a small “hatch lid” at the end of it. This is where the bed bug emerges. Notice their small red eyes through the translucent egg.

Once hatched, the young nymph’s body is also translucent.

What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?

Bed bugs have small, flat, oval-shaped bodies. They are wingless. Adults do have the vestiges of wings called wing pads, but they do not fully develop into functional wings.

Adults are brown in color, although their bodies redden after feeding. Full-grown bed bugs move relatively slowly and measure between 4 to 5 mm. Homeowners sometimes have the misconception that bed bugs are too small to see with the naked eye. The nymphs may be small and difficult to see, but the adults are detectable with the naked eye and may be found in the cracks and crevices they use to hide.

Newly hatched nymphs are approximately the size of the head of a pin and are white or tan until they feed. They often are described as being about the size and shape of an apple seed.

Bed Bug Control

Cimex lectularius L.

Learn what bed bugs look like, and how to detect if you have a bed bug Infestation.

Find out how bed bugs infiltrate your home and where they are attracted to.

Learn about bed bug bites. their feces and how they can impact your health.

Learn how Orkin handles bed bugs, homeopathic cures and the cost of bed bug extermination services.

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