How Do Bed Bugs Bite You

Bedbugs

In this Article

In this Article

In this Article

Bedbugs are small, oval, brownish insects that live on the blood of animals or humans. Adult bedbugs have flat bodies about the size of an apple seed. After feeding, however, their bodies swell and are a reddish color.

Bedbugs do not fly, but they can move quickly over floors, walls, and ceilings. Female bedbugs may lay hundreds of eggs, each of which is about the size of a speck of dust, over a lifetime.

Immature bedbugs, called nymphs, shed their skins five times before reaching maturity and require a meal of blood before each shedding. Under favorable conditions the bugs can develop fully in as little as a month and produce three or more generations per year.

Although they are a nuisance, they are not thought to transmit diseases.

Where Bed Bugs Hide

Bedbugs may enter your home undetected through luggage, clothing, used beds and couches, and other items. Their flattened bodies make it possible for them to fit into tiny spaces, about the width of a credit card. Bedbugs do not have nests like ants or bees, but tend to live in groups in hiding places. Their initial hiding places are typically in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards where they have easy access to people to bite in the night.

Over time, however, they may scatter through the bedroom, moving into any crevice or protected location. They may also spread to nearby rooms or apartments.

Because bedbugs live solely on blood, having them in your home is not a sign of dirtiness. You are as likely to find them in immaculate homes and hotel rooms as in filthy ones.

When Bedbugs Bite

Bedbugs are active mainly at night and usually bite people while they are sleeping. They feed by piercing the skin and withdrawing blood through an elongated beak. The bugs feed from three to 10 minutes to become engorged and then crawl away unnoticed.

Most bedbug bites are painless at first, but later turn into itchy welts. Unlike flea bites that are mainly around the ankles, bedbug bites are on any area of skin exposed while sleeping. Also, the bites do not have a red spot in the center like flea bites do.

People who don’t realize they have a bedbug infestation may attribute the itching and welts to other causes, such as mosquitoes. To confirm bedbug bites, you must find and identify the bugs themselves.

Continued

Signs of Infestation

If you wake up with itchy areas you didn’t have when you went to sleep, you may have bedbugs, particularly if you got a used bed or other used furniture around the time the bites started. Other signs that you have bedbugs include:

  • Blood stains on your sheets or pillowcases
  • Dark or rusty spots of bedbug excrement on sheets and mattresses, bed clothes, and walls
  • Bedbug fecal spots, egg shells, or shed skins in areas where bedbugs hide
  • An offensive, musty odor from the bugs’ scent glands

If you suspect an infestation, remove all bedding and check it carefully for signs of the bugs or their excrement. Remove the dust cover over the bottom of the box springs and examine the seams in the wood framing. Peel back the fabric where it is stapled to the wood frame.

Also, check the area around the bed, including inside books, telephones or radios, the edge of the carpet, and even in electrical outlets. Check your closet, because bedbugs can attach to clothing. If you are uncertain about signs of bedbugs, call an exterminator, who will know what to look for.

If you find signs of infestation, begin steps to get rid of the bugs and prevent their return.

Bedbug Treatments

Getting rid of bedbugs begins with cleaning up the places where bedbugs live. This should include the following:

  • Clean bedding, linens, curtains, and clothing in hot water and dry them on the highest dryer setting. Place stuffed animals, shoes, and other items that can’t be washed in the dryer and run on high for 30 minutes.
  • Use a stiff brush to scrub mattress seams to remove bedbugs and their eggs before vacuuming.
  • Vacuum your bed and surrounding area frequently. After vacuuming, immediately place the vacuum cleaner bag in a plastic bag and place in garbage can outdoors.
  • Encase mattress and box springs with a tightly woven, zippered cover to keep bedbugs from entering or escaping. Bedbugs may live up to a year without feeding, so keep the cover on your mattress for at least a year to make sure all bugs in the mattress are dead.
  • Repair cracks in plaster and glue down peeling wallpaper to get rid of places bedbugs can hide.
  • Get rid of clutter around the bed.

If your mattress is infested, you may want to get rid of it and get a new one, but take care to rid the rest of your home of bedbugs or they will infest your new mattress.

Continued

Bedbug Extermination

While cleaning up infested areas will be helpful in controlling bedbugs, getting rid of them usually requires chemical treatments. Because treating your bed and bedroom with insecticides can be harmful, it is important to use products that can be used safely in bedrooms. Do not treat mattresses and bedding unless the label specifically says you can use them on bedding.

Generally it is safest and most effective to hire an experienced pest control professional for bedbug extermination.

Sources

University of Kentucky College of Agriculture: "Bed Bugs."

Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet: "Bed Bugs."

The New York City Department of Heath and Mental Hygiene: "Stop Bed Bugs Safely."

University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension Lancaster County: "Managing Bed Bugs."

Bedbugs

What should you know about bedbugs?

Bedbugs (Cimex lectularius) are small, oval insects that feed by sucking blood from humans or other warm-blooded animals. The effect of bedbugs on human health and reports of bedbug infestations of certain hotels has received media attention in recent years.

How big are bedbugs?

Bedbugs do not fly. Adult bedbugs are 5-7 mm in length.

Where do bedbugs live?

Bedbugs are pests that can live anywhere in the home. They can live in cracks in furniture or in any type of textile, including upholstered furniture. Bedbug infestations are most common in beds, including the mattress, box springs, and bed frames. Bedbugs are most active at night. These pests may bite any exposed areas of skin while an individual is sleeping. Common locations for bedbug bites are the face, neck, hands, and arms.

Are bedbug bites painful?

A bedbug bite is painless and is generally not noticed. The bites may be mistaken for a rash of another cause. Small, flat, or raised bumps on the skin are the most common sign. Symptoms include redness, swelling, and itching.

How do you know if you have bedbugs?

Fecal stains or rust-colored dark spots, egg cases, and shed skins (exuviae) of bedbugs in crevices and cracks on or near beds are suggestive of infestations, but only observing the bugs themselves can confirm an active infestation. A professional pest-control company may be required to help identify and remove bedbugs from the home.

What home remedies and medications treat and get rid of bedbugs?

Home remedies for bedbug bites include measures to control itching, such as oatmeal baths or cool compresses. Typically, no treatment is required for bedbug bites. If itching is severe, steroid creams or oral antihistamines may be used for symptom relief.

Picture of Bedbug Bites

The first sign of bedbugs may be red, itchy bites on the skin, usually on the arms or shoulders. Bedbugs tend to leave straight rows of bites, unlike some other insects that leave bites here and there.

Bedbugs do not seem to spread disease to people. But itching from the bites can be so bad that some people will scratch enough to cause breaks in the skin that get infected easily.

What are bedbugs? What do bedbugs look like?

Bedbugs are small oval-shaped non-flying insects that belong to the insect familyCimicidae, which includes three species that bite people. Adult bedbugs reach 5 mm-7 mm in length, while nymphs (juveniles) are as small as 1.5 mm. Bedbugs have flat bodies and may sometimes be mistaken for ticks or small cockroaches. Bedbugs feed by sucking blood from humans or animals.Cimex lectulariusis the scientific name for bedbugs.

Adult bedbugs are reddish brown in color, appearing engorged and more reddish after feeding on a blood meal. Nymphs are light-colored and appear bright red after feeding. The wings of bedbugs are vestigial, so they cannot fly. However, they are able to crawl rapidly.

Temperatures between 70 F-80 F are most favorable for bedbugs, allowing them to develop into adults most rapidly and produce up to three generations per year.

Where are bedbugs found?

Bedbugs are found all over the world. Bedbug infestations were common in the U.S. before World War II and became rare after widespread use of the pesticide DDT for pest control began in the 1940s and 1950s. They remained prevalent in other areas of the world and, in recent years, have been increasingly observed again in the U.S. Increases in immigration and travel from the developing world as well as restrictions on the use of stronger insecticides may be factors that have led to the relatively recent increase in bedbug infestations. While bedbug infestations are often reported to be found when sanitation conditions are poor or when birds or mammals (particularly bats) are nesting on or near a home, bedbugs can also live and thrive in clean environments. Crowded living quarters also facilitate the spread of bedbug infestations.

Bedbugs can live in any area of the home and use tiny cracks in furniture as well as on textiles and upholstered furniture as hiding places. They tend to be most common in areas where people sleep and generally concentrate in beds, including mattresses or mattress covers, box springs, and bed frames. They do not infest the sleeping surfaces of beds as commonly as cracks and crevices associated with the bed frame and mattress, including mattress seams. Other sites where bedbugs often reside and potential infested items include curtains, edges of carpet, corners inside dressers and other furniture, cracks in wallpaper (particularly near the bed), and inside the spaces of wicker furniture.

Since bedbugs can live for months or even longer under favorable conditions without feeding, they can also be found in vacant homes.

SLIDESHOW

Are bedbugs found in hotels?

Bedbugs are found all over the world. Bedbug infestations were common in the U.S. before World War II and became rare after widespread use of the pesticide DDT for pest control began in the 1940s and 1950s. They remained prevalent in other areas of the world and, in recent years, have been increasingly observed again in the U.S. Increases in immigration and travel from the developing world as well as restrictions on the use of stronger insecticides may be factors that have led to the relatively recent increase in bedbug infestations. While bedbug infestations are often reported to be found when sanitation conditions are poor or when birds or mammals (particularly bats) are nesting on or near a home, bedbugs can also live and thrive in clean environments. Crowded living quarters also facilitate the spread of bedbug infestations.

Bedbugs can live in any area of the home and use tiny cracks in furniture as well as on textiles and upholstered furniture as hiding places. Bedbugs tend to be most common in areas where people;

  • sleep,
  • they usually concentrate in beds, including;
  • mattresses or mattress covers,
  • box springs and bed frames,
  • matttress seams and cracks,
  • curtains,
  • edges of carpet,
  • corners inside dressers and other furniture,
  • cracks in wallpaper (particularly near the bed),
  • recently used suitcases, bags, and other things that you have taken outside of your home, and
  • inside the spaces of wicker furniture.
  • They do not infest the sleeping surfaces of beds as commonly as cracks and crevices associated with the bed frame and mattress, including mattress seams. Other sites where bedbugs often reside and potential infested items

    Many news reports in recent years have focused on the discovery of bedbugs and their health effects (even in upscale five-star hotels), and a number of lawsuits have been filed by guests of fashionable hotels who awoke to find hundreds of bedbug bites covering their skin. Searching on travel-review web sites regularly reveals information and even photos confirming the presence of bedbugs in numerous hotels.

    Since bedbugs can arrive on the clothing or in the suitcases of guests from infested homes or other hotels harboring the pests, hotels can be an easy target for bedbug infestations.

    In addition to hotels, bedbug infestations have been found in;

    edbugs are found all over the world. Bedbug infestations were common in the U.S. before World War II and became rare after widespread use of the pesticide DDT for pest control began in the 1940s and 1950s. They remained prevalent in other areas of the world and, in recent years, have been increasingly observed again in the U.S. Increases in immigration and travel from the developing world as well as restrictions on the use of stronger insecticides may be factors that have led to the relatively recent increase in bedbug infestations. While bedbug infestations are often reported to be found when sanitation conditions are poor or when birds or mammals (particularly bats) are nesting on or near a home, bedbugs can also live and thrive in clean environments. Crowded living quarters also facilitate the spread of bedbug infestations.

    Bedbugs can live in any area of the home and use tiny cracks in furniture as well as on textiles and upholstered furniture as hiding places. They tend to be most common in areas where people sleep and generally concentrate in beds, including mattresses or mattress covers, box springs, and bed frames. They do not infest the sleeping surfaces of beds as commonly as cracks and crevices associated with the bed frame and mattress, including mattress seams. Other sites where bedbugs often reside and potential infested items include curtains, edges of carpet, corners inside dressers and other furniture, cracks in wallpaper (particularly near the bed), and inside the spaces of wicker furniture.

    Since bedbugs can live for months or even longer under favorable conditions without feeding, they can also be found in vacant homes.

    How do bedbugs spread?

    Bedbugs live in any articles of furniture, clothing, or bedding, so they or their eggs may be present in used furniture or clothing. They spread by crawling and may contaminate multiple rooms in a home or even multiple dwellings in apartment buildings. They may also hide in boxes, suitcases, or other items that are moved from residence to residence or from a hotel to home. Bedbugs can live on clothing from home infestations and may be spread by a person unknowingly wearing infested clothing.

    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.

    Where Do Bed Bugs Hide On Your Body?

    Bed bugs.Chances are good that you’ve heard of them, or even had a friend who has had a run-in with these pests that love to bite humans, feeding on their blood and leaving an itchy, painful rash behind. For most of us, the idea of bed bugs sends a shiver of fear up the spine, yet many people don’t actually know much about this insect, its habitat or its habits.

    Can you find bed bug eggs in hair, and are these pests able to live on clothing or our body? Do they fly or cause diseases? And how difficult are they to get rid of, once they’ve invaded your living space? The more you know about bed bugs, the better you can protect yourself and your home from a bed bug infestation.

    A very common question homeowners ask is “Where do bed bugs hide on your body?”, so let’s address this query first. The main time bed bugs are hiding is during the day, when they fit into the smallest crack and crevices in areas where people sleep. These areas tend to be close to where they can feed during the nighttime hours and could be in a crack or another narrow, protected space in a bed frame, couch box spring, mattress, recliner or your headboard.

    Since bed bugs can multiply quickly, these pests can move onto other parts of your home if not controlled, making elimination extremely difficult. As we will discuss throughout this post, as we address other frequently asked questions, bed bugs do not hide on humans because they prefer a cooler, safer environment. So, they actually don’t hide on your body. After they have taken their blood meal, bed bugs will retreat into a safe location to begin the process of digesting, which can take quite some time before they strike again.

    If bed bugs don’t live on your body, can they live in your hair? Let’s explore this question next.

    Symptoms Of Bed Bugs In Hair

    Can bed bugs live in your hair? The short answer isno. That’s not to say they can’t bite you on your scalp, forehead, cheeks or neck, but bed bugs’ legs and bodies aren’t designed for crawling through human hair. Plus, they prefer a cooler environment than that created by human body heat, so even if they do happen to feed on the skin of your head or neck, they aren’t likely to stick around afterward.

    Bed bugs can bite you on the legs, hands and arms, but are more likely to feed on your neck and head. One reason these bugs are so sneaky is that their bite doesn’t hurt, so an affected person doesn’t often notice until and unless they have a reaction. A bed bug will most likely get you on the face, since they prefer bare skin. S ymptoms of bed bugs in hair might include red, intensely itchy welts along your hairline or across your forehead, cheeks or neck and small dots of blood on your pillow. Again, though, bed bugs don’t typically take up residence in human hair the way lice or fleas might, and they typically bite skin that is exposed, not covered by hair. Thus, if you do have insect bites on your scalp, it’s less likely to be a bed bug than some other insect.

    After two to five minutes of feeding, the bed bug will retreat to the closest hiding spot, where it will begin the digestion process, which can take several weeks. After that point, the bed bug can lay eggs which are about the size of a grain of sugar. Since bed bugs don’t live on humans, they also won’t lay their eggs on humans, so you won’t have to worry about getting bed bug eggs in your hair.

    Can Bed Bugs Live On Your Body?

    While travelers are known to carry bed bugs with them from one destination to the next, these insects are highly unlikely to hitchhike on your body, in your hair or in the clothes you’re wearing. Instead, they’re far more likely to hitch a ride in the clothes youaren’twearing—that is, the ones in your luggage or backpack. That’s why it’s so important to take prompt measures if you suspect you’ve stayed, slept or stored your belongings in a bed bug-infested room on a trip.

    If you’re traveling and you suspect you’ve stayed in a room or traveled on a bus or train that was infested with bed bugs, it’s important to wash every bit of your clothing as soon as possible, in the hottest water available, and then dry them on the highest setting. Both high temperatures and steam kill bed bugs, so these steps should get rid of the problem. Use a flashlight to inspect your shoes, bag and other items as well, paying extra attention to the small folds and corners . You might need to dispose of your suitcase and get a new one.

    Bed Bug Bites On Scalp: Pictures And Description Of Affected Area

    Bed bugs tend to leave several bites in a row which become itchy, red and irritated. As we already mentioned, these pests prefer to feed on bare skin, so it’s more likely that you will notice a bite on your arms, legs or neck rather than your scalp. The most obvious exception to that rule is if you are bald.

    While many victims of bed bug infestations experience allergic reactions to the bites, some have no symptoms, other than small dots where the creature feeds. Some people notice a clear raised center on the affected area. In the most severe cases, individuals may experience nausea, blisters, fever and difficulty breathing after being bitten.

    You can see photographs of bed bug bites on the website of the Environmental Protection Agency, in a clinical review by the Journal of the American Medical Association and in an informational report on integrated pest management to control bed bugs. In these images, you will notice that bed bug bites resemble mosquito and flea bites, which is why bites from all of these insects can often be confused.

    Bed Bug Facts

    After being all but eradicated in the 1940s and ’50s,Cimex lectularius—otherwise known as bed bugs—began making a resurgence all over the world in the early 2000s due to the insect’s growing resistance to commonly used insecticides. Full-grown bed bugs are small, only about a quarter-inch in diameter —about the size of an apple seed. Reddish-brown in color, bed bugs have banded, oval-shaped abdomens that can turn bright red after feeding, when they’re full of blood. Since they are so small and flat , they can slip into spaces that are as narrow as a credit card. Similarly, they’re often able to go undetected in the folds of mattresses or armchairs, beneath rugs and in other furniture and living spaces. Since these pests live indoors, there is no “high” or “low” season for bed bugs.

    Bed bugs are mostly nocturnal and seem to be most active in the wee hours of the morning. Still, they have been known to bite during the daytime as well. Unfortunately, bed bugs seem to be impervious to most commonly used insecticides and bug repellent sprays (the kind you would use, for example, to repel mosquitoes and ticks), so spraying your bed or your skin before bedtime won’t help you avoid the bite of this pesky little nuisance.

    It’s important to know that bed bug infestations are not due to an unsanitary environment. Even the cleanest homes and hotels can be prone to an infestation since bed bugs do not live in filth—they live off the blood of mammals, including humans. So wherever humans (and other mammals) live, bed bugs can live happily, too, even if it is kept immaculately clean.

    How To Know If Bed Bugs Are In Your Home

    Travelers know bed bugs can live and hide in many places besides the bed itself. Bed bug infestations can also spread to upholstered couches and chairs, not to mention trains, buses and other areas. Bed bugs can also crawl up walls, hide behind picture frames or headboards or sneak into the cracks and corners of furniture drawers.

    The same inspection technique you use when traveling might help you determine whether you have a bed bug infestation in your home, but eradicating the insects from your living space is likely to be much more difficult and costly than just ridding them from your overnight bag after a trip. Signs of a bed bug infestation in your home include, first and foremost, itchy bites that appear in lines on your skin. Other signs you might find in your bed, on walls or on other furniture include blood spots on sheets and mattresses, dead bugs or exoskeletons, pale whitish or yellow nymphs (baby bed bugs) and bits of the insects’ dark, blood-filled excrement. (Yuck!)

    The Good News About Bed Bugs (Yes, There Is Some!)

    When it comes to bed bugs, it’s not all bad news. Here’s the good part: first, unlike mosquitoes or some other pests, bed bugs are not carriers of infectious diseases . So even if you do have bed bug bites, you won’t pick up with any nasty bacteria or illness beyond the effects of the bites themselves. Another bit of good bed bug news is that they don’t reproduce very quickly —not as quickly as certain other pests, anyway, such as cockroaches or flies. And speaking of flying insects, since bed bugs can’t fly , at least you’ll only have to deal with them crawling on you, not zipping airborne into your hair.

    Okay, maybe calling that last bit “good news” is a bit of a stretch. And when bed bugs infest your home, any way you look at it, they’re bad news. In fact, pest professionals call bed bugs the most difficult pest to treat. If the professionals have trouble, the average homeowner may find it nearly impossible to eradicate bed bugs without calling in the experts.

    ABC Can Rid Your Home of Bed Bugs

    If you suspect you might have bed bugs in your home, the best thing you can do is to call ABC immediately to schedule a service. Our experienced, professional team will conduct a thorough inspection to determine whether it’s bed bugs or some other pest that has invaded your home. Then we will eliminate the problem using methods that are proven to get rid of bed bugs, once and for all.

    Bed bug bites: What you need to know

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    Most people who are bitten by bed bugs experience symptoms that include irritation, sores, or itchiness. But how should bed bug bites be treated and can they be prevented?

    There are several ways of reducing the chances of getting bites, while the treatment options include good hygiene and antihistamines.

    This article explores bed bug bite treatment and prevention methods in detail.

    Bed bugs are small parasitic insects that feed on human blood.

    While they are a public health concern, bed bugs are not known to transmit disease through their bites.

    Bed bugs use a small tube-like structure called a proboscis to pierce the skin and drink a person’s blood. The pests are most active when humans are asleep, during the night and early morning.

    An estimated one in five Americans have personally dealt with a bed bug infestation or knows someone who has encountered the pests.

    Bed bugs can bite anywhere on the body where there is skin. Typically, bites tend to occur on areas exposed during sleeping, such as:

    Many people do not feel the bite itself or develop clear symptoms other than the dots where the bug bit and some minor, surrounding inflammation and irritation. Others are considered hypersensitive to bites and develop more severe symptoms.

    In most cases symptoms occur more or less immediately after the bite, but they can develop or progress over the following days as well. Without further irritation, symptoms typically resolve after a week or so.

    Almost all bed bug bites will produce some degree of discomfort, typically itchiness and inflammation. Other signs and symptoms of bed bug bites include:

    • a burning painful sensation
    • a raised itchy bump with a clear center
    • a red itchy bump with a dark center and lighter swollen surrounding area
    • small red bumps or welts in a zigzag pattern or a line
    • small red bumps surrounded by blisters or hives
    • papular eruptions or areas of skin with raised or flat patches that may be inflamed
    • small spots of blood from bites often dried or stained onto sheets or bed clothing
    • reddish or reddish-brown dried stains on fabrics due to bed bug droppings
    • white or clear skins, shed by the nymphs as they mature

    Individual characteristics of the bug’s bite and the person who is bitten also influence the resulting sore.

    While fairly rare, some people have or develop severe reactions and symptoms from bed bug bites. Serious symptoms that require medical attention include:

    • difficulty breathing
    • blisters
    • fever
    • feeling nauseous or flu-like
    • swollen tongue
    • irregular heartbeat

    Living with bed bugs can cause additional health complications:

    • Increased likelihood of infection: Due to the skin’s surface being compromised.
    • Sleep deprivation: The idea of being fed on can be extremely stressful. Given that the bugs only feed at night, some people will avoid sleep or will only get fitful or restless sleep.
    • Decreased wellbeing: A continual lack of sleep has been linked to feelings of depression, anxiety, general fatigue, and lowered immune function. The misconceptions surrounding bed bugs, especially the mistaken association with lack of cleanliness, can add to feelings of depression and low self-esteem.

    There are relatively few treatments options when it comes to uncomplicated bed bug bites.

    The first recommended line of treatment involves cleaning the wound, ideally with soap and water.

    For itchy bites, the following may relieve minor symptoms:

    • over-the-counter hydrocortisone, which can be purchased online.
    • anti-itch creams
    • antihistamines

    Most wounds heal on their own within a week, sometimes two.

    If severe swelling, inflammation, or itchiness occurs or persists, a person should seek medical attention.

    A dramatic immune response may be a sign of an allergic reaction. If this is the case, one of the following may need to be administered:

    • an injectable corticosteroid
    • antihistamine
    • epinephrine medication

    If infection occurs, antibiotics may be prescribed.

    Severe itchiness may result in further complications, such as infection or scarring. If severe itching is experienced, people may be prescribed corticosteroid creams and antihistamine pills or liquid.

    One way to help prevent exposure and potential infestations by bed bugs is to be able to recognize bed bugs and distinguish them from other pests.

    In a 2017 study, some 35 percent of polled American business travellers and 28 percent of leisure travellers were unable to tell a bed bug apart from other household pests.

    Common characteristics of nymphs (young bed bugs) include:

    • being less than than 5 mm in length
    • whitish-yellow and or clear-colored
    • invisible without a microscope or magnifying glass

    The nymphs are easier to see if they have just feed when the blood fills their abdomen, giving it a reddish brown color.

    Adult bed bugs are typically far easier to spot than nymphs. Identifiable characteristics of most adult bed bugs include:

    • an oval-shaped body
    • apple seed in size
    • a body that is fairly flat unless recently fed and inflated
    • reddish-brown to light-brown or tan color of shell, depending on how recently it fed
    • a length of 5-7 millimeters (mm)
    • three segments, an antenna with four parts, short yellow hairs, and unusable wings
    • a musty or stale-sweet scent released by glands on the underbelly

    Controlling bed bugs needs the identification and complete removal or destruction of the pest’s eggs.

    On average, one female can produce at least 345 eggs over her lifetime. Egg-laying females often increase the volume and frequency of feeding to support their brood.

    Common characteristics and signs of bed bug eggs include:

    • they are often laid in the same places where the female choses to rest
    • they resemble tiny barrel-shaped, pearl-colored specks, no bigger than the head of a pin
    • they develop a noticeable eye spot after a few days

    The key to preventing bed bug bites is to stop the insects entering, feeding, and breeding in human environments.

    In the daytime, bed bugs often seek refuge in the cracks and crevices of furniture, flooring, walls, and mattresses.

    The seams and folds of upholstered furniture can also offer an ideal hiding place. Bed bugs have been known to persist in vacuum canisters or units.

    The insects tend to pick hiding spots near human sleeping quarters, including bedrooms. Bed bugs found in other rooms are usually a sign of a severe infestation.

    Areas where bed bug infestations commonly occur include:

    • apartment or condominium buildings
    • large office spaces
    • hotels
    • vacation rentals
    • cruise ships
    • daycares
    • nursing homes
    • hospitals
    • college dormitories or housing units
    • public transportation, including airplanes
    • shopping malls
    • furniture or second hand stores
    • urban areas
    • rented homes

    Items commonly responsible for spreading bed bugs include:

    • used or secondhand furniture
    • new furniture or textiles exposed to bed bugs during transit
    • items of luggage
    • chairs or loungers where people fall asleep
    • bedding or bed clothes
    • moving or storage boxes
    • shipped items, especially if held at several locations or warehouses

    Bed bugs do not have a preference between sanitary, messy, or unsanitary conditions.

    They can, however, be found at higher rates in places, such as hotels, if infestations are not properly cleared.

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