How Do Bed Bugs Know You’Re Asleep

Here’s how to tell if you’ve been bitten by bedbugs — and what to do next

  • Bedbug bites can be tricky to identify because by themselves, they can resemble mosquito and flea bites.
  • However, only bedbug bites come in tight groupings or lines — mosquito and flea bites are more randomly scattered.
  • It’s possible to not notice bedbug bites for a couple of days after you’ve been bitten — in fact, you might notice other evidence of infestation such as eggs or fecal matter before you notice bites.
  • Severe allergic reactions are very uncommon, and bedbugs don’t carry disease — but if you have any questions, you should talk to your doctor.

Picture this: You’re drifting peacefully in dreamland, and all your worries are miles away.

Until the day you find some mysterious bites on your skin. You don’t remember getting them — which you usually do when it’s a pesky mosquito bite, because they’re so immediately annoying.

Then you notice that they’re raised, red, itchy, feel a bit like they’re burning — and are in a group or line. If you want to know if these are bedbug bites, read on.

Here’s why you might not know if you’ve been bitten right away.

When a bedbug bites you, it injects an anesthetic that makes most people not feel the insect as it’s feeding. That means the bug can take its time drinking your sweet, sweet blood — sometimes for 10 minutes or more at a time. Keep in mind that they’re biting you while you’re at your most vulnerable — in deep slumber, resting peacefully in your bed at night.

Since bedbug allergies are uncommon — and since they happen when you’re asleep — many people might not even notice them until a couple of days after they’ve happened. Depending on how you look at it, the fact that these bugs may not feed on you every single day may make things worse — or better.

There are similarities and differences between bedbug and other bug bites.

Bedbug bites are most frequently itchy , and you may also feel a burning sensation a couple of days after having been bitten. They can become raised red bumps that are easily mistaken for mosquito or even flea bites. If you notice small groupings of bites or even bites in a straight line, they’re most likely from bedbugs . Mosquitoes and fleas don’t leave bite patterns like this.

Although bedbugs thankfully don’t transmit disease via their bites, you do need to be careful about scratching yourself into a secondary infection — as can happen with any wounds that you don’t keep clean and sanitary while they’re healing.

There are clues that indicate you have a bedbug infestation.

You might notice other suspicious clues before you find bedbug bites on your body. Casings, little red fecal dots on your sheets, and eggs in and around where you sleep can indicate a bedbug infestation whether you’ve been bitten or not.

Severe allergic reactions are uncommon, but complex skin reactions can occur.

While it’s not common, hives — raised, itchy red welts — and even rashes can occur with bedbug bites. Some of these rashes can even look like blisters .

Robert Usinger — who is widely regarded as the father of bedbug research — performed an experiment on himself where he fed bedbugs using his own body once a week for seven years

At first, he noticed the same delayed reactions to the bites that are most commonly experienced by people noticing bites for the first time. But after awhile, he discovered that the more frequently he was bitten, the more immediate his reaction to the bites became — in the form of an angry red rash that would appear soon after the biting.

Additionally, some individuals may be allergic to anticoagulants and certain protein compounds that are found in the saliva of bedbugs, according to Pest Control Technology.

You’ll want an effective treatment for the bedbug bites.

First, don’t scratch yourself bloody — it’s tough when you’re uncomfortable, but you don’t want to get a secondary infection. Apply your favorite anti-itch cream, take an antihistamine that works for you — and if it’s unbearable or worries you for some other reason, call your doctor for proper medical advice for your situation.

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Do Bed Bugs Know When You’re Asleep or Awake?

Bed bugs are sneaky parasitic creatures that aren’t often seen during the day. Instead, they come out at night, while we’re asleep. This gives them the chance to feed without interruption. When it’s light, they hide away in harborages around the bedroom.

Bed bugs just know that night time (when it’s dark) is when humans are most likely to be inactive. Bed bugs can smell the carbon dioxide that we give off while we’re in bed, so that’s when they emerge to feed. The light will deter bed bugs from coming out, but not for very long.

We’ll look at why bed bugs come out at night, and whether it’s true that they only bite humans while we’re asleep. We’ll discuss whether you can deter bed bugs by sleeping with the light on. Finally, we’ll share some tips for sleeping with bed bugs, and ways of repelling them.

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Why Do Bed Bugs Come Out at Night?

If you have bed bugs, you’ll know that they usually come out at night. They make themselves comfortable in mattresses, headboards and box springs, and rest during the day.

Bed bugs have to drink human blood, to survive. So, when your head hits the pillow at night, they come out to feast. In the morning (or several days later, depending on how your body reacts) you wake up with itchy bite marks.

So,why do bed bugs avoid light, and come out at night? Bed bugs are different from other parasites. Unlike fleas,ticks, andlice, they can’t live on our bodies full-time.

Their legs aren’t designed for clinging onto skin or hair. As we walk around, bed bugs get dislodged and end up falling off. The most they can manage it to climb on, feed, and then leave again.

This is why they choose tofeed while we’re asleep. Every night, we lie down in bed and remain still for around eight hours. Bed bugs smell the carbon dioxide that we exhale, and come out to feed. We sometimes squash them when we roll over in our sleep, but the risk is minimal for them.

Bed bugs have learned to associate light with humans being awake and moving around. So, they wait until darkness falls before coming out of hiding.

Do Bed Bugs Only Bite When You Are Sleeping?

One of the commonmisconceptions about bed bugsis that they’ll only bite when you’re asleep.

It’s easy to tell where this myth came from. As we know, bed bugs prefer to avoid light, and of course, they chiefly live in beds. We don’t tend to spend much time in our beds unless we’re asleep. However, that does not mean that bed bugsonlybite you when you’re sleeping.

Bed bugs can’t tell when a human is awake or asleep. As long as you are staying relatively still, you’re fair game to a bed bug. You can be bitten when you’re relaxing on the couch, for example.

If you have a home office, this is another prime bed bug spot. Bed bugs can live inside office chairs and electronics. There was even a case of bed bugs living inside a woman’s mouse mat. They bit her hand every time she used the computer.

So, while bed bugs do prefer to feed on a sleeping host, any period of inactivity will do. As long as you remain still long enough for a bed bug to feed.

Do Bed Bugs Come Out in the Light?

Bed bugs don’t like the light very much. This is obvious. Even in a heavily infested home, you probably won’t see many bed bugs moving around during the day.

Because of this, you may be wondering: are bed bugs light sensitive? Does the light hurt bed bugs in any way?

Unfortunately, no, it does not. Bed bugs may have an aversion to light, but it’s not because light harms them.

It’s merely because bed bugs are naturally nocturnal. The presence of light indicates that it’s the day time, which is when they rest.

Why are bed bugs nocturnal? Because humans aren’t. When we’re sleeping, we’re the perfect target. We generally don’t move much during the night. So, there’s less chance we’ll (accidentally or deliberately) jostle the bed bug while it’s feeding.

Electric lights fool bed bugs into thinking that it’s day time. They’re less likely to come out when we have a light on.

You can test this for yourself. Lie down in bed with the lights off, and wait for an hour. Then, switch the lights on. Chances are, you’ll see at least a few bed bugs scurrying away to hide.

Can Sleeping With the Lights On Deter Bed Bugs?

If bed bugs have an aversion to light, does that mean they’ll stay away if you sleep with the light on?

Unfortunately, if you want to deter bed bugs sleeping with lights on won’t help much. By all means, you can try it. Just don’t expect it to work for more than a couple of days.

Why doesn’t it work? Well, sleeping with the lights on will fool bed bugs (at first) into thinking it’s daytime. They’ll stay hidden until the lights go out. However, it can’t fool them for very long.

Sooner or later they’re going to get very hungry. Bed bugs can survive for months without a meal, but they don’t like to. They prefer to feed at least once a week if possible.

If they detect that you’re nearby, they’ll eventually come out and feed whether the lights are on or not. It’s as simple as that.

Tips for Sleeping with Bed Bugs

It can be challenging to get a good night’s sleep if your home is infested with bed bugs.

Falling asleep knowing that you’re moments away from having your blood sucked by insects isn’t easy. It causes very real anxiety and paranoia in most people.

So, here are some tips to help you sleep, knowing that your bed is playing host to parasites:

  • Relax in the evenings. Take a long, warm bath and read an old favorite book, for example.
  • Drink chamomile tea about an hour before bed. Not only does it help you fall asleep, but it also helps improve sleep quality.
  • Fall asleep while listening to soothing instrumental music, an audiobook, or a podcast. This will help to distract and ease your mind.
  • Take natural sleep aids, such as melatonin. If you are experiencing severe sleep deprivation, talk to your doctor about prescription sleeping pills.

You may be tempted to sleep in a different room – on the couch, for instance. However, it’s not a good solution. Changing where you sleep may distract the bugs for a few days, but they will eventually find you again. Bed bugs can smell the carbon dioxide that your body emits.

Likewise, you may also consider covering as much of your body as possible in bed, to give the bed bugs less access to skin. However, if you do this, the bed bugs willbite an area which isn’t covered by your pajamas– such as your face.

Can You Stop Bed Bugs From Biting at Night?

Unfortunately, if your home is infested with bed bugs, there’s almost nothing you can do to stop them biting.

Bed bugs need to drink human blood to survive, and they have a powerful will to live. If they can physically reach you, they will find you, and they will feed.

If you can’t get rid of the infestation completely, you can try to bed-bug-proof your bed. There are three main steps:

  1. Install a mattress encasement. These are like huge, zip-up bags that you place your mattress inside. They are designed to have no gaps, so that bed bugs cannot escape. Existing bed bugs get sealed inside, and can’t get to you. Eventually, they starve to death.
  2. Move your bed away from the wall and the window. This way, new bed bugs won’t be able to climb the walls orcurtainsto reach your bed.
  3. Install bed bug interceptor traps under the legs of your bed. These are designed to trap bed bugs when they try to climb up your bed legs.

If you follow the above steps, your bed should be safe. Unfortunately, they may still bite you in other areas of the home.

What Else Do Bed Bugs Dislike?

So, to summarize what we’ve learned, bed bugs don’t like the light. They prefer to come out when it’s dark, as there’s a better chance that we’ll be asleep.

However, switching on the light at night won’t deter bed bugs for very long. And while you can protect your bed if you’re through, the bugs will still exist in other parts of the home.

So, is there anything else that will repel bed bugs?

Extreme Temperatures

Bed bugs have adapted to live at the same temperatures as humans. They’re most comfortable at typical room temperatures of between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Both extreme cold and extreme heat can be fatal to bed bugs. However, they can survive easier in cold temperatures than hot ones. Unless the temperature is lower than 0 degrees Fahrenheit for at least four days, some bed bugs will survive.

Creating a sub-zero environment in your own home is hard. However, you can use heat to your advantage. Hand-held steam cleaners can deliver fatal blasts of scalding steam to beds, couches, and carpets. You can also launder your bedsheets at 140 degrees Fahrenheit to kill all bugs and eggs.

Insecticides

Insecticides, like pyrethroids, are somewhat effective at deterring bed bugs. They are poisonous to insects, so they will kill bed bugs upon contact. Most insecticides are sold in liquid form. You can brush them on, or spray them around the home.

The only trouble is that in recent years, some strains of bed bugs have developed a resistance to insecticides. There’s no guarantee that they will work for the specific bugs in your home. If you’d like to give pesticides a go, try buying a small bottle first to test it out.

Essential Oils, Alcohol, and Vinegar

There is some evidence that bed bugs are repelled by vinegar, alcohol, and essential oils. It’s likely that you’ll have some of these around the home anyway, so they’re worth a try.

Tea tree oil is effective against bed bugs, compared to other essential oils. It has a strong smell which bed bugs don’t like. If it actually touches a bed bug, it’s fatal. It’s not effective if diluted, though. Undiluted tea tree oil can also be harmful to humans and pets.

High-strength cleaning vinegar also repels bed bugs, and kills them on contact. It’s irritating to the skin, so wear gloves when using it. Unfortunately, it has a strong, unpleasant smell that lingers.

If you choose to use alcohol, you’ll need to opt for rubbing alcohol rather than drinking alcohol. It’s only about 50% effective at killing bugs, but it does repel them reasonably well.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a sedimentary rock, sold as a white, talc-like powder. You can buy food-grade diatomaceous earth, which is safe to use around pets and children.

It’s a desiccant, which is the technical term for a drying agent. The small, sharp particles make tiny cuts in the waxy coating on a bed bug’s shell. The moisture inside evaporates, and is absorbed by the diatomaceous earth. Eventually, the bed bug dehydrates and dies.

Bed bugs can’t become resistant to diatomaceous earth. They will avoid it at all costs. Apply it to any area of the home that you think may harbor bed bugs.

Light Colors

Though it may sound strange, bed bugs have a preference for certain colors.

According to a study in theJournal of Medical Entomology, bed bugs actively avoid harborages (hiding places) that are yellow or green. Theyprefer darker colors, such as red, black and purple.

Unfortunately, buying yellow bedsheets isn’t enough to get rid of a bed bug infestation. It will, at best, put them off for a few days. If a bed bug is at risk of starving, they’ll find you and feed.

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Lou Carter

Hi, I’m Lou. I’ve long been fascinated by bed bugs, ever since a friend’s life was turned upside down. That’s why I’ve put together this specialist site. You’ll find detailed answers to all of your questions on how to get rid of a bed bug infestation. I hope you find it useful!

What Bedbug Bites Look Like — and How to Stop the Itch

Medically Reviewed by Ross Radusky, MD

Bedbugs, which are parasites known by the scientific names ofCimex lectulariusandCimex hemipterus, have been on the rise in the United States in the last decade or so. (1)

More on Insect Bites

As the name suggests, bedbugs bite at night when you’re asleep in bed, usually about an hour before dawn. (2) If you wake up with a bite, though, don’t immediately assume bedbugs are to blame. The bites look very similar to other insect bites. Here’s what to know to confidently identify bedbug bites and how to go about treating them.

Bedbug Bites Look Like a Swollen Red Spot — and They Often Itch

Bedbugs prefer to feed on the blood of humans (but they can survive on the blood of mice, rats, or other animals, too). You probably won’t catch the bugs in the act of biting, however, because the bedbug injects an anesthetic and an anti-coagulant to numb the area as it bites you. (3)

The bites can appear on any part of the body that’s exposed while you sleep — places like the back of your neck, shoulders, arms, and legs are common, says Steve Durham, president of EnviroCon Termite & Pest in Tomball, Texas.

For most people, bedbug bites result in itchy bumps where the bite occurred, within a day of being bitten. (4) The bites usually look like mosquito bites and will appear as a somewhat swollen red spot that might itch. (3)

But the bites will look different from person to person, and some people won’t develop any reaction whatsoever. “The same bedbug could bite two different people and one could have no reaction at all and the other can have an extreme reaction with a swollen arm or itchy rash,” says Eric Braun, a board-certified entomologist and business manager for the national pest control company Rentokil Steritech, who is based in Redding, Pennsylvania. Some people end up developing a rash that looks like eczema. (5)

It’s also possible that you won’t see a reaction the first time a bedbug bites since it sometimes can take the body a while to react. (6) Some people will have an immediate reaction, while for others it could take two weeks to emerge. Your body will likely become more sensitive to bedbug bites over time, and if you get bitten repeatedly, it could be only a matter of seconds before your body shows a response.

You may notice a single bite, while other times several bites will appear in a line. (3) “In most cases, they occur in clusters or zigzags of flat, itchy bites,” Durham says. “One bedbug will usually take more than one bite, so the severity of your infestation can have a big impact on the severity of your physical reaction to the bites.”

Bedbug bites differ from other bites in a few ways:

  • They can appear anywhere on the skin that’s exposed while you’re sleeping. Flea or chigger bites, on the other hand, usually only appear around your ankles, Durham says.
  • They sometimes bite in a zigzag pattern. (6)
  • Bedbug bites don’t normally have a red dot in the center, while flea bites usually do. (7)

Bedbug bites tend to stick around longer than mosquito bites, though they look very similar. (7)

Most of the Time Bedbug Bites Themselves Don’t Require Medical Attention

Bedbug bites don’t normally require treatment by a doctor, though there are a few precautions you should take at home. (8) Start by cleaning the area with soap and water to lower your risk of infection and to relieve itchiness. If the bites are itchy, pick up a corticosteroid cream at your local drugstore and apply it to the area. The bites generally will heal within a couple of weeks. (9)

Some people develop allergic reactions to bedbug bites, which can include a fever, difficulty breathing, hives, or a swollen tongue. Others may develop an infection where the bite starts oozing pus. If you experience either of these reactions or you develop blisters where the bites occurred, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with a dermatologist.

To treat an allergic reaction, the doctor may prescribe an antihistamine, corticosteroid, or epinephrine injection. If the area is infected, he or she might prescribe an antibiotic or recommend an over-the-counter antiseptic. Finally, if it’s severe itchiness that you’re dealing with, applying corticosteroid or taking an antihistamine in pill or liquid form may be able to help.

In most cases, the only way to say for sure whether it was a bedbug that bit you is to search for evidence of bedbugs living in your home. "Once you start to notice the itchy bites, the second giveaway is the presence of small blood spots on your sheets or mattress, usually resembling patches of rust,” Durham says. Those spots are left behind after a bedbug has been smashed.

You’ll likely only see them in their hiding spots or crawling across the floor since, unlike other insects, bedbugs cannot fly or jump. Durham says to check along the edges of your mattress. You may see the exoskeletons that bedbugs have shed as they matured, or you may notice a musty smell, both of which indicate there could be bedbugs in the area. It can also be helpful to check your bed with a flashlight during the middle of the night (since these crawlers tend to be more active at night.)

Do You Have Bed Bugs? Know the Symptoms to Stay Safe

B ed bugs are the stuff of nightmares for a lot of renters and homeowners. Once you get them in your space, getting rid of them can be nearly impossible. Even professional treatment doesn’t take care of bed bugs the first time in some cases.

While you want to do everything you can to prevent getting bed bugs in the first place, knowing the signs and symptoms of bed bug bites and how to get rid of bed bug bites is important. Use this guide to learn more about spotting bed bugs and their bite.

Being aware of bed bug bite symptoms can help you get rid of them before they become a serious problem in your home.

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How to Tell if You Have Bites

Bed bugs tend to spread in certain areas like an outbreak or epidemic. However, even areas that aren’t known for bedbugs can still get them. Once they’re in your home they can be incredibly hard to get rid of.

Watch for these signs to see if you have bedbugs in your home:

  • Check your sheets for anything moving. Bed bugs are small, but if you watch for a few minutes and you do have them you should see them moving around.
  • Look for rust-colored or reddish stains on your bed sheets or mattress. These can occur when bed bugs get crushed while you are sleeping.
  • Check for small dark spots about the size of a dot made by a ball point pen on your sheets or mattress. These are typically bed bug excrement.
  • Try to find tiny eggs or eggshells that are about 1mm in size. These shells are the sign of bed bugs that have just been born or are waiting to be born.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Where to Look for Bed Bugs

Knowing what to look for when searching for bed bugs in your home is an important first step. You also need to know where they typically hide and can be found within your home if you want to stomp them out though.

Check for bed bugs around your home in these locations:

  • Under loose wallpaper, pieces of art or behind tapestries in your home.
  • Under the corners of rugs, particularly in your bedroom or bathroom area.
  • Where your walls and ceiling meet overhead. These junctions are common places for bedbugs to nest and hide for long periods of time.
  • In cushions, the seams of couches and loose fabric on chairs or other upholstered items. Bed bugs can even hide under throw blankets tossed on a bed, chair or couch if it isn’t routinely moved.
  • In the joints of drawers. Nightstands, dressers, closets and bathrooms are especially susceptible to bed bugs, though they can hide in areas like kitchen drawers as well.
  • In electrical receptacles around your home. Bed bug can also hide out in appliances within your home.

Bite Marks

Bedbugs bite humans and animals around them to feed on their blood. Like mosquitoes and other creatures of this type, they’re attracted to the skin for this reason.

Bite marks tend to look like small red bumps, not dissimilar to the bite of a mosquito. The area that forms is generally referred to as a papule and it can become inflamed and infected if you aren’t careful.

This is what bed bug bites can look like

Bites on My Skin

Bed bug bites on humans are typically found around the hands, arms, shoulders, neck and face. You’ll usually find that bed bug bites are grouped together as well since these small creatures don’t typically cover much ground at once. This is not always the case however, and bites do not have to come in clear clusters or groupings.

While these bugs are small, you will see their bite since inflammation of the bite area, along with redness and swelling are common. Bed bug bites on toddlers and small children are even easier to notice. They should be treated immediately to keep small kids from scratching and potentially spreading an infection.

Do Bites Itch or Hurt?

The bites typically cause minor discomfort to humans, though many people are bitten when they are asleep because these bugs commonly live within sheets and bedding.

After being bitten by bed bugs, humans are likely to experience a variety of symptoms:

  1. Burning at the bite site. Many people notice a little bit of discomfort and an initial burning sensation when bitten by bed bugs.
  2. Itching around the area where person was bitten. This is common, though scratching is not ideal since it can spread infection. The problem can be even worse if you’ve got a large bed bug infestation and a large wound area.
  3. Redness and swelling. For some people, being bitten by bed bugs can cause a reaction that’s a bit like an allergy. Anti-inflammation medication can help control swelling if it appears after being bitten by bed bugs.

Can the Bites Make Me Sick?

Bed bug bites typically do not make people sick if they take care of them properly. When a person does not clean the bite area regularly, or they scratch the skin and spread infection, there can be health problems associated with being bitten by bed bugs.

Like other small bugs that survive on blood, there’s also the chance that infection can be spread when a bed bug bites more than one person. The risk of getting a serious infection this way is not high, but it can happen, particularly in places like hotels.

In general, bites that are taken care of properly will not pose much risk to humans.

Take care of bed bug bites by:

  • Washing the bite area regularly. You need to keep bite sites clean, though they do not have to be covered with bandages or anything else.
  • Reduce inflammation with a cool compress or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications.
  • Do not scratch the bite site even if it is itching. Use a cool compress, calamine lotion or colloidal oatmeal to reduce the feeling of itching.

It is also important that you quickly wash sheets and bedding around your home to minimize your exposure to bed bugs if you think you have been bitten. Many people don’t do this fast enough to stop the spread of bugs.

Unfortunately, bed bugs can lay up to 500 eggs in their relatively short lifespan, all of which could be in your home!

How Can I Know if a Bed Bug Bit Me?

The easiest way to tell if a bed bug has bitten you is to look for small, dot-like bite marks on your skin. These tend to get red a few hours after you are bitten and they can swell up like mosquito bites.

Bed bug bites typically form in clusters as well, which can differentiate them from flea bites and mosquito bites. If you haven’t been outside, it’s the wrong season for mosquitoes or you don’t have pets, bed bugs are also a much more likely choice for what has bitten you.

How Do You Know If Bedbugs Are Present?

It’s also important to remember that bed bug bites typically cause a small, yet sharp pain at the time of the attack. If you’re awake when bitten by bed bugs you should immediately stop and look for them, related eggshells and eggs in the area.

Bed Bug Bites vs Flea Bites

Bed bug bites typically occur in a straight, cluster-like line, which can help differentiate them from flea bites. You’ll usually find three or four bed bug bites in a row, though this isn’t always the case.

Flea bites are also more likely to cause swelling faster than bed bug bites. If you notice swelling after an hour or less, or the bite is more like an open sore or blister after a day or two, you probably have flea bites instead of bed bug bites.

Are They Bed Bugs Bites or Flea Bites?

Bed Bug Bites vs Mosquito Bites

Mosquito bites are felt immediately and show a swollen area within minutes when most people are bitten. This is not always the case with bed bug bites since many people have only a very mild reaction to them. For these people, bites will look more like a reddish dot on the skin than a large, swollen bite.

Mosquito bites also itch immediately while it takes some time for bed bug bites to begin itching in most cases.

Bed bugs can be incredibly annoying for renters and homeowners since they’re so small that finding them is often difficult. Their bites can also cause a great deal of irritation and discomfort. Worst of all, they breed at an alarming rate, and if you have a few in your home now, you could have an infestation soon if it’s not caught quickly.

The good news is that bed bug bites generally don’t cause much harm to children, adults or even pets. They can create some discomfort, itching and swelling with their bite, but the spread of infection is rare if bites are dealt with properly.

Use the tips above to find beg bugs quickly and get them out of your home. The longer you let them live in your home or bed, the more likely you are to face a serious infestation down the line.

You can find further details of Bed Bugs Control here.

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Dust Mites vs. Bed Bugs – How To Tell Them Apart?

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You know you’re not alone in the bedroom, but you can’t decide if it’s dust mites or bed bugs that are sharing your space. Regardless of what they are, the last thing you want is to have your house infested with bed bugs or dust mites.

These creatures cause harm in their own way and neither is pleasant for you and your family. But if you wish to end their stay in your home, it helps to tell them apart.

Understanding the nature of dust mites and bed bugs help you to zoom in on their breeding spots and take appropriate measures to contain, reduce or eliminate their presence in your home.

How Do Dust Mites & Bed Bugs Look Like?

Most people mistaken dust mite for bed bugs. Except that they both look hideous, there’s nothing in common in both house pests. You can’t actually see a dust mite with your bare eye unless you have a superhuman vision. An adult dust mite measures approximately 0.3 millimeters or 0.01 inches. That’s tinier than the dot on the ‘i’.

A dust mite is identified by its translucent exoskeleton, the lack of antennae, and eight legs. They look nothing like their cousin spider that belongs to the Arachnids family.

Meanwhile, you may spot bed bugs crawling over your skin, bed, or furniture. Bed bugs are considerably larger than dust mites, often the size of a seed. You know you have bed bugs when you spot tiny oval-shaped, flat creatures with six legs and a pair of antennae.

Placed side by side, it is impossible to mistake a dust mite for a bed bug.

What Do These House Pests Feed On?

When you’re aware of what dust mites and bed bugs feed on, bedtime will never be the same again. Dust mites depend on humans for food, but they don’t bite. Instead, dust mites fed on the dead skin cells that you shed daily.

Considering that an individual shed millions of skin cells a day, there’s no shortage of food supply to the dust mites in your home.

Bed bugs, however, have a nasty feeding habit. They thrive on sucking blood from humans and that’s how bed bug bites happen. Bed bugs are a nocturnal organism that will hunt for food when you’re asleep. So there’s a chance of you waking up with itchy bite scars on your skin. Also, there may be tell-tale blood marks on your mattress.

If you’re wondering why you don’t catch bed bugs biting on you, it’s because they inject an anticoagulant, which gives them ample time to feed without waking you up.

Where Do They Live?

You may have got the hint that both dust mites and bed bugs are sharing the same bedroom with you. While both have different feeding habits, humans are the primary source of food.

You’ll find dust mites growing on and in your mattress. Considering that an individual spends an average of 7 hours sleeping, the bed is where most of the skin cells are being shed. Technically, it’s an endless supply of food for dust mites. Also, dust mites thrive in dark and humid environment and that’s basically most households on the planet.

As for bed bugs, they are hiding not too far from dust mites. Bed bugs prefer cracks and crevices that are hidden from plain sight. Also, you may find bed bugs hiding beneath cupboards or upholsteries. Occasionally, you may spot their feces, and skins that gave away their hiding spot.

What Harm Could Dust Mites & Bed Bugs Cause?

Considering that bed bugs bites and dust mites don’t, you would have thought that bed bugs are the worse of the two. Bed bugs may cause itchy bites and red swollen spots on your skin. Often, bed bug bites heal by itself within 1-2 weeks.

However, the problems caused by dust mites are on a different level. While dust mite itself is pretty harmless, the fecal pellet triggered allergic reactions when inhaled through the respiratory system. The presence of dust mites explain symptoms like sneezing, coughing, teary eyes, itchy throats, and nasal congestion.

In some cases, severe dust mites allergy may lead to complications like asthma.

How Do You Eliminate Dust Mites And Bed Bugs?

I spent more than a year battling dust mites in my home as my son developed serious allergic symptoms to these microscopic pests. I’ve installed a HEPA air purifier, bought a HEPA vacuum cleaner, clean the beddings regularly, and use a natural dust mite spray.

It’s hard to pinpoint which deliver the killer blow to the dust mites, but I believe they all play a part in reducing the symptoms.

As for bed bugs, it’s also important to keep your home and bedroom clean and uncluttered. You will also need to seal cracks on bed and furniture that may hide bed bugs. Using diatomaceous earth may also help in destroying bed bugs.

Ultimately, you may have completely get rid of bed bugs but dust mites are a stubborn enemy. As long as you reduced dust mites to a minimum, the allergies will subside.

Do you have dust mites or bed bugs infestation in your house? How did you contain them? Share your experience in the comment below.

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