How Does Bed Bug Bites Look On Babies


Baby bed bugs (simply nymphs) are the bed bugs going through the initial 5 stages of their life-cycle.

They’ll be straw or light brown (before taking a blood meal) and the size of a pin head.

Bed bug (Cimex lectularius) infest over 20% of Americans homes.

Its important to control the bed bugs nymphs in your house, bed frames, or mattress encasements. Check what bed bug look like?

What Do Baby Bed Bugs Look Like? 99+Images

First, check out the below video. Its a quick preview of how bed bugs look like – luckily this video shows the bed bugs in all their life-stages – including the baby bed bugs-nymphs.

What Do Baby Bed Bugs Look Like?

The bed bug species that mainly attack human beings are theCimex hemipterus or the Cimex lectularius. Adult bed bugs (females) lay about 250 viable eggs.

The baby bed bugs-nymphs pass through 5 juvenile “nymph” stages as they molt towards attaining the adult stage – the wingless, reddish-brown, blood-sucking insects.

Sidenote: Always spray against bedbugs, fleas or roaches on used clothes and furniture before you get them into your house. But also, check this guide on how to use steam heat treatment, rubbing alcohol, Ammonia, bleach, or Lysol to kill bed bugs

1. Appearance and Size

In exact size, Nymphs are in between the bed bug eggs (1 mm / 0.09 inches) to the size of an adult bed bug (4.5 mm / 0.18 inches).

However, immature bed bugs are tiny in size (definitely) but will grow bigger as they suck more blood and molt.

It’s important to note that it’s possible to see nymphs with the naked eye. An adult bed bug will be something like an apple seed in size (about 4.5mm), and its red or brown in color.

Bed Bugs Life cycle. Credit:

The baby bed bugs-nymphs add about 0.5 mm of its size at each molting stage (of the 5 juvenile “nymph” stages). However, do not confuse a cluster of bed bug eggs (with each measuring about 1 mm) with the nymphs.

At the 5th nymph stages, the baby bed bug has a size almost equal to their adult counterparts. But for more clarity, check out the video (Courtesy of Sandy Honess) and see how you can differentiate the nymphs from the adult bed bugs.

2. Shape andColor

Nymphs have an oval just like their counterparts. So, the main difference between the nymphs and the adult bed bugs is just the color. Immediately after hatching, nymphs will be yellow-white (almost colorless) but will turn reddish or brown as they feed on blood.

Before they suck blood, bed bugs are relatively thin and hence will easily slip through cracks and crevices into mattress covers, and furniture spaces where they hid waiting to lay eggs or attack their next host.

Do baby bed bugs Jump or Crawl?

First things first, baby bed bug, just like the adult bed bugs, can fly or jump. However, these bugs have a very fast speed when running on a flat surface, ceilings, walls, and floors.

To be specific, bed bugs will clock about 4 feet every second. Wondering if even adult bed bugs can fly? Do Check this Guide for more details.

Nevertheless, compared to insects like fleas that can hop and jump around, bed bugs can only crawl or run very fast on floors and other surfaces. Actually, nothing would qualify as an adventure in the movement of bed bugs.

Further, because of the bugs wide body and short legs, they’ll only crawl low in the ground. However, despite moving very fast, they would not easily significantly exceed their regular crawling speed.

Will bed bugs climb up rough surfaces?Bed bugs, including the baby bed bugs-nymphs, have small hooks on their legs. Therefore, these structures the bugs hold onto pores, cracks or crevices of different rough surfaces and thus quickly climb up metals, plastics, walls, cloths, or timber. On the flip side, bed bugs cannot climb up on smoother covers such as glass and porcelain.

Can bed bugs push off heavy obstacles?Equally, because of their wide body and short legs, the bed bugs won’t do great in moving in thick carpets, hair, or some busy terrain.

Further, the short legs are also too frail to push heavy objects aside particularly when moving in thick hair, carpets or grass. Therefore, in such cases, they would opt to climb up the objects and drop on the other side or simply circumnavigate them.

Do Baby Bed Bugs Bite?

Immediately after hatching, the nymphs from the eggs ( nymphs ) need to suck a pint of human (of your pets’) to allow it to grow, live and molt into other lifecycle stages.

Check the nymphs (Nymphs) – Color, Pictures, Movement. Side note: Bed bug eggs take 2 weeks to hatch after which the nymph move through the 5 molt stages during which they must feed on blood.

Therefore, the short answer isthat just like the adult bed bugs, the baby bed bugs-nymphs do bite human beings for blood. Interestingly, due to their growth requirements, the nymphs will bite humans (and such blood) more often. However, the bed bugs bites will disappear with 1-2 weeks.

But how do the bites from nymphs look like?Well, bites from the nymphs will look just like those from the adult bed bugs. As a reminder, such bites leave reddish bumps on your skin and are itchy too. Equally, nymphs will mainly bite your shoulders and arms – this can be compared to fleas that mainly bite the feet and ankles.

Where can baby bed bugs be found?

Despite that bites from bed bugs could be a significant sign of their presence in your premises, you must know how and where the bugs tend to hide so that you can easily control them.

First things first, the signs to look out for include blood spots or fecal matter (colored like rust) on your bedding or mattress.

Sadly, human beings can carry bead bugs and their nymphs in their clothes from one house to another. For example, the bugs may hitchhike your bags, purses, clothes, and luggage. However, they do not love the hairy pets such as cats and dogs.

But of course, you know that the nymphs can also trigger skin irritation and transmit diseases. Therefore, the best solution when you believe you have a bed bug infestation is to hire the services of a bed bug exterminator or spray on the adult or babies of bed bugs directly.

Treating Bed Bug Bites on Babies

There are lots of insects and parasites that you don’t want your baby to come into contact with. Bed bugs are one of the most difficult and uncomfortable pests to encounter for you and your baby. They are difficult to detect and can be very difficult to get rid of. The worst part of bed bug bites on babies is that they can cause them pain and discomfort. In addition, development of rashes, skin bacterial infection and a bad flare-up of allergies.

The Evidence of Bed Bug bites on Babies

How to identify Bed bug bites on babies? It depends on how these bites look like. In fact, bed bug bites show up virtually indistinguishable, especially as adults. On kids, these bites start to become a bit more pronounced, you may at first mistake them for ant bites. Moreover, it looks like some type of allergic reaction, depending on the severity of the infestation. Your baby will become more agitated when it comes time for bed, which will also be hard to catch as a parent who is used to cranky bedtimes.

If you are suspicious at all about any red welts on your baby, you should start by doing a thorough inspection. Examine their bedding, mattress, and crevices of their crib. Bedbugs are only active at night, so they will be hiding in any crack or crevice that they can find nearby.

If your child has become naughty and anxious, he or she sleeps not well at night and has some type of skin rash, you are likely to suspect of pesky bed bugs in mattresses. In fact, these bugs are almost invisible and suck our blood at night, though you can detect bed bug bites on babies. On child’s sensitive skin, these bites may be taken for some irritation or allergic reaction at first. They also resemble the bites of ants. If you know for sure that there is nothing that could cause the skin allergy, there is no evidence of ants’ and mosquitoes’ presence at home, inspect the bedsites for the signs of bed bugs (droppings, groups of bugs that resemble apple seeds). Be specially careful if your baby becomes more agitated before going to bed and you find more itchy red welts on your baby’s skin in the morning after. Earwicker

How to Treat bed bug Bites on Babies

If your baby hasn’t already begun to itch the bites, your first step should be to clean them with soapy water. To reduce the itchiness, try using calamine lotion or fresh aloe vera. Both provide immediate relief, but the aloe is perfect for bites that have already been scratched, as well. In extreme cases of scratching that has broken the skin, you may need to go see a pediatrician. You will get a prescription cream to avoid infection and stop the itching.

Most bed bug bites on babies are painless at first, but later they turn into itchy red welts on any area of skin exposed while sleeping.The bites of bedbugs do not have a red spot in the center. To reduce the itchiness of the welts, try applying some home remedies (calamine lotion, fresh aloe vera, tea tree oil) to provide immediate relief. In fact, bed bugs are not disease vectors, though their bites can cause severe allergy and irritation that is likely to result in skin bacterial infection due to scratching the welts. In extreme cases, you must call a pediatrician to get a prescription cream to avoid infection and stop the itching.

What you absolutely do not want to do, however, is let this infestation persist longer than it should, as your baby can develop heightened allergic skin reactions when he/she grows up and it can also start to affect their psychological welfare, as well.

Treating the Bed Bugs

Simply throwing out the mattress and getting a new crib is not going to be a favorable solution to getting rid of the bed bugs. You will need to call a pest control professional if you want to avoid seeing them again. Make sure you enlist a company that uses safe, non-toxic treatments, such as heat-treating or steam-treating the room.

If you’re thinking of just relocated your baby into a different room as a temporary solution, you should be aware that you cannot starve bed bugs and the likelihood of bed bugs living in other areas of your house is very high. Bed bugs can go without a meal for up to a year, so as soon as a warm body is reintroduced to that room, they will be back.

What Do Bed Bug Bites Look Like (And How To Get Rid of Them Faster)

It can be difficult to identify bed bug bites because the red itchy bumps caused by bed bug bites look like flea bites or mosquito bites. Bed bugs usually come out at night and feed on the blood of humans. The tiny nasty pests can leave a cluster of bite marks on your face, arms, stomach, and legs. Some people only have a mild reaction to the bed bug bites and may only have a few small red dots. However, others have more severe reactions and are plagued by large red bite marks and an irresistible urge to scratch them.

Pictures of bed bug bites show groups of red bite marks on the body. Very often, the bite marks left by bed bugs are in straight lines or in a zig-zag and very rarely is there just one solitary red bite mark.

There are many effective natural home remedies to quickly get rid of the signs of bed bug bites. You can make your own natural treatments for insect bites with ingredients like witch hazel, apple cider vinegar, and aloe vera. The natural anti-inflammatory ingredients in those home remedies help to quickly relieve itching and promote healing.

In this article, you will learn how to identify bed bug bites and find out how to get rid of them quickly. You will also see images of bed bug bites to help you to spot the tell-tale signs that you have been bitten.

What do Bed Bugs Look Like?

The Latin name for bed bugs isCimex lectularius, or common bed bug. If you’ve ever seen a close-up picture of a bed bug you will see that they look quite scary. However, in reality, bed bugs are tiny pests that lurk in corners and crevices of beds, mattresses, and furniture. They are about the size of a small apple seed and many can be seen crawling around if you have an infestation.

Dr. Carol DerSarkissian on WebMD says that bed bugs have flat, brown, oval bodies. They don’t have wings but can quickly scurry over floors, ceilings, and walls. The parasitic insects live in groups and love to hide in dark places. If you have a bed bug problem in your home, you should check for signs of bed bugs in corners of your bed frame, along the seams of mattresses, along baseboards, and behind pictures. In fact, they will live in any crevice that is large enough to slide a credit card into. 1

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that bed bug eggs look like tiny white pinheads. As they go through their nymph stages they shed skins and these yellowish shells are a common sign to look for when checking for an infestation of bugs. 2

Pictures of bed bugs

How to Identify Bed Bug Bites

On most people, bed bug bites look like itchy red bumps on their body. However, it can be difficult to know if the bite marks have been caused by bed bugs or not.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the symptoms of bed bug bites may not appear for a few days. Also, each person reacts differently to being bitten by these irritating pests. Some people show no signs of being bitten whereas other people have a severe reaction to the bite, and large bumps appear on the skin that itch severely. 3

However, Dr. Carol DerSarkissian on WebMD says that the only way to know for sure if the red bite marks have been caused by bed bugs is to look for signs of a bug infestation. That will confirm if the red spots that look like bed bug bites are in fact the result of bed bugs.

Bed Bug Bites – Signs and Symptoms

Images of bed bug bites generally show clusters of itchy red bumps on a person’s arms, neck, face, legs, and other areas of their body. Depending on the number of bed bugs that have infested your sleeping area and your reaction to them, bed bug bites also have other signs.

Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that more often than not, bed bug bites will be in either a rough line or in a cluster of red marks. If they cause a severe skin reaction, the itching can be very intense. In rare cases, a person who has many bites and a severe allergic reaction should visit a doctor. 4

Doctors from the National Health Service say that, in some cases, the itchy red bumps on the skin can cause a rash or start to blister and fill with fluid. 5

However, it can be difficult to tell if the bites have been caused by bed bugs or another insect. Therefore, it’s important to know how to identify the difference between bed bug bites, flea bites and mosquito bites.

Bed bug bite vs flea bite

Flea bites and bed bug bites look very similar and cause itchy red marks on the skin. Even in pictures, it is hard to tell bed bug bites and flea bites apart. However, there are some differences.

The symptoms of flea bites generally appear on the ankles, feet and around the abdomen. As with bed bug bites, flea bite symptoms can also appear in small clusters. Dr. Carol DerSarkissian says that if you look closely at a bed bug bite you won’t see a small red dot in the middle as is characteristic of flea bites. 1

Bed bug bite vs mosquito bite

Both mosquito bites and bed bug bites can leave itchy welts on the skin. Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that the symptoms of mosquito bites show up very soon after the bite; in fact, in only a few minutes, a puffy red bump usually appears. 6

Unlike bed bug bites that are painless, you may feel the mosquito bite and it might start to itch immediately. It is also more likely that the mosquito bite will blister and ooze a small amount of fluid.

Symptoms of Bed Bug Bites – Complications

Bed bug bite marks usually heal within 2 weeks and won’t leave any permanent mark on the skin. In some cases, there are complications associated with bed bug bites.

Of course, for many people, the appearance of red itchy welts on visible areas of skin like their face or arms is an unwanted complication of bed bug bites.

One of the most common, and potentially serious, complications that is seen with bed bug bite is a secondary skin infection. Dr. Stephanie S. Gardner on WebMD says that itching from bed bug bites can be so severe that constant scratching breaks the skin and germs get it. This can cause a bacterial infection in the bite mark. 7

Dr. Steven Doerr on eMedicnineHealth warns that some people experience severe allergic reactions to bed bug bites. Some of the signs of a serious allergic reaction include itching all over the body, tightness in the throat, chest pain, red bed bug rash that spreads from the bite area. 8

At least the good news with bed bug bites is that they don’t spread disease. The CDC states that bed bugs don’t spread disease and the most serious health threat is a lack of sleep from scratching and secondary skin infections. 3

Signs of Bed Bug Infestation

If you suspect that clusters of itchy red spots on your body are the result of pesky bed bugs, you should check for signs of an infestation.

First, you don’t have to worry that having bed bugs is a sign of uncleanliness or dirtiness. The CDC says that bed bugs only feed on blood and aren’t attracted to dirt. Bed bugs have been found in the cleanest of 5-star hotels. 3

To check for signs of bed bugs, you should look in areas where they tend to live. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that tell-tale signs of bed bug activity are tiny rusty-colored stains on bed linen from bug feces or dried blood. You may also notice tiny yellow shed skins around your bed and sleeping area. 9

The next step to confirm if itchy red marks on your skin are from bed bugs is to find where the critters are hiding. You should check all joints and screw holes in your bed frame, around mattresses and box springs, and around the headboard. Other places where you might find evidence of a bed bug infestation are in the folds of drapes, in drawer joints, behind loose wallpaper, and at baseboards.

If you find feces, dead bed bugs, or bed bugs crawling around, it is time to take drastic action to get rid of the bed bugs quickly. This is the only way to prevent getting more bed bug bites in the future. Some effective ways to kill off infestation of irritating insects include using bed bug powders that destroy populations of bed bugs as well as bed bug sprays.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bug Bites Fast

Fortunately, there are many great home remedies to get rid of bed bug bites quickly. Here are a few of the best ways of treating bed bug bites at home.

Cold compress

To quickly get rid of an intense itch in a swollen bump caused by a bed bug bite, you can use a cold compress. One excellent way to make a compress is by using a cold tea bag. Cold helps to relieve irritation from your skin by calming nerve endings, and tea helps to relieve itching and promotes healing.

A study from 2012 into the healing effects of tea found that compounds in black and green tea have an astringent effect. This helps to reduce itching in irritated, inflamed skin. 9 However, you don’t just have to use black or green tea bags. Research has also found that chamomile has soothing properties and is just as effective as hydrocortisone creams (often prescribed by doctors to reduce itching in insect bites). 10

How to use:

To quickly get rid of the irritation that bed bug bites cause using a cold tea compress, this is what you should do:

  1. Put a tea bag in a cup of boiling water for a few minutes. Remove the bag and cool it in the refrigerator.
  2. Place the tea bag on the red itchy bumps to relieve discomfort and irritation.
  3. Apply the cold compress 2-3 times a day for fast relief from bed bug bites and bed bug rash.

Aloe vera

Aloe vera also has properties that reduce itching and help to speed up the healing time of a bed bug bite. Aloe vera contains many properties to nourish your skin and relieve inflammation and irritation.

One study into the healing properties of aloe vera found that it has a soothing effect on irritated skin. It was found that aloe vera was just as effective as hydrocortisone creams in reducing itching and inflammatory responses in the skin. 11

How to use:

Aloe vera gel is great for helping bed bug bites to heal faster. This is what you should do:

  1. Use aloe vera gel with as few added ingredients as possible and liberally apply some gel to the bite marks.
  2. Massage the gel into the area around the bed bug bites to soothe the skin and stop itching.
  3. Apply the natural remedy 2-3 times a day to help your skin heal quicker and get welcome relief from the constant itching.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil will help to treat the itch in bed bug bites and help prevent secondary infections making the skin worse. Tea tree oil contains powerful antimicrobial compounds as well as properties that help to reduce inflammation and itching.

One of the benefits of using tea tree oil to quickly treat bed bug bites is that it helps soothe allergic skin reactions. For example, theBritish Journal of Dermatologyreported on a study into the antihistamine effect of tea tree oil. Histamine is released by the body as a response to allergens. It was found that applying tea tree oil to skin inflammation helped to soothe the allergic response fast. 12

How to use:

You can use tea tree oil as a spot treatment on one or two bed bug bites or you can mix a couple of drops of tea tree oil with coconut oil to apply to clusters of bed bug bites. This is what you should do:

  1. Put a drop of tea tree oil on the end of a cotton bud and apply to the itchy bed bug bite.
  2. Apply 2 times a day to help stop itching in the bite marks and prevent bacterial infections affecting the skin area.

For large clusters of bed bug bites, you can get relief by adding 2-3 drops of tea tree oil to a tablespoon of coconut oil. Apply 2-3 times a day to help your skin heal and treat any bed bug bite blisters that have formed.

You can also use tea tree oil to make a natural spray for bed bug eradication.

Other ways to get rid of bed bug bites quickly

There are many other natural ways to get rid of the visible signs of bed bug bites. Here are some more ways.

Witch hazelis a natural astringent that quickly soothes itchy skin and reduces redness. Witch hazel is perfect for treating bed bug bites and can be applied whenever your bite marks start itching.

Apple cider vinegar, when it is diluted with water in equal proportions, helps to reduce itching and kill germs in bed bug bites. Just apply diluted apple cider vinegar to the affected area to stop itching fast.

Cucumbershave an amazing soothing effect on the skin and will give you instant relief from itching and irritation. All you have to do is apply slices of cool cucumber to your bite marks.

For more information on these natural bed bug bite remedies and to find out some more effective ways to treat bed bug bite signs at home, please read my article on natural ways to make bed bug bites heal faster.

How to Prevent Bed Bug Bites

Of course, preventing an infestation of bed bugs is much easier than having to deal with the discomfort bed bug bites cause.

The CDC says that one of the best ways to prevent bed bug bites is to regularly check your bed, mattress, and bed linen for signs of bed bug activity. This can help you get rid of bed bugs before they become a major problem. 3

Also, you should be careful of buying second-hand furniture. The National Health Services warns to avoid buying second-hand mattresses and if you do buy used furniture, carefully inspect it for bed bugs. 5 Remember, that in the right conditions, bed bugs can live for many months without feeding!

Read my other related articles:

Article Sources

  1. WebMD. Bedbugs.
  2. EPA. Bed bug appearance and life cycle.
  3. CDC. Bed bugs FAQs
  4. MayoClinic. Bedbug symptoms.
  5. NHS. Bedbugs.
  6. MayoClinic. Mosquito bites.
  7. WebMD. Pictures of bed bug bites.
  8. eMedicineHealth. Bedbugs.
  9. EPA. How to find bed bugs.
  10. Phytojournal. Tannins are astringent.
  11. OWM. 2011;57(5):28-36.
  12. Skin Pharmacol Physiol.2008;21(2):106-10.
  13. Br J Dermatol.2002 Dec;147(6):1212-7.

Pictures of Bed Bug Bites on Kids

Melody is a volunteer for the Center for Disease and Control Prevention. She enjoys sharing her personal experience with others.

Bed Bugs Biting Kids

We seldom use the phrase "Don’t let the bed bugs bite" with children in 2019, year of the bed bug. Instead, parents are asking how to get rid of those bugs. This page contains photos to give you an example of what bed bug bites look like on children. The information about rashes found here is meant to help give ideas about how to deal with a child’s physical and psychological reactions to bed bugs.

It doesn’t have to be so scary. It’s a more common issue now, one that is widely overlooked in the current epidemic. Not understanding the facts can cause fear, and that fear creates distress in adults and children.

What to Do if Your Kids Are Bitten by Bed Bugs

  • Learn about bed bugs, feces, and eggs.
  • Know how to identify bed bugs and possible bites.
  • Get rid of bed bugs with an exterminator such as Terminix.
  • Buy supplies such as mattress covers, traps and pesticide from or Amazon.
  • Talk with your children honestly.
  • Treat rashes with baking soda paste or Hydrocortisone cream.
  • Call a doctor if you are worried your child may have a serious allergic reaction.

Children and Bed Bugs

Increased amounts of time spent at school and with friends proportionally raises the risk that kids will be bitten by bed bugs, or even bring them home. You never know when or where they might pick up a rogue pest. This makes it important to know how to inspect children for bites. If you know what to look for, you can identify the problem as soon as possible.

What Does a Bed Bug Bite Look Like?

  • According to the New Hampshire Department of Health, only children who have a serious allergy get true welts from bed bug bites, so you might not see anything so distinctive as a welt.
  • Bed bug bites do not have a bite mark in the center. If the bite is a welt, and/or has a bite mark in the center, it could be a spider, mosquito, or even a flea bite. (As with anything, there are exceptions to this rule.)
  • Some people experience itchiness, welts, or swelling 24 hours after exposure, but the reaction might not be dramatic or obvious for several days, and some never react at all. In other words, the bites might not be itchy or leave any mark at all.
  • If a child scratches a bed bug bite enough, the skin might break, causing a sore to develop. Scratching might also cause the bite to resemble a flea bite with a mark in the center. While bed bug bites are not dangerous, these sores can get infected.
  • Children who have serious reactions to bed bug bites could experience shock, such as with other insect bites.
  • Something else worthy of mention: When a bed bug bites are an area covered with hair, the bite mark might look like a follicle in the skin where the hair grows instead of what it really is.

Identifying a Bed Bug Bite on a Child

  • The bites might be flat or raised welts. They’re usually small and pink (a severe reaction may cause large, red rashes).
  • Look for rashes in groups of three or more; although they do not always follow this pattern, they often do.
  • The bites may be grouped together.
  • You may see a line or a zigzag of bites.

Bed bug bite symptoms are an allergic reaction. Some children will have no reaction; however, others will react dramatically. I am not going to go in to the science, but every person’s body respond differently to different allergens. Plus, a person can develop an allergy at any time.

Bed bug bites on children tend to be larger and more pronounced than they are on adults. Children are more sensitive, so they tend to have more exaggerated reactions. Some children may also have a delayed reaction.

How to Inspect Children for Bed Bugs and Bites

  • Check kids when they return from a friend’s house, a sleepover, or camp, but remember that it takes about 24 hours for a reaction to develop, and some may not get a reaction for a week or more after being bitten. So, depending on when the child may have been bitten, you may have to inspect again later.
  • In addition, about half of people never develop any visible reaction to the bites whatsoever.
  • If you have cause for alarm, you can place all items in a large zip lock bag before they come in the house.
  • Inspect before the child settles into bed or sits down on the couch. Try to inspect them without making a big deal about it. You can eyeball a child pretty easily—they do not even have to know you are looking.
  • Start with the head, neck, and shoulders. Look at the hairline (but you do not have to inspect hair as thoroughly as you would for lice).
  • Look for small red dots that are often grouped, three or more.
  • Look at all areas of skin that might have been exposed while they were sleeping: arms, legs, torso, hands, shoulders, etc.
  • Whatever you do, don’t alarm the kids. They are looking at you for cues to guide their own reactions.
  • Treat a bed bug inspection with the same care and urgency as a lice inspection. You want to be thorough but calm.
  • You’ll also want to check their beds for signs of infestation.

Controlling Fear

In today’s world (where one in five people polled say they know someone who’s had a bed bug problem), most kids have heard of bed bugs, but they don’t really know how to recognize either the bug or the bites. They also don’t know how to cope with their feelings in regards to these bloodsuckers.

Some parents have become so afraid of an infestation that they are scared to let their kids go to friends’ houses or have sleepovers. This is understandable, but there are ways to allow children to experience life safely.

Safety involves communication. Some people might be so embarrassed that they try to hide the truth of an infestation from everyone, while others might shamelessly blabber the news to everyone. I believe that honesty is the best course of action. Ethically, it prevents others from being exposed and emotionally, it lightens the burden of suffering and shame.

Children will notice your reaction, and if you react with fear, hysteria, or shame, it could cause them grief. Being aware of their feelings and educating them about bed bugs can help reduce some of the stress.

How Long Does It Take for a Bed Bug Rash to Develop?

A lot of people ask this question, but there is no one answer. From what I have seen, a reaction usually develops within 24-48 hours of exposure and fades in 24-48 hours, but not everyone has the same reaction.

Some people swear it takes 9 or 14 days to develop a rash, and that may be true, but it could also be that they stayed at a hotel 9 or 14 days ago and want to blame it on the hotel, not their own home or family members. Or perhaps they brought a bug home, and bites went undetected.

Some children can have severe allergic reactions. For example, one asthmatic child may have no serious reaction to bites, and healthy children end up going to the doctor for steroid cream or a shot. The reverse happens, too.

How long it takes to develop red dots depends on the person. The average time it takes to see visible rashes is within the first two days after the bite. About half of the people who are exposed never develop any reaction at all.

All Pictures Included Here Are Verified Bed Bug Bites on Children

If you find bites on your child, you can use these images as a comparison.

Treating Bed Bug Rashes on Kids

  • As a general rule, children with reactions should always go to the doctor. Prescription strength hydrocortisone cream will likely be recommended. This stuff works great on bed bugs. For most people, it stops itching and makes the redness fade.
  • In rare cases, an allergic reaction to an insect bite may require treatment. Your doctor may prescribe steroid shots or antibiotics to fight infection.
  • If you really do not want to go to the doctor, then get some other type of cream or lotion to treat the itching. Prescription strength cream is the best, but my personal favorite nonprescription product for all types of skin rashes, including bed bugs is Cortisone 10 Maximum Strength Intensive Healing Formula.
  • Check the way your child is feeling. Is he worried others will notice? Reassure him that it’s not a big problem. Is the bite itchy? You want to make sure that excess scratching doesn’t damage the skin and lead to infection.
  • Babies who have bed bug bites should always be taken to the doctor.

How to Talk to Your Kids About Bed Bugs

If you do not have bed bugs, you probably have little reason to talk your kids about them. However, if you do have them, you may be feeling conflicted.

You have a choice: Either talk to your children openly and honestly or try to keep it hidden. Only you will know which is right for your family. Just know that there is a good chance your kids will figure it out on their own.

  • If you decide not to tell your kids, you can explain the marks away as spider bites. If the bites continue over time, you might get away with saying, “Oh, we better spray for spiders, we must have a ton!”
  • Another problem with hiding the truth is that it could interfere with your bed bug plan.
  • Pesticides need to be used safely in homes with children. If you do not tell them about bed bugs, you should at least say you are doing a bi-annual spray.
  • For safety reasons, even if you do not want to talk to your children about the infestation, it is important to alert your children to the fact that you have sprayed. Explain the limits in boundaries to protect them from contamination.
  • The truth is kids are very aware of what is going on around them. If you can get the infestation under control quickly, you may never have to have the talk. If not, then you may have no other choice.
  • The more prevalent bed bugs get, the less stigmatized these infestations will become. As I said before, I believe that honesty is the best course of action, ethically and emotionally. Fear and shame or humor and education: The reaction is up to you. You could even turn this experience into a science experiment and/or enlist your children’s help. Read some books and watch some videos together so you all can learn more.

Preventing Fear, Anxiety, and Shame Caused by Bed Bugs

  • One great way to head-off or eliminate fears is to create a safe zone. Give each child a zippered mattress and pillowcase cover and a bed bug resistant backpack for use during sleepovers. You can find bed bug bedding products in some stores, on Amazon Prime, and from USBedbugs Protection & Prevention Products.
  • If you tell your kids about the problem and then let them help you fix it, they will experience more control over the situation. Involving them in the process will help them control their fears.
  • If the child knows they have a bed bug-free place to go, they are more likely to cope well.
  • You can also get zippered bed tents or dresser drawer liners.
  • Provide a supportive and caring environment where kids can talk about their worries and get help.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

Will a scar from a bed bug bite clear up after the child has scratched and caused bruising?

Children are very resilient. Their bodies heal faster, and more efficiently than that of an adult. I can’t tell you if it will clear up or not. However, kids are less likely to scar than an adult.

There are some things you can do to increase the chances that the bed bug bite will not fade into a permanent scar.

1. Clean wound with warm water and use antibacterial creams. Neosporin is a great choice, They have new products that are even made to prevent scars.

2. Use Calamine lotion to prevent the itching.

3. Buy a scar removal cream. There are real products, usually made with Vitamin E and other active ingredients, that reduce the appearance of scars. I use Mederma, but there are lots of great brands out there.

Are bed bug bites small or large?

Bed bug bites are small. However, on kids they might look bigger than they are because a child has scratched them, increasing irritation.

Can a child develop a fever after severe bites?

Bed bugs do not spread disease or inject venom or poison that are known to cause a fever. It is difficult to tell what would cause the fever in this situation. It could be an allergic reaction, an infection from the wound itself, or something else entirely. In this scenario, doctors recommend seeking medical care for the child.


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Hi, my son gets bit all over his

Cheat and arm, they bother him a lot. He seems to have had a reaction of sorts them, he only gets bit in his room, we never get bit by anything and our daughter doesn’t either. Just him. I’ve checked his bed and the room

And I’ve seen none of the traditional markings of bed bugs, any advice would be appreciated as I have no idea why this is happening

crystal gerard

my daughter got them to when she came home from her cousins house but she only had them on her hands she did not get a fever from them but we did not know what they were


Hello: A few months ago my daughter started to get what appeared to be bug bites. We thought they may be mites, spider or mosquitos or even some sort of rash. They did’t look like pictures of what I’ve seen bedbug bites to be. Also, my son is in the same room and gets nothing. She’ll get 3 or 4 usually on her hands, arms or face and then they clear up and in a couple of weeks she gets more. They don’t see to itch. We searched for any signs of bugs and as a precaution, my wife sprayed with an over the counter bedbug spray, vacuumed well and washed/heated all bedding and stuff animals etc. She is still getting the marks. I’ve made an appointment for a dermatologist and allergist, but am really at a loss. Don’t want to spent tons on extermination for something we may not have. Any advice would be appreciated. THANKS

alyssa a

my son is breaking out on back and but. looks like bed bugs but i see no other sign and the boys have been sleep on the couch all summer together and the other isnt breaking out. he also misbehaved which is unlike him inless sick and grabbed his ear so know im not sure if it is bed bugs. what shoukd i do?

Melody Collins

2 years ago from United States

Phillip: I agree. There should be more restrictions on selling bug infested furniture. It is unlikely that bed bugs will cause any long term damage for your 8-month-old. However, the discomfort could be great.

Since you have a baby, if you have or get bed bugs, I would call a professional. It may cost you $1000 or more.

Also, know that there are lots of bed bug products sold on Amazon designed for babies. There are crib mattress covers and netting that can be used to protect your child.

Sometimes these products are sold as bed bug products. But mosquito netting can double for bed bugs in some cases, as long as it seals.

Phillip cox

I’m worried that bed bugs might hurt my 8 month old I think people should not b allowed to sell cloths/beds/and couches that are used they should be fined and forced to burn all used products


im getting bitten by bed bugs and i keep on itching them but i put cream on it and it works a little and sometimes it don’t work when i put it on sometimes


A mother that sharing information about bedbugs is r the right thing to do.My chid want to school on Friday and came home with bites on her.

Becky Katz

7 years ago from Hereford, AZ

We had three months of torment with these things. My daughter had a friend spend the night and I guess she brought them. It took a while for them to get to the point where we noticed them and then they were everywhere. We had Orkin come in and spray two months in a row, as well as getting rid of all mattresses, box springs, and upholstered furniture. We also had to dry every item of cloth in the house for 20 min. in the dryer. I sew and have lots of material. It cost me $30 in quarters to dry all of that.

Melody Collins

7 years ago from United States

Great comment, thanks for the info. Bed bugs only bite once a night, and they do not eat every night. So yes, most of these pictures are from homes with more serious infestations.

I am glad you mentioned garage sales, I forgot that one. You used to be able to get good stuff people left by the curb, and now you have to avoid that at all costs. You are right, buying at garage sales can be just as risky! Thanks for reading!

Pamela Dapples

7 years ago from Just Arizona Now

This is a great hub you’ve written.

There is quite a growing problem of bed bug infestation on the islands of Hawaii, so I attended a free class on it last year. Bed bugs especially like to travel by air on the airplanes in coach or First Class. They also love to travel from one hotel to your destination via your luggage which you set up in the hotel you are visiting.

I’m not sure if you have mentioned in one of your hubs that a bed bug only bites once a day. So in the photos of the bites on the children’s bodies there were a LOT of bed bugs coming out to dine at night. They are attracted to the carbon dioxide human beings expel from their mouth when sleeping. This is why a new infestation of bed bugs begins with just one or two camping out at the top of your mattress. You can see the little brown dots of feces there near the rolled seams of the mattress. Later, the bed bugs travel to different parts of the mattress and different areas of the room such as the dresser drawers.

Buying used dressers at a garage sale? This can be a way to bring bed bugs into your home. The bed bugs hide very well in different components of the dresser drawers and frame — even under the drawer handles.

Voting your hub up and across.


7 years ago from planet earth, a humanoid

Thanks for sharing this information. I once experienced these disgusting pests and learnt how to counter them the hard way. I won the battle, never to see them again. I realized recently that infection can recur through public transport, a visit to infested localities or from a visitor. I’ve not seen the bug for several years. Voted up and useful.

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Eczema vs Bed Bug Bites: How to Tell the Difference? (W/ Pictures)

Trying to figure out the difference between eczema vs. bed bug bites? If your skin is covered in itchy red welts or splotches, your first thought might be that you are dealing with eczema. It is, after all, a very common skin condition. But you might find yourself looking at your bed and wondering, “Could it be bed bugs?”

Bed bug bites and eczema can appear and feel similar. But there are some telltale signs that can help you distinguish between the conditions, like the exact formation pattern for the red itchy spots, and whether you note signs of bed bugs in your home. In this article, we’ll help you differentiate eczema vs. bed bug bites with detailed information on symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and more.

Symptoms of Eczema

Let’s start by talking about eczema. This is a chronic skin condition that causes itchy, reddish, or brownish patches of skin.

The National Eczema Association lists the following types of eczema:

  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Contact dermatitis
  • Dyshidrotic eczema
  • Nummular eczema
  • Seborrheic dermatitis
  • Stasis dermatitis

Each of these types of dermatitis presents itself with different symptoms. Thankfully, many of them are quite specific.

  • Stasis dermatitis specifically involves circulatory issues that are generally found around the ankles and the lower parts of the legs.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis takes the form of flaky, oily skin. While it may occur anywhere, it is frequently on the scalp, where it is called “dandruff.”
  • Nummular eczema causes round “coin” lesions. They usually have darker borders and lighter interiors, but this may or may not be pronounced or obvious.
  • Dyshidrotic eczema produces blisters, which may form on the hands or feet.
  • Contact dermatitis is a form of eczema which flares in response to contact with a substance to which the skin is hypersensitive, sometimes an allergen. It is characterized by a red rash that may itch or burn. Blisters can form that ooze.
  • Finally, atopic dermatitis is the condition that people most commonly are referring to when they say “eczema.” It seems to be immune-related and is chronic in nature. It can go into remission for periods and flare for others. Symptoms include skin, which is itchy, red, dry, scaly, and sometimes breaks into weeping sores. It tends to look like a splotchy rash, but sometimes it can look like more scattered red spots which could be mistaken for bites. It can show up on the face, back, legs, hands, or other parts of the body.

So, when it comes to recognizing eczema vs. bed bug bites, some types of eczema are easier to differentiate from bed bug bites than others.

For example, if you spot those distinctive “coin” lesions, there is a good chance it could be nummular eczema.

If your hands are covered in raised blisters, dyshidrotic eczema is a possibility.

Have red spots which are somewhereotherthan your legs? You likely (though not definitively) can rule out stasis dermatitis.

Symptoms of Bed Bug Bites

Now let’s take a look at the symptoms of bed bug bites.

  • May be flat or raised
  • Are small
  • May cause redness, itching, and inflammation around them
  • Can turn into blisters
  • May take anywhere from seconds to days after infliction to become noticeable (sometimes weeks)

Hypothetically, a bed bug can bite you anywhere. But Orkin writes, “Bites are commonly found on the parts of the body that are more likely to be exposed to bed bugs during sleep – the hands, neck, face, shoulders, legs, and arms. While not always the case, bed bug bites areoften grouped together in a small area and at times may occur in a line or a zigzag pattern.”

Interestingly enough, there can be variations in the exact appearance and symptoms of bed bug bites from one person to the next.

Orkin explains this as well, stating, “Since people will have various sensitivities to the bed bug’s bite, the size of the bite will vary, as well. Another factor that influences the size of a bed bug reaction is the number of times a person is bitten. Bite reactions of people bitten many times are also variable, and their response may be either more or less intense as the number of bites increases.”

Intriguingly, there are people totally unaffected by bed bugs. So, two people could sleep in one infested bed, and one person could break out into itchy bites, and the other might never even show a sign of having been bitten.

Rarely, an individual can react with life-threatening symptoms to bed bug bites, such as fever or labored breathing.

Because there are so many variations in the timing and symptoms of bed bug bites, differential diagnosis can be a challenge on your own.

Small, scattered spots in a zigzag pattern may very well be bed bug bites. But theycouldstill feasibly be eczema.

A splotchy, large rash is more likely to be eczema than bed bug bites—but you still don’t know, since highly reactive skin could hypothetically form a large swath of inflammation around a cluster of bites. Scattered spots that arenotin a zigzag pattern may be bed bug bites, or they could be eczema. And don’t forget that there are other skin conditions or bites which could be causing your symptoms as well. Bed bug bites and eczema are not the only possibilities.

Diagnosis of Eczema

Sometimes, you may be able to figure out if you have eczema on your own. It can start at any age, so you donotneed to have had it since childhood to develop it later.

If you go to see a doctor, a simple clinical examination should be sufficient to establish a diagnosis. Occasionally, your provider may want to conduct a patch test.

Diagnosis of Bed Bug Bites

Mayo Clinic suggests that you look to your home and not just your body to try and figure out whether you have bed bug bites. Orkin also recommends taking a look at your sheets.

Here is some of what you can be on the lookout for:

  • Are there any spots of blood on your bedsheets? That is a pretty good indication that you’re being eaten by bed bugs at night. Keep in mind that the stains may be more brownish than reddish in some cases. This is what happens when blood dries.
  • Do you see any little brownish or blackish splotches along the seams of your mattress? This could be the waste that the bed bugs have excreted.
  • Try taking a whiff of your mattress or sheets. Do they smell mustier than usual? Is there a faint sweetness to the odor? That could indicate the presence of bed bugs.
  • See if you can spot any moltings from the bed bugs. These will be yellowish in color. They may be hard to spot as they could easily blend in with your mattress and sheets and will be quite minuscule.

Bed bugs are very tiny (the size of a poppy seed is about equivalent to the size of a bed bug), and they are geniuses at stowing themselves away, where nobody will ever find them. But sometimes you can spot them if you are cleverer than they are. Anywhere there is a narrow space like a crack in the headboard of your bed or even a nearby bedside table, that is where you might encounter hiding bed bugs. They wander further than you might reckon and could be up to 8 feet away from your bed (that’s according to Orkin).

Treatment of Eczema

Now that we’ve talked about diagnosing eczema vs. bed bug bites, let’s talk about approaches that you can take to treating both. We’ll begin with eczema.

The NHS writes, “Treatments for atopic eczema can help to ease the symptoms. There’s no cure, but many children find their symptoms naturally improve as they get older.”

So that is good news if you are looking this up on the behalf of your child. Here are some of the treatments that the NHS recommends for eczema sufferers:

  • Emollients (also known as moisturizers).
  • Topical corticosteroids.
  • Antihistamines (in especially itchy, inflamed cases).
  • Topical pimecrolimus or tacrolimus.
  • Bandages.
  • Prescription medications prescribed by a dermatologist.

It also is recommended that you go out of your way to avoid scratching. Scratching will just make the inflammation worse. If bacteria get into open sores, this could result in a secondary infection.

Treatment of Bed Bug Bites

What if you have bed bug bites? In terms of actual treatment, you don’t have to do much of anything. Bed bug bites heal without intervention. It usually takes a couple of weeks, sometimes less.

If your bites are particularly itchy or painful, you might try taking an antihistamine. You also might use hydrocortisone cream.

Again, avoid scratching. This will make it less likely that you will develop a secondary infection that could require further treatment.

Prevention of Eczema

With both eczema and bed bug bites, prevention is key. Therefore, it’s important to figure out which of the two conditions you have.

To prevent eczema:

  • Flares of eczema often happen in response to exposure to various triggers. You will need to take notes to identify what your triggers are. They could involve anything from heat exposure to certain detergents to milk or eggs. Once you know what your triggers are, avoid them.
  • Do not just apply moisturizers as a treatment for an acute flare-up. Use them as a preventative measure as well.
  • For specific forms of eczema, certain other preventative measures may be useful as well. For example, dandruff shampoo can be helpful with seborrheic dermatitis.
  • While the simple steps above are adequate for most mild to moderate eczema cases, additional preventative treatments may be available to you if you have a severe case that resists more moderate management steps.

Prevention of Bed Bug Bites

If you have bed bugs rather than eczema (or in addition to eczema), you will simply continue to suffer from bites if you do not get to the root of the problem and get rid of the bed bugs.

In fact, you can even move to a new house and bring bed bugs with you. So, you must eradicate them.

The EPA provides recommendations here for killing the bed bugs once you locate them, including non-chemical methods such as heat or cold treatment or steam cleaners.

Once you believe you have eliminated the threat, use traps or interceptors to prevent future infestations of your furnishings.

Eczema Vs Bed Bug Bites: Key Points

We have now explored the similarities and differences between eczema vs. bed bug bites. Let’s quickly review the key points:

  • Presents itself in several different ways depending on the specific type present. It will probably be itchy and may show up as reddish or brownish patches or spots that can look quite similar to or quite different from bed bug bites.
  • It’s a chronic condition that may flare-up at different times.
  • It does not have a cure.
  • It can be managed using conservative treatment and prevention protocols in most cases including moisturizers, avoiding triggers, and using medications.
  • Appear as small, itchy red spots that may or may not be raised. These sometimes blister. It can take seconds or weeks for them to appear after you are bitten. They may or may not have a zigzag pattern.
  • Signs of bed bugs such as blood or excrement on sheets or on your mattress may be present.
  • While bed bug bites resolve on their own, they will continue to appear until you remove the infestation.

Hopefully, you can figure out whether you have eczema, bed bugs, or both on your own, and come up with a plan to get your symptoms under control. But, remember, it can always be helpful to consult with a medical professional, especially if you are worried that you might have something else going on.

Related Questions

1. How can you tell the difference between bed bug bites and flea bites?

Flea bites and bed bug bites look very similar. Flea bites are less likely to swell than bed bug bites. They also are more likely to be clustered together and located near the ankles. The zigzag pattern which is common with bed bug bites is not associated with flea bites (but could form through coincidence).

2. What scent keeps bed bugs away?

If you are looking for a simple, yet natural way to ward off bed bugs, they reportedly do not like the smells of lavender, cinnamon, tea tree oil, citrus or rubbing alcohol.

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