How Does The Bed Bug Bite Look Like
What Do Bed Bug Bites Look Like? Here’s Exactly How to Spot the Symptoms
If you wake up with a line of three to four itchy, swollen bumps, it could be due to bed bugs.
Waking up with a fresh set of itchy bug bites can bring on its own set of worries. What, exactly, was biting you in the middle of the night? Was it a spider? Mosquito? Or—possibly theworstcase scenario—could it have been bed bugs?
Although bed bugs might not be the first thing we think of when we wake up with a bite, the crittersdoget their food source from our blood—and will leave a little red bump in their wake after getting their fill.
But the trouble with identifying a bed bug bite—as is true for a lot of insects, including mosquitoes—is that it can be hard to identify the source of the bite, as everyone reacts differently to being bitten based on what their body’s immune response is. “Everybody’s going to respond differently,” saysTimothy Gibb, PhD, a clinical professor of entomology at Purdue University. “Same thing’s true with a mosquito bite. Some people are going to swell up and it’s going to itch. That same mosquito could bite someone else and it’s hardly noticeable.”
In fact, Gibb says some people may have no response when being bitten by a bed bug at all, based solely on how their immune system handles the bite. That’s why it can be difficult to determine whether your bite is the result of a bed bug just by looking at it.
But therearea few things that can tip you off to the fact that bed bugs are the culprit of your bites. Here’s what to know, including bed bug bites pictures to help you visualize the symptoms.
What do bed bug bites look like?
The key bed bug bite symptom to look for is a red, raised bump, says Gibb, similar in appearance to what you would get when bitten by a spider or a mosquito. But what sets bed bugs apart from other insects is that oftentimes,their bites will present in a line on one part or side of your body. This is the result of what’s called “probing.”
⚠️ Bed bug bites show up in a line, most often in a cluster of 3 to 4 bites.
“They probe the skin in several different places, I think probably to find best access to draw blood,” says Gibb. In fact, if you have screens on your windows—thereby keeping out other insects that might bite—but are still waking up with aline of 3 or 4 bites on your arm, it’s safe to suspect that bed bugs might be to blame, saysEdwin Rajotte, PhD, a professor of entomology at Penn State University.
Another way to determine if your bites are a result from bed bugs is to look for the insects themselves. They naturally like to hide in on your mattress, especially in the corners, near the head end, and in the cord that goes around it. They also like to camp out behind the headboard, behind any pictures on the wall, and in any electrical sockets.
Adult bed bugs are about the the size of an apple seed and are very flat from top to bottom—almost as thin as a piece of paper—with a brownish color, says Rajotte. Baby bed bugs are also brownish in color, but pinhead-sized. Another key identifier? Look for black spots on your sheets, mattress, and mattress cover, which could be bed bug feces.
Where do bed bugs bite, exactly?
Bed bug bites willmost commonly occur on the arms, neck, or trunk of the body, says Gibb, although they’ll bite anywhere they can find exposed skin. And—as their name suggests—bed bugs will bite you at night while you’re sound asleep.
“We’ve found it’s most active when people are most sound asleep, and that’s usually from about 2:00 to 4:00 in the morning,” says Gibb. “That’s natural for a parasite like that to do that because it’s going to protect it. People won’t see it, they won’t feel it. It makes their survivorship much more probable.”
Are bed bug bites itchy? Do they hurt?
Although some people will say a bed bug bite hurts somewhat—though not as intensely as the sting of a bee, for example—most complaints are due to the itching the bites cause, says Gibb. And that itching is due to the chemicals the bed bug inserts into your body during the bite, adds Rajotte.
“They’ve become what I consider the perfect parasite, because their mouthparts are kind of interesting,” says Gibb. “They will inject an anesthetic prior to biting, so people won’t feel it. And then they inject an anticoagulant that allows the blood to run easier for them to suck that up.” So while that system works great for thebugs, those left-over chemicals will usually lead to some uncomfortable itching on your end.
How long do bed bug bites last?
Although the duration and intensity of a bed bug bite will hugely vary from person to person, you typically won’t feel the effects of a bed bug bite—like itching and those raised red bumps—until mid-morning after a bite due to the anesthetic the bug injects, says Gibb. “So they certainly don’t feel it when the bite is occurring, but shortly after, probably within a day, for sure,” he adds.
From there, a bed bug bite will stay with you for typically at least 24 hours, though theycould last three to five days after the initial bite, says Gibb. At that point, the bite will then start to slowly dissipate.
How to treat bed bug bites
If you’ve received a bed bug bite (and the itching that comes along with it), chances are, you’re going to want to speed up the treatment process. But unfortunately, the best way to do that is also thehardestway to do it: not scratching the bite, says Gibb, which will just further irritate the area.
If you’re having trouble keeping your fingers away from the bite, you can also try using an antihistamine—think Benadryl or Allegra, which are meant to curb allergy symptoms—to help mute that itchy feeling.
And if bed bugsarethe cause of your bites, realize there’s no urgent need to panic. Yes, they might cost you a pretty penny and can be a pain to get rid of, but bed bugs can’t do any serious damage to your body.“They don’t kill people,” says Gibb. “A parasite would have a hard time surviving if it killed its host, and these do not.”
In fact, they don’t even transmit anything dangerous to you.“They’ve never been shown to transmit any diseases,”says Rajotte. “Unlike mosquitoes and ticks and things, which can transmit some pretty bad diseases, bed bugs do not. And so while they’re annoying and all that, they’re not going to harm your children or anything like that. They’re just annoying and you need to get rid of them.”
Ready to banish them from your home? Here’s our expert-approved, step-by-step guide to getting rid of bed bugs for good.
How To Tell Bed Bug Bites From Other Insect Bites
There are a lot of insects in the world. It is estimated that insects outnumber humans 200 million to one. 200 million! That’s a lot of bugs. Fortunately, not all insects bite humans. If they did, we’d all be covered in bites. All the time. From head to toe. But, there are enough insects that do want to bite us–enough to make it difficult to figure out which bites are from which insect. This is especially troublesome if you’re trying to figure out if you have bed bugs. Hopefully, this article will shed some much-needed light on the issue, and help you square things away.
Characteristics Of A Bed Bug Bite
Bed bugs are interior insects. They live almost exclusively with humans. This fact is helpful to know if you want to figure out whether or not you’re being bitten by bed bugs. If you haven’t been out camping recently and spent any time in wet, outdoor areas, all of those insect bites are probably from an interior bug.
Bed bugs are mostly nocturnal. If you wake up in the morning and you have two dozen more bites than you had when you went to bed, it is likely that you have bed bugs. It is important to note, however, that some individuals are more resistant to bed bug bites than others, and bites may not become noticeable for a day or two.
Bed bugs feed multiple times. If you’re being fed on by bed bugs, it is likely that you are going to find numerous bites on your skin. But, what is unique about bed bugs is that each individual bug will feed more than once during the night. Some entomologists, who fancy themselves comedians, refer to bed bug bites as breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But, if you’re being feasted on by these blood-eating pests, you know that there is nothing funny about it. This is a good fact to know, however. If you have bites that come in sets of threes, or look as if they follow a trail up your body, it is more likely that those bites came from bed bugs rather than several individual, single-biting, insects.
Bites worsen over time. When an infestation of bed bugs takes root in a home, bites start off fewer in number. But, there is another, more interesting characteristic of new bites. They are usually less noticeable. Immature bed bug nymphs inject less anticoagulant into a bite wound than adult bed bugs. This leads to less irritation, less swelling, and less of a rash. Over time, bites get worse. When adult bed bugs bite, they inject more anticoagulant. And, over the course of several exposures to this anticoagulant, the allergic reaction increases. Bites that start out as tiny dots that can become painful, itchy, swollen welts.
There Are Several Bugs That Can Bite You In Your Home
Here are some traits that help to distinguish them from bed bug bites:
Flea bites often happen around the ankles and on the lower legs. They are also associated with a terrible itch. This can cause a flea bite to have a scab in the center of an inflamed bite wound.
While mosquitoes are an outdoor pest, they are also a flying pest, which makes it possible for them to get inside our homes. But inside bites from mosquitoes will be limited. If you’re being bitten by a mosquito, or two, you’ll have one or two bites that will probably have a puffy look to them. This depends on your skin type, and your age.
Mite bites can be numerous, just like those bed bug bites. They can also look like bed bug bites. The important difference is the pattern mentioned above. Mite bites will be random, not in a trail or series of three bite marks, like bed bug bites.
The best way to know if the bites you’re finding on your skin were caused by bed bugs is to actually see a bed bug. If you have bed bugs in your South Portland home, they are definitely biting you. For assistance with a bed bug infestation in New England, contact Big Blue Bug Solutions. When it comes to protecting homes and businesses from bed bugs, you can trust Big Blue Bug Solutions.
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All The Different Ways You Can Pick Up Bed Bugs In Portland
If you’re thinking, "Bed bugs! Um, no thank you!" then this little article should help you get a better understanding of how they can get into your Portland home and, most importantly, how to stop them.
February 24, 2020
5 Common Misconceptions About Bed Bugs in South Portland
Bed bugs are a very real threat. We’ve all heard horror stories on the news about people traveling, staying in a hotel, and experiencing a bed bug infestation. With the holidays coming, this is a real problem that everybody needs to take…
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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.
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:
- Put a tea bag in a cup of boiling water for a few minutes. Remove the bag and cool it in the refrigerator.
- Place the tea bag on the red itchy bumps to relieve discomfort and irritation.
- Apply the cold compress 2-3 times a day for fast relief from bed bug bites and bed bug rash.
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:
- Use aloe vera gel with as few added ingredients as possible and liberally apply some gel to the bite marks.
- Massage the gel into the area around the bed bug bites to soothe the skin and stop itching.
- 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:
- Put a drop of tea tree oil on the end of a cotton bud and apply to the itchy bed bug bite.
- 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:
- WebMD. Bedbugs.
- EPA. Bed bug appearance and life cycle.
- CDC. Bed bugs FAQs
- MayoClinic. Bedbug symptoms.
- NHS. Bedbugs.
- MayoClinic. Mosquito bites.
- WebMD. Pictures of bed bug bites.
- eMedicineHealth. Bedbugs.
- EPA. How to find bed bugs.
- Phytojournal. Tannins are astringent.
- OWM. 2011;57(5):28-36.
- Skin Pharmacol Physiol.2008;21(2):106-10.
- Br J Dermatol.2002 Dec;147(6):1212-7.
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
- 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
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
- 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
- vacation rentals
- cruise ships
- nursing homes
- 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.
What do Bed Bug Bites look like? Pictures & Identification Steps
Knowing what bed bug bites look can help a lot in finding ways to treat the bites. It is also important as it will help detect an infestation. Find pictures, how to identify plus how these bites differ from pimples and mosquito bites.
What do Bed Bug Bites look like with Naked Human Eye?
Bed bugs survive on blood. When they get in contact with your skin, they bite and suck blood from your skin. Generally, bed bugs must feed on blood at least once during their mature stages, so that they can get to the adult stages.
When bed bugs bite you, they inject their saliva as well as an anticoagulant into your skin. It is this anticoagulant that determines how your skin reacts to the bite.
The bites that are left on your skin can be seen with your naked eyes even though they are really small. Although the bed bug bites do not appear immediately you are bitten, it will only take at most a day before you start seeing strange marks on your skin. In most cases, the bite marks are red.
Bed bug bites appear to be small, raised or sometimes flat. The bites appear in a zigzag pattern or even in a line. These bites look different on different people.
People have varying skin types and these skin types react differently to bites. The size of bed bug bites varies as well. While most people have small sized bites, some will have large sized bites.
At first, you may not be in position to tell which insect has bitten you. This is because; the bites by bed bugs resemble those from other insects.
It is only after finding out that your house is infested with bed bugs that you can conclude the marks are bed bug bites.
After sometime, you will realize that the bites become inflamed and they may redden more. The bites are also likely to become very itchy and blistered. The more you scratch your skin, the more inflamed it becomes.
As illustrated above, bed bug bites begin as small red marks which may later change to firm papules with a central puncture mark.
After these marks heal, you are likely to be left with a scarring especially if you scratched your skin especially with dirty fingernails. Children, when bitten by bed bugs, are likely to end up with permanent scars.
You cannot directly attach bites on your skin to bed bugs unless you are sure there are bed bugs in your house. In the case where you are not aware of bed bug infestation in your house, you may confuse bed bug bites for bites from other insects. Below is how to determine whether the bites on your skin are from bed bugs.
Examine the bed bugs
You will require doing a number of things during the examination aimed at determining if you were bitten by bed bugs. First of all, carry out an inspection of the bites on your skin.
Check whether the bites appear slightly colored and raised red dots. Look also whether the dots are of a diameter 0.2 cm to 0.5 cm.
Secondly, examine if the bites increase the following morning. When you go to sleep then wake up to small bites that are red and slightly swollen, you are likely to have bed bugs in your house.
You should also check whether the fresh bites appear in random groupings or in a line. Such appearance is expected from bed bugs since they bite you severally around the same place.
If fresh bites appear during the day, you can comfortably conclude that they are not bed bug bites. Bed bugs love the dark and bite mostly at night.
You should check what area of your body has been bitten. If the bites are on parts of your skin that are exposed, you can conclude that the bites are likely to be bed bug bites.
Unless you wear very loose clothing, bed bugs only bite on exposed skin. If the bites are on the area surrounding the sole of your feet, they are not likely to be bed bug bites. Normally, bed bugs avoid your feet.
Finally on examining the possibility of the marks being bed bug bites, you are advised to search for signs of an allergy. If you are allergic to the bites by bed bugs, you may develop rashes similar to a fungal infection or eczema.
Other common signs of an allergy to bed bugs are oozing of pus and a painful swelling. Where these two come with the bed bites, you should seek medical attention.
Inspect your bed
When you have fully examined the bites, you need to check your bed. It is likely to give you the next hint on whether what you have are bed bug bites.
Find out whether there are wingless and red brown insects on your bed. Check especially on the edges. You may find them dead or alive. Check the mattress and sheets as well.
Look also for exoskeletons that may have been shed by bed bugs. Apart from that, check whether you will see white eggs or eggshells. The eggs are tiny and you must be keen when checking. Use a flash light.
Spread your bed sheets in the open to check if there are some red stains. Such stains may be bed bugs that were accidentally crushed or their fecal matter.
If you find the red spots on the sheets, wipe them to see if they smear. Bed bug excrement will spread when wiped.The United States Environmental Protection Agencypoints out the physical signs of bed bugs as dark or red spots on bed linen which can either be blood spots or feces.
Check for other signs of bed bug infestation
The bed bugs do not only hide on your bed. They can also be on your other furniture around the house. You must check drawers, couches and all chairs.
Check for bed bugs hiding on cushions as well. You should also try smelling areas where you suspect that bed bugs have hidden. The smell from bed bugs is usually similar to that of coriander. It is a musty odor. The smell is like that of an old damp house.
Do bed bug bites look like mosquito bites
Bed bug bites are similar to mosquito bites. Even that, a close study differentiates the two. Mosquito bites appear as reddish bumps which are also puffy white.
The bumps begin a short while after the mosquito bites you. Mosquito bites are not only irritating but also painful.
Bed bug bites on the other hand appear as small red bumps that are inflamed. The skin bitten by bed bugs begins to itch after sometime.
The bites from bed bugs are rarely painful. In fact, you may take some time before you realize that you were bitten by a bed bug. Bed Bug vs other Insect/Mite Bites
Below is a video explaining how bed bites differ from tick, spider and bee bites/sting
Do bed bug bites look like pimples
If you have not studied the differences between bed bug bites and pimples, you may confuse the two since they have some similarities. Some people confuse bed bug bites on the face for acne. To differentiate pimples from bed bug bites, the following will be helpful;
- While bed bugs are lumpier and hard, pimples appear to form smaller lumps and they are softer.
- It is easy to pop a pimple. As for bed bug bites, you cannot pop them.
- Pimples come to head in a few days. This leads to a clear pus filled opening on the pimple. Bed bug bites on the other hand do not come to head. It is only when the bed bug bites are scratched that they may become pus filled.