How Long Do Bed Bug Bites Usually Last
How Long Do Bed Bug Bites Last (Updated for 2019)?
Bed bugs are the nastiest and most stubborn type of household parasites that you can find. Not only are these insects very adept at hiding but they have now become immune to certain chemicals that once were very effective at killing them.
Bed bugs also tend to bite a lot. Although they are not known to carry any dangerous diseases, their bites can result in relatively large welts that can be very itchy and irritating for many days.
In this guide, we shall study the effect of bed bug bites and how to treat them. To do that, however, we first need to find out how bed bugs feed and how long does it take for a bed bug infestation to manifest.
Table of Contents
How Do Bed Bugs Feed
Bed bugs are parasites and feed on blood. Although they can feed on any animal, human blood is their most favored diet. Bed bugs feed on humans by piercing their skin with their sharp and long beak-like proboscis to draw blood from their victim. In order to not make their prey aware of them, bed bugs excrete saliva at the same time. The saliva contains anesthesia that numbs the wound and an anticoagulant that keeps the blood from clotting. This allows the bed bugs to drink from the host as long as they want without waking us up.
The bed bug saliva is the reason why a large majority of bed bug bites become red and inflamed.
When Do Bed Bug Bite?
Like most blood-feeding animals, bed bugs are nocturnal and usually come out during the night. While it is still possible to see an errant bug crawling on your bed sheet in early mornings, during the day, bed bugs prefer to hide inside cracks, crevices, nooks and crannies, cracks in the walls, the seams and inside of your mattress, your pillows, and your box springs. One of their most favorite places is hiding inside mattresses and cracks in the bed as it allows them easy access to their victims.
When people go to sleep at night, these bed bugs are attracted to the carbon dioxide that humans breathe out. They follow their lure and bite their victims. If a bed bug is especially hungry, it may even venture out in the day time and bite any humans reclining on the bed. Under these circumstances, it may also feed on any animal that is occupying the bed.
What Do Bed Bug Bites Look Like?
Bed bug bites can easily be mistaken for other small insect bites like mosquitoes and fleas. All of these insects can cause small round bumps on human skin. However, bed bug bites have a few characteristics that can help tell them apart.
The first step in identifying a bed bug bite is to make sure that you are looking at a bite and not just a scratch or a puncture wound from some object. Bed bug bites appear in the form of inflamed and red welts, which are circular with irregularly shaped boundaries. It usually has a darker spot in the center, which marks the site where the bed bug’s proboscis entered your skin. The outer circle is a lighter red compared to the middle.
Bed bug bites are usually clustered together in straight or zigzag lines along the exposed surface of your arms, legs, and face but these insects can also crawl beneath your clothes and bite your back and abdomen.
Symptoms of Bed Bug Bites
Almost all bed bug bite results in severe itchiness and a slight burning sensation. People who are allergic to insect bites may have more severe reactions. The bites may look more enlarged and inflamed. They may also experience hives and blisters around the affected areas.
In some cases, if the rash is severe enough, it can develop into popular eruptions or pustules which are filled with fluid. There have been a tiny number of reports of people suffering from breathing problems, slight fever, flu-like symptoms, swollen mouth and tongue, and irregular heartbeats. Fortunately, these kinds of reactions are extremely rare.
People may also find dead bed bugs flattened by their bodies when they turn over during the night or small spots of blood on their clothing form the bite. There may also be reddish brown spots on the bedding that may indicate bed bug droppings.
How Long Does it Take For Bed Bug Bites to Appear?
Interestingly, unlike many other bites, many people may not feel the effects of a bed bug bite for several days. Some people may not notice they have been bitten at all, while others may notice a burning sensation within a few hours of the bite. A bed bug bite can take up to 14 days to appear, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That makes it even more difficult to diagnose as there is no way of knowing if, when, or where you were bitten.
As mentioned above, many people do not feel the bite at all, while some people who are hypersensitive may develop severe reactions. But the vast majority of the population experiences the relatively mild reaction of the welt with a slight burning sensation and itchiness. In this case, the symptoms usually occur a few hours after the bite and can progress over the next few days.
How Long Do Bed Bug Bite Last?
The time it takes for a bed bug bite to go away varies from person to person. Usually, a bed bug bite may take one or two weeks to heal and will not cause any serious, long term issues. With some home remedies or over-the-counter drugs, you can easily speed up the healing process. However, for some people, a bed bug bite can last for around a month.
Since bed bug bites are extremely itchy, people often tend to scratch them. Although this may give them temporary relief, scratching can damage the affected area and may cause bleeding. If the wound opens, bacteria may spread, posing risk for secondary infections. It will also make it longer for the bed bug bite to heal.
Similarly, people who have an allergic reaction may find that a bed bug bite takes longer to go away since it is larger and more inflamed.
In short, there are many things that you can do to make the bite heal quicker (explained in detail below). On the other hand, other things, like scratching, can make the bed bug bite worse!
Can Bed Bug Bites Result in Scar?
One good thing about bed bug bites is that they do not leave any scar if not aggravated. Usually, bed bug bites heal within a couple of weeks, even without the use of medication or home remedies. Scarring is extremely rare.
How to Alleviate Symptoms and Get Rid of Bed Bug Bites Quickly?
Fortunately, there are many ways to lessen the symptoms of bed bug bites and help your skin heal faster. Naturally, you cannot expect the bite mark to fade within a day but these home remedies and over-the-counter medications can help accelerate the healing process.
Clean the Area
As with all bites, make sure you wash the affected area with antibacterial soap and some warm water. Just keeping the bite clean may hasten the recovery process and make your bite mark fade quickly.
Even if you experience intense itching, refrain from scratching! Instead, put a cold compress on it. You can make a cold compress by taking some ice cubes, wrapping them up in a thin towel and applying it to the site of the bite. Keep the pressure on the bite for periods of 30 seconds. The cold will numb the area, making it less inflamed. Whenever you get the urge to itch, apply ice to the bite instead.
Lemon Juice and Honey
Lemon juice is a natural astringent and has anti-inflammatory properties. Mix some lemon juice in honey and apply the paste to the bite. It can limit itching and promote healing. Do not apply lemon juice to open sores as it can worsen the situation.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has antibacterial and anti-itching properties, which can help lessen the irritation. Pour some apple cider vinegar onto a ball of cotton wool and apply it to the affected area to promote healing.
When it comes to insect bites, one wouldn’t think oatmeal would make the list of things that can help treat bed bug bites. However, oatmeal is actually a wonderful remedy to treat the itchy, inflamed, and irritating bed bug bites. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, oatmeal is an effective skin protectant as it contains a high amount of phenols that are responsible for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Add a few drops of water to oatmeal and make it into a smooth mixture. Apply the paste to the bed bug bite for 10-15 minutes and then rinse it off with cool water.
Since toothpaste contains menthols, a cooling agent, it is quite effective for soothing inflamed and itchy bites. Apply some toothpaste to the bite and wash it off after 10 minutes.
Aloe vera gel contains a high percentage of pectic acids and glucomannans as well as essential vitamins and amino acids, which make it one of the best remedies to soothe a bed bug bite. Take an aloe vera leaf, cut off the spines on its sides and split it into upper and lower halves. Take out the aloe vera gel with the help of a knife and apply it to the bed bug bite. Once you apply the gel, it will sting on the application; however, it will soon provide relief.
Tea contains polyphenols which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and can help you reduce inflammation and pain. Once you have made a tea, keep the used tea bags in the fridge. If you get bitten by a bed bug, apply the cool tea bags to the affected area for 15 minutes a few times a day.
You can buy corticosteroid ointments and creams which can help reduce itching and irritation from bed bug bites. These creams can prevent the urge to scratch at bites. This will help decrease the time it takes the bite to heal. For severe cases, a doctor may prescribe you a stronger dose of corticosteroid or inject you with the hormone.
For people who are especially sensitive to bed bug bites, use of antihistamine is a good option. You can buy antihistamine creams and pills easily from any drug store or pharmacy to help alleviate the symptoms of a bed bug bite. For those with severe adverse reactions, a doctor can prescribe a stronger dose.
How Long Does It Take for a Bed Bug Infestation to Manifest?
If you have a long-term infestation in your house, it is very difficult to determine when the bed bugs first came to your house. Usually, a large outbreak means the insects have been living in your home for several months or even years without you noticing. However, if you have a small infestation, it is fairly easy to gauge when it manifested.
In case of small infestations at warm room temperatures (72° F), with lots of bloodmeals nearby, it takes bed bugs about a week to grow out of each phase of their nymph stage with molting. With every molting, the nymph will shed their exoskeleton also known as exuviae or bed bug casings. These casings can be used to determine the approximate time of a bed bug infestation. For example, if a nymph in its fourth stage is found inside a mattress with excuviae of three different sizes, it is reasonable to assume that it has been using your bed as a home for about three weeks.
In similar circumstances, it takes eggs about 10 days to hatch. Therefore, if you find tiny milky-white eggs attached to your furniture, it means your bed has been infested for that long. Some eggs can also be collected and you can estimate the time of when they were laid, once they hatch.
A big indicator of when a bed bug infestation manifested is the number of adult biting insects in the bed. Generally, it takes about seven weeks for a bed bug to complete its lifecycle and turn from an egg into a fully-grown adult, so there shouldn’t be any new adults from eggs during that period. This is assumed under the circumstances that the outbreak started from a few adults and no new bed bugs were introduced to your home during that time.
In essence, there is no surefire way you can estimate when a bed bug infestation started, but you can prescribe some limits and use them to determine an estimate. This type of task is best left to professional exterminators who can determine the age of the infestation by studying bed bug fecal matter, the number of eggs and excuviae, and adult biting insects.
Dealing with bed bugs can be a complete headache. Unfortunately, bed bug infestations have grown quite common and no one really knows why. Although bed bugs bites are quite irritating and unsightly, most people will heal from them in a couple of weeks at most. People who are extra-sensitive to bed bug bites should consider the home remedies mentioned above as well as visit a doctor if their symptoms worsen.
The tips given above can help you deal with bed bug bites without any long-term side effects. Meanwhile, you can hire the services of a professional exterminator or try some bed bug powders and sprays to get rid of these pests from your house.
Bed Bugs FAQs
What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are small, flat, parasitic insects that feed solely on the blood of people and animals while they sleep. Bed bugs are reddish-brown in color, wingless, range from 1mm to 7mm (roughly the size of Lincoln’s head on a penny), and can live several months without a blood meal.
Where are bed bugs found?
Bed bugs are found across the globe from North and South America, to Africa, Asia and Europe. Although the presence of bed bugs has traditionally been seen as a problem in developing countries, it has recently been spreading rapidly in parts of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and other parts of Europe. Bed bugs have been found in five-star hotels and resorts and their presence is not determined by the cleanliness of the living conditions where they are found.
Bed bug infestations usually occur around or near the areas where people sleep. These areas include apartments, shelters, rooming houses, hotels, cruise ships, buses, trains, and dorm rooms. They hide during the day in places such as seams of mattresses, box springs, bed frames, headboards, dresser tables, inside cracks or crevices, behind wallpaper, or any other clutter or objects around a bed. Bed bugs have been shown to be able to travel over 100 feet in a night but tend to live within 8 feet of where people sleep.
Do bed bugs spread disease?
Bed bugs are not known to spread disease. Bed bugs can be an annoyance because their presence may cause itching and loss of sleep. Sometimes the itching can lead to excessive scratching that can sometimes increase the chance of a secondary skin infection.
What health risks do bed bugs pose?
A bed bug bite affects each person differently. Bite responses can range from an absence of any physical signs of the bite, to a small bite mark, to a serious allergic reaction. Bed bugs are not considered to be dangerous; however, an allergic reaction to several bites may need medical attention.
What are the signs and symptoms of a bed bug infestation?
One of the easiest ways to identify a bed bug infestation is by the tell-tale bite marks on the face, neck, arms, hands, or any other body parts while sleeping. However, these bite marks may take as long as 14 days to develop in some people so it is important to look for other clues when determining if bed bugs have infested an area. These signs include:
- the bed bugs’ exoskeletons after molting,
- bed bugs in the fold of mattresses and sheets,
- rusty–colored blood spots due to their blood-filled fecal material that they excrete on the mattress or nearby furniture, and
- a sweet musty odor.
How do I know if I’ve been bitten by a bed bug?
It is hard to tell if you’ve been bitten by a bed bug unless you find bed bugs or signs of infestation. When bed bugs bite, they inject an anesthetic and an anticoagulant that prevents a person from realizing they are being bitten. Most people do not realize they have been bitten until bite marks appear anywhere from one to several days after the initial bite. The bite marks are similar to that of a mosquito or a flea — a slightly swollen and red area that may itch and be irritating. The bite marks may be random or appear in a straight line. Other symptoms of bed bug bites include insomnia, anxiety, and skin problems that arise from profuse scratching of the bites.
Because bed bug bites affect everyone differently, some people may have no reaction and will not develop bite marks or any other visible signs of being bitten. Other people may be allergic to the bed bugs and can react adversely to the bites. These allergic symptoms can include enlarged bite marks, painful swellings at the bite site, and, on rare occasions, anaphylaxis.
How did I get bed bugs?
Bed bugs are experts at hiding. Their slim flat bodies allow them to fit into the smallest of spaces and stay there for long periods of time, even without a blood meal. Bed bugs are usually transported from place to place as people travel. The bed bugs travel in the seams and folds of luggage, overnight bags, folded clothes, bedding, furniture, and anywhere else where they can hide. Most people do not realize they are transporting stow-away bed bugs as they travel from location to location, infecting areas as they travel.
Who is at risk for getting bed bugs?
Everyone is at risk for getting bed bugs when visiting an infected area. However, anyone who travels frequently and shares living and sleeping quarters where other people have previously slept has a higher risk of being bitten and or spreading a bed bug infestation.
How are bed bugs treated and prevented?
Bed bug bites usually do not pose a serious medical threat. The best way to treat a bite is to avoid scratching the area and apply antiseptic creams or lotions and take an antihistamine. Bed bug infestations are commonly treated by insecticide spraying. If you suspect that you have an infestation, contact your landlord or professional pest control company that is experienced with treating bed bugs. The best way to prevent bed bugs is regular inspection for the signs of an infestation.
This information is not meant to be used for self-diagnosis or as a substitute for consultation with a health care provider. If you have any questions about the parasites described above or think that you may have a parasitic infection, consult a health care provider.
Bed Bug Bites Pictures, Symptoms and Treatment
Usually bed bugs feed during night when you sleep. They are sensitive to blood pushes in your vessels, which enables them to penetrate directly into your capillaries with their mouthparts. Each insect consumes approximately one microliter of blood per one bite. However, to become full bed bugs make 5-7 bites. Thus, in the morning you find several marks in one place. Multiple marks, redness and itching are the most distinct bites signs which help to tell bed bug bites from bites of other insects or parasites.
Peculiarities of Bites of Bed Bugs
Mouthparts of a bed bug resemble a tube with two grooves: one is narrow and the second is a bit wider. Wide channel serves for blood sucking, while the narrow one serves for saliva injection during the bite. Saliva of a bed bug contains analgesics, so when an insect bites, it does not hurt or itches.
Where do bed bugs bite? Bedbugs prefer to bite people with thin skin. That is why very often women and children become their victims. Bed bugs like places with more delicate skin: inner surface of arms and legs. You can notice bed bug bites on face and your neck. Bed bugs rarely bite pets, as animals have thicker skin than humans. It explains why bed bugs parasite on humans.
For satiation a bed bug larva needs less blood than a mature bug, as it is smaller than an adult insect. Nevertheless, unlike an adult bed bug its larvae bite almost every day, because frequent feeding is necessary for their growth. In addition, a larva does not inject saliva with analgesic during a bite, which makes their bites more painful. Do bed bug bites itch? Yes, if you were bitten by a larva. And usually they do not itch, if you were bitten by an adult bug.
Do Bed Bugs Bite at Daytime?
Usually bed bugs feed when it is dark at night, as they are less disturbed at this time. Their peak activity lasts from 3 to 7 AM. Daylight and human activity forces the parasites to hide. Nevertheless, even in daylight sometimes the insects can bite a person who moves rarely. Bites of bedbugs during daytime usually indicate that there is a large population of bed bugs in your house or apartment.
For full satiation an insect consumes the amount of blood that is twice its own weight. Insects need about 5-7 days to digest the sucked blood. However, bites on your body can appear every day, because the entire population has to be fed. Thus, you can judge by the number of bites about the total number of insects in your house. In heavily infested apartments you may get hundreds of new bites over night; and some insects may make attempts to bite you even during daytime.
Can the Bugs Bite Through Your Clothes?
As a rule bed bugs bite the open parts of your body. Nevertheless they are capable of biting through certain kinds of fabric. Going to bed heavily dressed is useless, as it is inconvenient and the bugs can get under your clothes. Also quite often they can hide in the seams still having access to your bare skin.
Bed Bug Bites Symptoms
Bed bug bites symptoms may be different depending on a person. This happens for several reasons.
Firstly, the insects bite humans with rough and thick skin less often. Thick skin makes is difficult for an insect to determine where to bite.
Secondly, different people respond to analgesic contained in bug’s saliva in various ways. That is why the reaction to bugs bite differs from person to person. Are bed bug bites itchy? Some people don’t have bite marks or any unpleasant symptoms, including itching. However, this does not mean that the insects do not bite them. Others can have quite strong reaction that can make them think that they have an allergy.
Whatever your reaction is, you should immediately see a doctor who will make a correct diagnosis and prescribe corresponding bed bug bites treatment, as only a specialist knows how to treat bed bug bites.
How long do bed bug bites last? They usually disappear after 10 -12 hours. If you have an allergic reaction, the bites marks and itching may stay for 2-3 days.
For children bedbug bites can be a strong stressful factor because bedbugs bite mainly at night, which leads to severe deterioration of sleep quality.
Symptoms of bed bug bites include:
- Skin redness;
- Severe itching;
- Swelling of the bitten place;
- Multiple marks on small skin area.
Bed Bug Bites Pictures and Images
Allergy to Bites of the Insects
Bed bug bites can cause unforeseen complications. One of the most unpleasant consequences is allergy to bites of bedbugs. If you have this allergy you may have severe rashes, pain, irritation and itching. Also you may possibly have fever, weakness or dizziness.
Remember, if you have any unpleasant and disturbing symptoms you should immediately inform your doctor about them. Especially if you were bitten for the first time and you do not know your reaction to such an irritant.
How to Differenciate Bed Bug Bites From Allergies
Bed bug bite almost always causes itching wherever it was produced. When people discover this symptom, they mistakenly believe that it is an allergy to bedbugs. Identifying the exact diagnosis is a task of a dermatologist. The doctor can distinguish allergy from the signs of bed bug bites. In case you have an allergic reaction there are some additional symptoms apart from skin itching.
Both cases require prompt and proper treatment, because even if you are not allergic to the saliva of the insects, bed bug bites can cause unpleasant consequences, leaving permanent traces on skin. An infection can easily get into such wounds that can cause suppuration and other more serious consequences.
Bed Bug Bites Treatment
There is no special medicine for treating bed bug bites, but you can alleviate itching and pain by applying ice, soapy water or special ointment for skin. Some doctors recommend to cure bed bug bites with antihistamines.
But how to get rid of bed bug bites completely? The answer is simple. You need to exterminate all the bed bugs in your flat or house. Getting rid of these insects is quite a difficult task. It requires great cleaning efforts from you and involves inviting a disinsector to your house.
How Long Do Bed Bug Bites Last?
Ever wondered how long bed bug bites last? Bed bug bites look like small red welts and can last up to two weeks or more. Learn more about bed bug bites.
For most people, the idea of a bed bug feeding on them while they sleep is enough to make their skin crawl. Here are some facts about bed bug bites and what to expect if you think you’ve been bitten.
Q: How long do bed bug bites last?
A: Most bites will heal withinone to two weeks of appearingand not cause any long-term problems. Those with stronger sensitivities to insect bites may take up to three weeks or longer to heal.
Q: When do bites first appear?
A: According to theCenters for Disease Control,it can take up to 14 days for a bite to appear. Some people may not notice bites at all, while others may see signs of a bite within hours.
Q: What does a bed bug bite look like?
A: Bed bug bites are often mistaken for mosquito or flea bites. All three insects can cause small red bumps or welts in those they’ve bitten. However, bites from a bed bug are usually clustered or form a line in a zigzag pattern, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
Q: Could it be another insect bite?
A: Many other skin reactions can look very similar to bed bug bites. If the bed bug was not actually caught in the act, bites and reactions to bites should be combined with other evidence such as blood spots, fecal staining, shed skins and bed bug eggs. This will help you correctly identify the culprit for proper elimination.
Q: How are bed bug bites treated?
A: There are ways to treat bed bug bites, including over-the-counter solutions. For specific details on how to treat a bed bug bite, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Don’t worry about questions like "how long do bed bug bites last?" Make this bite the last one, and call Terminix today for a free bed bug inspection.
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How long do bed bug bites last?
A bed bug bite will likely last between one to two weeks depending on the series of bites you received. Abed bug bites multiple times as it seeks the blood meal which is why you will have a series of bites in a row or a zigzag pattern. For those who are sensitive to such bites the bite site will take as long as three weeks to heal.
It is not easy to get rid of the evidence of a bed bug bite but you can mitigate the effects so that it heals faster. One of the reasons bed bugs last for so long is because they can be very itchy which causes you to break skin as you try to alleviate the itch.
A bed bug bite
Bed bugs break the skin using their beak like protrusion of a mouth. They love to bite any area of the body that is exposed to them but you will typically see their bites on the face, hands, neck and arms. The bite is usually not itchy at first and that’s why people can’t swat it away. But after the bed bug has detached itself the bite site becomes especially painful and itchy.
They also love to leave a calling card after feeding and biting which is its fecal matter. It looks like a black period point but that is actually bed bug poop.
What to do with a bed bug bite
Once you notice the bite you need to clean it up I order to lessen the bite of the itch. It will also aid in lessening the swelling. Because there is no venom left in the bite site or saliva like the mosquito so you don’t have to press the bite site.
The itch will be super irritating for a while so if you are not settling down, consider using some calamine lotion which helps soothe the area. While the bite isn’t infected with disease because bed bugs are not disease carriers but the bite can become infected when you itch too hard and the site becomes an open wound. So when you have a bed bug bit it is advisable to try and alleviate the itch in order to mitigate it.
It is possible to experience bed bug bites without seeing the actual bed bugs. This is because they are nocturnal insects that will hide from you and bite when you are unaware. Take the time to check your mattress and bedding for telltale signs of the insects like fecal stains and blood smears.