How Much Do Bed Bugs Bite

How to Know if You Have Bed Bug Bites

Bed Bug Bites

Bed bugs are a traveler’s nightmare. They can be picked up in hotel rooms, leaving red itchy bumps and possibly rashes to ruin your vacation. Or even worse: If you accidentally bring them back with you, they could infect your whole house. To prevent a plague of bed bugs, here are some tips ​on what to check while you’re on the road and how to determine the symptoms of bed bug bites.​

How to Check for Bed Bugs

To avoid getting bed bugs while traveling, make sure to inspect the mattress and sheets on the hotel beds, especially near the seams, mattress tags, and box spring. If you see any rust​ stains, dark spots, or pale yellow patches, this could be a sign of bed bugs. Also, never put your suitcase on the bed itself or you could bring them home after your vacation. Most hotels provide a luggage rack, which is much wiser to use.

Symptoms of Bed Bug Bites

Bed bug bites typically appear in groups of three, called the "breakfast, lunch, and dinner" pattern. Each victim’s reaction to bed bug bites is unique. Some may have a slight reddening of the skin. Others may have a more severe reaction, causing a raised, itchy rash. A raised rash may obscure the individual bites, making it challenging to identify. Sometimes, bites and lesions can throb and become very painful for days after the bugs bit you.

What to Do if You Bring Bed Bugs Home

As a precaution, you can steam, vacuum, and spray rubbing alcohol all over your mattress and box springs. It’s also recommended to steam, wash, and dry all the bed linens using hot water and bleach. To clean out your suitcase, spray rubbing alcohol over the luggage, both inside and out. Then, finish the job by vacuumed your bedroom thoroughly.

If you believe that you found traces of bed bugs, immediately cover the mattresses and box springs with plastic mattress covers. In worst case scenarios, you’ll need to hire an exterminator to come inspect your home.

When to Go to the Doctor

If you got bit by bed bugs, use ice packs to relieve the swelling and itchiness. Go to the doctor if symptoms persist. They will usually prescribe you a dose of antihistamines and antibiotics. Additionally, they may instruct you to bathe multiple times a day and apply a special cream to the rash.

When do bedbugs bite?

Bedbugs are most active at night and usually bite people while they’re sleeping.

The bugs feed from three to 10 minutes to become engorged and then crawl away unnoticed.

From: Bedbugs WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on November 23, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEXT QUESTION:

What are the signs of a bedbug infestation?

WAS THIS ANSWER HELPFUL

"ALEXA, ASK WEBMD"

More Answers On Skin Problems and Treatments

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

UNDERSTANDING BED BUG BEHAVIOR TO LEARN THE TELLTALE SIGNS OF INFESTATION

Bed bugs may be waging a nightly war on your family, so you’d better know your enemy. Learning about bed bug behavior is your first line of defense, even before you call in pest management professionals. Discourage these creepy home invaders by getting inside their heads. Here’s how.

INTERESTING BED BUG BEHAVIOR

Feeding patterns are mostly nocturnal and often occur in the “breakfast, lunch and dinner” bite pattern. This means the bed bug will first feed where your exposed skin meets the bedding and then move up for “lunch” before moving again and drawing their third bite, thereby creating a distinctive line of bites. You can also receive a singular bite or even develop a larger cluster of bites as dozens of bed bugs feed on your blood while you sleep.

THE BED BUG DINE AND DASH

Thanks to an anesthetic in their saliva and an extremely sharp, straw-like mouth they use for piercing your skin and sucking your blood, you won’t wake up during a bed bug feeding. The saliva also contains an anticoagulant, which prevents clotting, so a typical meal only takes between three to 10 minutes before the bed bug is gorged with your blood.

After eating, the bed bugs will scurry back to hiding spots in your room’s baseboards, floorboards, box springs, carpeting, picture frames, crevices, books, etc. Studying bed bug behavior tells us that they typically hide within eight feet of their victims, digesting your blood, mating and laying eggs before heading back to your bed for another feeding in about five to 10 days.

Oddly enough, it’s not the smell of humans that makes these pests drool as they gravitate from all corners of your home toward your bed. High doses of human aldehydes actually repel bed bugs. Instead, the CO2, warmth and moisture your body emits can lure these bloodthirsty bed bugs to your bedside, all of which they can sense from three feet away. Beyond that, they search for blood meals in random patterns.

GUESS WHO ELSE IS COMING TO DINNER

Bed bug behavior is based around invading, multiplying and completely taking over your bed. After feeding, they return to their hidden trenches to digest the blood meals and begin the vicious bed bug mating process.

A single female lays between one and 12 eggs each day and between 200 and 500 eggs in a lifetime. Guess where all those offspring will be feeding? Now, multiply that reproduction rate by each bed bug in your home, and it’s clear why the pros say it’s never just one bed bug.

After hatching, bed bugs require a meal of blood between each of their five nymph stages. Molting occurs after each phase, which makes exoskeletons (i.e., bed bug shells) a telltale secondary sign of infestation. Immature bed bugs continue to become darker and larger as they feed between each phase until they reach adulthood. An egg can fully mature into an adult in as little as a month and a half if conditions are right (between 70°F and 90°F). The average lifespan of an adult bed bug ranges anywhere from four months to over a year with the right conditions. They spend this entire time feeding, mating and expanding the infestation.

What we know about bed bug behavior tells us this feeding and mating cycle will continue relentlessly. That is why you need a professional. Bed bugs are very difficult to control for several reasons. They can go a whole year without feeding, can survive any temperature between freezing and 122°F and are even evolving to resist standard pyrethroid insecticides.

UNMISTAKABLE SIGNS YOU MAY HAVE BED BUGS

Don’t rely on bites as a reliable sign of bed bugs. Bed bug bites can be hard to differentiate from other insect bites. Instead, look for secondary signs of bed bug infestation as well, such as shed skins, rust-colored spots on the mattress and bedding (bed bug feces), blood spots on your sheets and pajamas and a musty, sweet-smelling odor.

Physically spotting these insatiable insects is the gold standard for diagnosing a bed bug infestation. Unfortunately, bed bugs are nocturnal so catching one is difficult. If you get lucky, place captured bed bugs in a sealed container and show them to an expert.

Be sure to call Terminix® at the first sign of bed bugs. We understand bed bug behavior and will provide a free bed bug inspection for your home and a battle plan to win the war against bed bugs.

The Complete Guide on How to Get Rid of Bed Bug Bites

Bed bug bites are a year-round nightmare. You’ll find out how to tell apart the bed bugs’ bites from mosquitoes’ and fleas’ bites and why you won’t feel anything while you are bitten. We’ll also give an answer to a popular question:“Is it true that even two people sleeping in the same bed can react to these bites differently?”.We will also explain how to get rid of itching after you’ve been bitten and how to prevent new bites. Those who are forewarned, are forearmed, so let’s get started!

What Do Bed Bug Bites Look Like? F.A.Q. or Everything You Should Know About the Bed Bug Bites

1. Do bed bug bites itch? Not when you have just been bitten. You won’t feel anything.

First, we need to talk about signs of bed bug bites which you may identify after the night sleep. According to the information about these pest insects from entomologists from the Entomology Department at Purdue University,“the bites themselves are not painful and typically are not felt”.You don’t feel any pain when bitten because the bed bugs inject a special temporary analgesic which will relieve you from the pain.

2. How long does it take for the bed bugs to bite someone?

A complete meal lasts 3-10 minutes. It all starts with the appearance of middle or large raised or flat spots on any part of human body (but the most common parts are face, neck, arms, and hands). Itching and redness almost often accompany these bites.

3. Two people sleeping in the same bed can react differently to the bites

Bed bug bites signs can differ greatly from one person to another. Even a couple sleeping in the same bed and thus bitten at the same time can react completely differently to the bites! It has been proven that almost every third person (30%) bitten doesn’t feel any uncomfortable sensations even when they’ve been bitten repeatedly over time. Such low bite sensitivity is typical of seniors. As the bed bug bites symptoms may be implicit and manifest in different ways, they are therefore often confused with other insects’ bites..If you are not sure, whether you or your child were bitten by a bed bug, a mosquito or flea,look at our comparative tablebelow which helps you to identify the pest bothering you.

4. Bed bug bites are usually arranged in tracks of 2-3 bites

Unlike mosquito bites, these ones always trail of 2-3 (up to 5) bites in a row, because a bed bug doesn’t suck all of the blood at once, it feeds on it gradually and bites several times. The distance between the bites can be up to several inches. Sometimes this eating pattern is called “breakfast, lunch, and dinner”. Since the bites are painless you won’t be able to interrupt the bed bugs’ feast which can last, as we’ve mentioned, up to 10 minutes!

Also, mind that it is a single bed bug that can bite you twice or thrice per night! How many bugs are there in your bed? According to scientific estimations, a bed can be inhabited by up to several thousands of bed bugs. This is not a limit, though, as there has been a case of 150 thousand bed bugs infesting a single room! Most of them inhabited particularly the bed. That is why even if a tenth of this of this army of thousands of pests is hungry, you risk having multiple itchy red bites all over your body the following morning.

5. Bed bugs are not afraid of light and even can bite during the day

In spite of the fact that the bed bugs only leave their nests at night for meal (as a rule, they appear between 3 and 8 am), they exceptionally appear during the day. This can happen if the bed bugs are too hungry (you can imagine the length of being too hungry taking into consideration the fact that the bed bugs can survive for UP TO A YEAR without food!). What is a contingency for the bed bugs? It is the absence of peacefully sleeping people nearby at night. Laundries, public transit, airports, offices and other non-residential buildings are at risk.

Therefore, the bed bugs aren’t afraid of bright daylight or artificial light if they want to get their blood portion (which they will!).

6. Bed bugs bite all year around

Unlike other biting insects which have certain activity peaks, bed bugs will inhabit your bed in any season until you get rid of them.

7. Do bed bugs bite dogs?

Theydo. Sometimes it is the dogs which suffer most from the bed bug bites as while living inside; the bugs can feed on their blood for a very long time before tasting yours. Why is it so? The matter is straightforward: just like cats, dogs sleep for the most of the day (they sleep for 18 hours!). This allows the bed bugs to have enough blood at night or during the day.

8. Can bed bugs bite through clothes?

It is quite possible. The bed bugs pierce the skin and suck your blood with the help of a special proboscis, which is not adapted for piercing tissue, plastic or paper. If you sleep wearing PJs, you may be in luck for a short period of time as the bed bugs are quick and will reach uncovered parts of your body soon enough,

As you have probably figured, these pests are a serious issue and you have to analyze a whole range of different factors to identify them. We have compiled a useful chart which will help you figure whether is the bed bugs which bite you or something else.

Find Out Who Bit You! Bite Comparison Chart: 6 Differences Between Bed Bug Bites vs Flea Bites vs Mosquito Bites

Symptom/Insect

Bed BugMosquitoFlea

The bite spot

Medium-sized stiff red swollen spotsSmall red swollen spotsSmall deep bites with a hole in its center, and a red areola around it. Some blisters are also found.

Where do they bite?

2-3 or more bites form a trail on any body partThe bites are separate, spots can be found all over the body.As a rule, 2-3 bites form a trail. Most often fleas bite feet and shins, less often they attack the upper body.

Timeline

Bed bugs are mostly night insects so you’ll find the bites the morning after once you wake up.Bites can appear at any timeBites can appear at any time

Itching

Does not necessarily happen, but in any case doesn’t last long.Intense, goes away relatively quickly.Intense, goes away relatively quickly.

Other bite signs

Brownish stains on the bed sheets and under the mattresses which are the remains of the bed bugs you’ve accidentally crushed.Mosquitoes squeak, bites are visible when skin starts to itchStrong pain at the moment of the bite, the insect is not observed though.

Insect activity peak

The insects are active all year aroundActivity peaks at the end of spring and during summerActivity peaks at the end of summer

How Dangerous Are Bed Bug Bites?

This very question most of all bothers those who have been bitten by the bed bugs. According to the Purdue University entomologists,at least 27 agents of human disease have been found in bed bugs, including viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and parasitic worms. None of these agents reproduce or multiply within bed bugs, and very few survive for any length of time inside a bed bug. There is no evidence that bed bugs are involved in the transmission (via bite or infected feces) of any disease agent, including hepatitis B virus and HIV, the virus that causes AIDS”.

This, unlike your CNS’ reaction to the bed bug bites, is quite rejoicing. The scientists claim that frequent bites can cause sleep disorders, including insomnia, stress and irritation. It’s believed that the newborns attract the bed bugs most as their blood tastes specifically well for them. It’s unknown whether the newborns are really bitten more often, but the bed bugs’ bites can be the actual cause of their constant crying because their skin is really sensitive. Moreover, in most severe cases of significant blood loss, the newborns can develop anemia. Also, anyone with particularly sensitive skin can develop an allergy.

NB:Although the bed bugs are nocturnal insects, they fear light less than starvation. They will come and find you even if you light the room with powerful spotlights.

How Long Do Bed Bugs’ Bites Last?

Bed bugs need fresh blood every 3-4 days, but if they have already spread everywhere, the bites won’t heal soon enough as new ones will appear all the time. Since the bites may not be immediately felt, you will hardly be able to name the exact day you were bitten. As per the Wesleyan University specialists,“bites may not become immediately visible, and can take up to 3-4 days to appear”.The University Health Services (UHS) at University W–Madison experts add that a delayed reaction up to 14 days is possible.

Redness, itching, swelling of the skin are usually gone in a few days. In more severe cases, such as being bitten by hundreds of bed bugs, healing takes longer: up to 3 weeks. If the bites do not heal and you have noticed growing health deterioration, seek medical attention immediately as an allergic possible, which should be treated under the specialist supervision, is possible.

How to Treat Bed Bug Bites

Since the bed bugs do not transmit any diseases, their bites don’t have to be treated (provided you have neither an allergy nor you itch). Still, if minor itching bothers you, use such home treatment as ice packs to reduce swelling or a mixture of water and soda to reduce itching. If itching is awful, use such products asStingEze Dauberfor a Check current price. This low-cost remedy is recommended by scientists because it helps to eliminate pain and itching. Alternatively, you may applyBenadryl Itch Relief Sprayfor a Check current price: it’s a multipurpose remedy with a 4.5 stars rating.

Take antihistamine drugs if you know that you have an allergy reaction. These pills help to fight allergic reactions and are an excellent bed bug bites remedy. Take these drugs (after consulting a doctor) before the bites swell too much. This will help control the itching and swelling at early stages.

How to Get Rid Of Bed Bug Bites

There are lots of online myths regarding the treatment which allegedly is effective against the bed bugs. Here are two most spread myths.

  1. Spray repellents are effective against the bites

This is not true. Repellents may be helpful against mosquito bites, some other insects’ bites, but the bed bugs don’t give a toss about what you spray on yourself.

  1. Bed bugs bombs can help destroy the bed bugs and thus prevent their bites

This is not true. Unfortunately, they are also useless as the insecticide fog cannot reach the secluded spots inhabited by the bed bugs. Moreover, once the bed bugs feel such synthetic chemical attack, they will hide deeper into the cracks and it will become even more difficult to get rid of them.

To protect yourself from their bites, you need to use only the tested and approved by the scientists bed bug control products. Also, mind that it is necessary to get rid of not only adults, but also of the larvae and even of the eggs which could eventually grow into adult biting insects.

However, things are not very simple. You can’t merely get rid of the bed bugs by using single type of treatment. Along with thorough cleaning it is essential to systematically apply other methods.

Here are the 3 main steps:

  • Use bed bug detectors to detect any bed bugs in your house as well as their tracks. Special bed legs supports, such asClimbup Insect Interceptor Bed Bug Trapfor the price Check current price, remain the most popular bed bug detectors. You’ll find out more about bed bug detectors in our Best Bed Bug Detectors Review.

  • Cover your mattress with a mattress bed bug cover to treat your old mattress or to prevent their appearance in the newly obtained one. You’ll find the most durable covers for any budget in the review of 5 Best Bed Bug Mattress Protectors.
  • Invest in an effective bed bug spray to treat indoor infestation.
  • If the infestation was particularity bad and you need to replace your mattress, check out these helpful mattress reviews, or search for mattresses online.

Remember!Up to 150 thousand bed bugs can inhabit your bed, so don’t put off getting rid of them and take action right now!

We have collected for you all proven scientific information regarding getting rid of bed bugs in our guide. In fact, to get rid of them you’ll have to be smarter and more persistent than these bloodsuckers!Arm yourself against them right now and read“The Complete Guide to How to Kill Bed Bugs”

Bed bug bites: What you need to know

If you buy something through a link on this page, we may earn a small commission. How this works.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Living with bed bugs can cause additional health complications:

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

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

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

For itchy bites, the following may relieve minor symptoms:

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

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

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

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

  • an injectable corticosteroid
  • antihistamine
  • epinephrine medication

If infection occurs, antibiotics may be prescribed.

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

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

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

Common characteristics of nymphs (young bed bugs) include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Common characteristics and signs of bed bug eggs include:

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

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

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

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

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

Areas where bed bug infestations commonly occur include:

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

Items commonly responsible for spreading bed bugs include:

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

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

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

Add Comments: