How To Determine A Bed Bug Bite
How to Find Bed Bugs
If you have a bed bug infestation, it is best to find it early, before the infestation becomes established or spreads. Treating a minor infestation, while an inconvenience, is far less costly and easier than treating the same infestation after it becomes more widespread.
However, low-level infestations are also much more challenging to find and correctly identify. Other insects, such as carpet beetles, can be easily mistaken for bed bugs. If you misidentify a bed bug infestation, it gives the bugs more time to spread to other areas of the house or hitchhike a ride to someone else’s house to start a new infestation. Learn about identifying bed bugs.
Bites on the skin are a poor indicator of a bed bug infestation. Bed bug bites can look like bites from other insects (such as mosquitoes or chiggers), rashes (such as eczema or fungal infections), or even hives. Some people do not react to bed bug bites at all.
Looking for Signs of Bed Bugs
A more accurate way to identify a possible infestation is to look for physical signs of bed bugs. When cleaning, changing bedding, or staying away from home, look for:
- Rusty or reddish stains on bed sheets or mattresses caused by bed bugs being crushed.
- Dark spots (about this size: •), which are bed bug excrement and may bleed on the fabric like a marker would.
- Eggs and eggshells, which are tiny (about 1mm) and pale yellow skins that nymphs shed as they grow larger.
- Live bed bugs.
Where Bed Bugs Hide
When not feeding, bed bugs hide in a variety of places. Around the bed, they can be found near the piping, seams and tags of the mattress and box spring, and in cracks on the bed frame and headboard.
If the room is heavily infested, you may find bed bugs:
- In the seams of chairs and couches, between cushions, in the folds of curtains.
- In drawer joints.
- In electrical receptacles and appliances.
- Under loose wall paper and wall hangings.
- At the junction where the wall and the ceiling meet.
- Even in the head of a screw.
How do bed bugs bites look? All their distinctive features
This post is part 2 of The ultimate guide on how to get rid of bed bugs bites.ВSo, how do bed bugs bites look? When trying to find a solution, it is important to understand the problem. In this regard, when trying to get rid of bedbugs it is important to have an idea of how they look.
Bed bugs are small in size with the adult measuring Вј an inch. These bugs are flat in shape with well-developed legs and no wings. With the help of their legs, bed bugs can easily crawl up vertical surfaces in mere seconds! They have visible antennae; their appearance is mahogany in color with varying shades from a straw-like tint to a deep reddish mahogany.В Although adult bed bugs take on a brown color, this ends to change once they are done feeding-they tend to take on a reddish color.
Although the adult bed bug does have the vestiges of wings known as wing pads, they donвЂ™t develop into full-blown wings that would enable the bugs to fly. As for what they use for feeding, bed bugs have mouthparts that are divided into two. Part of the mouth will secret the saliva that is designed to numb a given area; so that when the bed bug uses the other part to feed, you will not feel anything until is too late.
How do bed bugs bites look? Their shape
In most cases, bed bug bites are mistaken for bites from other bugs such as fleas and mosquitoes. Depending on an individualвЂ™s skin type, bed bug bites may take on different shapes. One person may get rushes while another may end up with blisters. Yet another person may end up with red welts.
How do bed bugs bites look? The line of movement
A line of bed bug bites
Generally speaking, bed bug bite marks are normally in groups of three or more. They end to form a straight line, with the bite marks being in close proximity to each other.В In case you have a bed bug infestation then and more than one bed bug happens to feed on the same spot then you might not have a straight line of bed bug bites, but rather a huge number of bed bug bites that are close together!
Considering their small size, taking a close look at bed bugs may not be so easy. You may need a magnifying glass to take a close look at the bed bug. Luckily, you donвЂ™t need to have a magnifying glass to get a good idea of what bed bugs look like. There are a number of enlarged pictures readily available on our website.
As for the bed bug bites, most pictures show that the bites tend to be close together and leave a red mark or two on the skin.
Do bed bug bites itch?
Different people react differently on bed bug bites. While one person may not even know they have been bitten, another person may have a mild to severe reaction to the bite. Thanks to the saliva that bed bugs excrete, you may have an itching reaction to the bite. This is because the saliva does contain proteins that may cause itching.
When the bed bugs are done feeding and you notice the given area later, you may find that the area looks small and flat or it may be raised. Ultimately, you may end up with an inflamed body or one that is itching, red and blistered.
When it comes to bed bug itching, much as the urge may be irresistible to scratch the given spot, you should resist it. When you feel like you canвЂ™t take the itching anymore, you need to consider using an anti-itch cream or any number of home remedies such as applying honey, a cold cucumber slice or simply washing the area with soap and water.
The reason why you should resist scratching the given spot is that scratching may result in an infection.
Can bed bug bites look differently?
Bed bug bites may appear differently on different peopleвЂ™s bodies. One person may end up with a rash on the affected area while another may end up with blisters. No matter the final outlook however, it is important to understand some of the bed bite basics.
Generally speaking, bed bugs will leave bite marks that are close together. They may also leave bite marks that are in a straight line unless if the bed bugвЂ™s feeding was disrupted one way or the other.
One bed bug is more than capable of feeding a number of times during the night on a given host. When it comes to looks, bed bug bites can take on the form of red bumps, welts, blisters or even pimples depending on the hostвЂ™s skin and reaction to the bed bug bites.
If you notice blood on your bed sheets in addition to some of the signs mentioned above then you could be having a bed bug problem. In addition to the blood, you may also notice feces or cast skins on your bed.
Bed bugs tend to bite exposed skin. As such, the bites will often be noticed on areas such as the neck, arms, legs, ankles or chest. The bite marks may be grouped together in a small area or they may form a straight or zigzag pattern on the body.
Bed bug bites may be hard to determine especially if you have never seen one before. However, with the help of pictures it is possible to at least make an informed decision on whether or not what you have is a bed bug bite, eczema, a mere rash or a bite from a bug other than a bed bug.
Pay close attention to new marks on your skin. If you are not sure, it is best to visit a doctor to help you determine whether or not what you have is a bed bug bite.
GO TO CHAPTER 3 OF THE ULTIMATE GUIDE ON HOW TO GET RID OF BED BUGS BITES >>>>
13 common bug bites and how to spot them
Bug bites can be hard to identify, especially when there are so many household critters that can leave you with a bite.
While most insects you’ll encounter are harmless, there are a few specific bites that might warrant a trip to the doctor and it’s important to be able to identify these potentially dangerous bites.
From tick bites to wasp and hornet stings, each bug leaves behind distinct marks and symptoms that are worth knowing. Stock up on calamine lotion and check out this guide to identifying some of the most common bug bites and the symptoms associated with each.
Dangerous tick bites sometimes look like a bull’s-eye.
While most ticks don’t transmit disease, there is a wide variety of illness you can contract from ticks including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Contrary to what you might have heard, ticks do not intentionally jump or drop onto their hosts. They simply crawl or hitch a ride on plant material, according to the CDC.
A tick bite that has not led to an infection may look like a small red circle. There may be minimal itching or swelling, according to John Hopkins Rheumatology.
A bite from a tick carrying Lyme disease may leave you with a bulls-eye shaped rash involving concentric rings of reddened and lighter colored skin. This pattern may develop up to a month after the bite and never develops at all in up to 30% of people. This rash is not usually painful, according to the CDC.
Bedbug bites often show up in a line.
Bedbug bites have a distinctive, clustered look to them . You probably won’t feel the bite of a bedbug, but you’ll certainly notice the groupings of red marks that often form a line across your skin, according to the CDC.
These bites are itchy, but the amount of discomfort varies from person to person. Some people experience a severe allergic reaction to bedbug saliva and develop an intense itch between 24 hours to three days later.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends enlisting the help of a pest-control company to clear your home of bed bugs, and to head to a dermatologist if you have many bites or a bite that looks infected.
Mosquito bites are puffy and itchy.
Mosquito bites look like round pink or red bumps . They’re usually itchy and appear very soon after being bitten, according to Healthline. You typically won’t feel anything while the bite is occurring.
While mosquitoes don’t have any venom of their own, they can carry dangerous diseases like the West Nile virus, malaria, and the Zika virus. Symptoms of these illnesses might not appear for up to four weeks, so get yourself checked by a doctor if you think you’ve been infected, according to the CDC.
Mite bites are extremely itchy and could look like a rash.
Mites or chiggers cause bites that look like small, red dots. They are usually extremely itchy and can even look like a solid skin rash if many bites are close together.
Chiggers are a type of mite that liquifies the skin around a bite so that they can eat it. If you’re dealing with a chigger bite , you might notice the surrounding skin harden in response to this reaction, according to WebMD.
Mites can cause scabies, which is a contagious condition in which mites burrow into the skin and lay eggs. According to the CDC , scabies frequently presents in places where direct and prolonged skin-to-skin contact is common such as nursing homes, child care facilities, and between sexual partners.
Ant bites are usually painful and can become infected.
Most household black ants are harmless and do not bite, but sugar ants, fire ants, and carpenter ants can deliver a painful sting , according to WebMD.
If you are bitten by fire ants , you can expect to see small red blisters and could also develop tiny white pustules on the site of the bite, reported PestWorld. Do not try to drain or open the blisters as they could become infected. Carpenter ants actually apply formic acid into their bites, which makes them extremely painful.
These ant bites should resolve after three to seven days, though scratching the bites could cause scars.
Lice bites are almost too small to see.
Head lice are tiny, parasitic insects that live on the human scalp and feed on blood. Their bites are usually almost too small to see but can itch fiercely.
The CDC reported that head lice do not carry any disease or bacteria, though some people may develop a large rash from multiple lice bites. Body lice, however, can carry disease, according to the CDC . Lice are spread via direct person-to-person contact and cannot jump or live longer than 48 hours off of a human host.
Horsefly bites are painful and potentially dangerous.
Horseflies are common around livestock and in rural environments. The bite itself is painful and you will most likely be aware it is happening, according to the UK National Health Service. The bite of a horsefly may look like a red circle with a pale center area.
Some people experience allergic reactions to horsefly bites with symptoms including shortness of breath and swelling.
Wasp and hornet stings can stay swollen for up to a week.
A wasp or hornet resembles a bee in coloration, but they’re not the same. A wasp sting feels like a sharp, sudden pain followed by the formation of a red and swollen mark, according to the National Health Service.
Though wasp stings usually calm down after a few hours, some stings can persist for days and lead to swelling that lasts up to a week.
Midge or gnat bites look like mosquito bites.
A bite from a midge or gnat will usually present as a small, itchy red bump. The National Health Service said these bumps can be painful and sometimes swell up quite a bit.
Occasionally, midge bites may develop blisters that fill with fluid. It’s important not to pick at these as breaking the blisters could lead to scarring.
A black widow spider bite has two fang marks.
While most spider bites will only leave you with a small, swollen red mark, a few household spiders can be deadly.
The bite of a black widow spider looks like a red patch with two puncture marks. The spider itself has a distinctive red hourglass pattern on its body. You might feel the bite or you might not notice. Pain and swelling will set in after about 40 minutes, and within eight hours you might feel muscle pain, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and breathing difficulties, according to Healthline.
Head to the doctor if you suspect you have been bitten by a black widow spider.
Brown recluse spider bites might form a blister and need swift medical attention.
Brown recluse spiders are native to Midwestern and Southeastern states. While these spiders are extremely dangerous, they are also very rare. All reported deaths from brown recluse spider bites in the US have been in children younger than seven years old , according to AL.com.
Brown recluse bites are usually painless, though a white or light-colored blister might develop at the site of the bite. As time passes, this bite could start to look like a bruise or turn crusty. Symptoms usually appear within two to eight hours and include severe pain and itching, nausea, vomiting, fever, and muscle pain, according to Emedicinehealth.
The bite of a brown recluse spider is very dangerous and can lead to seizures, kidney failure, and coma. If left untreated, a bite from a brown recluse spider might also cause a necrotic lesion, which is basically an area of dead tissue. Head to your doctor or the local hospital for this one.
Bee stings look like hives and could still contain a stinger.
You’ll probably know if you’ve been stung by a bee, as the sting is painful. The stung area will likely appear as a raised light bump with a red dot in the center and is usually surrounded by pink or irritated skin. The site could still contain the detached stinger of the bee.
Bee stings can result in a severe allergic reaction in some people that can lead to swelling in the lungs and throat, called anaphylaxis. This can lead to death if not immediately treated. Other severe symptoms include trouble breathing, dizziness, vomiting, and cardiac arrest, according to Mayo Clinic.
If you’ve been stung by a bee before, your body might develop an immune response to subsequent stings that can lead to severe swelling at the sting site or across large areas of your body.
Flea bites are small and scattered.
Flea bites typically look like tiny hives or spots . According to Fleabites.net, they might appear in groups of three or four and are frequently itchy. Flea bites are coming around the ankles and legs but can appear anywhere. If pressed by a finger, a flea bite rash may turn white.
Fleas are harmless in themselves, but in incredibly rare cases they may carry the bacteria that causes plague. However, only 17 people in the past 10 years have been contracted plague in the United States, according to the CDC .
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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How to Identify Bed Bug Bites—and How to Treat Them
Wake up with reddish welts or itchy skin? The culprit may be a bed bug hiding under your bed. These are the signs a dermatologist and entomologist look for.
Changlu Wang/Courtesy Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station
Unfortunately, a bed bug bite has no telltale sign, according to a review published in theAmerican Society for Microbiology. The reaction to bites varies tremendously from one person to the next. Some people will have no reaction or just minor itching and mosquito-like bumps in one area; others will get dramatic red raised welts all over. “It depends on the number of feeding bugs on the body, how long the person has been suffering bites, and also where the bites are located,” says Jody Green, PhD, an urban entomologist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Five stages of post-bed bug bites
If you have evidence of bed bug bites on your skin, it’s due to your body’s allergic response, according to the U.S. Armed Forces’ 2019 Pest Management Board: Technical Guide #44. That response can take a few different forms: little to no reaction; an immediate reaction—often a red spot with minor discomfort; a delayed reaction in which red weals turn up within 14 days that trigger intense itching that can last two to five days; or, unfairly, a combination of immediate and delayed reactions. This makes it tough to know what’s gnawing on you without the help of an entomologist or dermatologist. Although this guide to bug bites may help.
Familiar signs of bed bug bites
While there is no exact way to tell what bug bit you, dermatologist A. Yasmine Kirkorian, MD, an assistant professor of Dermatology & Pediatrics, Children’s National Health System, says there are some patterns doctors look for: “Bed bugs typically bite several times in a row so people may notice several red itchy bumps grouped closely together, a pattern sometimes called ‘breakfast, lunch, and dinner,’” she explains. “They can occur anywhere on the body; bed bug bites on the face may cause intense swelling including of the eyelid.” A small study found that 72 percent of people who were bitten by bed bugs had itchy red welts, 50 percent had redness or discoloration, and 28 percent had itching with no welts. Call your doc or dermatologist and look for these signs of bed bugs in your house.
It can’t be bed bug bites
Let’s say you are sleeping in the same bed as your partner and your partner wakes up with bites but you don’t. Must not be bed bugs, right? Sadly, it still could be. “The most challenging thing about bed bug bites is that there is are people who do not react to bed bug bites, so they have no adverse skin responses and have no idea that they are being fed upon while they are sleeping,” says Green. One survey found that nearly one in three people had no reaction to bed bug bites. When the researchers broke out reactions by age, they found that 42 percent of people over 65 had no reaction. Bites or no bites, this is how bed bugs could get in your bedroom.
Bed bug bite treatment
People who do react to bed bugs often have intense itching. “Once a patient has been bitten, it is difficult to eradicate the itching. Over-the-counter anti-itch creams that contain one percent pramoxine can help,” says Dr. Kirkorian. Try Aveeno with pramoxine and calamine. Oral antihistamines such as Zyrtec and Benadryl may be effective too, says Dr. Kirkorian. But if your itching persists, your dermatologist or doctor might prescribe topical steroids such as triamcinolone and fluocinonide.
Just thinking about bed bugs can wreck your sleep, as well. Talk to your doctor if you start suffering from insomnia. “A sedating antihistamine such as Benadryl could be safe to use,” says Dr. Kirkorian.
Home remedies for bed bug bites
Before you commit to natural bed bug treatment, remember to practice good hygiene and caution, advises Larry Bishop, MD, a dermatologist with Health First Medical Group: Be sure to wash the area with soap and water first to reduce the risk of infection; if the area appears irritated or develops a rash, stop using the treatment and see a doctor. For remedies, Dr. Bishop suggests trying peppermint oil: “It works by two mechanisms—the peppermint oil is a vasoconstrictor (blood vessel constrictor), which lessens the pain and irritation from bed bug bites. Additionally, the peppermint works as a soothing agent by gently stimulating the nerves around the bite.” Try adding a few drops to a warm bath; if you want to apply it to the bites, dilute it first with an oil such as coconut, jojoba or olive.
Lemon balm is another favorite for bug bites. Crush or roll the leaves with your fingers to release the juice, apply it to the bites, and wrap with a bandage. “It works by having soothing properties and antibacterial properties,” Dr. Bishop says. Finally, there’s household ammonia—research suggests that it can help with itchy bites. It may not smell great, says Dr. Bishop, but if you put a little on a cotton ball and dab it on the area right away, it can help. “It works by neutralizing the proteins that are in the saliva of the bed bugs.” The saliva is what produces the allergic reaction in some people, and the quicker you neutralize it, the better.
When to see the doctor
Your bed bug bites will generally clear up on their own, but if you itch them the scratching can lead to secondary infections. “The initial bite may be a portal for bacteria to enter the skin. If a patient develops a worsening red bump, pus drainage, a fever, or other signs of systemic illness, they should seek urgent medical attention,” advises Dr. Kirkorian. Then, find out how to get rid of bed bugs.