How To Know If A Bed Bug Bite You

Signs Your Room Has Bed Bugs

If there arebed bugsin your room, you might be wondering how to treat bed bug bites and eliminate the pest. And if you’re nervous about the possibility of bed bugs in your room, checking for bed bugs is easy, if you know how. Learn how to perform a DIY check today.

Can You See Bed Bugs?

Unfortunately, bed bugs can be hard to find. And despite the ongoing bed bug epidemic, many people still don’t know what a bed bug even looks like. ThisUniversity of Minnesota extension pagedoes a good job explaining the complexities of finding live bed bugs considering their changing stages of life, saying:

". eggs hatch in about six to 10 days and the newly emerged bed bug nymphs seek a blood meal. Immature nymphs molt five times (i.e., they shed their outer exoskeletons in order to grow) before reaching adulthood. They need to feed at least once before each molt, although they could feed as often as once a day. There may be three or more generations per year."

You can see pictures of bed bugs in their various stages over at theEnvironmental Protection Agency (EPA)website, but keep in mind that bed bugs are nocturnal. Identifying bed bugs during the day requires a bit of good or bad luck (depending on your view) and some persistence.

Bed bug bites are often mistaken for mosquito bites or bites from other insects, and some people show no reaction at all to bed bug bites. So it’s no wonder they go undetected for long periods.

However, if you know the right place to look, you may be able to spot bed bugs. Adult bed bugs can be seen with the naked eye—no equipment is required. Check:

  1. Headboards
  2. Bedside tables
  3. Ciling/wall junctions
  4. Loose wallpaper or paneling
  5. Wherever you find a crease or crevice near where a person sleeps. This includes baseboards, mattress seams and personal belongings

Mature bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed (approximately five millimeters). They are reddish-brown, wingless and flat, although they swell up like a torpedo after a blood feeding. When that happens, they change to bright red in color, taking days to return to reddish-brown.

Immature bed bugs are categorized by one of the five immature stages as they approach adulthood. They can also be seen by the naked eye, though the bed bugs in the youngest stage are very difficult to spot. Eggs are even smaller and much harder to see but can provide another sign of bed bug presence. Eggs are pearly white, found in clusters and are about one millimeter long.

Bed bugs congregate near where their host (human) sleeps, creating aggregations. Bed bugs from all five stages of development group together, which means they may vary in shapes and sizes. Among these groups, remains of exoskeletons (bed bug shells), feces and egg castings accumulate. A variety of conditions may cause aggregation, including specific smells, chemical stimuli, stimulation of antennae and microclimate factors such as temperature, humidity and light. Aggregations can be found around wood framing like that around a closet door, inside chipped paint indentions, around baseboards, curtain rods, air conditioners and personal belongings.

Physical Evidence in the Room

Bed bugs are smart enough to hide but not smart enough to clean up the evidence of their bloodthirsty crimes. These careless clues are the best indicator your room is overrun with bed bugs since secondary signs of bed bug infestation are visible both night and day:

  1. Cast/shed bed bug skins, exoskeletons or bed bug shells
  2. Fecal spots on your mattress and bedding
  3. Blood stains on your sheets and pajamas

Do you suspect bed bugs in your room? Take the sheets off your bed and look at the edges, crevices and piping of your mattress. Bed bugs are flat, almond-shaped, reddish-brown and very tiny. Look in the box spring and check for various sizes and stages, from bed bug eggs to adults. Varying size also applies to secondary signs of infestation (i.e., cast/shed skins).

Here’s a little more detail about some common signs of bed bugs:

Bed Bug Shells or Molted Skins

Look out for empty shells that may exist where bed bugs aggregate and feed. Bed bugs grow with each blood meal on the way to maturity. In doing so, they shed their exoskeletons or shells in order to grow larger. This process is called molting. Each bed bug will molt five times as they progress through each of the five immature stages. Where infestations grow large, there will be hundreds if not thousands of molted skins left behind, regardless of the duration of the infestation. The shells look like the bed bug itself but are translucent. They are different sizes due to the different life stages.

Fecal Spots

Signs of bed bugs include liquid waste, which is found wherever they go. Bed bug fecal spots differ from blood stains. Asbedbugs.netpoints out:

"Because bed bugs generally feast on the blood of their hosts, creeping out of hiding places at night to latch on, some people think that fecal stains from the insects should at least be tinged with the color of blood. This is not, in fact, the case. Fecal spotting tends to resemble smears or stains, which are dark brown or even black. This is because the blood has been digested and excreted."

Bed bugs are ectoparasites, meaning they live on the outside of their host and feed on its blood. They feed between five to seven days whenever a host is present.

Here’s how to perform a DIY bed bug check. You will quickly learn how to tell if your home has been invaded and how to treat bed bug bites if you have them. Once you confirm the infestation has begun, remember that the main goal is to end it even quicker.

Signs of Symptoms of a Bed Bug Bite

The most telltale sign of a bed bug problem isn’t the bed bug’s bite. As theUnited States Environmental Protection Agencypoints out:

"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."

The percentage of people who do not react to bed bug bites is commonly stated as70%, but a lengthy discussion as to why this is wrong rages on. The new evidence implies that "repeated exposure" to bed bug bites is the key to whether or not you react to the anesthetic in the bed bug’s saliva. In other words, if you have bed bug bites, treatment requires more than just stopping the itching. You have to get rid of the infestation as well.

Look for these signs of symptoms of a bed bug bite:

  1. Raised, red welts
  2. Burning and itching
  3. Bed bug bite rash across localized area
  4. Straight lines of multiple bites

Check out thesepicturesof bed bug bites from American Family Physician, showing the characteristic wheals (temporary raised, red, itchy welts) and clusters associated with the aftermath of a feeding.

How to Treat Bed Bug Bites

Now that you know the signs of a bed bug infestation, here’s how to get rid of bed bug bites. TheAmerican Academy of Dermatologyrecommends you see a dermatologist if you have multiple bites, blisters, oozing, pus or any other signs of a severe allergic reaction or infection. Otherwise, their recommended bed bug bite treatment is:

"Wash the bites with soap and water. This will help prevent a skin infection and help reduce itchiness. If the bites itch, apply a corticosteroid cream to the bites. You can get a weak form of this medicine without a prescription at your local drugstore. Stronger corticosteroids require a prescription."

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are very difficult to get rid of. They typically require a strategic approach to using multiple methods to fully remove them from your home once they have established an infestation. That’s why it’s important to contact a professional who’s knowledgeable and trained in bed bug control to inspect your home and determine the best treatment methods.

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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Bed Bug Bites: What You Need To Know

I don’t know about you, but every time I wake up and notice a red spot on my arms or legs I automatically think I have bed bugs.

Unlike other common pests such as rodents and cockroaches, bed bugs need blood to survive, relying heavily on it to complete their life cycle. This makes us the perfect midnight snack for these blood sucking creatures whilst we sleep.

One of the most common signs of bed bugs is finding bed bug bites littered over your body. You may be wondering:

Find out everything you need to know about bed bug bites below

What do bed bug bites look like?

Like most insect and spider bites, bed bug bites come in the form of red bumps on your skin. Because of this, it can be quite difficult to distinguish a bed bug bite from a flea bite or a mosquito bite. This is because everyone’s immune systems react to insects bites in a different way. What looks like a flea bite on me might look like a bed bug bite on you.

Bed bug bites usually appear in small groups in a single place and are usually found in a line. If there are multiple bite locations on your persons, this can often mean that multiple bed bugs have feasted on you during the night, or a bed bug has been disturbed whilst feeding.

Where do bed bug bites appear?

Bed bug bites usually occur on parts of the body not covered by bedding. They can usually be found on:

Do bed bug bites itch?

One of the common symptoms of bed bug bites, along with other insect bites, is swelling. This can also lead to the bite becoming very itchy and irritating. In some cases, red welts can also develop. However, it’s important to know that for some individuals, bed bugbites do not leave a mark, or even itch.

What do bed bug bites feel like?

Initially, the victim of a bed bug bite might feel a slight burning sensation around the area (although this is quite rare). This occurs before the bites develop the red colouring as well as swelling and itchiness.

Bed bug bite rashes

In some extreme cases, the victim might develop a reaction to the bed bug bite. This causes a rash to develop (also know as papules or wheals), and can sometimes result in dramatic swelling and blister-like skin inflammations to occur.

What happens when a bed bug bites you?

The reason why your body reacts to bed bug bites in a certain way is down to how the bed bug delivers a bite.

When a bed bug bites you it pierces the skin with its elongated beaks. These are used to suck the blood from your body, this is usually done between 3 and 10 minutes until they have fully engorged themselves on you.

A bed bug will also inject an anesthetic and an anticoagulant through its beak during the initial piercing. This helps prevent the bite from itching immediately, allowing the bed bug to dine without being disturbed. The anticoagulant stops the blood from clotting, allowing for the blood to flow freely. It is only when the anesthetic wears off that the itchiness is felt.

Bed bug bites vs flea bites

Just like with flea bites, bed bug bites can often be mistaken for ones from mosquitoes. Mosquito bites are often random and isolated, which differs from the aligned and grouped formation of bed bug bites.

How to treat bed bug bites

Treating bed bug bites is a relatively simple task. Bed bug bites can often be treated by applying an ice pack to the infected area, this will help reduce the swelling, and taking an antihistamine to help combat the itchiness.

Home remedies for bed bug bites

There are a few home remedies for bed bug bites available to help reduce the swelling and itchiness. These remedies often consist of items you can find in your home.

  • Calamine lotion: Calamine lotion is great for treating bed bug bites. It provides relief from the itching and also helps to dry any rashes and protect the skin as it heals.
  • Baking soda and water: Making a paste out of baking soda and water are a great home remedy for bed bug bites. Applying the paste directly to the bite and leaving it to dry before removing helps with swelling.
  • Apple cider vinegar: Like with insect stings, apple cider vinegar works well as a home remedy for bed bug bites. It helps relieve the itching. White vinegar also works well.
  • Toothpaste: The menthol attributes of toothpaste make it a good home remedy for bed bug bites. Applying a generous amount to the bite will help soothe any burning sensation and relieve the itching.
  • Witch Hazel: Being a liquid astringent, witch hazel is great for treating bed bug bites as it contains a mild anesthetic effect which helps calm the itching caused by these bites.

Natural remedies for bed bug bites

On top of the home remedies, there are also a handful of natural remedies for bed bug bites available. The majority of these methods can be used by utilising items found around your home, or that can be purchased from your local supermarket.

  • Aloe vera: Either fresh aloe vera or aloe vera gel works well for this natural remedy for bed bug bites. The active compounds and amino acids found in aloe vera help ease the itching and burning sensations caused by bed bug bites.
  • Lemon juice: The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and the fact that it is a natural astringent makes lemon juice a great natural home remedy for bed bug bites. Lemon juice can help dry out rashes and keep itching at bay whilst also reducing redness and swelling.
  • Banana peel: Like mosquito bites, the banana peel is a great natural remedy for bed bug bites. The natural oils found in the peel can help reduce itching and redness.
  • Peppermint oil: Like toothpaste the menthol attributes of peppermint oil makes it a perfect natural remedy for bed bug bites. The best course of treatment is to add a couple drops of peppermint oil to a hot bath

How to get rid of bed bugs?

The best way to successfully prevent bedbugs from biting you is to eliminate them from your home. There are a handful of options available to help get rid of bed bugs, these can range from simple home DIY techniques to enlisting the help of a pest control professional.

If you have spotted bed bug bites on yourself and think you might have a bed bug problem, follow these steps to help get rid of them from your home:

  • Wash: Remove the bedding from your bed and wash them on a high heat of at least 60℃ (and for ideally 90mins). If possible, tumble dry the bedding afterwards too, for a min. 30minutes.
  • Vacuum: Vacuum your house thoroughly and empty the contents in an outside bin.
  • Contact a professional: The best way to get rid of bed bugs is to enlist the help of a pest control professional with specialist solutions, like heat treatment, targeting bed bugs at every stage of their life cycle.

Preventing bed bugs

One of the main ways in which bed bugs find their way into your home is through travelling. During your holidays/travels bed bugs can easily hitch a ride in your suitcases from infested hotel rooms, youth hostels, B&Bs and furniture. Checking your hotel room for bed bugs can help prevent bed bugs from grabbing a free ride to your home.

How to check your hotel room for bed bugs

We have come up with a free guide to checking your hotel room for bed bugs in 5 easy steps to help limit the possibility of inviting bed bugs to your home.

Just returned from holiday and worried about bed bugs?

  • We recommend you store your suitcase and luggage in your garage or utility room, or an area furthest from your bedroom and main living areas.
  • Place the contents of your luggage into a bin bag and transfer them to your washing machine and wash on a high heat.

This will help deal with any bed bugs which have stolen a ride in your suitcase.

How to get rid of bed bugs fast

For more information on bed bugs click here. Alternatively, if you think you have a bed bug problem, get in contact with us today.

Do You Have Bed Bugs? Know the Symptoms to Stay Safe

B ed bugs are the stuff of nightmares for a lot of renters and homeowners. Once you get them in your space, getting rid of them can be nearly impossible. Even professional treatment doesn’t take care of bed bugs the first time in some cases.

While you want to do everything you can to prevent getting bed bugs in the first place, knowing the signs and symptoms of bed bug bites and how to get rid of bed bug bites is important. Use this guide to learn more about spotting bed bugs and their bite.

Being aware of bed bug bite symptoms can help you get rid of them before they become a serious problem in your home.

Table of Contents

How to Tell if You Have Bites

Bed bugs tend to spread in certain areas like an outbreak or epidemic. However, even areas that aren’t known for bedbugs can still get them. Once they’re in your home they can be incredibly hard to get rid of.

Watch for these signs to see if you have bedbugs in your home:

  • Check your sheets for anything moving. Bed bugs are small, but if you watch for a few minutes and you do have them you should see them moving around.
  • Look for rust-colored or reddish stains on your bed sheets or mattress. These can occur when bed bugs get crushed while you are sleeping.
  • Check for small dark spots about the size of a dot made by a ball point pen on your sheets or mattress. These are typically bed bug excrement.
  • Try to find tiny eggs or eggshells that are about 1mm in size. These shells are the sign of bed bugs that have just been born or are waiting to be born.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Where to Look for Bed Bugs

Knowing what to look for when searching for bed bugs in your home is an important first step. You also need to know where they typically hide and can be found within your home if you want to stomp them out though.

Check for bed bugs around your home in these locations:

  • Under loose wallpaper, pieces of art or behind tapestries in your home.
  • Under the corners of rugs, particularly in your bedroom or bathroom area.
  • Where your walls and ceiling meet overhead. These junctions are common places for bedbugs to nest and hide for long periods of time.
  • In cushions, the seams of couches and loose fabric on chairs or other upholstered items. Bed bugs can even hide under throw blankets tossed on a bed, chair or couch if it isn’t routinely moved.
  • In the joints of drawers. Nightstands, dressers, closets and bathrooms are especially susceptible to bed bugs, though they can hide in areas like kitchen drawers as well.
  • In electrical receptacles around your home. Bed bug can also hide out in appliances within your home.

Bite Marks

Bedbugs bite humans and animals around them to feed on their blood. Like mosquitoes and other creatures of this type, they’re attracted to the skin for this reason.

Bite marks tend to look like small red bumps, not dissimilar to the bite of a mosquito. The area that forms is generally referred to as a papule and it can become inflamed and infected if you aren’t careful.

This is what bed bug bites can look like

Bites on My Skin

Bed bug bites on humans are typically found around the hands, arms, shoulders, neck and face. You’ll usually find that bed bug bites are grouped together as well since these small creatures don’t typically cover much ground at once. This is not always the case however, and bites do not have to come in clear clusters or groupings.

While these bugs are small, you will see their bite since inflammation of the bite area, along with redness and swelling are common. Bed bug bites on toddlers and small children are even easier to notice. They should be treated immediately to keep small kids from scratching and potentially spreading an infection.

Do Bites Itch or Hurt?

The bites typically cause minor discomfort to humans, though many people are bitten when they are asleep because these bugs commonly live within sheets and bedding.

After being bitten by bed bugs, humans are likely to experience a variety of symptoms:

  1. Burning at the bite site. Many people notice a little bit of discomfort and an initial burning sensation when bitten by bed bugs.
  2. Itching around the area where person was bitten. This is common, though scratching is not ideal since it can spread infection. The problem can be even worse if you’ve got a large bed bug infestation and a large wound area.
  3. Redness and swelling. For some people, being bitten by bed bugs can cause a reaction that’s a bit like an allergy. Anti-inflammation medication can help control swelling if it appears after being bitten by bed bugs.

Can the Bites Make Me Sick?

Bed bug bites typically do not make people sick if they take care of them properly. When a person does not clean the bite area regularly, or they scratch the skin and spread infection, there can be health problems associated with being bitten by bed bugs.

Like other small bugs that survive on blood, there’s also the chance that infection can be spread when a bed bug bites more than one person. The risk of getting a serious infection this way is not high, but it can happen, particularly in places like hotels.

In general, bites that are taken care of properly will not pose much risk to humans.

Take care of bed bug bites by:

  • Washing the bite area regularly. You need to keep bite sites clean, though they do not have to be covered with bandages or anything else.
  • Reduce inflammation with a cool compress or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications.
  • Do not scratch the bite site even if it is itching. Use a cool compress, calamine lotion or colloidal oatmeal to reduce the feeling of itching.

It is also important that you quickly wash sheets and bedding around your home to minimize your exposure to bed bugs if you think you have been bitten. Many people don’t do this fast enough to stop the spread of bugs.

Unfortunately, bed bugs can lay up to 500 eggs in their relatively short lifespan, all of which could be in your home!

How Can I Know if a Bed Bug Bit Me?

The easiest way to tell if a bed bug has bitten you is to look for small, dot-like bite marks on your skin. These tend to get red a few hours after you are bitten and they can swell up like mosquito bites.

Bed bug bites typically form in clusters as well, which can differentiate them from flea bites and mosquito bites. If you haven’t been outside, it’s the wrong season for mosquitoes or you don’t have pets, bed bugs are also a much more likely choice for what has bitten you.

How Do You Know If Bedbugs Are Present?

It’s also important to remember that bed bug bites typically cause a small, yet sharp pain at the time of the attack. If you’re awake when bitten by bed bugs you should immediately stop and look for them, related eggshells and eggs in the area.

Bed Bug Bites vs Flea Bites

Bed bug bites typically occur in a straight, cluster-like line, which can help differentiate them from flea bites. You’ll usually find three or four bed bug bites in a row, though this isn’t always the case.

Flea bites are also more likely to cause swelling faster than bed bug bites. If you notice swelling after an hour or less, or the bite is more like an open sore or blister after a day or two, you probably have flea bites instead of bed bug bites.

Are They Bed Bugs Bites or Flea Bites?

Bed Bug Bites vs Mosquito Bites

Mosquito bites are felt immediately and show a swollen area within minutes when most people are bitten. This is not always the case with bed bug bites since many people have only a very mild reaction to them. For these people, bites will look more like a reddish dot on the skin than a large, swollen bite.

Mosquito bites also itch immediately while it takes some time for bed bug bites to begin itching in most cases.

Bed bugs can be incredibly annoying for renters and homeowners since they’re so small that finding them is often difficult. Their bites can also cause a great deal of irritation and discomfort. Worst of all, they breed at an alarming rate, and if you have a few in your home now, you could have an infestation soon if it’s not caught quickly.

The good news is that bed bug bites generally don’t cause much harm to children, adults or even pets. They can create some discomfort, itching and swelling with their bite, but the spread of infection is rare if bites are dealt with properly.

Use the tips above to find beg bugs quickly and get them out of your home. The longer you let them live in your home or bed, the more likely you are to face a serious infestation down the line.

You can find further details of Bed Bugs Control here.

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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
  • 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.

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