Show Bed Bug Bite Pictures
What Do Bed Bug Bites Look Like? Here’s Exactly How to Spot the Symptoms
If you wake up with a line of three to four itchy, swollen bumps, it could be due to bed bugs.
Waking up with a fresh set of itchy bug bites can bring on its own set of worries. What, exactly, was biting you in the middle of the night? Was it a spider? Mosquito? Or—possibly theworstcase scenario—could it have been bed bugs?
Although bed bugs might not be the first thing we think of when we wake up with a bite, the crittersdoget their food source from our blood—and will leave a little red bump in their wake after getting their fill.
But the trouble with identifying a bed bug bite—as is true for a lot of insects, including mosquitoes—is that it can be hard to identify the source of the bite, as everyone reacts differently to being bitten based on what their body’s immune response is. “Everybody’s going to respond differently,” saysTimothy Gibb, PhD, a clinical professor of entomology at Purdue University. “Same thing’s true with a mosquito bite. Some people are going to swell up and it’s going to itch. That same mosquito could bite someone else and it’s hardly noticeable.”
In fact, Gibb says some people may have no response when being bitten by a bed bug at all, based solely on how their immune system handles the bite. That’s why it can be difficult to determine whether your bite is the result of a bed bug just by looking at it.
But therearea few things that can tip you off to the fact that bed bugs are the culprit of your bites. Here’s what to know, including bed bug bites pictures to help you visualize the symptoms.
What do bed bug bites look like?
The key bed bug bite symptom to look for is a red, raised bump, says Gibb, similar in appearance to what you would get when bitten by a spider or a mosquito. But what sets bed bugs apart from other insects is that oftentimes,their bites will present in a line on one part or side of your body. This is the result of what’s called “probing.”
⚠️ Bed bug bites show up in a line, most often in a cluster of 3 to 4 bites.
“They probe the skin in several different places, I think probably to find best access to draw blood,” says Gibb. In fact, if you have screens on your windows—thereby keeping out other insects that might bite—but are still waking up with aline of 3 or 4 bites on your arm, it’s safe to suspect that bed bugs might be to blame, saysEdwin Rajotte, PhD, a professor of entomology at Penn State University.
Another way to determine if your bites are a result from bed bugs is to look for the insects themselves. They naturally like to hide in on your mattress, especially in the corners, near the head end, and in the cord that goes around it. They also like to camp out behind the headboard, behind any pictures on the wall, and in any electrical sockets.
Adult bed bugs are about the the size of an apple seed and are very flat from top to bottom—almost as thin as a piece of paper—with a brownish color, says Rajotte. Baby bed bugs are also brownish in color, but pinhead-sized. Another key identifier? Look for black spots on your sheets, mattress, and mattress cover, which could be bed bug feces.
Where do bed bugs bite, exactly?
Bed bug bites willmost commonly occur on the arms, neck, or trunk of the body, says Gibb, although they’ll bite anywhere they can find exposed skin. And—as their name suggests—bed bugs will bite you at night while you’re sound asleep.
“We’ve found it’s most active when people are most sound asleep, and that’s usually from about 2:00 to 4:00 in the morning,” says Gibb. “That’s natural for a parasite like that to do that because it’s going to protect it. People won’t see it, they won’t feel it. It makes their survivorship much more probable.”
Are bed bug bites itchy? Do they hurt?
Although some people will say a bed bug bite hurts somewhat—though not as intensely as the sting of a bee, for example—most complaints are due to the itching the bites cause, says Gibb. And that itching is due to the chemicals the bed bug inserts into your body during the bite, adds Rajotte.
“They’ve become what I consider the perfect parasite, because their mouthparts are kind of interesting,” says Gibb. “They will inject an anesthetic prior to biting, so people won’t feel it. And then they inject an anticoagulant that allows the blood to run easier for them to suck that up.” So while that system works great for thebugs, those left-over chemicals will usually lead to some uncomfortable itching on your end.
How long do bed bug bites last?
Although the duration and intensity of a bed bug bite will hugely vary from person to person, you typically won’t feel the effects of a bed bug bite—like itching and those raised red bumps—until mid-morning after a bite due to the anesthetic the bug injects, says Gibb. “So they certainly don’t feel it when the bite is occurring, but shortly after, probably within a day, for sure,” he adds.
From there, a bed bug bite will stay with you for typically at least 24 hours, though theycould last three to five days after the initial bite, says Gibb. At that point, the bite will then start to slowly dissipate.
How to treat bed bug bites
If you’ve received a bed bug bite (and the itching that comes along with it), chances are, you’re going to want to speed up the treatment process. But unfortunately, the best way to do that is also thehardestway to do it: not scratching the bite, says Gibb, which will just further irritate the area.
If you’re having trouble keeping your fingers away from the bite, you can also try using an antihistamine—think Benadryl or Allegra, which are meant to curb allergy symptoms—to help mute that itchy feeling.
And if bed bugsarethe cause of your bites, realize there’s no urgent need to panic. Yes, they might cost you a pretty penny and can be a pain to get rid of, but bed bugs can’t do any serious damage to your body.“They don’t kill people,” says Gibb. “A parasite would have a hard time surviving if it killed its host, and these do not.”
In fact, they don’t even transmit anything dangerous to you.“They’ve never been shown to transmit any diseases,”says Rajotte. “Unlike mosquitoes and ticks and things, which can transmit some pretty bad diseases, bed bugs do not. And so while they’re annoying and all that, they’re not going to harm your children or anything like that. They’re just annoying and you need to get rid of them.”
Ready to banish them from your home? Here’s our expert-approved, step-by-step guide to getting rid of bed bugs for good.
Bed Bug Bite Pictures
Here you will find a large collection of bed bug bite pictures showing the wide range of symptoms people experience in reaction to bed bug bites. There’s even a series of bed bug bite photos that demonstrate the stages of reaction over time – from the first appearance of bed bug bites to when they are nearly healed.
This page is pretty long. So if you are looking for something in particular, these links will take you to just the right section:
- Bed Bug Bite Pictures – the basics of where they bite and what bites look like
- Bed Bug Bite Complications – knowing proper bite care prevents more serious problems
- Transition of Bite Reactions – time lapse photo series of symptoms
Pictures of Bed Bug Bites
Bed bug bites often appear first on the head, face and neck.
Bed bugs search out exposed skin on which to take their next meal. That makes your head, face, and neck prime targets.
Bed bug bite symptoms vary from person to person.
The bed bug bite picture above shows a minimal reaction, while the bites in the picture below caused a more serious allergic reaction with swollen red welts.
The symptoms of bed bug bites mimic many other insect bites and allergic reactions.
Hands, arms and legs are also favorite targets.
The picture above shows minimal reaction to bed bug bites on the hand, while the photo of bed bug bites below demonstrates clearer signs of allergic reaction.
They will also feast on your shoulders, back and any other body part that’s left uncovered.
Bed bugs cannot bite through clothing so they are always going to look for exposed skin.
These two bed bug bite pictures show what can happen if you don’t cover up. More about how to prevent bed bug bites here.
Bed Bug bite symptoms often mimic other things.
The photo below shows how bed bugs bites can cause a rash type of reaction with red raised blistery bumps.
It even looks a little like poison ivy.
The photo below shows bedbug rash type symptoms as well. but this time it look a little more like chicken pox.
Bites alone are not enough to determine whether or not you have bed bugs.
Bed Bug Bite Complications
Bed bug bites can get infected without proper treatment.
Bed bug bites can be annoyingly itchy, but scratching them only makes the itch worse and opens the door to infection. The pair of photos below shows the original appearance of bed bug bites.
. and then the complications with infection just one day later.
Properlytreating bed bug bitesis simple if you know what to do.Read more about bed bug bite treatment and whatreallystops the itch here.
Bed Bug Bite Reactions – A Transition
In this photo collage, Lou Sorkin, Entomologist at the American Museum of Natural History shows the series of reaction he has to bites after feeding individual nymphs and adult bed bugs in the lab.
The entire sequence lasted just one hour from the initial appearance of bed bug bite symptoms to almost no visible sign of bite marks at all.
Note:The dark red blotches on his hand that look a like wine-colored stain are a birthmark, not the result of bedbugs.
More examples of the sequence of bite symptoms
The bed bug bite picture below shows the first appearance of bed bug bite reaction shortly after feeding a number of bed bugs in the lab.
Almost immediately the bites cause general redness, inflammation, and raised welts much like mosquito bites typically do.
The photo below depicts the symptoms of the same bed bug bites 6 hours later. The swollen itchy welts have been replaced by red bumps – looking more like a bed bug rash of sorts.
Note:The dark red stain-like marks on Lou’s hand and arm at the bottom of the photo above arenotfrom bed bugs. They are birthmarks.
Hours later the swelling is completely gone and only red bed bug bite marks remain.
As you can see, there were many bed bugs feeding on this one small stretch of skin. Not only is he one of my favorite entomologists (insect scientists).Lou Sorkin is a very brave man indeed!
Immediate and delayed reactions to a bed bug "feeding frenzy".
This pair of bed bug bite photos below show the immediate (left) and next day (right) reaction after feeding a colony of bedbugs from a container in the lab. (That’s why they are contained in a small circular area). The hive-like immediate symptoms are replace by dark red rash type reaction the following day with inflammation and less severe redness radiating out to a larger area.
The bites in these pictures above are the result of anentire colonyof bed bugs feeding in one spot and the larger area of reaction the next day is likely due to the high concentration of bites in one small area – it is not the spread of venom that is common with spider bites.
Hopefully, this bed bug bug bite picture collection has given you a better idea of what common symptoms of bed bug bites look like. Here are links to other helpful pages in the Bed Bug Picture Gallery.
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Is Your Bug Bite Dangerous? These 6 Photos Can Help You Tell
Umm. is that a bullseye I see?
Bug bites are an unfortunate little annoyance in life, and the odds areprettttttyyyyhigh that you’ve been bitten by some creepy-crawly (er, or a variety of creepy-crawlies) in your lifetime. And while you probably just want to scratch the darn spot and move on, it’s wise to try and figure out what actually bit you.
Why? Some bug bites are relatively harmless, but others have the potential to bring on more serious health issues if you don’t treat them appropriately, and fast. Here are several fairly common insect bites you may experience, and how to know whether or not a bite warrants a trip to your doctor’s office.
Bed bug bites
While the thought of bed bug bites may skeeve you out, they’re more annoying to deal with than an actual threat to your health, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Bed bug bites are primarily just super itchy and can keep you up at night. The bigger issue with these pesky bugs is that they can spread really fast and lead to an infestation, and it can be an inconvenient and expensive process to get rid of one. (Also, the idea of little bugs feeding on your blood while you sleep isn’t exactly a comforting thought.)
People can have a range of reactions to bed bug bites, says Nancy Troyano, PhD, a board-certified entomologist with Ehrlich Pest Control. Some people have no reaction at all when bitten, but most people will notice an itchy, red, welt-like mark that looks similar to a mosquito bite, Troyano says. “Bites may appear in a linear fashion if there are multiple bugs feeding, and bites can occur anywhere, but they are often found in areas where skin is readily exposed,” she notes.
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.
Childhood Skin Problems
Photo courtesy of Phil Pellitteri, University of Wisconsin
The first sign of bedbugs may be red, itchy bites on the skin, usually on the arms or shoulders. Bedbugs tend to leave straight rows of bites, unlike some other insects that leave bites here and there.
Bedbugs do not seem to spread disease to people. But itching from the bites can be so bad that some people will scratch enough to cause breaks in the skin that get infected easily. The bites can also cause an allergic reaction in some people. Read more about bedbug bites – symptoms, treatments and prevention.
Image: Photo courtesy of Phil Pellitteri, University of Wisconsin
Text: "Bedbugs – Overview", WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise