Show Me Bed Bug Bites Look Like

Bedbug Bites

Childhood Skin Problems

Photo courtesy of Phil Pellitteri, University of Wisconsin

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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.

Sources

Image: Photo courtesy of Phil Pellitteri, University of Wisconsin

Text: "Bedbugs – Overview", WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Bedbugs

What should you know about bedbugs?

Bedbugs (Cimex lectularius) are small, oval insects that feed by sucking blood from humans or other warm-blooded animals. The effect of bedbugs on human health and reports of bedbug infestations of certain hotels has received media attention in recent years.

How big are bedbugs?

Bedbugs do not fly. Adult bedbugs are 5-7 mm in length.

Where do bedbugs live?

Bedbugs are pests that can live anywhere in the home. They can live in cracks in furniture or in any type of textile, including upholstered furniture. Bedbug infestations are most common in beds, including the mattress, box springs, and bed frames. Bedbugs are most active at night. These pests may bite any exposed areas of skin while an individual is sleeping. Common locations for bedbug bites are the face, neck, hands, and arms.

Are bedbug bites painful?

A bedbug bite is painless and is generally not noticed. The bites may be mistaken for a rash of another cause. Small, flat, or raised bumps on the skin are the most common sign. Symptoms include redness, swelling, and itching.

How do you know if you have bedbugs?

Fecal stains or rust-colored dark spots, egg cases, and shed skins (exuviae) of bedbugs in crevices and cracks on or near beds are suggestive of infestations, but only observing the bugs themselves can confirm an active infestation. A professional pest-control company may be required to help identify and remove bedbugs from the home.

What home remedies and medications treat and get rid of bedbugs?

Home remedies for bedbug bites include measures to control itching, such as oatmeal baths or cool compresses. Typically, no treatment is required for bedbug bites. If itching is severe, steroid creams or oral antihistamines may be used for symptom relief.

Picture of Bedbug Bites

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.

What are bedbugs? What do bedbugs look like?

Bedbugs are small oval-shaped non-flying insects that belong to the insect familyCimicidae, which includes three species that bite people. Adult bedbugs reach 5 mm-7 mm in length, while nymphs (juveniles) are as small as 1.5 mm. Bedbugs have flat bodies and may sometimes be mistaken for ticks or small cockroaches. Bedbugs feed by sucking blood from humans or animals.Cimex lectulariusis the scientific name for bedbugs.

Adult bedbugs are reddish brown in color, appearing engorged and more reddish after feeding on a blood meal. Nymphs are light-colored and appear bright red after feeding. The wings of bedbugs are vestigial, so they cannot fly. However, they are able to crawl rapidly.

Temperatures between 70 F-80 F are most favorable for bedbugs, allowing them to develop into adults most rapidly and produce up to three generations per year.

Where are bedbugs found?

Bedbugs are found all over the world. Bedbug infestations were common in the U.S. before World War II and became rare after widespread use of the pesticide DDT for pest control began in the 1940s and 1950s. They remained prevalent in other areas of the world and, in recent years, have been increasingly observed again in the U.S. Increases in immigration and travel from the developing world as well as restrictions on the use of stronger insecticides may be factors that have led to the relatively recent increase in bedbug infestations. While bedbug infestations are often reported to be found when sanitation conditions are poor or when birds or mammals (particularly bats) are nesting on or near a home, bedbugs can also live and thrive in clean environments. Crowded living quarters also facilitate the spread of bedbug infestations.

Bedbugs can live in any area of the home and use tiny cracks in furniture as well as on textiles and upholstered furniture as hiding places. They tend to be most common in areas where people sleep and generally concentrate in beds, including mattresses or mattress covers, box springs, and bed frames. They do not infest the sleeping surfaces of beds as commonly as cracks and crevices associated with the bed frame and mattress, including mattress seams. Other sites where bedbugs often reside and potential infested items include curtains, edges of carpet, corners inside dressers and other furniture, cracks in wallpaper (particularly near the bed), and inside the spaces of wicker furniture.

Since bedbugs can live for months or even longer under favorable conditions without feeding, they can also be found in vacant homes.

SLIDESHOW

Are bedbugs found in hotels?

Bedbugs are found all over the world. Bedbug infestations were common in the U.S. before World War II and became rare after widespread use of the pesticide DDT for pest control began in the 1940s and 1950s. They remained prevalent in other areas of the world and, in recent years, have been increasingly observed again in the U.S. Increases in immigration and travel from the developing world as well as restrictions on the use of stronger insecticides may be factors that have led to the relatively recent increase in bedbug infestations. While bedbug infestations are often reported to be found when sanitation conditions are poor or when birds or mammals (particularly bats) are nesting on or near a home, bedbugs can also live and thrive in clean environments. Crowded living quarters also facilitate the spread of bedbug infestations.

Bedbugs can live in any area of the home and use tiny cracks in furniture as well as on textiles and upholstered furniture as hiding places. Bedbugs tend to be most common in areas where people;

  • sleep,
  • they usually concentrate in beds, including;
  • mattresses or mattress covers,
  • box springs and bed frames,
  • matttress seams and cracks,
  • curtains,
  • edges of carpet,
  • corners inside dressers and other furniture,
  • cracks in wallpaper (particularly near the bed),
  • recently used suitcases, bags, and other things that you have taken outside of your home, and
  • inside the spaces of wicker furniture.
  • They do not infest the sleeping surfaces of beds as commonly as cracks and crevices associated with the bed frame and mattress, including mattress seams. Other sites where bedbugs often reside and potential infested items

    Many news reports in recent years have focused on the discovery of bedbugs and their health effects (even in upscale five-star hotels), and a number of lawsuits have been filed by guests of fashionable hotels who awoke to find hundreds of bedbug bites covering their skin. Searching on travel-review web sites regularly reveals information and even photos confirming the presence of bedbugs in numerous hotels.

    Since bedbugs can arrive on the clothing or in the suitcases of guests from infested homes or other hotels harboring the pests, hotels can be an easy target for bedbug infestations.

    In addition to hotels, bedbug infestations have been found in;

    edbugs are found all over the world. Bedbug infestations were common in the U.S. before World War II and became rare after widespread use of the pesticide DDT for pest control began in the 1940s and 1950s. They remained prevalent in other areas of the world and, in recent years, have been increasingly observed again in the U.S. Increases in immigration and travel from the developing world as well as restrictions on the use of stronger insecticides may be factors that have led to the relatively recent increase in bedbug infestations. While bedbug infestations are often reported to be found when sanitation conditions are poor or when birds or mammals (particularly bats) are nesting on or near a home, bedbugs can also live and thrive in clean environments. Crowded living quarters also facilitate the spread of bedbug infestations.

    Bedbugs can live in any area of the home and use tiny cracks in furniture as well as on textiles and upholstered furniture as hiding places. They tend to be most common in areas where people sleep and generally concentrate in beds, including mattresses or mattress covers, box springs, and bed frames. They do not infest the sleeping surfaces of beds as commonly as cracks and crevices associated with the bed frame and mattress, including mattress seams. Other sites where bedbugs often reside and potential infested items include curtains, edges of carpet, corners inside dressers and other furniture, cracks in wallpaper (particularly near the bed), and inside the spaces of wicker furniture.

    Since bedbugs can live for months or even longer under favorable conditions without feeding, they can also be found in vacant homes.

    How do bedbugs spread?

    Bedbugs live in any articles of furniture, clothing, or bedding, so they or their eggs may be present in used furniture or clothing. They spread by crawling and may contaminate multiple rooms in a home or even multiple dwellings in apartment buildings. They may also hide in boxes, suitcases, or other items that are moved from residence to residence or from a hotel to home. Bedbugs can live on clothing from home infestations and may be spread by a person unknowingly wearing infested clothing.

    What Bit Me? Spot These 11 Bug Bites

    Bug bites are irritating, and some can be harmful. Learn to identify the type of bug bite and when to seek emergency medical care.

    Getting a bug bite can be a creepy experience, especially if you don’t know what tiny creature left you with that red, throbbing welt on your skin. Don’t panic. Most bug bites and stings from common insects are harmless and heal quickly. But some bug bites and stings, like those from fire ants, wasps, hornets, and bees, may cause intense pain or even a serious allergic reaction. Others, like poisonous spider bites, require immediate emergency medical care.

    Symptoms of bug bites provide clues to the cause and severity. For example, most bug bites cause red bumps with pain, itching, or burning. Some bug bites also feature blisters or welts. Here are some common bug bite clues:

    • Bedbugs leave a small bite mark on the skin that is red and itchy or causes a serious allergic reaction.
    • Bee stings cause a red skin bump with white around it.
    • Flea bites leave an itchy welt on the skin, often on the ankles and legs.
    • Mosquitoes leave a raised, itchy pink skin bump or in rare cases a severe allergic reaction.
    • Spider bites cause minor symptoms like red skin, swelling, and pain at the site or very serious symptoms that need emergency care.
    • Ticks can carry Lyme disease and their bite leaves a rash that looks like an expanding bull’s-eye.

    Most bug bites are transmitted directly from the insect and occur outdoors. Two exceptions are bedbugs (tiny mites that live in and near beds) and lice, which spread through contact with an infected person, a comb, or clothing.

    Certain bug bites can also spread illnesses, such as the Zika virus and West Nile virus (both transmitted by mosquitoes), Lyme disease (from a black-legged tick), Rocky Mountain spotted fever (from a dog or wood tick), or Chagas disease (from kissing bugs).

    In fact, a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cautioned Americans that diseases from mosquito, tick, and flea bites have soared in recent years.

    How can you prevent bug bites? Here are some tips:

    • Avoid insects.
    • Don’t eat foods or wear fragrances that attract bugs.
    • Know your own personal risk for having an allergic reaction to a bug bite.
    • Use pesticide.
    • Wear protective clothing.

    No matter what type of bug bite you have, it is good to know what bit you. Learning to identify a bug bite by how it looks and feels will help you know whether to treat the bug bite at home or seek immediate medical care.

    If you have known allergies to bug bites, talk with your physician about emergency care. Some people with severe allergies to bug bites need to have allergy medicine, including an EpiPen, with them always.

    Mosquito Bites Can Cause a Serious Illness

    A mosquito bite appears as an itchy, round red or pink skin bump. It’s usually a harmless bug bite but can sometimes cause a serious illness, such as the Zika virus (particularly harmful in pregnant women), the West Nile virus, or malaria. For most people, Zika causes a brief, flulike illness. But newborns of pregnant women infected with Zika have an alarming rate of microcephaly birth defects, a debilitatingly small head and brain size. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) posted a 2016 travel alert advising pregnant women to delay travel to 50 areas where Zika is active, including Latin America and the Caribbean.

    About 2,000 cases of the West Nile virus were reported in the United States to the CDC in 2014. Symptoms appear 2 to 14 days after the bite and can include headaches, body aches, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and a skin rash. People with a more severe West Nile infection may develop meningitis or encephalitis, and have symptoms including neck stiffness, severe headache, disorientation, high fever, and convulsions.

    The bite of a parasite-infected mosquito can cause malaria, a rare occurrence in the United States, with only about 1,500 cases reported by the CDC each year. Symptoms are similar to the flu and can include fever, headache, muscle aches, nausea, and vomiting from 10 days to 4 weeks after the bite. Malaria is serious, but it’s good to know it is preventable and treatable, according to the CDC.

    What do Bedbug Bites Look Like?

    You probably won’t feel pain when a bedbug bites, but you may see three or more clustered red marks, often forming a line. Some people develop a mild or severe allergic reaction to the bug’s saliva between 24 hours and 3 days later. This can result in a raised, red skin bump or welt that’s intensely itchy and inflamed for several days.

    How to get rid of bedbug bites? If your bedbug bites cause hives, it may mean a trip to your healthcare provider for treatment, notes the American Academy of Dermatology. Bedbug bites can occur anywhere on your body but typically show up on uncovered areas, such as your neck, face, arms, and hands. It’s good to know that although they’re common, bedbugs do not carry disease, according to the CDC.

    Show me bed bug bites look like

    Information about bed bugs bites, pictures of what do bed bug bites look like, how to check if you have been bitten by bed bugs and advice on how to stop the itch.

    Bed bugs are nocturnal insects that feed mostly at night when their hosts are asleep. In the day, they hide in cracks and crevices of walls, bed frames, bookshelves, basically anywhere that gives them easy access to humans, although they are fast moving insects that are able to travel great distances.

    Bed bugs bite their hosts by using their sharp beak to pierce the skin and inject their saliva. Like mosquitoes, their saliva contains an anticoagulant (to prevent coagulation of the blood) as they suck and also acts as an anesthetic agent to prevent the victim from feeling the bite. Therefore, while sleeping, humans rarely feel any sensations of being bitten, but will only realize the day after.

    Nymphs (young bed bugs) take about three minutes to feed, while a full-grown bug feeds for ten to fifteen minutes. After feeding, they then crawl back to the nearest crevice to digest.

    Pictures Of What Do Bed Bug Bites Look Like On Humans

    A young woman with numerous bed bug bites on her back and buttocks.


    Bed bugs bites that are swollen on forearm.


    A picture of a cluster of bed bugs bites on the inner side of the arms.


    Bed bugs bites on the lower back/buttocks of a woman, sitting on the bed that gave her the bites.

    So, my story starts in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I am currently attending university and have lived in residence for the last 3 years. I started developing this really bad rash the last few months (more than a few actually) and I thought it was heat rash because I would only get it when I sweated or got hot. However, I just checked the side of my mattress and low and behold, black dots everywhere. This has caused me such embarrassment because everywhere I would go leaving the house, I would have these hives looking rash all over my arms. I am finally moving out of residence and saying goodbye to these horrid blood suckers once and for all. I even tried allergy medicine with antihistamine because I thought it was an allergic reaction, which it is, but you cant really cure allergic reaction to bed bug bites with zyrtec, benedryl, or claritin.

    thanks and I hope my story helped!

    What Are The First Signs And Symptoms of Bed Bug Bites?

    Often, the bites of bed bugs are mistaken or misdiagnosed for other common household insects since the bites can look almost identical to those caused by other parasitic blood feeding insects such as mosquitoes, fleas, ants and lice.


    image credit: urbanentomology.tamu.edu

    Nevertheless, bed bugs bites can be easily recognizable once you know what are the symptoms to look for.

    The first tell tale symptoms of bed bug bites are the multiple small, flat or raise welts on the skin that will always appear in a linear three in a row or clustered pattern because of the bed bugs tendency to feed on the same location more than once. Experts usually describe the three in a row bite marks as breakfast, lunch and dinner. The welts can turn red, flare up and become itchy. Scratching the bitten areas may also cause the welts to blister, have an infection or leave scars.

    The next tell tale sign that may indicate your bed is infested is that you will get bitten every night while you are sleeping and develop similar clustered pattern large itchy welts every morning.

    Other possible signs of an infestation are tiny blood spots on bedding materials of dead bugs that are crushed during feeding or staining on the mattress from the waste of the bugs.

    Bitten by bed bugs? Share with us your experiences here.

    Bed Bugs Vs Fleas, Spiders and Mosquitoes Bites – What Are The Differences?

    Even though bed bug bites cause itchiness and irritation to the skin similar to flea, spider and mosquito bites, there are a few differences.

    The bites of bed bugs usually appear as small, red welts and tend to show up in groups or in a line formation on the hands, feet, neck and other exposed body parts during sleep. For most victims, the bites will cause intense itching for several days.

    Since bed bugs feed at night, you may most likely notice that you have been bitten only after you have woken up in the morning. Sometimes, the bites may also tend to appear more rash-like rather than bite-like, which is why the symptoms of the bites can sometimes be mistaken for other types of skin rashes caused by laundry detergent, soap and other cleaning products.


    Victims of bed bug bites on arms (image credits:tripadviserandaaron)

    Flea bites can look very similar to the bites from bed bugs since they also occur in groups and itch a lot but the bite marks of fleas are typically smaller and more pinkish in color. Common household flea bites also tend to occur mostly on the lower part of the body around the legs, ankles and behind the knees.

    Most of the time, the only way of knowing whether you have being bitten by fleas is asking yourself if you have recently come into contact with any household pets like dogs and cats or wildlife animals such as raccoons, rabbits and rats that typically carry fleas that bite humans. Most of the time, children end up with flea bites playing with their dogs and cats. There are also cases of individuals being bitten by sand fleas which are found commonly around beaches, wetlands and swamps.


    Multiple flea bites on legs

    The characteristics of a spider bite is usually large, isolated swelling that show up immediately after the bite revealing that the skin may be pierced. Depending on the toxicity of the spider bite, one may feel the painful sting of the bite much like the sting from a bee and the pain can last for a few minutes to as long as a day or two.


    Symptoms of spider bites on hand and leg (image credits:graelaanddoug)

    When an individual is bitten by mosquitoes, the bites tend to flare up quickly as pale pinkish bumps with uneven swelling on the skin. Reactions may vary but most individuals will experience itching around the bite area for a few hours with the itch gradually disappearing after a day or two.


    Large welts and swellings of mosquitoes bites ( image credit: jenn )

    Again, for those who are still unsure about what insects bit you, entomologists and pest control experts receommends that the best way to identify whether one is bitten by bed bugs is to physically check for the signs of the bugs themselves. Look for the live bugs or other signs of recent activity like the outer exoskeleton casings where the bugs shed, droppings and newly formed dried blood stains on the bed sheets.

    For the uninitiated, read this post on how to check for signs of bed bugs at home and in a hotel room.

    Where Do the Bites Most Commonly Occur?

    Any exposed areas of the bodies while one sleep are target spots for a bed bug to bite and suck on for blood. The face, neck, back, hands, arms and legs are the most common areas where bed bug bites occur.


    Two day old cluster pattern bites marks of bed bugs on women back.

    How Long Does the Bite Rash Last?

    Reaction to bed bug bites depends on the individual. Some people will not have any reaction at all while for others who are quite sensitive to bites, they may have localized allergic reactions and develop blisters or rashes that can be extremely itchy as they get bitten repeatedly.

    Typically bed bug rashes will show up a few hours after the actual biting but there are some cases whereby the rash does not appear until a few days or even a week later since this is dependent on the allergy reaction to the person who is being bitten.

    Generally, the rashes of bed bugs will last for two to three days and then slowly fade away. However the rashes can last much longer if the person is more allergic prone. Often it will require some medical intervention to finally clear up the skin rash completely.

    Do Bed Bug Bites Transmit Disease?

    Are the bites of bed bugs dangerous or contagious? Even though these tiny and bloodthirsty pests are really bothersome and considered a nuisance, their bites are fairly harmless and are not known to spread any diseases.

    Nonetheless, on very rare occasions an allergic reaction to the bites has caused nausea, sickness and even shock. Some people may also be affected psychologically and not be able to fall asleep.

    A Reader’s Comment on The Effects of Bed Bug Bites

    I started with hundreds of bites on my body a year ago. I ended up in the ER because I had no idea what was wrong with me. I then went to 3 specialist, had biopsies and still no one knew what it was. I was able to move from that apartment in 3 months to a different complex. (because of the bed bug infestation that I had never experienced before. I am still getting bitten, severe itching, scars all over my legs, arms, neck and crease at top of my legs before entering private parts. No prescription has helped. I’ve had many. Calamine lotion helps with the itching but it’s messy and leaves a residue on your skin. I’ve had cortezone shots for the itching. did not help.

    I have to wear clothing to help cover the marks to be able to work. My mattress and box springs have been encased in bed bed zippered bags since December, and then adding another cover over that this year. I cannot afford to trash my mattress. I did however trash my bedding and started over. My pillows are also protected with a zippered covering.

    The itching is horrible and the same bite marks I’ve had for at least a year seem to be re-infecting. They get red and swollen. I also have several on my body that have started to go away or I mean you have to look really close to see. I started tanning and the heat helps and also starts tanning the scratched skin to blend with my normal skin.

    This is HORRIBLE. I actually think just today I caught one on my bed and then looked on the computer and it does look like one of the species. I drowned it with 2 more I think I found. I heard they were sensitive to light so I sleep with the lights on. I’m not even sure anymore if all the itching is real. It could be psychosomatic. I always have a feeling something is crawling on me. It’s like when you see an ant on a picnic and can’t get that thought off your mind and start itching. The bite usually is invisible to the naked eye, but once you start itching, the area expands to the skin torn off.

    Diana Sinclair

    How to Treat Bed Bug Bites?

    For fast relief from the discomfort and itchness of the bites, you are advised to run it under lukewarm running water for approximately a minute and clean the affected area with an antibacterial soap, which will minimize the inflammation and irritation as well as take your mind off it.

    For a stronger treatment for the skin rashes, severe itchiness or to prevent infections, you can apply local antiseptic lotion, antibiotic cream or oral antihistamine. Some of the recommended topical steroid creams for the treatment of the bites are hydro-cortisone – Cortaid Intensive Therapy , for example – that helps to stop the itch and resolve any rash quickly.

    How to Avoid Getting Bitten Again?

    First, try to confirm the presence of bed bugs even if you suspect that you have been bitten by the tiny blood feeders.

    It is best to first visually inspect your bed and room for any telltale signs of the bugs. If the brown critters are found, one can contact a reputable pest control company for the extermination of bed bugs .

    For homeowners who are looking for ways on how to prevent getting bitten, here are some useful steps one can take to protect yourselves:

    • Clear away unwanted clutter and clean your room thoroughly. Vacuum carpets and seal any cracks in the wood floors.
    • Wash all bedding and clothing in hot water for at least 20 minutes. Bed bugs are very sensitive to heat and will die at temperatures above 120В°F.
    • Use a quality bed bug spray to kill off any visible bugs one can find especially around and behind the headboard, bed frame as well as upholstered furniture near the bed. Follow up the treatment with professional insect powders such as Diatomaceous Earth by applying it around the bed and carpet to defend the perimeters.
    • If you are still worried, one can also use thick, double-sided tape to tape it around the bottom of the bed frame or use professional traps as a tool to detect and prevent bed bugs before they bite.
    • Encase the mattresses with bed bug proof covers that are designed to contain fleas and bugs. Similarly, the pillows and bolster must be encase too to be effective in preventing bed bug bites. The covers will work both ways to prevent new infestations as well as trap existing bugs on the inside from getting out to feed.

    Note: For travellers, read this travel checklist on how to prevent bed bug bites when staying in hotels and how to avoid bringing bed bugs back to your home from your holidays.

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    This website’s mission is to provide comprehensive information about bed bugs .
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    What Do Bed Bug Bites Look Like (And How To Get Rid of Them Faster)

    It can be difficult to identify bed bug bites because the red itchy bumps caused by bed bug bites look like flea bites or mosquito bites. Bed bugs usually come out at night and feed on the blood of humans. The tiny nasty pests can leave a cluster of bite marks on your face, arms, stomach, and legs. Some people only have a mild reaction to the bed bug bites and may only have a few small red dots. However, others have more severe reactions and are plagued by large red bite marks and an irresistible urge to scratch them.

    Pictures of bed bug bites show groups of red bite marks on the body. Very often, the bite marks left by bed bugs are in straight lines or in a zig-zag and very rarely is there just one solitary red bite mark.

    There are many effective natural home remedies to quickly get rid of the signs of bed bug bites. You can make your own natural treatments for insect bites with ingredients like witch hazel, apple cider vinegar, and aloe vera. The natural anti-inflammatory ingredients in those home remedies help to quickly relieve itching and promote healing.

    In this article, you will learn how to identify bed bug bites and find out how to get rid of them quickly. You will also see images of bed bug bites to help you to spot the tell-tale signs that you have been bitten.

    What do Bed Bugs Look Like?

    The Latin name for bed bugs isCimex lectularius, or common bed bug. If you’ve ever seen a close-up picture of a bed bug you will see that they look quite scary. However, in reality, bed bugs are tiny pests that lurk in corners and crevices of beds, mattresses, and furniture. They are about the size of a small apple seed and many can be seen crawling around if you have an infestation.

    Dr. Carol DerSarkissian on WebMD says that bed bugs have flat, brown, oval bodies. They don’t have wings but can quickly scurry over floors, ceilings, and walls. The parasitic insects live in groups and love to hide in dark places. If you have a bed bug problem in your home, you should check for signs of bed bugs in corners of your bed frame, along the seams of mattresses, along baseboards, and behind pictures. In fact, they will live in any crevice that is large enough to slide a credit card into. 1

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that bed bug eggs look like tiny white pinheads. As they go through their nymph stages they shed skins and these yellowish shells are a common sign to look for when checking for an infestation of bugs. 2

    Pictures of bed bugs

    How to Identify Bed Bug Bites

    On most people, bed bug bites look like itchy red bumps on their body. However, it can be difficult to know if the bite marks have been caused by bed bugs or not.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the symptoms of bed bug bites may not appear for a few days. Also, each person reacts differently to being bitten by these irritating pests. Some people show no signs of being bitten whereas other people have a severe reaction to the bite, and large bumps appear on the skin that itch severely. 3

    However, Dr. Carol DerSarkissian on WebMD says that the only way to know for sure if the red bite marks have been caused by bed bugs is to look for signs of a bug infestation. That will confirm if the red spots that look like bed bug bites are in fact the result of bed bugs.

    Bed Bug Bites – Signs and Symptoms

    Images of bed bug bites generally show clusters of itchy red bumps on a person’s arms, neck, face, legs, and other areas of their body. Depending on the number of bed bugs that have infested your sleeping area and your reaction to them, bed bug bites also have other signs.

    Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that more often than not, bed bug bites will be in either a rough line or in a cluster of red marks. If they cause a severe skin reaction, the itching can be very intense. In rare cases, a person who has many bites and a severe allergic reaction should visit a doctor. 4

    Doctors from the National Health Service say that, in some cases, the itchy red bumps on the skin can cause a rash or start to blister and fill with fluid. 5

    However, it can be difficult to tell if the bites have been caused by bed bugs or another insect. Therefore, it’s important to know how to identify the difference between bed bug bites, flea bites and mosquito bites.

    Bed bug bite vs flea bite

    Flea bites and bed bug bites look very similar and cause itchy red marks on the skin. Even in pictures, it is hard to tell bed bug bites and flea bites apart. However, there are some differences.

    The symptoms of flea bites generally appear on the ankles, feet and around the abdomen. As with bed bug bites, flea bite symptoms can also appear in small clusters. Dr. Carol DerSarkissian says that if you look closely at a bed bug bite you won’t see a small red dot in the middle as is characteristic of flea bites. 1

    Bed bug bite vs mosquito bite

    Both mosquito bites and bed bug bites can leave itchy welts on the skin. Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that the symptoms of mosquito bites show up very soon after the bite; in fact, in only a few minutes, a puffy red bump usually appears. 6

    Unlike bed bug bites that are painless, you may feel the mosquito bite and it might start to itch immediately. It is also more likely that the mosquito bite will blister and ooze a small amount of fluid.

    Symptoms of Bed Bug Bites – Complications

    Bed bug bite marks usually heal within 2 weeks and won’t leave any permanent mark on the skin. In some cases, there are complications associated with bed bug bites.

    Of course, for many people, the appearance of red itchy welts on visible areas of skin like their face or arms is an unwanted complication of bed bug bites.

    One of the most common, and potentially serious, complications that is seen with bed bug bite is a secondary skin infection. Dr. Stephanie S. Gardner on WebMD says that itching from bed bug bites can be so severe that constant scratching breaks the skin and germs get it. This can cause a bacterial infection in the bite mark. 7

    Dr. Steven Doerr on eMedicnineHealth warns that some people experience severe allergic reactions to bed bug bites. Some of the signs of a serious allergic reaction include itching all over the body, tightness in the throat, chest pain, red bed bug rash that spreads from the bite area. 8

    At least the good news with bed bug bites is that they don’t spread disease. The CDC states that bed bugs don’t spread disease and the most serious health threat is a lack of sleep from scratching and secondary skin infections. 3

    Signs of Bed Bug Infestation

    If you suspect that clusters of itchy red spots on your body are the result of pesky bed bugs, you should check for signs of an infestation.

    First, you don’t have to worry that having bed bugs is a sign of uncleanliness or dirtiness. The CDC says that bed bugs only feed on blood and aren’t attracted to dirt. Bed bugs have been found in the cleanest of 5-star hotels. 3

    To check for signs of bed bugs, you should look in areas where they tend to live. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that tell-tale signs of bed bug activity are tiny rusty-colored stains on bed linen from bug feces or dried blood. You may also notice tiny yellow shed skins around your bed and sleeping area. 9

    The next step to confirm if itchy red marks on your skin are from bed bugs is to find where the critters are hiding. You should check all joints and screw holes in your bed frame, around mattresses and box springs, and around the headboard. Other places where you might find evidence of a bed bug infestation are in the folds of drapes, in drawer joints, behind loose wallpaper, and at baseboards.

    If you find feces, dead bed bugs, or bed bugs crawling around, it is time to take drastic action to get rid of the bed bugs quickly. This is the only way to prevent getting more bed bug bites in the future. Some effective ways to kill off infestation of irritating insects include using bed bug powders that destroy populations of bed bugs as well as bed bug sprays.

    How to Get Rid of Bed Bug Bites Fast

    Fortunately, there are many great home remedies to get rid of bed bug bites quickly. Here are a few of the best ways of treating bed bug bites at home.

    Cold compress

    To quickly get rid of an intense itch in a swollen bump caused by a bed bug bite, you can use a cold compress. One excellent way to make a compress is by using a cold tea bag. Cold helps to relieve irritation from your skin by calming nerve endings, and tea helps to relieve itching and promotes healing.

    A study from 2012 into the healing effects of tea found that compounds in black and green tea have an astringent effect. This helps to reduce itching in irritated, inflamed skin. 9 However, you don’t just have to use black or green tea bags. Research has also found that chamomile has soothing properties and is just as effective as hydrocortisone creams (often prescribed by doctors to reduce itching in insect bites). 10

    How to use:

    To quickly get rid of the irritation that bed bug bites cause using a cold tea compress, this is what you should do:

    1. Put a tea bag in a cup of boiling water for a few minutes. Remove the bag and cool it in the refrigerator.
    2. Place the tea bag on the red itchy bumps to relieve discomfort and irritation.
    3. Apply the cold compress 2-3 times a day for fast relief from bed bug bites and bed bug rash.

    Aloe vera

    Aloe vera also has properties that reduce itching and help to speed up the healing time of a bed bug bite. Aloe vera contains many properties to nourish your skin and relieve inflammation and irritation.

    One study into the healing properties of aloe vera found that it has a soothing effect on irritated skin. It was found that aloe vera was just as effective as hydrocortisone creams in reducing itching and inflammatory responses in the skin. 11

    How to use:

    Aloe vera gel is great for helping bed bug bites to heal faster. This is what you should do:

    1. Use aloe vera gel with as few added ingredients as possible and liberally apply some gel to the bite marks.
    2. Massage the gel into the area around the bed bug bites to soothe the skin and stop itching.
    3. Apply the natural remedy 2-3 times a day to help your skin heal quicker and get welcome relief from the constant itching.

    Tea tree oil

    Tea tree oil will help to treat the itch in bed bug bites and help prevent secondary infections making the skin worse. Tea tree oil contains powerful antimicrobial compounds as well as properties that help to reduce inflammation and itching.

    One of the benefits of using tea tree oil to quickly treat bed bug bites is that it helps soothe allergic skin reactions. For example, theBritish Journal of Dermatologyreported on a study into the antihistamine effect of tea tree oil. Histamine is released by the body as a response to allergens. It was found that applying tea tree oil to skin inflammation helped to soothe the allergic response fast. 12

    How to use:

    You can use tea tree oil as a spot treatment on one or two bed bug bites or you can mix a couple of drops of tea tree oil with coconut oil to apply to clusters of bed bug bites. This is what you should do:

    1. Put a drop of tea tree oil on the end of a cotton bud and apply to the itchy bed bug bite.
    2. Apply 2 times a day to help stop itching in the bite marks and prevent bacterial infections affecting the skin area.

    For large clusters of bed bug bites, you can get relief by adding 2-3 drops of tea tree oil to a tablespoon of coconut oil. Apply 2-3 times a day to help your skin heal and treat any bed bug bite blisters that have formed.

    You can also use tea tree oil to make a natural spray for bed bug eradication.

    Other ways to get rid of bed bug bites quickly

    There are many other natural ways to get rid of the visible signs of bed bug bites. Here are some more ways.

    Witch hazelis a natural astringent that quickly soothes itchy skin and reduces redness. Witch hazel is perfect for treating bed bug bites and can be applied whenever your bite marks start itching.

    Apple cider vinegar, when it is diluted with water in equal proportions, helps to reduce itching and kill germs in bed bug bites. Just apply diluted apple cider vinegar to the affected area to stop itching fast.

    Cucumbershave an amazing soothing effect on the skin and will give you instant relief from itching and irritation. All you have to do is apply slices of cool cucumber to your bite marks.

    For more information on these natural bed bug bite remedies and to find out some more effective ways to treat bed bug bite signs at home, please read my article on natural ways to make bed bug bites heal faster.

    How to Prevent Bed Bug Bites

    Of course, preventing an infestation of bed bugs is much easier than having to deal with the discomfort bed bug bites cause.

    The CDC says that one of the best ways to prevent bed bug bites is to regularly check your bed, mattress, and bed linen for signs of bed bug activity. This can help you get rid of bed bugs before they become a major problem. 3

    Also, you should be careful of buying second-hand furniture. The National Health Services warns to avoid buying second-hand mattresses and if you do buy used furniture, carefully inspect it for bed bugs. 5 Remember, that in the right conditions, bed bugs can live for many months without feeding!

    Read my other related articles:

    Article Sources

    1. WebMD. Bedbugs.
    2. EPA. Bed bug appearance and life cycle.
    3. CDC. Bed bugs FAQs
    4. MayoClinic. Bedbug symptoms.
    5. NHS. Bedbugs.
    6. MayoClinic. Mosquito bites.
    7. WebMD. Pictures of bed bug bites.
    8. eMedicineHealth. Bedbugs.
    9. EPA. How to find bed bugs.
    10. Phytojournal. Tannins are astringent.
    11. OWM. 2011;57(5):28-36.
    12. Skin Pharmacol Physiol.2008;21(2):106-10.
    13. Br J Dermatol.2002 Dec;147(6):1212-7.

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