Show Me Pictures Of What Bed Bugs Look Like

Show me pictures of what bed bugs 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.

Other Related Topics

Bed Bug Rash
Identifying bed bug rash and what remedies can help stop the itch and clear the rash.

Bed Bug Repellent
Get the truth about the effectiveness of bed bug repellent, what you need to do to prevent the bites and how to get rid of those blood sucking pests.

Bed Bug Pictures
See and identify what do bed bugs look like.

This website’s mission is to provide comprehensive information about bed bugs .
Popular topics include how to kill bed bugs , bed bug rash , bed bugs treatment and what do bed bugs look like .

Show me pictures of what bed bugs look like

See pictures of bed bugs and learn to identify what bed bugs and their bites look like to protect yourself against these nasty, bloodsucking pests.

Cimex lectularius, commonly known as bed bugs, are seed-size, wingless insects that infests beds and feeds on human blood.

Because of their size and their natural survival instinct to hide in ingenious places, bed bugs are usually hard to spot. In often cases, victims may not realize that there is a problem until bite marks start to show up on their skin.

Generally, adult bed bugs are tiny (about the size of an apple seed or 1/4 inch long) with flat rusty-brown-colored oval shaped bodies. However, after they feed on blood of hapless sleepers, their bodies can swell to a deeper red brown and up to 3/8 inch long.

The younger bugs, or ‘nymphs’ are smaller and are a whitish color, or sometimes a golden color. Until they are fed, after which, like the adult bugs, they turn a reddish color. While newly hatched nymphs can be seen with the human naked eye however, with their tiny size and white colored body, it makes them very hard to spot on the mattress.

What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?

Pictures of the bed bug nymph becomes engorged with blood during feeding

Actual size of a bed bug on a human hand

Size comparison of a bed bug with rice grains and two small eggs next to it

An i mage of an adult bed bug

What a fed bed bug looks like

Picture of A Bed Bug Life Cycle

The bed bug life cycle is relatively short; they can live anywhere from ten months to a year, but in that short time, they will see three generations come to life and feed on the hapless humans.

Female bed bugs lay anywhere from three to twelve eggs at a time and a single female bed bug can produce from 300 up to 500 eggs in their lifetime! Female bed bugs typically deposit their eggs in clusters of up to fifty and these can be found in cracks or crevices in the home. The eggs are about a millimeter in length and are a whitish color. The eggs will then hatch in less than twelve days.

The bugs go through five nymphal stages before reaching maturity. During each of these stages, the bed bugs molt. This maturation cycle takes about 48 days. During these stages they grow from just over one millimeter in length, to just over five millimeters in length, or about a quarter of an inch.

A cluster of bed bug eggs with nymphs

During this molting process, you may see signs of the bed bugs , because as nymphs molt, they leave behind the skins they have shed. These skins accumulate as the bug population rises. Bed bug excrement is another sign that you will see, as it appears as dark spots on the sheets. Crushed bed bugs will leave blood stains on bed sheets.

Bed bugs and eggs among molted skins

Bed bugs do have a short life cycle, but they can and will do a lot of damage during these months, in terms of reproducing and feeding on their victims. Waking up to a cluster of bite marks can be a serious sign of bed bugs in your house, apartment or hotel room.

Pictures of Bed Bug Bites And What Do They Look Like

Above: Bed bug bites on the arms

Top right: Bed bug rashes on the arm of a woman

Bottom right: Multiple bite marks on a woman’s leg

Bed bug bites are not dangerous nor do they transmit disease however the bites can leave red, irritating welts around the body large that may cause some people to itch intensely or develop an allergic reaction such as rashes . Psychologically, it may affect one with an inability to sleep.

The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) points out that an infestation is not a sign of unclean or unsanitary conditions. Bed bugs do not discriminate against the rich or poor nor are they attracted to dirt or filth and have been found in world class hotels, luxury condos and budget properties alike.

If you suspect that you have bed bugs in your home, try looking for the tiny white or brown-colored bugs in the seams of mattresses. Or check for tiny bloodstains or insect waste on the sheets. Bed bugs can be found most often in the seams, folds, edges and labels of mattresses, and tend to be found around beds or couches but there are also cases where they have been found in the cracks and crevices of walls, furniture and floors.

Pictures of bed bugs hiding in the seams of the mattress


Image credit: cuttlefish

Bed bug eggs, dried blood stains and waste found on the mattress

While bed bugs are tiny, it does not take an expert to find the bugs by looking at the above bed bugs pictures. However, these critters can be notoriously hard to get rid of since they can survive for more than a year without food until a new host comes along.

To prevent against an infestation, entomologists and pest control experts recommend using an Integrated Pest Management approach which includes clearing of clutter, vacuuming regularly, employing extreme heat on temperature-sensitive bed bugs and the use of pesticides. Heat treatment can include methods such as putting bedding or clothes into a dryer (minimum 120В°F) for 20 minutes or using a steam cleaner to heat treat the mattress or upholster furniture.

To protect oneself against bites while sleeping, use a bed bug proof mattress encasement designed to contain and kill bed bugs. For the encasement to be effective, keep it on for at least a year to prevent bed bugs from going in or out of the mattress. Those adult bugs, nymphs and eggs that are trapped will eventually died.

You May Also Be Interested In:

Bed Bugs Bite Pictures– See more photos of how bed bugs bite look like on other victims.

How Do You Get Bed Bugs– A look at how do you get bed bugs and how they are spread.

Bed Bugs Extermination– How to select a good pest management company for bed bug control.

This website’s mission is to provide comprehensive information about bed bugs .
Popular topics include how to kill bed bugs , bed bug rash , bed bugs treatment and what do bed bugs look like .

Bugs That Look Like Bed Bugs


After a tiring day of work, eventually, we feel like we have been drained out of the last ounce of energy left in us and all that we wish for is a soft, comfortable bed to meet our slumber requirements.

However, an important fact is completely ignored or makes way into the oblivion when this bed craving sets in us. The beds that we sleep in are home to a plethora of organisms and serve as a comfortable breeding ground for them, commonly referred to as ‘bed bugs’.

Introduction

Bed bugs (scientific name:Cimex lectularius) are inherently parasitic in nature and feed on human blood and blood of other warm blooded animals. They are of the cimicid family of insect species, and reside in and around the beddings, bed sheets and other areas of hibernation.

Bed bug Cimex lectularius at night in the moonlight

They are generally nocturnal and are not known to transmit any diseases. Identification traits would comprise of reddish or brownish hue and possession of an oval shaped 0.2-0.4 inch body along with short antennae.

An adult bed bug can feed on its human host for almost 10 minutes at a stretch and as a matter of fact, bed bug bites are quite nasty with rashes circling round the bite spot and a fair bit of irritation in the region.

Are there other bugs that look like bed bugs or have close resemblance?

This question is raised because of the fact that if pictures of bugs that look like bed bugs are shown to a layman, he or she will definitely fall under the impression of tagging it as a bed bug. To deliver a befitting answer to that, we must be careful of the fact that there are other bugs and insects flaunting a stark similarity with the family of bed bugs.

The Answer:

No. Therefore, a fair bit of generalization is done sometimes, and many other species are clubbed together with them. Any bug or insect for that matter of fact roaming near our beds or on it or more so ever, in the bedding, we tag it as a bed bug. Due to this, a very common problem arises when that particular species bites someone but he or she takes the treatment for bed bug bite and therefore the desired result of medication is not rendered properly.

The picture attached below is an exemplification of the appearance and identification of bed bugs:

Bedbug (Cimex lectularius)

Other kinds

Now, to elaborate on the point of departure from common bed bugs, a few species are discussed in details which however, upon first notice, would be mistaken due to their identification similarity. Bugs that look like bed bugs also tend to have a fair bit of similarity on the attributes, habituations, nocturnal behaviour and also on the food chain front. The point is to demarcate them.

Some exemplifications may be put forward in this respect:

1. Book lice:

Although not being part of the lice species directly, Book lice are a type of insect that are inherently non transmitters of diseases and infections, but can really turn into a problem if left to breed on a large scale in our home environment.

They are termed as psocids and prefer residing in spaces which tend to be moist with little or no sunlight exposition and with a constant source of food nearby, primarily fungi or mould. A preferable breeding ground of book lice is places near a constant source of food cereals or paper. They are non winged tiny insects of about 0.0625 inches in length and very strong hind limbs used for manoeuvring and speeding.

Having four stages of nymph metamorphosis, the book lice tend to feed on fungi and mould growing in our mundane food sources like pulses and cereals and thus have the capacity to render them unfit for our consumption.

A pictorial exemplification would be:

2. Bat Bugs:

Bat Bugs (scientific name:Cimex pilosellus) is a species of insects that bear very close resemblance in appearance as well as manifestations. The name ‘Bat bugs’ are applied to the species as members of it tend to colonize around bat nests as their main source of consumption is bat blood.

But however, they tend to migrate and settle into human settlements primarily to feed on human blood and thus deliver painful bites in the process. Also, infestations are rendered due to carriage of the bat bugs by the bugs themselves, anchored on their skin when they fly into human habitats and prepare their colonies.

  • However, a distinction can be made in the sense that bats tend to settle down in close proximities with one another in close knit areas of a human settlement viz. an abandoned house or the attic of a house or an apartment etc.
  • A similarity between bed bugs and bat bugs can be pointed out as like bed bugs, this species is also known to be a non transmitter of diseases and infections as a whole.
  • But as in the case of this species, they often tend to separate out from their bat hosts and wander off to different parts of the house, even making their way to the bedroom or in the bedding, thus easily mistaken to be a bed bug.

Having said that, there is also a final point of departure, between the bat bugs from their bed relatives owing to the fact that bat bugs tend to get exterminated if a constant source of warm blood is not present in a close proximity. But bed bugs can stay over a month without a proper meal of blood thereby sustaining their existence.

Pictorially speaking an example would be:

Bat Bugs (scientific name: Cimex pilosellus)

3. Carpet Beetle:

Carpet beetles (scientific name: Anthrenus verbasci) are considered to be domestic pests and have no direct resemblance to bed bugs as such primarily due to their more or less round and brownish hairy body.

They have a unique feature of settling and infesting museums especially natural museums rendering damages to the natural fibres exhibited there and also a great deal of nuisance to the furniture, bibliography, carpets and so on.

Dead Varied Carpet Beetle (Anthrenus verbasci) specimen

As the name suggests, their main source of sustenance are carpets, mats, mattresses and rugs that we place on the ground and also are considered detrimental for the books and other documents that we keep in our home.As a domestic pest, they lay their eggs in shady moist areas away from direct sunlight contact. Notable mentions would be unused pipelines, air conditioning ducts and under or behind household furniture.

Macro picture of a varied carpet beetle walking on a old sponge

After hatching, the larvae tend to stay in the dark and consume organic edibles. Also a common favourite for their breeding and development is that of unused musical instruments where they eat up the inner lining and padding along with the woodwork.

As a museum infester, collections of books, bibliography, specimens particularly collections having biological connect face the detrimental effects of carpet beetle habitation.
A picture is cited for identification:

4. Spider Beetle:Having long and sleek limbs and antennae, this species of beetle have a very close resemblance with the spider in shape and appearance.

Spider beetle (Gibbium aequinoctiale)

Also it has a humped posture ranging from brownish red to black colour and has different intra species variations notable among which are the American spider beetle (Mezium americanum),the White marked spider beetle (Ptinus fur) and smooth spider beetle (Gibbium aequinoctiale).

Spider beetle (Mezium americanum)

All the species mentioned have somewhat familiar lifestyles and are more or less scavengers in nature deriving their nutrition majorly from edible materials like leftover food, dead insects, animal skins, books, bones and skeletal remains, hair, leather and the list continues.

They prefer moist, dampened areas of the household and seldom come in contact with any light source, usually the woodwork, for habituation and reproduction. Infestations in food are common and such food items must be immediately disposed off.

5. Cockroach Nymph:With respect to appearance and size to a great extent, cockroach nymphs (Periplaneta americana) are considered astonishingly similar in identification traits as that of bed bugs.

The colour ranges from dark mahogany to a hue of dark brown with a cylindrical body unlike bed bugs and measure about an inch and a half in length. Cockroach-nymphs are essentially not blood suckers and even don’t bite humans.

But the problem with their infestation does lie in the fact that they tend to feed on leftover food and household debris for nutrition derivation and also consume from the food items left for our future consumption. This leads to contamination of food and can lead to infections and in serious cases can yield into food poisoning.An example for identification would be:

American cockroach – Periplaneta Americana

One final point must be placed forward regarding the fact that adult bed bugs do have wing pads but are not capable of taking flights or jump longer distances like the flea. Also, no evidence of bugs that look like bed bugs with wings has been found except that of the carpet beetle.

To conclude, we must however, remember that there are close resemblances of many pests with our household bed bug, but in reality, they tend to be separate species with other distinct attributes. Thus one needs to be careful in identifying especially in the case of a bite.

Bedbugs Slideshow: An Informative Look at Bedbugs

Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite

As if you needed something else to worry about, bedbugs, those pests from the old bedtime rhyme are making a comeback. More of a nuisance than a health hazard, they’re showing up to suck blood from people in hotels, college dorms, and hospitals. Take an informative look at bedbugs: what they are, where they lurk, and how to spot them before they get you.

Know the Enemy

Bedbugs are small, flat, wingless insects with six legs that, like mosquitoes, feed on blood from animals or people. They range in color from almost white to brown, but they turn rusty red after feeding. The common bedbug doesn’t grow much longer than 0.2 inches (0.5 centimeters) and can be seen by the naked eye to the astute observer.В Bedbugs get their name because they like to hide in bedding and mattresses.

Am I at Risk for Infestation?

Bedbugs are most often found in hotels, hostels, shelters, and apartment complexes where lots of people come and go. Because bedbugs hide in small crevices, they can hitch a ride into your home on luggage, pets, furniture, clothing, boxes, and other objects. Bedbugs are found worldwide, but are most common in developing countries. Once rare in North America, they may be on the rise due, in part, to increases in international travel.

Feeding Habits

These nocturnal creatures can hide in beds, floors, furniture, wood, and paper trash during the day. We humans usually become their dinner during the night, with peak biting activity just before dawn.They can obtain their meal in as little as three minutes, after which they are engorged and drop off the host, then crawl into a hiding place to digest their meal. Bedbugs can live for 10 months, and can go weeks without feeding.

Signs and Symptoms of Bedbug Bites

Amazingly, these sneaky little bloodsuckers dine on you without waking you. You don’t feel their stealthy bite because they inject a numbing agent into your body, along with an anticoagulant to keep your blood flowing as they suck. The first sign of bedbugs may be itchy, red bites on the skin, usually on the arms or shoulders. Bedbugs tend to leave straight rows of bites.

Treating Bites

Bedbug bites do not usually require treatment. If a secondary infection occurs (usually from scratching), apply a local antiseptic lotion or antibiotic cream or ointment. Creams with corticosteroids and oral antihistaminesare used for the primary, unbearable symptom of itch. In these more severe cases, you may need to see your doctor.

Do Bedbugs Transmit Diseases?

Bedbugs are more of a nuisance than a health hazard. In a recent study, researchers reviewed 53 recent studies on bedbugs and their health and medical effects. The results showed that although bedbugs have been blamed for the spread of up to 40 different human diseases, there is little evidence to suggest they are carriers of human disease.

Bedbug or Imposter?

Don’t assume your bites are bedbugs. Bites can be hard to identify, even for doctors. Rule out mosquitoes, fleas, mites, and biting gnats by conducting a visual inspection. It’s best to collect and identify bedbugs to confirm bites. Look for the bugs themselves or their bloodstains, especially along the seams of mattresses. Further, look for dark spots of insect waste where bedbugs might crawl into hiding places on furniture, walls, and floors.

Bite Back Against Bedbugs

Professional exterminators should get involved right off the bat—tell your landlord, super, hospital administrator, hotel owner, or you call a professional right up front. The exterminator will locate the bed bugs (which may be found in more than one location) and exterminate as needed. YOU will have to do a lot of laundry.В

Up Next

Next Slideshow Title

IMAGES PROVIDED BY:

(1) Getty Images
(2) Nigel Cattlin / Visuals Unlimited
(3) Brand X Pictures
(4) Mark Andersen
(5) В© Pulse Picture Library/CMP Images / Phototake — All rights reserved.
(6) Dr. Kenneth Greer / Visuals Unlimited
(7) Darlyne A. Murawski / National Geographic
(8) Courtesy of Orkin, Inc.
(9) Thinkstock

New York City Department of Heath and Mental Hygiene.
Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet.
University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Lancaster County.
Washington Post.

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson, MD on May 17, 2018

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

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

WebMD Slideshows

View our slideshows to learn more about your health.

Bedbug Bites

Childhood Skin Problems

Photo courtesy of Phil Pellitteri, University of Wisconsin

  • Prev
  • Next

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

Add Comments: