Bed Bugs Bites

"Bed bugs bites can range in appearance from small punctures to collections of red bumps on the skin.  Bites are usually the first sign people see of a bedbug infestation.  Bed bugs do not carry disease, however bites can itch.  They will heal by themselves in about a week.  Each time a person is bitten, episodes, which are actually allergic reactions, can get progressively worse."  

Bed bugs bites are an allergic reaction to a bed bug.  When a bed bug punctures the skin (not really a bite), they leave behind saliva when drinking their blood meal.  The puncture is made by two tubed that are on the head of the bedbug  An allergic reaction to the saliva is what causes the redness or allergic reaction.  

The appearance of Bedbug bites varies between people depending on the extent of the allergic reaction.  Some people may not show any symptoms, while others can have a more severe reaction.  Many people ask "do bedbugs bite." It's not exactly a bite but the bug taking a sip of blood and causing a skin reaction.  You may or may not feel the slight feeling on the skin caused when the bite is happening.

Bed bugs hide within 1 to 2 meters of their host which means that the majority of bedbugs are hiding in and around the mattress, box spring and bed frame.

How Do You Know You Have Bed Bugs Bites?

It is easy to mistake bed bugs bites with the bites of other insects such as mosquitoes.  Here are the general signs of a bite.  See pictures of bed bugs bites below.

Sign Bedbug Bite Description
Bite Pattern Clear middle with red circle.  Bite can be raised.  The bite itself can appear raised or inflamed.  Called a wheal.
Symptoms Bed bug bites itch
Location Bed bugs bite on exposed areas of the body including the neck, legs and arms.  They avoid the bottom of the feet.  Bites on the feet could be scabies.
Appearance Bites appear in clusters in either a line or triangular area

Appearance and Location of BedBugs Bites

The pattern of bites may vary.  In general any redness that forms surrounds the puncture in the shape of a small red ring or raised area which is clinically referred to as a wheal. 

Bites are usually found on areas that are exposed when sleeping such as the arms and legs.  It is rare for a bed bug to bite the bottom of the feet.

If you see rows of bites, it was probably caused by several bugs that were hiding along the seams of a mattress.  A feeding lasts for 5 minutes and occurs in intervals of 5 to 10 days.  A bedbug cannot move to the next phase of their life cycle unless they feed.

Symptoms of bedbugs bites get progressively worse each time a person is bitting.  For some reason, the body becomes more sensitive to bites over time.  Even if you had no symptoms the first time bitting, the second time could result in bite marks.  Severe reactions can result in blistering on the skin.  Very allergic people can has symptoms such as an allergic reaction.

Treating Bites

In general, the bedbug bites themselves to not require treatment and will heal within a week, if not scratched by the person that was bitten (scratching leads to infection).  Bedbugs do not spread disease and therefore, people do not require treatment to protect against the saliva left behind by the bugs.  

The number 1 symptoms to bedbugs is itch.   Try and resist the temptation to itch the skin, as breaking the skin can cause infection to form.  If any infection starts to form, or if you believe their is a risk of infection, use an anti-biotic ointment on the affected area.  If the bite area does not heal within a weeks time, visit your Doctor to get a stronger anti-biotic and anti-itch cream.  Oral anti-biotics might be necessary if infection starts to spread.

 Itch relief can be found using an over the counter itch remedy such as All Stop Healing and Protection Spray  which was made specifically for itch caused by bed bugs and also helps to stop infection.  The same company also makes a kit and has excellent information on how to fight a bed bug infestation in your home or apartment.

Pictures of Bed Bugs Bites

Bites appear as red ringed raised areas around the puncture made during feeding.  They can vary in size and pattern.

bed bugs bites picture
Bed Bug Lesions on Skin after 30 Minutes
(Source: J. Goddard PHD, R. deShazo PHD)

picture bed bugs bite
Picture of Bed Bugs Bites on Arm

bed bugs bites pictures
Picture of Bed Bug Bites on Leg

A stronger allergic reaction to bed bug bites can turn into blisters.

bed bugs bites pictures
Picture of BedBug Bites Blister on Arm

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