Bed Bug Bite Picture

" Bed bug bite picture viewing can be a helpful way to determine if the marks on your arm are in fact due to bedbugs or are caused by other parasites such as mosquitoes or fleas. Bedbug Bite marks can be different from person to person since it is an allergic reaction to a bite.  Some people are not allergic while others are hypersensitive to the saliva mix left behind by the bedbug skin puncture."

Bed bug bite picture collection seen below have been selected to show the full range of bedbug bite reactions.  Bed bugs do not actually bite.  They have two protrusions on the head or tubes which puncture the skin.  They will feed for 3 to 15 minutes before returning to their hiding place.

Bed bug bite reactions can appear within an hour or as long as 14 days later.  Bite reactions that appear within a day will heal by themselves within 2 to 5 days.  Reactions that are delayed, can last a few days longer.

People that are allergic to bed bug bites often have a stronger reaction after each biting episode.  This is the body getting more and more sensitive to the bites.  If you have a reaction at all, it is usually a small red raised area, with a clear center.  The center is where the bedbug punctured the skin.  Less common are more severe reactions such as the formation of a wheal, which is a red area 1 to 2 inches in circumference and blistering on the skin.

Bed bug bites are also seen on areas of the body that are exposed during sleep.  This includes the legs, shoulders and neck.  It is rare to have bites on the bottoms of the feet.  If this is the case, then the problem could be scabies, which is a condition caused by mites.

Beyond the red skin reaction, bed bug bites tend to itch.  Use either an itch cream made for the bites such as All Stop Healing and Protection Spray, or buy an over the counter itch cream made for insect bites.  Do not scratch the bites, as this may introduce bacteria into the bites which can cause infection.  If the bites do not resolve themselves, see a Doctor as a prescription oral or topical anti-biotic may be needed.  Bed bugs do not spread disease to humans.

Bed Bug Bite Picture - Mild Reaction

The picture below shows a bed bug bite reaction approximately 1 hour after the subject was bitten.  

Pictures of Bed Bug Bites

bed bug bite picture
Bed Bug Bite Picture
3MM Skin Lesions 1 Hour after Bed Bug Bite

bed bug bite picture
Bed Bug Bite Picture
Source UNLV - Raised Bites

Bed Bug Bite Picture - Bite Patterns

bed bug bite picture

Bed bug bites tend to be seen in patterns on the skin.  They can be differentiated from other possible causes by the location (exposed areas of the body during sleep), appearance (clear in the middle), size (most bites are 3/8 inch), pattern,, which is usually in a line, and itch.

Bed Bug Bite - Blistering

In some less common cases, a bite reaction can result in a blistering on the skin:

bed bug bite picture
Bed Bug Bite Picture - Blisters

bed bug bite picture
Rare Severe Case of Bed Bug Bite Blisters

Bed Bug Bites Compared to Mosquito Bites

It is easy to confuse bed bug bites with mosquito bites.  Bed Bug bites can be differentiated by:

  • Location: Bed bugs bite at night in areas of exposed skin during sleep.  They are rarely on the bottoms of the feet and hands.
  • Pattern: Bedbug bites are often in a straight line or cluster. However, single bites are possible.
  • Symptoms: Bites from bedbugs itch
  • Appearance: Bed bug bites in most people are small round red areas on the skin, with a clear center.
Mosquito bites tend to appear on random areas of the body and are not in a pattern or cluster.  

picture mosquito bites
Mosquito Bite Picture
bed bug bite picture
Bed Bug Bite Picture

How to Get Rid of Bedbugs

Whether you live in a home or are a tenant in an apartment, a good first step is always to call in a professional exterminator.  Pest control experts can provide education and confirm the size of the bed bug problem.   It's a good idea to call in a National firm that shares information on bed bugs across offices such as Terminix (877-291-4849) and local firms with Bed Bug Experience such as a member of the Service Magic network (877-233-1145).

Special Consideration for Apartment Owners and Tenants:
If you live in an apartment, getting rid of bedbugs requires a coordinated effort among home owners.  Bed bugs will move approximately  100 feet in each direction of where they were placed in an apartment or home.   There is a 7% chance that they will move to rooms above and below the infested room.  There is a 20% chance that bed bugs will move to an adjacent apartment. 

If you rent, regulations vary by State regarding who is responsible for a bed bug infestation in an apartment.  Even when a landlord takes responsibility, they may try and charge those that they believe are responsible.

In the interim, a do it yourself kit could be used such as the one available from Dermisil for Bed Bugs. You can also follow some of our bed bugs information tips . One tip is to seal all cracks with caulk, use a residual spray along the baseboards such as Phantom or Bedlam, and spread some Fossil Dust into cracks and crevices for some level of protection.

bed bug bite picture
Use Bed Bug Spray Along Baseboard Cracks for Protection When Bed Bugs are in Adjoining Apartments

Bed Bugs at Home: As mentioned above, It pays to consider the use of a pest control professional since bedbugs need to be both found in their hiding places and then killed.  This is why bed bug sniffing dogs are often used to locate bedbugs based on their unique odor. The only downside is cost, which can involve a fee for the on-site inspection (up to $100) and then another fee for the treatment which can cost up to $1000 or more depending on the size of the home and the extent of the problem.  Consumer reviews for contractors are available from Angies list .  You can also find names of bed bug exterminators on our list of experts found here .

If you can't afford a professional, then be sure to buy a good bed bug spray product.  One multi-purpose spray that is mattress safe and that comes highly recommended is
Sterifab .  It is what is known as a knock down spray as it kills bed bugs and bed bug eggs on contact.  This type of spray should be combined with a residual spray product such as Phantom , since it provides several weeks of protection, but takes several days to take effect, since it interferes with the bed bug life cycle.


Bed Bugs (Cimex lectularius)
and Clinical Consequences of Their Bites
Jerome Goddard, PhD
Richard deShazo, MD

University of Kentucky Department of Entomology

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