Bed bug infestations have resurged since the 1980s for reasons that are not clear, but contributing factors may be complacency, increased resistance, bans on pesticides, and increased international travel. The U.S. National Pest Management Association reported a 71% increase in bed bug calls between 2000 and 2005. The number of reported incidents in New York City alone rose from 500 in 2004 to 10,000 in 2009. In 2013, Chicago was listed as the number 1 city in the United States with the worst bed bug infestation. As a result, the Chicago City Council passed a bed bug control ordinance to limit their spread. Additionally, bed bugs are reaching places in which they never established before, such as southern South America.
Bed bug bites are caused primarily by two species of insects: Cimex lectularius (the common bed bug) and Cimex hemipterus. They are about 1 to 7 mm in size. Spread is by the bugs walking between nearby locations or being carried within personal items. Infestation is rarely due to a lack of hygiene but is more common in high density areas. Diagnosis involves both finding the bugs and the occurrence of compatible symptoms. Bed bugs spend much of their time in dark locations like mattress seams or cracks in the wall.
However, low-level infestations are also much more challenging to find and correctly identify. Other insects, such as carpet beetles, can be easily mistaken for bed bugs. If you misidentify a bed bug infestation, it gives the bugs more time to spread to other areas of the house or hitchhike a ride to someone else's house to start a new infestation. Learn about identifying bed bugs.
Claude suggested a “hot as you can stand it” shower or bath to treat the bites. The itching will intensify for a few seconds, but then there is the relief which lasts for many hours. Some believe that the heat from the water overloads the ends of your nerves and prevent them from telling your brain to itch. Some think that the heat causes your body to release more histamine than usual and thereby less histamine around the bite. Whatever the reason, it’s commonly used as a solution to itching caused by bites.
In addition to the physical manifestations of bedbug bites, patients can experience significant psychological distress. The stigma that bedbugs are related to poor hygiene (however inaccurate) can lead to poor self-esteem, avoidance of family and friends, and suspension from work.37–39 Management of an infestation can be stressful, costly, and disruptive to everyday life. Worry can lead to insomnia, depression, anxiety, and even delusional parasitosis.37
Cutaneous reactions to bedbug bites can vary widely and are easily confused with other conditions (Table 1).15–19 A typical lesion is a 2- to 20-mm, pruritic, erythematous maculopapule with a central hemorrhagic crust or vesicle.5,8 Macules, papules, wheals (Figure 3), vesicles, bullae, and nodules have all been reported,20 as have asymptomatic lesions with a barely visible punctum as the only evidence of a bite.8 Bites vary in number and are preferentially distributed in unclothed areas (e.g., face, neck, extremities). Unlike many other arthropod and insect bites, bedbug bites are rarely located in the popliteal fossae or axillae.21 Lesions can be noticeable immediately when waking up or several days later, with the reaction often progressing from delayed to immediate with subsequent exposures22–26 (Table 2). The classic bedbug rash is referred to as “breakfast, lunch, and dinner” because it commonly presents as several bites in a row or cluster 20 (Figure 4).
Prior to World War II, infestations of bedbugs were common; however, after the widespread introduction of the use of the insecticide DDT in the mid-20th century, bedbug infestations became much less common. The recent resurgence in infestations of bedbugs worldwide is thought to be related to several different factors, including the increase in international travel, dense urban living conditions, insecticide resistance, and new, ineffective pest control measures.
Although most furnishings need not be discarded, in some cases this may be necessary. This is especially true of heavily infested beds, sofas and recliners where bugs and eggs often reside in hard-to-reach places. Consequently, pest control firms may recommend such items be discarded, especially when in poor condition. When infested items are discarded, bagging or wrapping them prevents dislodgement of bugs en route to the trash.
Although treating bedbug bites isn't difficult, actually getting rid of the bedbugs is another story. A professional exterminator can help. You will need to discard infested mattresses, box springs, and pillows. You can heat treat or cold treat items such as clothing by laundering or freezing. However, the room itself will need to be treated to eliminate bedbugs that can live in cracks in walls, floors, and furniture.
One thing I’ve noticed is my cat is unaffected by all this. I’m assuming I’m the tastier option of the two but I’m not discounting the fact she may be spreading eggs around my apartment. she has been carefully inspected from tip to tail with a nit brush and she has no bites, isn’t scratching and seems to be just as snug as a bug in a rug. To be precautionary I am going to begin dusting her with flea powder in the morning when i go buy some.
Hi, I’ve been in my apartment for over 8 years. We just had new neighbors move into our building. Now me and my children are getting bit at night by something. So, this morning, I was sitting on the couch in my bedroom and a bug crawled up my pants’ leg. I captured it in a plastic bag. I believe it’s a bed bug but is there a way to submit a picture to you, so you can take a look? Thank you!
The significant resurgence of bedbugs in the past decade has been attributed to pesticide resistance, more frequent travel, lack of public awareness, and inadequate pest control programs. Bedbugs are obligate blood parasites (insect family Cimicidae). They can withstand a large range of temperatures but are attracted to warmth and carbon dioxide. They typically feed just before dawn. Cutaneous reactions to bedbug bites can include macules, papules, wheals, vesicles, bullae, and nodules. Bites may be confused with other skin conditions. Bedbug bite reactions are typically self-limited and resolve within one to two weeks without treatment. Bedbug infestation may cause significant psychological distress. The diagnosis of a bedbug infestation is based on history, appearance of bites, and inspection of sleeping quarters. Although there is no evidence that bedbugs transmit disease, systemic reactions may include asthma, angioedema, generalized urticaria, iron deficiency anemia, and, rarely, anaphylaxis. An integrated pest management strategy should be employed to eliminate infestation. Tactics include vacuuming, heat or cold treatment, trapping devices, and pesticides.
We have bedbugs. They are all over the house. In all of the rooms. My daughter feels that it would be safer to sleep outside than in this house. My son has really sensitive skin and the bedbugs love to attack him. One night he just kept twisting and turning because he must have been itching. We have had to get rid of all of our beds and have had to sleep on the floor. The floor is safer than the beds but not by much. The bedbugs seem to be everywhere. On the walls, on the floor, with you, or in your beds. We have tried many things so if anyone has any advice, it would be very much appreciated.
Likewise, if I get bitten by a bed bug, I usually get a rather bad rash which is extremely sensitive to touch while they are hardly visible on my husband. If your bites become very itchy, you need to resist the urge to scratch the affected area as this can make the problem worse and cause further inflammation, infection or even bleeding. According to the Center for Disease Control, bed bug bites can even cause insomnia due to the fear of being bitten. This can result in a lack of energy and dramatically increased anxiety levels.
I am freaking out. I woke up with one bump on my hand yesterday and tonight at about 2am i woke up with my hand itching again…there is a swollen lump about an inch away from yesterdays bump and then there are two swollen itchy lumps right by my wrist…there is also a swollen itchy lump on my chin… I am freaking out because i work in people’s homes so i always have this fear of bringing something home and recently a client hadn’t some bites on her back that looked similar to this. They went down as I rubbed alcohol. Ive had bites at a friends house similar to this n there are lots of spiders where she lives. It doesnt look like bed bigs but maybe some kind of house spider maybe getting to me at night(im in philadelphia). But again swelling and extremely itchy. I dont see bed big signs on my bed or anything can i email u a pic of my hand and face? I am itching so badly amd i cannot turn the lights back out and fall to sleep im paranoid. I cant stand any bugs.
Medical treatment is usually not needed for bedbug bites. If required, medical treatment is aimed at relieving the symptoms (like itching) caused by bedbug bites. In the rare cases of a systemic allergic reaction or a secondary skin infection, evaluation by a health care professional may be necessary. Individuals may also want to seek medical care if they are unsure of what is causing their skin lesions.
Probably chiggers -- they are very small, red mites that usually cannot be seen with the naked eye. They are about as small as the period at the end of this sentence. To stop the itching, use OraJel (usually sold for teething babies), which contains benzocaine (an anesthetic). Also, rub in hydrocortisone cream. To prevent chigger bites, wear long pants and stuff the cuffs into your socks.
Bed bugs have five immature nymph life stages and a final sexually mature adult stage. They shed their skins through ecdysis at each stage, discarding their outer exoskeleton. Newly hatched nymphs are translucent, lighter in color, and become browner as they moult and reach maturity. Bed bugs may be mistaken for other insects, such as booklice, small cockroaches, or carpet beetles; however, when warm and active, their movements are more ant-like, and like most other true bugs, they emit a characteristic disagreeable odor when crushed.
Bed bugs usually bite people at night while they are sleeping. Hungry bed bugs may also feed during the daytime, especially if this is when the occupant normally sleeps. They feed by piercing the skin with an elongated beak through which they withdraw blood. Engorgement of the bed bug takes roughly three to 10 minutes, but because the bite is painless, the person seldom realizes they are being bitten. Bed bugs normally do not reside on people like head or body lice do; instead, immediately after feeding, bed bugs crawl to a secluded location to digest their meal. Symptoms after being bitten by bed bugs vary from person to person. Many develop an itchy red welt within a day or so of the bite. Others have little or no reaction. Sometimes the reaction is delayed days or even weeks after the actual bite occurs, which can make it difficult to determine where or when bites actually occurred. Studies conducted in bed bug-infested apartments suggest about 30 percent of people do not react even when bitten repeatedly over time, and there is still higher incidence of non-reactivity among the elderly. Unlike flea bites, which occur mainly around the lower legs and ankles, bed bugs feed on any skin exposed while sleeping (face, neck, shoulders, back, arms, legs, etc.). The welts and itching are often wrongly attributed to other causes, such as mosquitoes. For these reasons, infestations may go a long time unnoticed, and can become quite large before being detected.
About a week ago I woke up with bites on my legs starting at my ankle up to my thigh. They were sparse but could be counted as grouped or lined. I have no bites anywhere else and have not gotten anymore bites since this happened. My husband shares the bed and our two small children (3 years and 17 months) are frequent bed joiners and none of them have any bites. I sleep with pj pants on and under blankets so it wouldn’t be the most exposed skin that I have at night. However I have no recall of being bitten and had pants on during the day. The bites were itchy for about two days and then they are just red. I am wondering if they could be bed bugs. I am having trouble sleeping because of the uncertainty. I have pics I could post.
Never treat any bedding, mattress, etc. with anything other than the treatments listed: borax, enzyme cleaner, Comet, sodium borate. Other pesticides and exterminating fluids can be harmful to humans. Even so, bedding and mattresses treated with chemicals such as borax or Comet should be left outside to dry naturally in the sun, then wrapped in plastic before next use, so as not to irritate the skin.
This question is answered by the condition of the mattress and the size of infestation. If there are holes or tears in the gauze fabric or fabric of the mattress, bed bugs and eggs may be inside, as well as outside. There are restrictions on how beds can be treated with insecticides. We carry both Mattress Safe Bed Bug Encasements and ActiveGuard Mattress Liners.