Avoidance is the best means of preventing bedbug infestation.8 While traveling, sleeping quarters and bedding should be closely inspected for signs of bedbugs. Suitcases should be placed on metal racks away from walls and furniture. Frequent travelers might consider obtaining a portable heating unit for luggage and clothing (e.g., Packtite) as an additional precaution. Items at yard sales and secondhand stores should also be carefully examined before purchase.8  All potentially infested items should be sorted and sealed in plastic bags and removed only when ready to be disinfested (see Table 36 for instructions regarding effective care of infested items). Wearing long-sleeved nightclothes can minimize exposed skin, and although insect repellants have not been shown to be reliably effective, oil of lemon eucalyptus or diethyltoluamide (DEET) might help deter bites.44,45


Before you run off and buy every cream the pharmacy stocks, you’ll want to confirm that the marks are actually from bed bugs. Even if they match the description – round, red marks that may bump, swell, itch, and/or burn – the marks could be allergic reactions to food or fabric, irritations from a rough material, or bites from another pest like mosquitoes or carpet beetles.
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.

No. Bed bugs are also pests in poultry operations, and they're known to parasitize bats. Some labs that study bed bugs rear them on guinea pigs and mice. The bugs might feed on cats and dogs. Fur is probably a barrier to them, but they could feed at any place on the body without fur. Bed bugs are not specific to humans, but they are adapted to parasitizing us.
My husband for 5 yrs had been getting bites on one knee and on his stomach about every other month or so. They are maybe 3 or 4 on stomach area and maybe 6 or 7 on the knee – always same knee and same area on stomach. We wondered about bed bugs so we put DE out, corked all openings and cracks, and sprayed – we have never seen signs of the bed bugs, we put the mattress and box springs in the bed bug proof cover. If it were bed bugs would they not bite some where else and would you not get more of them after all this time? The only bug we have seen are the ones that look like lady bugs sometimes but I understand they do not bite!
So wear a face mask and just… bleach the crap out of your bed frame. Cover the mattress, repeatedly super heat your bedding and such, and bleach bleach bleach. MAKE SURE TO CHECK YOUR MATTRESS COVER. I did kill a few trying to hide in the zipper area. I picked out the crawlies with gloves and killed them, then repeatedly did a bleach scrub in case of any eggs. I do recommend the sticky traps a lot because if you keep your bed away from any walls or furniture, then the sticky traps will let you know if the bed bugs are coming from elsewhere.

Infestations with bedbugs date back to ancient Egypt.1 The incidence of bedbugs in developed countries decreased in the 1940s because of the availability of more effective pesticides (especially DDT) and improved economic and social conditions.2 In the past decade, however, a significant resurgence of bedbug populations has occurred. This is attributed to a combination of factors, including increased pesticide resistance, more frequent travel, lack of public awareness, and inadequate pest control programs.3 In a 2010 survey, 95 percent of more than 500 U.S. pest management companies reported encountering a bedbug infestation during the preceding year, compared with only 25 percent of companies during 2000.4 Bedbugs spread actively by migrating from one infested room to another, often through ventilation ducts. They also spread passively, carried in the seams of travelers’ luggage, bedding, or furniture.5 Bedbugs do not travel directly on human hosts.6

Summer means more time outdoors–and more opportunity for annoying critters to bite you. Most of the time, all you’ll get is a little red bump with itching and maybe a little swelling. These insect bite symptoms can be treated easily with anti-itch creams and over-the-counter antihistamines. Occasionally, bites can cause allergic reactions that lead to severe swelling and shortness of breath; if that happens to you this season, you need to be seen by a doctor.
Hi Samantha! I highly recommend spending about 15min to investigate your bed (especially on the corners and don’t forget to look under the sheets, etc). If there are no signs of bed bugs, then I suggest that you don’t worry about it. Additionally, I have had itchy bites after a nights sleep and it turned out to be a once off occurrence, so just take action if it keeps happening. Hope that helps, sorry for the delayed response.
In comparison to other insect bites, bed bug bite marks are usually in groups of three or more when they appear on the skin. This is sometimes called the “breakfast, lunch and supper bites”. As you can see in the picture below, the bites are rather close to each other. Their bites often look like little red bumps, pimples or even blisters and welts. Some people can also mistake them for flea bites. If one of these insects bite you, you usually won’t even feel it as it uses a form of anesthetic which dulls the pain. Bed bugs also are known to leave bite marks in a straight line, also in close proximity to each other. A single bed bug can bite you a number of times during the night. However, if you have a bed bug infestation, there are usually a large number of these little pests and this can result in a multitude of bite marks. Please also remember that some people may not have a negative reaction to these bites. In fact, sometimes they are mistaken for spider bites, even by medical professionals so make sure you let your doctor know if you feel it could be a bite from bedbugs. Lastly, you will be happy to learn that bed bugs do not fly so you won’t be attacked from the air.
Bedbug bite reactions are self-limited and typically resolve within one to two weeks without intervention.15 There is no evidence that any treatment alters the natural history of bedbug dermatitis.8 If pruritus is present, nonprescription topical antipruritic preparations containing the active ingredient doxepin, or intermediate potency corticosteroids may be beneficial. Mupirocin (Bactroban) and/or systemic antibiotics should be considered in the treatment of superinfected bites.8

just got back from two weekends of traveling to two diff locations. noticed a slight rash yesterday on the side of my ribs and a couple smaller itchy spots on one side of my stomach, etc. i don’t think it was from the first weekend of travelling as my bed companion didn’t get anything. the second weekend was at a college campus, but i had wiped the bed down before putting sheets and a sleeping bag over it. got back home sunday and noticed the itch yesterday (tuesday). so now i’m freaking out and assuming the worst scenarios. i’ve washed and dried all my clothes (though i did leave my suitcase out for two days before i even realized the itch), my sheets, and used a handheld steamer on my mattress, clorox / lysol the edge of my bed and the wooden frame, vacuumed all open areas on my wooden floor, etc. not sure if i should go to urgent care or what, but i’ve so far used hydrocortisone (previously already prescribed). can you please help or can i send you photos since you’re more familiar with this? never happened to be at home before all 20 something years so now i’m terrified i brought something back with me!
Hello! I am not sure if we have bed bugs or not. It seems like I am the only one getting bit. We co-sleep with our children and neither of them have signs of any kind of bites. I wake up with bite marks underneath my breasts and sometimes behind my knees. The bites itch for only a few minutes and disappear a few minutes after. We have looked through our mattress and have found no signs of anything. No blood smears nor any fecal matter. Could my bites be caused by something else.
i found some thing that works i put a heavy blanket against the couch and then use itching cream called gold bond medicated cream use the maximum kind use it on every part u have been bitten do this for a while u will start to see a change the bites will start to go away slowly until they r all gone also make sure to wash where ever you have been bitten in cold water and use a lot of soap wash them good then use the medicated cream just some tips i have bed bugs and i have been bitten and it sucks it itches bad but i have found that this works!

In conclusion, bed bug bites can be a pain to deal with (pun intended) but with a few natural or product based remedies, treatment is rather easy. Most of the time, these bites can be extremely itchy and may cause a slight swelling, depending on how sensitive the victims skin is. However, caution needs to be taken when more adverse symptoms develop and if this happens to you or a family member, it’s a good idea to contact your doctor immediately! I invite you to share this post with your friends and I hope you have a fantastic day!
This content is owned by the AAFP. A person viewing it online may make one printout of the material and may use that printout only for his or her personal, non-commercial reference. This material may not otherwise be downloaded, copied, printed, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any medium, whether now known or later invented, except as authorized in writing by the AAFP. Contact afpserv@aafp.org for copyright questions and/or permission requests.
General housecleaning measures, (e.g. vacuuming floors and surfaces), seldom reach where bed bugs hide. For this reason, repetitive vacuuming by occupants may not be worth the effort, especially compared to other important preparatory activities. Targeted vacuuming of bed bugs and infested harborages, however, can help remove some of the bugs before other treatment measures are undertaken. Bed bugs and especially the eggs can be difficult to dislodge. Optimum results will be achieved by moving and scraping the end of the suction wand along infested areas such as seams and fabric folds of beds and sofas, and the perimeter edge of wall-to-wall carpet. Bed bugs can survive the high speed trip down a vacuum, so it’s important to carefully dispose of the vacuum contents in a sealed trash bag afterwards. 

I have what I guess can be described as a mild case of bed bugs in one of my cars, weird I know but in the process of taking care of it. Anyway I get bites around my elbows and it gets really itchy and bothersome for almost a week. What I found works wonders for me is simply taking 1000 mg of motrin once a day. I had a huge welt that looked swollen and red and taking motrin calmed it down and made it stop itching for almost a full day at a time.
Thank God I don’t have to replace any of my furniture yet or I wouldn’t know what I would do, because my income is limited also…if the landlords were more cooperative in dealing with this the problem of bed bugs wouldn’t be a problem….I read something about bed frame posts to put on each foot of the bed and it keeps the bugs from entering your bed…also to use at least 5lbs. of Diatomaceous earth or perma guard, it’s a safe powder substance you spread all over your house, on rugs, cracks foundations etc. and this seems to kill them you leave it down for a few days..the cost is minimal as low as $10.00- $15.00. Well worth the investment, you can purchase it online, EBay or your local feed and supply store.
I have no idea what works…. all the benedryl, cortizone, calamine lotion, and any cream/ointment said that they help with insect bites DOES NOT work. Once you start scratching, it’s over, you are going to scratch until the cows come home. If I am able to the trick is not to scratch at all. The enzyme is only released when you scratch, unless you are highly allergic like the picture that is show above, and I thought I was allergic, guess not.

Bedbug bites usually do not require any treatment. If you develop itching of the skin around the site of the bite, you can use an over-the-counter antihistamine pill or cream such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl). Some individuals may also experience relief from the itching by applying a hot washcloth directly to the affected area. Try to avoid scratching the skin, as this can cause skin breakdown and a subsequent secondary bacterial skin infection.


Bed bug bites do not typically require treatment. It is best to clean the bite site(s) with soap and water and avoid scratching so as to prevent secondary infection. Progressive swelling, warmth, tenderness and sometimes (albeit rarely) fever may be signs of secondary infection, which should be managed with antibiotics as appropriate. Much more common are complaints of itching. For how to treat bed bug bites that cause severe itching, topical steroid creams or oral antihistamines may offer relief from itching and thus decrease the risk of infecting the bite site.
For those concerned about bedbug infestations in hotels, an important tip is that you can inspect any hotel room for the presence of the telltale signs of bedbugs. It is important to check the mattress and headboard, and luggage racks. In hotels, keeping your suitcase away from the bed and on a luggage rack can help prevent bedbugs from infesting your luggage. When you return home, inspect your luggage and put clothes immediately into the washer. While washing clothes in hot water does not kill bedbugs, drying clothes at a high temperature can eliminate them.
It was stated in 2012 that no truly effective insecticides were available.[6] Insecticides that have historically been found effective include pyrethroids, dichlorvos, and malathion.[4] Resistance to pesticides has increased significantly over time, and harm to health from their use is of concern.[3] The carbamate insecticide propoxur is highly toxic to bed bugs, but it has potential toxicity to children exposed to it, and the US Environmental Protection Agency has been reluctant to approve it for indoor use.[33] Boric acid, occasionally applied as a safe indoor insecticide, is not effective against bed bugs[34] because they do not groom.[35]

Scabies is very common in shelters. Permethrin. Cream applied head to toe then wages off in the shower the next morning should clear it up. Also ALL bedding must be washed in hot borax and ammonia water the best day. All surfaces must be wipe down with 50% water and 50% rubbing alcohol. Thorough vacuuming of the bedroom washing curtains and miniblinda. All clothes must be washed in hot water. Good luck
Pulled back the sheet and sure enough there were bugs. I saw 2, but I believe there were more. I killed the two then he went to report it to the front desk and they did nothing about it. We checked out the next day and i did not have a reaction until 3 days later after we left for Orlando. Went to the pharmacy, got lanacane oinment and other meds for the itching. Its been 2weeks since the bite and I’m still itching like crazy. Luckily I came on this site and i tried the baking soda paste and it seems to be working. I also used the witch hazel and will try raw aloe also. I hate to little black bugs.
Firstly, its important to remember that, despite their daily diet of blood, bed bugs will not transfer blood based diseases (such as AIDS, etc.). However, in very rare cases, these bites have been known to cause Anaphylaxis, which is an adverse allergic reaction that covers the entire body in a rash. After being bitten by a bed bug, be alert for any of these potential complications:

If you suspect an infestation, experts recommend finding a professional exterminator who has experience dealing with bedbugs. Sprayed insecticides are commonly used to treat infestations, and exterminators may also use nonchemical methods, such as devices to heat a room above 122 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsius), a lethal temperature for bedbugs, according to the Mayo Clinic. Freezing infested items for a few days at temperatures below 0 F (-18 C) may also put bedbugs to permanent rest, according to the University of Minnesota. But you may have to throw out heavily infested mattresses and other items of furniture.
Hi Samantha! I highly recommend spending about 15min to investigate your bed (especially on the corners and don’t forget to look under the sheets, etc). If there are no signs of bed bugs, then I suggest that you don’t worry about it. Additionally, I have had itchy bites after a nights sleep and it turned out to be a once off occurrence, so just take action if it keeps happening. Hope that helps, sorry for the delayed response.
To treat an allergic reaction, the doctor may prescribe an antihistamine, corticosteroid, or epinephrine injection. If the area is infected, he or she might prescribe an antibiotic or recommend an over-the-counter antiseptic. Finally, if it’s severe itchiness that you’re dealing with, applying corticosteroid or taking an antihistamine in pill or liquid form may be able to help.
×