Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are small, flat, parasitic insects that only feed on the blood of humans and animals while they sleep. They are reddish-brown in color, about 1mm to 7mm in size, and can live for several months without a blood meal. Bed bugs are not known to spread diseases, but their presence can cause itching and loss of sleep. Excessive scratching can increase the chance of secondary skin infections. Bed bugs are found all over the world and the cleanliness does not determine the presence of bed bugs.
Unlike cockroaches and flies that feed on filth, there is often no relationship between bed bugs and cleanliness. Since the bugs feed solely on blood, pristine dwellings can be as vulnerable to infestation as are places of squalor. That said, poverty and privation can lead to increased risk of bed bug problems, as can the inability to hire a professional exterminator.    
While you are sleeping, bed bugs will bite using their mouthparts, commonly referred to as beaks. As they bite, they release an anticoagulant in their saliva preventing your blood from clotting. This allows them to receive a steady two- to three-minute blood meal—what they need in order to survive and reproduce. Bed bugs will not bite in defense, they will only bite for the sole purpose of feeding.
All of the stages of bed bugs are visible, at least if you don't need reading glasses and you have a sufficient amount of light. So if you're looking closely enough, you can even see bugs in the nymphal first instar stage. A fecal spot, for its part, can be as large as a bed bug itself in terms of the area it covers. The spots are basically digested blood, so most are dark in color. On a white mattress, they stand out pretty well.
Conventional insect repellents, like those used to deter ticks and mosquitoes, do not appear to be as effective against bed bugs. Therefore, attempting to avoid being bitten by applying insect repellent at bedtime is not recommended. Sleeping with the lights on is also not likely to deter hungry bed bugs, as they will adjust their feeding cycle to the host’s sleeping patterns. 
I’m suffering a similar problem. I had a friend who stayed with me on and off for a few months. She just didn’t tell me she had bed bugs right away. I had three kids and one on he way at the time. I bombed everything, threw out lots of things, and washed everything. Its now been a year and they’re back. Only now i have three kids and I have recently become the only income. Im barely holding rent and i don’t know what to do. I’m about ready to burn everything i own. I just can’t take it. I work 40 hrs., go to school, and have a child starting school in a week. Urgggg!!!!!!
Well I had my house tented for bed bugs. It cost me $2600. My home is about 2000 sq ft. They said it wasn’t necessary to wash anything unlike some of the other treatments. It is more than worth it to me as long as it works. I haven’t stayed in my house for over a week now. I’m still itching, but no new bites. Is that common, to still itch for so long afterwards? I just don’t feel comfy/cozy at home any more. I don’t want to be here. I’m seriously thinking of selling or renting my home and moving out. I’ll keep you posted as to whether it worked or not as soon as I can start staying home again.
WE have been dealing with these pests for over a month now! WE are covered with welts and itch continuously. I tried bathing in shaving cream and get some relief. the shaving cream has a disinfectant in it that purifies the skins and relieves itching for several hours. I still find a stray bed bug every now and then but we have almost got the problem solved.
Hi been getting bites since March. I have been to three doctors who all say the bites are not bed bug bites due to the pattern of the bites. This weekend I got bit again I have one on my leg and a two on my waistline. One of really big and the other are two small ones that are really red. I woke up in the middle of the night and saw a small bug on pillow and one on wall by bed and took a picture and from looking online looks like pic could be a bed bug or chigger. We have already checked the mattress a bunch and found no signs of bed bugs. Can I send you a pic so you can confirm what the bug might be?

Bed bugs are active mainly at night. During the daytime, they prefer to hide close to where people sleep. Their flattened bodies enable them to fit into tiny crevices--especially those associated with mattresses, box springs, bed frames and headboards. Bed bugs do not have nests like ants or bees, but do tend to congregate in habitual hiding places. Characteristically, these areas are marked by dark spotting and staining, which is the dried excrement of the bugs. Also present will be hatched and un-hatched eggs, the tannish shed skins of maturing nymphs, and the bugs themselves. Another possible sign are rusty or reddish smears on bed sheets or mattresses from crushed engorged bed bugs. Although it’s often stated that bed bugs have a telltale “buggy” odor, the smell is seldom evident except in extreme infestations and should not be relied upon for detection.

Some preparation is still required (e.g. removal of heat-sensitive items such as aerosol cans, indoor plants and medications), but it is seldom necessary to bag, launder and/or hot dry bedding and clothing since these items will be heated along with other furnishings. Another advantage of heat treatment is that infestations can often be eliminated in one day, rather than over multiple days or weeks. Conversely, heat treatment alone has no lasting (residual) effect should bed bugs be reintroduced into the dwelling. Consequently, some companies recommend concurrently applying residual insecticides. To further minimize reintroduction, occupants are advised to take as few belongings as possible with them while the heat treatment is in progress.    
Your replies to these questions are great! I have a question for you. I’ve recently returned home after spending a week in a hotel and the day after I returned I noticed 4 red dots which could be bites on my waist line. They don’t itch or hurt but I’ve never had anything like this before. I can send you a picture if you tell me how. I’m worried that they may be bed bug bites.
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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.
Application entails treating all areas where the bugs are found or tend to hide or crawl. This takes considerable effort and follow-ups are usually needed. Companies typically treat seams, folds and crevices of bed components, chairs and sofas, but usually will not spray the entire sleeping surface or seating area. They also do not spray bed sheets, blankets or clothing, which instead should be hot washed or heated in a dryer. 

Bedbugs are small oval-shaped non-flying insects that belong to the insect family Cimicidae, which includes three species that bite people. Adult bedbugs reach 5 mm-7 mm in length, while nymphs (juveniles) are as small as 1.5 mm. Bedbugs have flat bodies and may sometimes be mistaken for ticks or small cockroaches. Bedbugs feed by sucking blood from humans or animals. Cimex lectularius is the scientific name for bedbugs.

Unlike those of other insects, bed bug bites may sometimes appear in tight lines of multiple, small, red marks where multiple bed bugs have fed along an exposed area. Bed bug bites can cause itchiness. Initially, a victim may detect a slight burning sensation. The burning area then develops red bumps, known as papules or wheals (rash). In extreme cases, bites may swell dramatically or turn into blister-like skin inflammations.
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