Bedbugs reproduce by a gruesome strategy appropriately named "traumatic insemination," in which the male stabs the female's abdomen and injects sperm into the wound. During their life cycle, females can lay more than 200 eggs, which hatch and go through five immature "nymph" stages before reaching their adult form, molting after each phase. [Infographic: Bedbugs: The Life of a Mini-Monster]
These nocturnal creatures can hide in beds, floors, furniture, wood, and paper trash during the day. We humans usually become their dinner during the night, with peak biting activity just before dawn.They can obtain their meal in as little as three minutes, after which they are engorged and drop off the host, then crawl into a hiding place to digest their meal. Bedbugs can live for 10 months, and can go weeks without feeding.
We've partnered with The Foundation for Learning and Youth Travel Education (FLYTE), a nonprofit organization that empowers youth living in underserved communities through transformative travel experiences. FLYTE teaches that we are more alike than we realize. By bridging the gap between fear and understanding, FLYTE empowers future generations by connecting them to the world.
Bedbugs are small, flat, wingless insects with six legs that, like mosquitoes, feed on blood from animals or people. They range in color from almost white to brown, but they turn rusty red after feeding. The common bedbug doesn't grow much longer than 0.2 inches (0.5 centimeters) and can be seen by the naked eye to the astute observer.  Bedbugs get their name because they like to hide in bedding and mattresses.
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. 
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.
Bed bugs were first mentioned in Germany in the 11th century, in France in the 13th century, and in England in 1583,[50] though they remained rare in England until 1670. Some in the 18th century believed bed bugs had been brought to London with supplies of wood to rebuild the city after the Great Fire of London (1666). Giovanni Antonio Scopoli noted their presence in Carniola (roughly equivalent to present-day Slovenia) in the 18th century.[52][53]
Just came back from a hotel stay, have one VERY itchy bite on my wrist. I don’t know for sure that it is a bed bug bite butI haven’t unpacked my bags yet, so hopefully everything is safe. Right now I have an aloe and lidocaine gel over the bite, but when I get home I may try soaking it in tea bath. the tannin in black tea can also help with itching and swelling.
Scratching can cause superinfection, leading to impetigo, cellulitis, or folliculitis.27–32 Reactions typically resolve within one to two weeks without treatment.32 Systemic reactions have been described, including asthma, generalized urticaria, angioedema, iron deficiency anemia, and, very rarely, anaphylaxis.33–36 Although bedbugs have been suspected to be vectors of more than 40 microorganisms, there is no evidence that they are involved in the transmission of disease.5

The bites themselves don't usually pose any major health risk since bedbugs are not known to spread diseases, but an allergic reaction to the bites may require medical attention, CDC officials say. There have also been some strange cases linked to bedbug infestations. Researchers reported in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in 2009 that they treated a 60-year-old man for anemia caused by blood loss from bedbug bites. Another study published in 1991 in the Journal of the Egyptian Society of Parasitology found that people with asthma might be more susceptible to allergic reactions from bedbug bites.
Bed bug eradication is challenging and it’s prudent to hire a professional when resources allow. However treatment can be expensive, often costing hundreds or thousands of dollars. Those who cannot afford this often must cope with the problem themselves. A useful step that anyone can take to combat bed bugs is to install bed encasements. Covering the mattress and box spring can help eliminate a substantial portion of the bed bug population -- especially if discovered early while most of the bugs are still confined to the bed area. Extra care should be taken when installing budget encasements since these can tear easily, especially on metal bed frames. Ideally both the mattress and box spring should be encased. If only one encasement is possible it’s often best to cover the box spring which is harder to subsequently inspect.
However, another thing which has helped me with the intense itching is a regular hair brush! I was scratching so much that I grabbed the hair brush and used that to cover more territory! I have found that even if I “brush” intensely, it will not bleed and slowly the itching will subside. I have also heard of a quirky aid in “bug direction”…..used dryer sheets will discourage bugs from the area….what I saw was the sheets tucked in between the mattress and box spring by each bedpost.
I am so glad I came to this site, as it at least I don’t feel alone in this battle I’m fighting! It is 2am and I am sitting in my new recliner that my sister gave me last spring!! I love my recliner, but it is ruined as of tonight when as a last resort I decided to sleep in it since I have been driven out of my bed from these unrelenting bloodsuckers!
An OTC antiseptic medication can be used for skin irritation that may then develop into an infection. As a precaution, do not use creams on broken or infected skin. If you have already been scratching, do not use these products on any raw or weeping areas. If you see signs of a skin infection, such as redness, don't use these creams in that area, and call your doctor.

We vacuum the carpets and bed almost everyday, wash everything every week and even sprayed every with bed bug spray. It seems to be working a bit cause they have lessened but I’m still getting bitten quite a bit. Of course they itch and I scratch a lot. I’ve been using the baking soda and water remedy (it works pretty well for me) but before I used to scratch until they bled and now I’m having trouble healing old bites.
Every morning, even after countless treatments of our bed and linens, I wake up with 20-30 new bites. I react extremely strongly to them, they can swell as big as a half dollar, and they itch sO badly I often end up ripping them open, leaving them prone to infection. I’m now a diagnoses anemic, which the doctor is sure is because of the number of bites…they are literally eating me alive…and killing me.
Hello! Almost overnight I have had a series of small bumps appear on my chest. These bumps look like pimples and they don’t itch at all. I had bed bugs well over a year ago and once they were treated I never saw anything except these bumps recently. My sister thinks I’m just being paranoid because we’ve both checked the bed and saw no signs. And because my chest is always covered, but my arms and legs that are are exposed never have places. I realize that I’m probably being paranoid, but I just wanted an outside opinion.
Call your city or town health inpespector. In most major cities it is the landlords obligation to hire a an exterminator. In the case of bed bugs I believe there is more of an urgency and most city inspectors will come out within days, now that bb’s have reached epidemic levels not only in the U.S., but in many countries around the world. In some U.S.cities there are “lanlord/tenant agreements”, which are locally legal and binding contracts that state what the obligation of a landlord and tenant is, and most contain a clause which says that repairs, maintenance, etc.,which are landlords obligations, and what recourse a tenant has when the landlord refuses to repair or maintain his rental properties. In some cases, the tenant may pay for the repairs and deduct from the rent after following various steps first, such as, notifying the landlord via certified letter, prior to the tenant paying for said repairs. Please READ your lease and call your city or town’s health department or building inspectors first,as these ordinances may vary. You can always file a case in local claims court without an attorney,after paying for the repairs,if all else fails, and moving is not an option. I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice. I hope this helps. Bed bugs are a public health hazard. And not taken lightly by many local elected, or appointed officials. I hope this helps.
Hey Tyler! Besides calling an exterminator (since you cannot afford it), I would recommend washing all your bedding, clothes and other linen that may have come into contact with bed bugs and if you still have a problem, get your things steam cleaned. The heat will kill them and its great for treating the mattress, especially since you can do it yourself. Good luck!
I have been suffering from these stupid bed bugs but i want to know if the baking soda mixture thing only cures the itchiness or make the spots disappear because i try as much as possible not to scratch it because it makes it expand. I am looking for something to make my skin color be maintained not to be having unwanted spots all over. I’m on the heating business to cure the bugs though. Thanks for the hints.
The first question I would ask that person is, what makes you think you have bed bugs? A skin reaction alone does not necessarily indicate the presence of bed bugs. Other bugs, allergies and irritants in the environment can produce similar skin reactions. And it's hard to confidently identify a bed bug bite because reactions vary from person to person. My next question would be, have you seen an insect in an area where you sleep and, if so, was it the correct size and shape to be a bed bug? Carpet beetles in an immature stage are commonly mistaken for bed bugs. The carpet beetle actually doesn't look anything like a bed bug, but it is the right size. And it's another common insect to have indoors around the bed. If you find an insect that you think is a bed bug, save it in a pill bottle or another container so its key characteristics won't get crushed and a professional can identify it.

Flea bites are caused by the parasitic insect, the flea. The most common species of flea in the US is the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis. Signs and symptoms of flea bites in humans include itching, hives, a rash with bumps, red spots with a "halo," and swelling around the bite. Treatment for flea bites includes over-the-counter medicine and natural and home remedies to relieve and soothe itching and inflammation. The redness of a flea bite can last from a few hours to a several days.
Bedbugs lurk in cracks and crevices and they've been living on human blood for centuries. Though they aren't known to transmit disease or pose any serious medical risk, the stubborn parasites can leave itchy and unsightly bites. However, bedbugs don't always leave marks. The best way to tell if you have a bedbug infestation is to see the live, apple-seed-size critters for yourself. Unfortunately, once bedbugs take up residence in homes and businesses, they can be difficult to exterminate without professional help.
Some patients develop blisters filled with blood or bloody fluid, especially on the arms and legs. These blood blisters are extremely rare and can burst, causing bleeding or oozing of the bloody fluid. Healthcare providers are not sure if the cause of these blisters is related to the bug or the human but have found groups of patients that were all bitten by bugs on the same train exhibiting this sign.
In the lab we handle all the bed bugs in a specific room that we steam clean once a week, and we have double-stick tape barriers that they can't walk through (as long as the adhesive remains dust-free). And the bed bugs themselves are enclosed in containers that they can't get out of. We actually feed them inside those containers—we lay a blood reservoir against the cloth "lid" and the bed bugs have to push their mouthparts through the cloth into the reservoir to eat.
Bedbugs are highly resistant to many sprays. There are, however, certain sprays that may be able to kill bedbugs. Check with a professional exterminator about advice using sprays to try and remove the bedbugs yourself. Dead bedbugs usually won't move, may be arched back, or red in color. Ultimately, you may be better off replacing your mattress and bedding and fumigating your home to kill the bedbugs.

Jump up ^ Johann Friedrich Wolff; Johann Philip Wolff. "According to Scopoli's 2nd work (loc. cit.), found in Carniola and adjoining regions. According to Linnaeus' second work on exotic insects (loc. cit.), before the era of health, already in Europe, seldom observed in England before 1670". Icones Cimicum descriptionibus illustratae. p. 127. Retrieved 1 December 2016. fourth fascicle (1804)
8 days ago my friend & i decided to crash at my grandmas house after a wild night out. in the morning we woke up in horror seeing how they freely crawled all over her mattress cover. Within the last 7 days, bite marks have been appearing all over my body, i am practically covered; as to my friend, well lucky her she has only 3 on her arm. The problem isn’t only that i have more bites than her but i believe i have an allergic reaction, the bites have massively grown in size. I do not know what else to try, Calamine doesn’t work, baking soda with water made it worse, Benadryl hasn’t done anything either. I am at a point where i am about to cry. The worst part is that in less than a month I am going on my first tropical vacation. I simply cannot handle the stress, i suffer from mild anxiety & these massive rashes have turned these 7 days into hell. I have stopped scratching because it seems to irritate the bites. Please help.
Bed bugs infestations can be treated by pesticides (make sure it specifically treats for bed bugs) or call a professional. Clean laundry and bedding by washing in hot water and drying with high heat. Steam cleaning can be effective, but be sure to check for bugs in a week or two. Concentrate in the areas they like to hide such as the seams. Bed bugs are sensitive to heat, so putting your mattress in a tight plastic bag and leaving it in the heat for several days can kill adults and the eggs. Vacuum your mattress and the areas around it. Be sure to immediately empty the vacuum cleaner and throw it out. If your mattress is infested, you may also consider getting a new mattress, but be sure to take care of the rest of your home so that your new mattress doesn’t get infested.
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!!!!!!
Very helpful article, plus everyone’s comments. I wish you all the best of luck with bedbug problems. We went to a cabin near Yosemite before Christmas and I saw bugs on the bed. Luckily we didn’t sleep there and left right away. However I’m afraid some came home with us. About 3 weeks after our trip, I got a rash on my neck, but it’s not very itchy. Haven’t seen any bugs at home, but am worried. Will try the tips in the article–any suggestions how to heat a bedroom to 120 degrees?
Hi so I am 32 years old and never heard of bedbugs intill 2 years ago I thought if u where dirty u can get it IM a clean freak and i got them I just moved into a new place and was only there for 2 months and I am also diabetic i got real sick and was in and out of the hospital and the drs just keap saying I need to clean my house and said they can’t do anything for the bedbugs bite and made it seem that it was my fault I was like I just moved in and don’t have anything in my place yet come to find out the apartments where all in feasted with bedbugs even my dog got sick the drs put me on so many different meds I was drug up with 2 kid’s to take care of i got bit from head to toe my ho body looked like i had something I was getting bit everyday with it leveing me with swollen skin that looked red as a Apple that was on fire that I would have to jump into a cold shower and just see steam come off my body i would cry all day cause if i wasn’t in pain i was feeling things crowing all over me and my head and face but couldn’t see anything but only see little bites or some that looked like blisters that had white yellow ish puss dripping or some that popped into black hos or some that would dry up and have colors like tan brown mixed with red look like a critical and i would scratch and it felt like sharp and pain coming off my skin so I moved and have been staying in a motel for 2 1/2 months to find out they have bed bugs and now me abd my husband and 2 kid’s have been getting bit to find out for me getting bit so much I got a real bad infection called prurigo nodularis
About a week ago my son bought me a sectional sofa at a yard sale and by the 3rd day my grand daughter had more than 100 bites all over her arms, legs and back. I told my son that it was chicken pox because she got so full of them by the next day again, until i got up the next morning with my legs, back and arms filled with the same bites…. for my luck the sofa was loaded with the unwanted bed bugs and now they were all over my home. This is the worst itching ever not to mention the frustration when people see you with all the bite marks and they see you like you have something contagious . I threw the sofa out and found a spray called “Rest Easy bed bug repel” ($10.00) and a powder (Diatomaceous Earth) ($10.00) and sprayed all the mattress in the house along with the powder and washed EVERYTHING with hot water. I think they are gone now. I bought Calamine lotion, benadryl anti itch cream, and cortisone but the only way that my itching started to feel better was with “Gold Bond max relief cream.
After I noticed the first bites on the center of my back, I moved to the living room, thinking that would be fine. But obviously not because I have three more to the collection. I don’t know if I can fix the bedbug problem or not, but I only have a little under a month until I move out. I just wanna make the pain go away. Not to mention they look awful.
The first question I would ask that person is, what makes you think you have bed bugs? A skin reaction alone does not necessarily indicate the presence of bed bugs. Other bugs, allergies and irritants in the environment can produce similar skin reactions. And it's hard to confidently identify a bed bug bite because reactions vary from person to person. My next question would be, have you seen an insect in an area where you sleep and, if so, was it the correct size and shape to be a bed bug? Carpet beetles in an immature stage are commonly mistaken for bed bugs. The carpet beetle actually doesn't look anything like a bed bug, but it is the right size. And it's another common insect to have indoors around the bed. If you find an insect that you think is a bed bug, save it in a pill bottle or another container so its key characteristics won't get crushed and a professional can identify it.
The size of bed bug bites varies with a number of different factors. Bed bugs inject an anti-coagulant along with their saliva when they pierce the skin to take a blood meal. This anti-coagulant is mostly responsible for how a person reacts to the bite and determines the size of the bug’s bite. Since people will have various sensitivities to the bed bug’s bite, the size of the bite will vary, as well. Another factor that influences the size of a bed bug reaction is the number of times a person is bitten. Bite reactions of people bitten many times are also variable, and their response may be either more or less intense as the number of bites increases.
×