Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Help!! I have had a long and exhausting experience with these nasty bugs. My mother in law had stayed at my house for a few nights and a few weeks later after returning home she discovered she had a severe infestation of bed bugs.. so of course I took precautions at my home thinking she gave them to me. I threw my mattress away then taped off my entire bed with very sticky tape. No signs or bites at all . Then a few weeks later my son started to sleep in his bed again and sure enough he woke up with 3 bites in the shape of a triangle that were swollen and itchy. I searched his bed and found a casing shell and 3 blood stains under his box spring .I called a exterminator he came out and said we had a mild infestation and there was no signs in my bed but he found one live bug in my son’s bed. He treated the bedrooms and living room. Then my son and i were getting these little bumps on our body that looked nothing like the triangle bites and didn’t itch so the exterminator came again and treated but found no evidence of bed bugs and this cycle happened four times! So he has treated my apartment 4 times and found no signs of bed bugs and even had a dog come out to sniff around .. this was all over the course of about 5 months . The exterminator insists that we do not have bed bugs anymore but my son is still getting these bumps on him, some are reds dots and some are skin colored but no complaining of itching . I’m very overwhelmed and exhausted and havery no idea what to think. I think the tape on my bed prevented them from getting back into my bed after I threw my mattress out but again the exterminator said tape does not work. Are they hiding somewhere else like in the walls to where the exterminator think the problem is gone ?
The diagnosis of a bedbug infestation should be based on the clinical history and appearance of bites. A thorough inspection of sleeping quarters by the patient, a family member, or a pest control expert may demonstrate the telltale signs of an infestation15 (i.e., specks of blood-tinged insect feces and exoskeleton casts [Figure 5]). With the aid of a magnifying glass, special attention should be given to cracks and crevices of furniture, baseboards, electrical boxes, curtains, carpet, luggage, bed frames and headboards, picture frames, wall hangings, mattress and box spring seams, peeling wall paper, clothes, and linens.37 Live bedbugs can sometimes be caught by turning on a flashlight just before dawn, when bedbugs are most active, larger in appearance, and slower to scatter because of recent feeding.40
I can’t wear any of my rings because my fingers have gotten swollen and they hurt. My wrists have become somewhat painful as well. I get blood blisters that hurt like anything. Those are the worst. I’m living on benadryl and calamine lotion. The calamine seems to be helping to dry them out at least. My right hand is a disaster. Especially on the skin between thumb and forefinger. I look like I’m a leper or something.
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.    
The diagnosis of a bedbug infestation should be based on the clinical history and appearance of bites. A thorough inspection of sleeping quarters by the patient, a family member, or a pest control expert may demonstrate the telltale signs of an infestation15 (i.e., specks of blood-tinged insect feces and exoskeleton casts [Figure 5]). With the aid of a magnifying glass, special attention should be given to cracks and crevices of furniture, baseboards, electrical boxes, curtains, carpet, luggage, bed frames and headboards, picture frames, wall hangings, mattress and box spring seams, peeling wall paper, clothes, and linens.37 Live bedbugs can sometimes be caught by turning on a flashlight just before dawn, when bedbugs are most active, larger in appearance, and slower to scatter because of recent feeding.40
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?
Some friends brought me a gift, bed bugs. After some research I discovered cedar oil. I have been using it as a repellent. I spray around my mattress at night and it seems to keep the bugs at bay. It is harmless to me and my pets and I can even use it on them to repel fleas. Has anyone else tried it? It works on the same principle as a cedar chest is used to keep bugs away from your valuable clothing or bedding items. It does have a cedar odor which I find mildly enjoyable.
While cleaning up infested areas will be helpful in controlling bedbugs, getting rid of them usually requires chemical treatments. Because treating your bed and bedroom with insecticides can be harmful, it is important to use products that can be used safely in bedrooms. Do not treat mattresses and bedding unless the label specifically says you can use them on bedding.
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