Found worldwide, bedbugs are most common in developing countries. Still, reports of bedbugs in luxury hotels are not uncommon. They are most commonly found in areas like hostels, hotels, shelters, and apartment complexes where there are many visitors coming and going. When they enter your home, it's often because they have hidden in luggage, furniture, clothing, or boxes that are being moved. They can also travel on pets' fur. Increases in international travel may be responsible for the rise in bedbug sightings.


Don't assume your bites are bedbugs. Bites can be hard to identify, even for doctors. Rule out mosquitoes, fleas, mites, and biting gnats by conducting a visual inspection. It's best to collect and identify bedbugs to confirm bites. Look for the bugs themselves or their bloodstains, especially along the seams of mattresses. Further, look for dark spots of insect waste where bedbugs might crawl into hiding places on furniture, walls, and floors.

We’ve randomly gotten bites here and there but it’s summer so we were unsure. We had a cleaning lady come in recently and use her vaccuum so we suspect that could’ve brought in bed bugs! Last night was worst ever but I was outside yesterday but didn’t notice these bites til I just woke up. No signs of spots left behind on mattress, maybe one dot on bedding but could be anything. What do you think?? I have about 6-8 on my middle back and they are about an inch or so apart in one line across bra line area

Check the mattress throughly, paying close attention to seams and tufts along the edges. Flip the mattress over and inspect the bottom carefully as well. Pay particular attention to any rips in the fabric. View the fabric on the bottom of the box spring and shine a flash light to verify that bed bugs have not penetrated the interior of the box spring.
If possible get your treatment from a local outlet like Home Depot, a hardware store or an agricultural/farm supply store. If you can afford it get one of those steam mops like Shark has. It comes with a unit designed for hand steam treatments of the bed and the hot steam will kill the bugs. You will also need it if you have to treat carpeting. Professionals use a combination of treatments and you will too in order to be successful. Good luck!
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]
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 recently moved to Chicago into an apartment building. AFTER signing the lease the landlord told us that he sprayed for bed bugs every 3 months…I guess I thought this was precautionary? It wasn’t. I am apparently allergic to these bites, my husband & son, thank god, are not affected. So far nothing helps me with the itch for more than a minute but I just found this sight so hopefully something will work. We have bug bombed and bug sprayed with no luck. Washing everything helps for maybe a day? Tonight we sprayed bleach ALL OVER our mattress and attacked it with a blow-drier. Also, I’ve slathered myself in baby oil per a post here.
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.    
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.

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.
Everything you need to know about fleabites Fleas reproduce quickly and can live in fabrics and carpets. Their bites are itchy and painful, and they can transfer disease to humans. Fleabites tend to be very small, with central red spots, and they often appear in clusters. Here, learn to identify fleabites, treat them, and rid the home of these pesky parasites. Read now

The likelihood of bed bugs increases if the affected individual has been traveling, or if they have acquired used beds or furnishings before symptoms started to appear. Bed bugs also are suspect if you wake up with itchy welts you did not have when you went to sleep. It’s important to recognize, however, that not all bite-like reactions are due to bed bugs. Confirmation requires finding and identifying the bed bugs, shed skins, fecal spots, etc., which often requires the help of a professional. (Other possible sources of irritation that may be mistaken for bed bugs are discussed in University of Kentucky entomology fact sheet ENT-58, Invisible Itches: Insect and Non-Insect Causes). 

The symptoms of a bedbug bite are usually mild when present, and often individuals will not experience any symptoms at all. Bedbug bites can occur on any exposed part of the body, with the face, neck, arms, and hands being areas commonly affected. The signs and symptoms can appear from minutes to days after the initial bite. Affected individuals will usually complain of localized itching and reddish-colored skin lesions, which may look like a flat welt or a raised bump. Sometimes, the lesions can be found in clusters or in a linear pattern. Typically, these skin lesions will go away after one to two weeks.
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.
Medicated shampoos–both over-the-counter and prescription–can help get rid of them, as can combing and re-combing your hair carefully and disposing of the critters. If you do get head lice, don’t share anything that goes on your head (including hats, brushes, headphones, or hair accessories), and make sure you clean bedding and clothing that could have been infested in hot water.
"In the past, bedbugs have repeatedly shown the ability to develop resistance to products overly relied upon for their control. The findings of the current study also show similar trends in regard to chlorfenapyr and bifenthrin resistance development in bedbugs," study researcher Ameya Gondhalekar, research assistant professor at Purdue's Center for Urban and Industrial Pest Management, said in the Entomology Today statement. "With these findings in mind and from an insecticide resistance management perspective, both bifenthrin and chlorfenapyr should be integrated with other methods used for bed bug elimination in order to preserve their efficacy in the long term."
Symptoms may not appear until some days after the bites have occurred.[5] Reactions often become more brisk after multiple bites due to possible sensitization to the salivary proteins of the bed bug.[3] The skin reaction usually occurs in the area of the bite which is most commonly the arms, shoulders and legs as they are more frequently exposed at night.[5] Numerous bites may lead to an erythematous rash or urticaria.[5]

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.
I live in a high rise apt bldg. There have been reports of bed bugs since I moved in two years ago. Recently it was my turn. I see no bugs, but man o man did they have a feast on my legs, and inner thighs. I went for the ammonia trick. The only thing I had was window cleaner. It helped stopped the itch temporarily. Then I’m good for some hours. When the itch comes back, I douse again in Blue window cleaner again. Strange but true.
You can identify a bedbug infestation by checking bedding, mattress seams, furniture, and wall fixtures for the bugs or their traces. Each bedbug is about the size of an apple seed, about 1/4 inch long. You will often see their droppings instead, which are tiny brown or red specks. You may also see small blood stains on sheets or mattresses when a bedbug has been crushed after feeding. Eggs about the same size as the adults might be seen in seams or cracks and you will also see their molted exoskeletons.
Bed bugs can result in a number of health effects including skin rashes, psychological effects and allergic symptoms.[5] Bed bug bites may lead to skin changes ranging from non visible to prominent blisters.[1] Symptoms may take between minutes to days to appear.[2] Itchiness is common, while some may feel tired or have a fever.[2] Typically uncovered areas of the body are affected.[2] Classically three bites occur in a row.[2] Bed bugs bites are not known to transmit any infectious disease.[5][7]
How to treat and prevent chigger bites A chigger is a form of mite that feeds on human skin cells. Although they are so small that the naked eye cannot see them, chiggers can inflict extremely itchy bites that can last up to a week without treatment. Here we look at how to avoid getting bitten as well as how to recognize and treat any existing bites. Read now
1. Mattress Safe Encasements: Mattress Safe Products are bed encasements to place over your mattress or boxspring so you don't have to throw them away. They are bedbug certified. If using a labeled insecticide on the mattress or boxspring first, apply on mattress or box springs then zip it up. It has a patented hook to keep the bed bugs inside the encasement so they cannot escape. Keep the encasement in place for one year (due to bed bug life cycles).

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.
The bites of bedbugs can be difficult to identify, and not all red bites are due to bedbugs. Mosquitos, fleas, biting gnats, and mites can all bite humans. Collecting and identifying the bugs can help establish the diagnosis. They can often be found beneath or on the seams of mattresses. Their bloodstains may be visible even in the absence of bedbugs. You should also look into nooks and crannies of furniture, walls, and floors if you're suspicious that bedbugs may be present.
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!
We took extreme measures and hired a Heat company to come in. They heat your house to approx 150 degrees (internal wall temp of 140 or more). Bed bugs can survive for 7 minutes at 115 degrees. The heat company heats your house to well above that temp and maintains it for 4 hours! It was great!!!! We have not seen a bed bug since…except for dead ones!! I will warn everyone…the treatment is not cheap. We have a 3200 sq foot house that is only 2 years old…the cost was $4000. They base the cost on square footage, age of home, insulation, etc. I freaked when I heard the estimate, but worth the money to be rid of them!!
It is important to remember that they have a very flat body that allows it to hide almost anywhere. During the initial onset of the infestation, they are only visible around the tufts and seams of the mattress. As the infestation grows, these bugs spread out and inhabit larger and larger areas. Generally they prefer rough surfaces like wood or paper for their harborages.

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.
A common concern with bed bugs is whether or not they transmit diseases. Although bed bugs can harbor various pathogens, transmission to humans has not been proven and is considered unlikely. Their medical significance is most commonly attributed to itching and inflammation from their bites. Antihistamines and corticosteroids may be prescribed to reduce allergic reactions, and antiseptic or antibiotic ointments to prevent infection. Though not known to carry diseases, bed bugs can substantially reduce quality of life by causing discomfort, sleeplessness, anxiety, and embarrassment. According to some health experts, the added stress from living with bed bugs can have a significant impact on the emotional health and well-being of certain individuals. 
No one tactic alone will be effective. A good pest control operator will develop a strategy to deal with the bed bugs that takes the particulars of the setting into account, and will return several times to check on progress. Dry ice sprays that freeze bed bugs have limited potential to reach hidden bugs. Steam has somewhat better penetrating ability. The downside of steam is that it leaves moisture behind. Dry ice doesn't leave any residue at all. Vacuuming has a role, but it has limitations, too. Some insecticides leave behind deposits that are slow to act but are effective in the long-term. Other insecticides kill on contact, but only reach insects that are in view. Insecticide resistance makes the choice of tactics more difficult.
If possible get your treatment from a local outlet like Home Depot, a hardware store or an agricultural/farm supply store. If you can afford it get one of those steam mops like Shark has. It comes with a unit designed for hand steam treatments of the bed and the hot steam will kill the bugs. You will also need it if you have to treat carpeting. Professionals use a combination of treatments and you will too in order to be successful. Good luck!
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.
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
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