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.
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.
Hey Jessica! Sounds like bed bug bites to me but don’t stress, although bed bugs are known to travel with you from other locations its not a guarantee that they always do. I recommend giving all your clothing a hot wash when you get back home (and your travel bags) and to inspect your bed for signs of their presence. As a precautionary measure, you can put DE under your sheets for a day or two and that will kill any pests that are hiding there. Good luck
Aerosols (D-Fense NXT, Crossfire Aerosol, or Bedlam Plus) Usage: Simply attach the plastic tip to the aerosol can. Apply as a crack and crevice or spot treatment where evidence of bed bugs occurs. This includes bed frames, box springs, inside empty dressers, clothes closets, curtain rods, hollow spaces, carpet edges, high and low wall moldings and wallpaper edges.

This morning, I stood in front of the mirror for my daily grooming routine when the most gruesome red bumps appeared before me and it’s at the side of my neck! Thankfully it’s Saturday coz I will not spend my time with my co-workers! I researched and stumble upon your website. I wish you could help me The bites are getting itchy and what would you recommend? Natural or modern medicine? Thanks i’ll be waiting for your answer…
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?
 Adult bed bugs are about 3/16” long and reddish-brown, with oval-shaped, flattened bodies. They are sometimes mistaken for ticks, cockroaches, carpet beetles or other household insects. The immature bed bugs (nymphs) resemble the adults, but are smaller and lighter in color. Bed bugs do not fly, and they don’t jump like fleas do ― but they can crawl rapidly over floors, walls, ceilings and other surfaces. Adult females lay their eggs in secluded places, depositing 1, 2 or more eggs per day, potentially hundreds during their lifetime. The eggs are tiny (about the size of a dust spec), whitish and hard to see without magnification, especially on light-colored surfaces. When first laid, the eggs are sticky, causing them to adhere to surfaces. At room temperatures, bed bug eggs hatch in about a week. Newly emerged nymphs are straw-colored and no bigger than a pinhead.

The diagnosis of a bedbug bite can sometimes be difficult, as bedbug bites may appear similar to the bites of other insects. A health care professional will ask detailed questions and perform a physical exam, focusing on the skin. Other organ systems will also be examined to assess for any signs of an allergic reaction or for signs of infection. No blood tests or imaging studies will be necessary. If someone is able to bring in a specimen of the insect that may have bitten them, this can be helpful in making the diagnosis.
With practice and a flashlight, nonprofessionals can become proficient in finding and destroying bed bugs. The process is made easier by reducing clutter, especially in bedrooms and sleeping areas. Bugs that are spotted can be removed with a vacuum (see previous discussion), or killed with over-the-counter insecticides labeled for such use. Most bed bug sprays intended for householders have little remaining effect after the spray has dried. Therefore it’s important to initially contact as many of the insects as possible with the spray droplets. Insecticide labels should be read carefully as some bed bug products should not be used on mattresses and seating areas. Some insecticides applied as powders or dusts (e.g., diatomaceous earth) will kill bed bugs although boric acid powder will not. However powders can be messy and difficult to apply, especially by nonprofessionals. Total release foggers (otherwise known as ‘bug bombs’) are ineffective against bed bugs and potentially dangerous when used incorrectly (see University of Kentucky entomology fact sheet Limitations of Home Insect Foggers).

The common bed bug (C. lectularius) is the species best adapted to human environments. It is found in temperate climates throughout the world. Other species include Cimex hemipterus, found in tropical regions, which also infests poultry and bats, and Leptocimex boueti, found in the tropics of West Africa and South America, which infests bats and humans. Cimex pilosellus and Cimex pipistrella primarily infest bats, while Haematosiphon inodora, a species of North America, primarily infests poultry.[42]


Hi Natasha !! I recently saw a bed bug crawling on my bed. So, I immediately cleaned all clothes in my room with hot water and put in high heat in the drier. I also sprayed the whole house with bed bug spray. Now on closer look of the mattress I found some bug remaining like its cover/shell, 2-3 blood stains but I did not find a colony/cluster of the bugs (which I was sort of expecting). So I bought a steamer and steamed my mattress and box spring. I also bought covers for the mattress and the box spring so that in case I missed any, they might get suffocated (at least I hope so). After all this, the next morning I woke up and found some sort of bite marks on my face. Also since I could not find any cluster of bugs, could they still be somewhere in my room ? where should I look for them ?
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.
Fumigation using a penetrating gas is another way to de-infest dwellings or furnishings, but the procedure is only offered by certain companies. True fumigation is not the same as setting off a total release fogger or ‘bug bomb.’ (It should be noted that bug bombs are considered ineffective in the treatment of bed bugs, and can be quite dangerous if misused.) The fumigation process is technically complex and requires vacating the building for a period of days. The building is then sealed and injected with a lethal gas, usually sulfuryl fluoride. Because the entire building must be vacated, structural fumigation is logistically more challenging with multi-unit buildings such as apartments, than for single family homes. Bed bug fumigations tend to be more common in southern and western states, where the procedure is also used to control certain types of wood-dwelling termites.  
After a few minutes of hot water therapy, use cool water on the bites. You may alternate hot and cool water several times until itching is minimal or gone. Finish with cool water and apply aloes to bites. You will have several hours of relief. My doctor told me the hot water releases the histamine in the skin glands and it tales several hours to refill the glands. About bee stings: I had a extreme reaction to one wasp sting several years ago. Last year I was attacked and suffered over 60+ bites on my face, neck and upper body. I raced into the house and jumped into to shower and opened the hot water full blast.

Data Sources: A PubMed search was completed in Clinical Queries using the key terms bedbug, rash, bites, and infestation. The search included meta-analyses, randomized controlled trials, clinical trials, case reports, and reviews. We also searched the online databases of the Environmental Protection Agency, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Jefferson Clinical Images. Lastly, we used Essential Evidence Plus. Search dates: February through June 2011.
Hi, I am at a loss about what to do. I have been getting bitten day and night, but I don’t know if they are bedbugs. Whatever it is, seems to get under my clothes and bite me along the waist, bra line, posterior, and chest. They only itch when I first discover them, afterwards they don’t bother me…. But I am the only person in the house getting bitten! I washed and steamed everything and everyone! What else can I do?!

People don't often consider bed bugs until they've left their mark. The appearance of flat, red welts in zigzag lines or small clusters is a key sign of bed bugs on humans. Bed bugs can also leave their bites in straight rows and, while they don't spread diseases to humans, their bites are quite irritating and scratching them can lead to bleeding and infection.
Luckily we were at the tail-end of our trip and once I arrived back home I immediately soaked in a hot-hot Epsom Salt bath. I used 3 cups of Epsom Salt, repeated that twice…and shazaam! The bites reduced in size and the itch was “almost” completely relieved. I had an extremely severe reaction going on and at one point considered going to a dermatologist or hospital to get some professional care.

I spent the night at my boyfriends house 5 nights in a row, knowing that his family owns a couch infested with bed bugs. I find it weird that I’m the only one, out of 7 family members, that gets bit by the bed bugs! Its crazy! I get bit during the day when I sit for a few mins, or even sleep on the bed at night, but it still baffles me that I’m the only one who is suffering from the itch of the bites. My son who I share the bed with does not get bit at all, which is great, but I’m curious, “why only Me?”
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
These bloodsuckers love exposed areas of flesh such as closest to their nest such as the face, forehead, arms and known to attack babies.. Those repeatedly bitten over time are more likely to become sensitive. You may even find the person sleeping next to you does not show any signs of bed bug bites while you do. In fact, the person next to you may not have been bitten at all – a good sign that the infestation is closest to you.
Some people have no reaction whatsoever to bed bugs. In addition to not having much of an effect on the elderly, some are just not allergic. Since the irritation and welting appears as the result of an allergic reaction, it is possible to not even know that you were bitten at all. It is entirely possible for several people to live in the same house, and have one person not be affected.
I am staying at A up scale hotel where they are charging me top dollar to be attacked in my sleep. I am waiting for the hotel management so I can introduce him to my new hostage (bed bug). I woke up at six and pulled back the sheets and there it was one of my knight time terrorist. They ate me like I had cherry flavored lotion. I HAVE TO WARE PAINTS TODAY AND ITS HOT. I AM NOT HAPPY. So how to treat bed bug bites like this, what lotion works best?
Insecticides might also have their work cut out for them: Entomologists have known that the common bedbug has built up resistance to some typical insecticides such as those containing certain pyrethroid chemicals like deltamethrin, according to Entomology Today. Deltamethrin apparently paralyzes an insect's nervous system, according to Cornell University.
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.
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?
We kept feeling something crawling on us when we sat on tge couch. Then tiny bites Started appearing. After months of trying various cleaning approaches, we contacted Terminex. Their inspector found two bedbugs in the seams of a chair in the bedroom , but nothing on the sofa. They charged me a thousand dollars and steam cleaned both the bed, chair and sofa. About 10 days later, we started getting bites again. Terminex came and “dusted” the areas thus time. This continued for a a few months and them the “inspector” from Terminex said they could fund no signs of the bugs rhe last few times and he thought misquitoes were probably biting us. It has been months now and the problem has worsened. Now I get horrible welts when bitten and we constantly look for tangible signs: excrement, bugs in tape, anything before we call a different extermination company but life has become unbearable. We can’t have guests over because we fear they’ll become infected. It has been and is a truly awful experience.
I am trying to type this and get relief at the same time from the terrible itching that has robbed me of my sleep for several nights now….Anyway, now as I said, my new recliner is ruined because even after covering it with plastic and then covering with a new sheet I just took out of the package, it still was stained with vaseline I had put on my arms from all the bites and itching I’m going through…I also resorted to covering it with corn starch which seems to brush right off, but I’m afraid the vaseline is here to stay…I’m heartbroken about my recliner and the whole mess in general!!
Check to see if you can identify the rust-colored fecal stains, egg cases, and shed skins (exuviae) in crevices and cracks on or near beds. A sweet, musty odor is sometimes present. You should also look at other areas such as under wallpaper, behind picture frames, in couches and other furniture, in bedsprings and under mattresses, and even in articles of clothing. While fecal stains and skin casts suggest that bedbugs have been present, these do not confirm that the infestation is still active. Observing the bedbugs themselves is definitive confirmation that an area is infested. You may require professional assistance from a pest-control company in determining whether your home has a bed bug problem.
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.
Around the time I started getting bites, I noticed more and more neighbors throwing out mattresses, furniture… I got suspicious. We live in apartments. I react differently to different kinds of bites so I can always tell the difference between mosquitoes and ants and such. I didn’t know what those bites were until I caught one of the little hellions crawling across the sheets.
The Internet abounds with so-called miracle cures for bed bugs. But bed bugs are hard to get rid of, so anything that advertises an immediate solution is not accurate—it's snake oil. These "cures" have included (as reported by pest control operators who come in afterward to tackle bed bugs correctly) using bleach, ammonia and even DIY heat treatment, which carries fire risk.
After a few minutes of hot water therapy, use cool water on the bites. You may alternate hot and cool water several times until itching is minimal or gone. Finish with cool water and apply aloes to bites. You will have several hours of relief. My doctor told me the hot water releases the histamine in the skin glands and it tales several hours to refill the glands. About bee stings: I had a extreme reaction to one wasp sting several years ago. Last year I was attacked and suffered over 60+ bites on my face, neck and upper body. I raced into the house and jumped into to shower and opened the hot water full blast.
Around the time I started getting bites, I noticed more and more neighbors throwing out mattresses, furniture… I got suspicious. We live in apartments. I react differently to different kinds of bites so I can always tell the difference between mosquitoes and ants and such. I didn’t know what those bites were until I caught one of the little hellions crawling across the sheets.

Aerosols (D-Fense NXT, Crossfire Aerosol, or Bedlam Plus) Usage: Simply attach the plastic tip to the aerosol can. Apply as a crack and crevice or spot treatment where evidence of bed bugs occurs. This includes bed frames, box springs, inside empty dressers, clothes closets, curtain rods, hollow spaces, carpet edges, high and low wall moldings and wallpaper edges.
Bed bug bites can look a lot like other insect bites. Some clues that can suggest the presence of bed bugs include finding red, itchy bites upon awakening - especially if the bites line up in a row on the skin. Bed bugs typically bite at night on exposed areas of skin, so the bites are most commonly found on the face, neck, hands and arms. Although some people develop a bite reaction immediately, others may take two to three days before a reaction becomes noticeable, and not all people have obvious bed bug bite symptoms. A bed bug bite can appear as a tiny puncture wound without a surrounding reaction, and can easily be missed. In fact, 30 percent of individuals living in bed bug-infested dwellings report a lack of bites or skin reactions. This appears to be more common amongst the elderly. On the other hand, other people have exuberant reactions, with large, red, raised and itchy welts. This is especially true if one becomes sensitized to bed bug bites, so that with repeated bites there is an increased risk of an exaggerated reaction to bed bug bites.
Bed bugs are not too picky when it comes to feeding. As long as skin is exposed, it’s a juicy target. However, it seems that bed bugs enjoy feeding on the neck region, making their feeding habits very close to those sparkly vampires you see on Twilight. Since most people wear pajamas when they go to sleep, other common areas for bites include the arms, hands, feet and face since they are also exposed. If you are sleeping in a hotel and are nervous about bed bugs, simply wear extra clothing to completely cover your skin. You can also purchase plastic covers to protect yourself against these pests while sleeping out.
According to textile experts (Drycleaning & Laundry Institute, Laurel, MD), most garments designated as ‘dry-clean only’ (e.g., cotton, wool, silk, linen, rayon, nylon) will not be harmed provided they are dry before being placed in a clothes dryer at a moderate temperature setting. Dry cleaning procedures also kill bed bugs, but there is a risk of infesting the establishment when buggy items are tagged and sorted. 
Bed bugs often hide in seams, folds and crevices of mattresses, box springs, bed frames and headboards. A thorough inspection requires dismantling the bed so that upper and lower seams and surfaces can be examined. Things to look for are the bugs themselves, shed skins of the nymphs (immature bed bugs), and the blackish fecal spots. The dark spots of dried bed bug excrement are often present along mattress seams or wherever the bugs have resided. Box springs afford many places for bed bugs to hide, especially along the upper seams and underneath, where the bottom edge of the box rests on the frame. If an underlying dust cover is present, it may have to be removed to gain access for inspection and possible treatment. Successful treatment of mattresses and box springs can be difficult, however, and infested ones may need to be discarded or encased in a protective cover. 
If, after everything is thoroughly taken apart and cleaned, you still have an infestation, other measures may need to be taken. If you have an infestation of bats, you may also have a serious infestation of “bat bugs” which are very similar to the common variety. Often, the infestation is not as strong as those caused by their cousins as they are more apt to wander and relocate.
Reactions to bed bug bites differ from person to person from none to a full-blown allergic reaction. A mild reaction may reveal flat, red bumps at the bite sites. A more severe reaction may include an irritating itch (as in my case), or swelling. Resisting the itch is incredibly difficult, but giving in to it can cause severe irritation to the skin, increasing your risk for an infection. It’s the chemicals in the bed bug’s saliva that trigger such reactions, some lasting more than two weeks.
We exterminated our old house,called junk to pick up our furniture (it wasnt lower end items either 8 year old $140,000 furnishings it cost) sold the empty home and hope they had no problem.. We did get the empty house exterminated and told the junk collection we had bugs,I bet they kept our old furnishings as it was beautiful stuff …It made us crazy,those damn bugs…One night 12 bites on my neck,forehead and hands !! I still feel like bugs are crawling on me,I think we need psychiatric care…It took about 1 year to get over the feeling of bugs crawling on us…
I have done all of this to my home, bed bug dusted and bed bug pesticide sprayed, My cat had been attacked by them I have given her 2 bathes since with Dawn soap. she’s been rubbed down with coconut oil when I had not known of the neighbors upstairs infestation and after the first Dawn bath was periodically rubbed with baking soda. I have bought her a flea color but not for this just cause I am truly a depressed person and full of anxiety both.The place has been vacuumed most thoroughly and floors washed , clothing laundered/dried . I am just asking for further instruction and the best advice to continue any treatment needed to my cat and home. Lastly , I am just overwhelmed by pretty much everything that i am breaking down to tears and unable to sleep properly.. Please HELP
Bed bugs were mentioned in ancient Greece as early as 400 BC, and were later mentioned by Aristotle. Pliny's Natural History, first published circa AD 77 in Rome, claimed bed bugs had medicinal value in treating ailments such as snake bites and ear infections. (Belief in the medicinal use of bed bugs persisted until at least the 18th century, when Guettard recommended their use in the treatment of hysteria.[51])

The next sign is that the bites will occur nightly while sleeping and the rashes will increase daily. These rashes will usually be located on the legs, arms, neck, face and back, which are the most common areas. The reason these places are the most common sites is because these areas are usually exposed during the night. Exposed areas of the host are what they prefer.


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.
Another solution you hear about is vacuuming. You can vacuum up a lot of insects, but eggs are harder to get, and vacuuming won't in and of itself kill bed bugs. Indeed, vacuuming can end up spreading bed bugs to other rooms—when emptying the canister, for example. Pest control operators who use vacuums take measures to prevent bed bugs from escaping when the vacuum is emptied.
Hi, I am 20 and am recently in remission from cancer, so my immune system SUCKS. I have been getting bitten by what my family and I have thought were FLEAS for the past months. Well, come to find out, it was bed bugs. Now, I have horrible scars on my legs and all up and down my arms :( I don’t know how to get rid of them. They are UGLY dark brown spots all over. Any advice??
Bed bugs will also succumb to cold temperatures below 32°F, but the freezing temperatures must be maintained for a longer period (e.g., one to two weeks). Consequently, heating tends to be a better option throughout much of the country. Efforts to rid entire dwellings of bed bugs by raising or lowering the thermostat will be unsuccessful, although pest control firms are able to achieve lethal temperatures with supplemental heaters (see the subsequent section entitled "Heat Treatments" for more details). 

First off you should ALWAYS go to pest control if you think you have bedbugs! You shouldn’t try and get rid of them yourself, 99% of the time it does not work. Plus even if you removed infected areas and wash them it wouldn’t kill the eggs. Plus bedbugs are very easy to get but very hard to get rid of. So you should never do it yourself it won’t work!


I have very small red bumps on only one hand. Most of them skin color a few red. They don’t hurt and if I scratch them they itch a little bit mostly I don’t even notice they are there. They aren’t really in a line but I have probably about 6 or so on the top of my hand only. I searched my bed and all around it I find no trace of anything. I did read up and find that some bed bugs affect people differently and don’t show up right away. I have been sleeping on this mattress for over a month now and this just started happening for about 3 weeks. Am I just being paranoid or you think it sounds like bed bugs at all
Pay attention to when the bites occur. Consider, for example, if you notice the bites after waking up when previously you hadn't noticed them. However, this can also be difficult to determine because each person's reaction time can vary significantly. Symptoms that result from the bite can manifest at any point from a couple of hours to more than a week after the bite occurred.
Jump up ^ John Southall. "That soon after the Fire of London, in some of the new-built Houses they were observ'd to appear, and were never noted to have been seen in the old, tho' they were then so few, as to be little taken notice of; yet as they were only seen in Firr-Timber, 'twas conjectured they were then first brought to England in them; of which most of the new Houses were partly built, instead of the good Oak destroy'd in the old". A Treatise of Buggs [sic], pp. 16–17. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
The prognosis for bedbug bites is excellent. The vast majority of people who experience bedbug bites will recover without any long-term problems, and many individuals who are bitten may not exhibit any physical signs at all. However, the recent resurgence in bedbug infestations will require increasing public education and awareness, instituting effective preventive and control measures, and continuing research into the development of more effective, safe insecticides.
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.
First, make sure that the suspected bugs are bedbugs, because other insects or arthropods such as a carpet beetle, scabies mite, a bat bug, louse, or other bugs may be mistaken for bedbugs. If there is confirmation of a bedbug infestation, several measures can be taken to help control or eradicate the infestation, using both nonchemical and chemical (insecticides) methods. It can take several weeks to months to achieve complete eradication of a bedbug infestation, and it may take several treatment cycles to completely eliminate them. In many cases, it will be necessary to hire a pest control service in order to implement a comprehensive extermination strategy.
Pity they didn't think of this before they started 'negotiating ' with the EU.It seems like one of Hunt's better ideas. They should be out there already though, why wait?Of course remoaners will try to turn it into a negative, as they always do - as Fred has already done. How very predictable.Astonishing how they just want the country to fail so they can say 'I told you so'.
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.
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