Chances are, you or someone you know has had a run-in with bed bugs. It might have happened in a scrupulously clean bedroom. Or maybe it was a hotel room, office or college dorm. In the February issue of Scientific American entomologist Kenneth Haynes of the University of Kentucky explains how, after a lengthy absence, bed bugs are staging a comeback. The good news is scientists are intensively studying these insects, and their insights suggest novel ways of detecting the bugs and eradicating infestations. Some of those potential solutions are a long way off, however. In the meantime the best bet is to avoid bringing bed bugs home in the first place. I called Haynes to ask him how to do that and what to do if one suspects an infestation (eek!), among a bunch of other practical-minded questions.
Cutaneous reactions to bedbug bites can vary widely and are easily confused with other conditions (Table 1).15–19 A typical lesion is a 2- to 20-mm, pruritic, erythematous maculopapule with a central hemorrhagic crust or vesicle.5,8 Macules, papules, wheals (Figure 3), vesicles, bullae, and nodules have all been reported,20 as have asymptomatic lesions with a barely visible punctum as the only evidence of a bite.8 Bites vary in number and are preferentially distributed in unclothed areas (e.g., face, neck, extremities). Unlike many other arthropod and insect bites, bedbug bites are rarely located in the popliteal fossae or axillae.21 Lesions can be noticeable immediately when waking up or several days later, with the reaction often progressing from delayed to immediate with subsequent exposures22–26  (Table 2). The classic bedbug rash is referred to as “breakfast, lunch, and dinner” because it commonly presents as several bites in a row or cluster 20 (Figure 4).
First and foremost I think the wisest course of action to take is to get rid of your bed. the whole shebang…the mattress and box spring and all your linens, blankets, pillows and articles of clothing you use to lay in bed with (robes, pajamas and underwear). It’s just not worth it. Get a temporary air mattress for a few weeks if need be. You will be better off in the long run.

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.


In addition to the physical manifestations of bedbug bites, patients can experience significant psychological distress. The stigma that bedbugs are related to poor hygiene (however inaccurate) can lead to poor self-esteem, avoidance of family and friends, and suspension from work.37–39 Management of an infestation can be stressful, costly, and disruptive to everyday life. Worry can lead to insomnia, depression, anxiety, and even delusional parasitosis.37
About a week ago I woke up with bites on my legs starting at my ankle up to my thigh. They were sparse but could be counted as grouped or lined. I have no bites anywhere else and have not gotten anymore bites since this happened. My husband shares the bed and our two small children (3 years and 17 months) are frequent bed joiners and none of them have any bites. I sleep with pj pants on and under blankets so it wouldn’t be the most exposed skin that I have at night. However I have no recall of being bitten and had pants on during the day. The bites were itchy for about two days and then they are just red. I am wondering if they could be bed bugs. I am having trouble sleeping because of the uncertainty. I have pics I could post.
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

I was at work and felt something crawling on my hip I brushed my hand and I thought it was a ant turned out to be a bed bug I was so freaked out I went to bathroom shook all my clothes out but now I feel so itchy I called my husband threw out my clothes washed my hair and stripped down in the back yard before coming in my house I was so freaked out I’m very nervous about returning back to work because of bed bugs I couldn’t sleep last night I was so itchy don’t know if its me r I got bite would I know that fast?


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.


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!
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.
Bed bug bites occur most frequently while you’re asleep. As bed bugs bite they inject their victims with an anesthetic (as well as an anticoagulant), numbing the area and making it very rare for someone to wake up when bitten. Bites normally take a day or two to appear, although depending on your individual reaction they may be more visible sooner.
Just wondering if it is unusual for bed bugs to bite where you are clothed? I have 3 bites, in a diagonal line on one side and in a triangle shape on the other side of my pelvic area both which are covered by underwear at night. Then I have a random spot here and there on my legs. We have a plastic mattress cover on our bed but use dark sheets. As best I can tell there is no evidence of bed bugs. What do you think? Thanks!
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.

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)
Thank you so much for all the information. I just found a bed bug in my room at 5:00 AM in the morning. I have been getting these red itchy rashes for more than 2weeks . It’s extremely annoying and in spite of looking every where , I couldn’t find anything. These Biggs are so difficult to find. Now after reading this I feel they are even more difficult to eradicate.
Bedbug bites usually do not require any treatment. If you develop itching of the skin around the site of the bite, you can use an over-the-counter antihistamine pill or cream such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl). Some individuals may also experience relief from the itching by applying a hot washcloth directly to the affected area. Try to avoid scratching the skin, as this can cause skin breakdown and a subsequent secondary bacterial skin infection.
One bed bug will usually take more than one bite. Once a bed bug inserts its mouthparts and finds a suitable blood vessel, it will begin feeding. However, finding the right blood vessel may take more than one injection into the skin. In addition, bed bugs are very sensitive to movement by the host they are feeding on. Therefore, if a sleeping person moves, a feeding bed bug will probably withdraw its mouthparts and begin its search for a blood meal on another part of the body. It’s important to remember that the number of bites a person receives is not indicative of the number of bed bugs that feed on that person.
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