In most cases, the only way to say for sure whether it was a bedbug that bit you is to search for evidence of bedbugs living in your home. "Once you start to notice the itchy bites, the second giveaway is the presence of small blood spots on your sheets or mattress, usually resembling patches of rust,” Durham says. Those spots are left behind after a bedbug has been smashed.
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.
The first sign of a bed bug problem is obvious: the bed. After bed bugs feed on humans, they'll leave behind blood stains resembling small rust spots. These will usually be found near the corners and edges of the bed. Bed bugs also shed their skin, or molt, several times as they mature, so you may find their oval brown exoskeletons during your search.
Wearing an insect repellent is not completely effective, although you might try oil of lemon eucalyptus or DEET to prevent bites. Avoid bringing home second-hand items such as used furniture, mattresses, or any item that someone has kept in a bedroom. Unfortunately, bedbugs can linger in items for a year without feeding. Launder all used clothing before storing or wearing it. Use mattress, box spring, and pillow encasements on your bed. Fill in any cracks and crevices in your bedroom.
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?!
If you suspect an infestation, experts recommend finding a professional exterminator who has experience dealing with bedbugs. Sprayed insecticides are commonly used to treat infestations, and exterminators may also use nonchemical methods, such as devices to heat a room above 122 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsius), a lethal temperature for bedbugs, according to the Mayo Clinic. Freezing infested items for a few days at temperatures below 0 F (-18 C) may also put bedbugs to permanent rest, according to the University of Minnesota. But you may have to throw out heavily infested mattresses and other items of furniture.
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 found something that works. Diatomaceous earth or perma guard. Buy a big bag. About a good 5 pounds and put it around the whole house yard in your bed in every crack the carpet. I mean all over and give it a couple days. They will be gone. I live in an apt I ha e a cat n dog. It isn’t harmful to pets or humans its 100% safe to use around kids and best of all no bed bugs no ants no roaches. I paid about $10 on ebay. Good luck and I’m telling u this worked for me.
Hey there! So I recently stayed in a condo through a timeshare. After two nights of staying there I woke up with about 30 bites all over my boxy (head to toe) throughout the day more and more bites appeared. They have began to itch very, very badly and are now beginning to blister. I did go to a nearby lake as well so it could possibly be something from the lake. I went to two separate physicians and neither one of them could diagnose the bites as anything. I am no longer there to inspect the bedding and furniture, unfortunately. Although I didn’t not see any blood spots, egg shells or any of that matter on the bed sheets. Do you think the bites could be from bed bugs?
Avoidance is the best means of preventing bedbug infestation.8 While traveling, sleeping quarters and bedding should be closely inspected for signs of bedbugs. Suitcases should be placed on metal racks away from walls and furniture. Frequent travelers might consider obtaining a portable heating unit for luggage and clothing (e.g., Packtite) as an additional precaution. Items at yard sales and secondhand stores should also be carefully examined before purchase.8 All potentially infested items should be sorted and sealed in plastic bags and removed only when ready to be disinfested (see Table 36 for instructions regarding effective care of infested items). Wearing long-sleeved nightclothes can minimize exposed skin, and although insect repellants have not been shown to be reliably effective, oil of lemon eucalyptus or diethyltoluamide (DEET) might help deter bites.44,45
Bed bug bites typically appear in groups of three, called the "breakfast, lunch, and dinner" pattern. Each victim's reaction to bed bug bites is unique. Some may have a slight reddening of the skin. Others may have a more severe reaction, causing a raised, itchy rash. A raised rash may obscure the individual bites, making it challenging to identify. Sometimes, bites and lesions can throb and become very painful for days after the bugs bit you.
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?
Bedbug bites don’t normally require treatment by a doctor, though there are a few precautions you should take at home. (8) Start by cleaning the area with soap and water to lower your risk of infection and to relieve itchiness. If the bites are itchy, pick up a corticosteroid cream at your local drugstore and apply it to the area. The bites generally will heal within a couple of weeks. (9)
Individual responses to bites vary, ranging from no visible effect (in about 20–70%), to small macular spots, to prominent wheals and bullae formations along with intense itching that may last several days. The bites often occur in a line. A central spot of bleeding may also occur due to the release of anticoagulants in the bug's saliva.
The safest and most effective approach to getting rid of bed bugs is heat treatment, in which a trained professional heats the home's rooms one by one to a temperature of 50 degrees Celsius and sustains the heat for four hours. Heat does not penetrate well into wall voids, though, so desiccant dusts are often applied to those areas. No single technique can eliminate bed bugs—combinations of approaches are essential to getting the job done.
I recently stayed at a nice resort and ended up with bed bug bites. Since I was on vacation, I had nothing with me for itching except (and don’t laugh) hemorrhoid wipes. I was desperate so I tried one and the itching would stop for a few hours (unless something touched the bites). Now after reading the posts here I see that witch hazel and aloe, both of which are in these wipes, are one of the better treatments for the itching. The wipes were great, they are “wipes to go” which means individually wrapped so I could carry one in my purse and use it throughout the day as needed and then just fold it up and put it back into the wrapper til next time. These can be bought OTC at any pharmacy and I have the store brand, not name brand.
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.
Preparing for bed bug treatment is tedious yet important. Very comprehensive preparation is necessary when infestations are heavy and the bugs are widely dispersed. More limited prep may be adequate for light infestations since at these levels the bed bugs typically are more confined to sleeping areas (beds, sofas, and recliners). Pest control firms have their own policies, however, regarding preparation requirements which may also depend on the manner of treatment.
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.
Jump up ^ Kambu, Kabangu; Di Phanzu, N.; Coune, Claude; Wauters, Jean-Noël; Angenot, Luc (1982). "Contribution à l'étude des propriétés insecticides et chimiques d'Eucalyptus saligna du Zaïre (Contribution to the study of insecticide and chemical properties of Eucalyptus saligna from Zaire ( Congo))". Plantes Médicinales et Phytothérapie. 16 (1): 34–38. hdl:2268/14438.
I had bed bugs last June (I live in Chicago and apparently bed bugs are a huge problem here). I’m dreading going through the whole process of exterminating them again. Do you know of any other kind of bugs that bite during the end of winter? Could these bed bugs be from last year? Maybe it’s a new infestation?? I’m going crazy over here! I don’t know what to do
If you arrive home and discover that you have brought some unwanted guests home with you, immediately notify the hotel of your discovery. Having a possible infestation in hotels and motels can be a public relations nightmare for the owners. Politely ask them to pay for any and all costs incurred to rid your clothing and home of a possible new infestation.
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 bug infestations are primarily the result of two species of insects from genus Cimex: Cimex lectularius (the common bed bug) and Cimex hemipterus. These insects feed exclusively on blood and may survive a year without eating. Adult Cimex are light brown to reddish-brown, flat, oval, and have no hind wings. The front wings are vestigial and reduced to pad-like structures. Adults grow to 4–5 mm (0.16–0.20 in) long and 1.5–3 mm (0.059–0.118 in) wide.
The treatment of bedbug bites depends on the symptoms and their severity. The bites should heal and disappear in one to two weeks whether you treat them or not. The goal is to prevent scratching the itchy rash, which can lead to a skin infection. You can use over-the-counter (OTC) anti-itch creams such as calamine lotion or those containing diphenhydramine or cortisone. Be sure to read the product label and don't use these creams around the eyes, anus, or genitals.
Symptoms may not appear until some days after the bites have occurred. Reactions often become more brisk after multiple bites due to possible sensitization to the salivary proteins of the bed bug. 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. Numerous bites may lead to an erythematous rash or urticaria.
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.
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.
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…
Now we are shut ins lol and dont allow guests to our home lol..We moved 1 hour away from town and have property now and 1 hour min away from most people we know..We go and visit them..When we return home from shopping/visits etc,we go into the 1st room and change,put our clothing in the laundry machine and check for bugs then put clean home clothing on !!!
Just recently had my first experience w/ bedbug bites in Nicaragua. Hundred plus bites in one night and over a period of three days they became so inflamed, there were tiny blisters on each bite. These suckers snacked on me like I was an all you can eat buffet. I itched 4 days straight and finally went to a pharmacy there, which prescribed me acne creme. Worked, I guess, at least psychologically. But the bites kept festering more and more.
Never treat any bedding, mattress, etc. with anything other than the treatments listed: borax, enzyme cleaner, Comet, sodium borate. Other pesticides and exterminating fluids can be harmful to humans. Even so, bedding and mattresses treated with chemicals such as borax or Comet should be left outside to dry naturally in the sun, then wrapped in plastic before next use, so as not to irritate the skin.
Here’s one for ya…I drive over the road truck. On Friday 8/13 it was miserably hot so I stayed the night in a reputable motel. I now have bed bugs in my truck!!!! I’m getting a new mattress but am going to tell them to wrap it and tape it real well until I get home and bomb my truck. Being such a small space I figure using an insect smoke bomb will work. Well, at least it better!!! I have tons of bites all over my ankles, feet, several on my face, on one arm and on both thighs. Yup, the itching sucks…
Bed bug infestations have resurged since the 1980s for reasons that are not clear, but contributing factors may be complacency, increased resistance, bans on pesticides, and increased international travel. The U.S. National Pest Management Association reported a 71% increase in bed bug calls between 2000 and 2005. The number of reported incidents in New York City alone rose from 500 in 2004 to 10,000 in 2009. In 2013, Chicago was listed as the number 1 city in the United States with the worst bed bug infestation. As a result, the Chicago City Council passed a bed bug control ordinance to limit their spread. Additionally, bed bugs are reaching places in which they never established before, such as southern South America.
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.