Bedbugs lurk in cracks and crevices and they've been living on human blood for centuries. Though they aren't known to transmit disease or pose any serious medical risk, the stubborn parasites can leave itchy and unsightly bites. However, bedbugs don't always leave marks. The best way to tell if you have a bedbug infestation is to see the live, apple-seed-size critters for yourself. Unfortunately, once bedbugs take up residence in homes and businesses, they can be difficult to exterminate without professional help.
Bedbugs are small, flat, wingless insects with six legs that, like mosquitoes, feed on blood from animals or people. They range in color from almost white to brown, but they turn rusty red after feeding. The common bedbug doesn't grow much longer than 0.2 inches (0.5 centimeters) and can be seen by the naked eye to the astute observer.  Bedbugs get their name because they like to hide in bedding and mattresses.
Some of the dusts that are available to consumers, such as diatomaceous earth, can help in this regard. Pest controllers will put dusts in wall voids and other places where pesticide won't reach. What happens is the bugs will wander through the dust and pick up particles and be more vulnerable to desiccation after that exposure. But dusts will not solve the problem if deployed incorrectly, and if they are applied at too high a level they can cause breathing difficulties in some people.
Checking beds for bed bugs was a common practice long ago, especially while traveling. Travelers today should consider doing the same, preferably before unpacking. This would entail examining the bed sheets and seams of the mattress and perhaps box spring for signs of bed bugs, especially along the head (pillow end) of the bed. Experts also remove and check behind headboards since this is a frequent hiding place for bed bugs in hotels. Headboards are heavy and cumbersome, however, and untrained persons should not attempt removal themselves.
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.
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.
You should look for traces of the insects in the folds of your mattresses, box springs and other places where they are likely to hide. You might be able to find their papery skins, which get cast off after molting and look like popcorn kernels but are smaller and thinner, Harlan said. They also leave small, dark-colored spots from the blood-filled droppings they deposit on mattresses and furniture. If you can touch the spot with a water-soaked towel and it runs a rusty, reddish color, you're probably looking at a fresh drop of bedbug feces, Harlan said.
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.

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.
Bed bugs are very resilient. Nymphs and adults can persist months without feeding which is unusual for most insects. The ability to survive without a blood meal is longer at cooler temperatures ― potentially up to a year or longer at 55°F or less. In temperature-controlled buildings, a more typical duration is about 2 to 6 months. Consequently, it is usually impractical to leave buildings unoccupied in hopes of ‘starving out’ an infestation. When infested dwellings such as apartments are vacated, bed bugs often disperse to nearby units, or reduce their activity until the unit is reoccupied. 
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!
Have you tried the hot-water cure? It’s old fashioned but works for all kinds of bites (mosquitoes, fleas, BB, sand fleas and poison ivy and oak and also for bee and wasp strings but not spider or venomous bites) . My doctor told me about it when I was pregnant and had got bitten by sand fleas. You take a very hot shower, as you put the water hotter and hotter, the itching increases dramatically. You do this until it starts burning SLIGHTLY, BE CAREFUL NOT TO BURN YOURSELF!
Diagnosing bed bug bites can be hard for medical professionals. We often hear of doctors assuming a variety of skin conditions before bed bugs – especially doctors who haven’t encountered patients with bed bug bites before. While there is no specific test to determine whether bites are from bed bugs there are tests that can show whether or not it’s an insect bite. This is useful for ruling out issues like eczema or allergic reactions, but not for determining that any specific insect bite is a bed bug. To be sure you’ll want to check for other signs of bed bug infestation, such as the bugs themselves, moltings, and the characteristic staining of their blood meal feces.
Some people experience anxiety, sleeplessness and unease as symptoms of having had bed bugs. Let's face it, bed bug infestations are understandably significant psychosocial stressors, and some people may experience sleeplessness as they worry about bugs biting them or their family members. Not surprisingly, people have been known to self-isolate, avoiding family and friends out of concern for spreading the infestation, or (if word gets out that they have bed bugs) they may be avoided by friends or others in the community, or find they have problems at work.  As a result, victims of bed bug infestations may experience moderate to severe levels of stress, anxiety and depression. In severe cases, these persons should seek counseling and treatment as required.
The creatures don't have wings and they can't fly or jump. But their narrow body shape and ability to live for months without food make them ready stowaways and squatters. Bedbugs can easily hide in the seams and folds of luggage, bags and clothes. They also take shelter behind wallpaper and inside bedding, box springs and furniture. The ones that feed on people can crawl more than 100 feet (30 meters) in a night, but typically creep to within 8 feet (2.4 m) of the spot its human hosts sleep, according to the CDC.
Hi can you respond to me privately? I inspected my bed mattress and linens for any signs of bed beg fecal matter and any grown bed bugs or spots of feces. I have not found any traces blood-type residue or brownish type feces in the mattress. Is it normal to find an occasional bites from something other than bed bugs? Sometimes after shaving, I will have red pimples where I have shaved.

Conventional insect repellents, like those used to deter ticks and mosquitoes, do not appear to be as effective against bed bugs. Therefore, attempting to avoid being bitten by applying insect repellent at bedtime is not recommended. Sleeping with the lights on is also not likely to deter hungry bed bugs, as they will adjust their feeding cycle to the host’s sleeping patterns. 
Vanessa: I am so glad I found your website. My family and I just returned from vacation two days ago, and my youngest children are covered with bed bug bites. At first, we did not know what they were. The bites started after the first night of staying there. They got increased in number and became worse over the week. We had no clue. Bed bugs never crossed our minds. I took them to the doctor as soon as we got home and we got the news. BED BUGS!
As bed bugs grow they molt, shedding their skin five times before reaching maturity. A blood meal is needed between each successive molt. Adult females also must feed in order to lay eggs. Under favorable conditions (70-80°F), the bugs can mature fully in as little as a month, producing multiple generations per year. Cooler temperatures or limited access to blood prolong the development time. 

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]
It’s also possible that you won’t see a reaction the first time a bedbug bites since it sometimes can take the body a while to react. (6) Some people will have an immediate reaction, while for others it could take two weeks to emerge. Your body will likely become more sensitive to bedbug bites over time, and if you get bitten repeatedly, it could be only a matter of seconds before your body shows a response.
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