I’ve encountered mosquito bites, flea bites and spider bites, but never had I encountered bed bug bites, that is until I travelled to San Francisco, CA. I made the trip at least four times a year; however, this time was different—opting to stay in a nearby hotel instead of with family or friends. I remember lying in bed. The room was hot and stuffy, causing me to toss and turn throughout the night. When morning came, I was exhausted but began my usual morning routine eager to get on the road. After a quick rinse, I dragged myself over to the mirror; that’s when I noticed them—little red bumps across my chest. Quickly, I scurried over to the bed—pulling off sheets, flipping pillows, inspecting the mattress and the box spring—nothing! Ugh, how could this have happened? It was a top-rated hotel. Were these bed bug bites, or was it another blood-sucking insect?
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.
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.
Bedbugs may enter your home undetected through luggage, clothing, used beds and couches, and other items. Their flattened bodies make it possible for them to fit into tiny spaces, about the width of a credit card. Bedbugs do not have nests like ants or bees, but tend to live in groups in hiding places. Their initial hiding places are typically in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards where they have easy access to people to bite in the night.
I have had one bite in threes which cleared up in days and an occasional acne looking sore on my but and arm. I have noted in my car lots of little bites but no marks. My son does not appear to have bites. once he had one on his back that cleared quickly. I really needs some help here as I am getting obsessive with cleaning and making my child change and bath. I have checked my cat for flees and bought her a flee collar as I am thinking the stinging bites I get in the day may be from flees but no itch or real marks. Help please.
My husband and I recently stayed at a Scottish Inn, off I-75 in Florida, on our way back from NJ. We needed a room on the first floor. The only thing they had was a $32.00 room + tax. Since we were tired from driving, we took it. During the night, I woke up and I felt like something had bitten me. When we got up to get ready to leave, I noticed both my arms, left leg, one on my face, left ear and one bite on my neck had been bitten. I immediately took a hot bath, but I still can’t stop itching. I’ve never had bed bug bites before so I visited this site. I definitely will be trying the baking soda and water mix. My husband has two bites on his arm, but they’re not as bad as mine. He thinks he received them at the prior motel we stayed at.
After being treated by a dermatologist for nearly 2 mos for red marks all over my body – he stated that I did not have bed bug bites (he even took a biopsy of my skin) and said I had leichen planus. I took pills for 2 weeks and then began ultra violent light treatments – nothing was helping them go away. Finally, I called an exterminator to inspect my home only to find out we have bed bugs and the marks on my body are bed bug bites. I stopped going to the dermatologist and wasted 2 months precious time in getting rid of the bugs. They are driving me crazy – had my first extermination done (2 more needed) and still seeing the bugs and getting bit – can’t sleep a wink – any suggestions to help with the anxiety I’m going through would be greatly appreciated.
The diagnosis of a bedbug infestation should be based on the clinical history and appearance of bites. A thorough inspection of sleeping quarters by the patient, a family member, or a pest control expert may demonstrate the telltale signs of an infestation15 (i.e., specks of blood-tinged insect feces and exoskeleton casts [Figure 5]). With the aid of a magnifying glass, special attention should be given to cracks and crevices of furniture, baseboards, electrical boxes, curtains, carpet, luggage, bed frames and headboards, picture frames, wall hangings, mattress and box spring seams, peeling wall paper, clothes, and linens.37 Live bedbugs can sometimes be caught by turning on a flashlight just before dawn, when bedbugs are most active, larger in appearance, and slower to scatter because of recent feeding.40
Excessively scratching the itchy, bitten areas also may increase the chance of a secondary skin infection. Antiseptic creams or lotions can be used to ward off infection and antihistamines can be used to treat the itching. And an infestation can take a psychological toll on those affected: People whose homes have been infested with bedbugs may have trouble sleeping for fear of being bitten in the night. There are also public health, social and economic consequences; office buildings and schools often have to close if they are dealing with a bedbug infestation.
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.
Bring a little flashlight—hotel room lighting is always pretty poor and the dimmer the lighting, the harder it is to see small bed bugs or their fecal spots. I would pull back the bed covers and look all around the head of the bed. Pull back the sheets, too, and look at mattress seams and edges that are exposed. bed bugs love to hide under mattress tags. Look all around the box springs, too. If there's a dust ruffle, pull it up and look under it as much as possible. Look for moving bugs and stationary, hiding bugs.
Our apartment is clean, but apparently this has little to do with it. We were told to put our dry clothes in the clothes dryer for 30 minutes at a high heat and bag them tightly, spray rubbing alchoha l92% to repel them from the bed , couch covers and seat cushions, as well as to dry our bedding, curtains, towels etc., and to remove the light covers from the plugs. They were reasonable (about$400 divided into monthly payments.)They will come twice, a month apart beginning two days from now, We’ve been vacuuming daily, and tightly securing debris. We were told that rubbing alcohol, sprayed in cushions and the bottom of shoes will repel them (92%). I was told that the most common place to pick them up is hospital and doctor’s waiting rooms. I write, and have a lot of boxed papers. I’ve emptied my drawers. I’m also not sure of what to do about my hanging paintings. I have enough problems right now, and just want this to end.
Mix 3 oz per gallon or 0.75 oz per quart and spray with a low pressure sprayer into the areas where the bed bugs are hiding. Typical areas include bed frames, headboards, under beds, baseboards, moldings, behind pictures,etc. Remember to apply in the joints and crevices of furniture. If the crack and crevice is too small, use an aerosol with a crack and crevice tip (recommendations are below.)