Infestations with bedbugs date back to ancient Egypt.1 The incidence of bedbugs in developed countries decreased in the 1940s because of the availability of more effective pesticides (especially DDT) and improved economic and social conditions.2 In the past decade, however, a significant resurgence of bedbug populations has occurred. This is attributed to a combination of factors, including increased pesticide resistance, more frequent travel, lack of public awareness, and inadequate pest control programs.3 In a 2010 survey, 95 percent of more than 500 U.S. pest management companies reported encountering a bedbug infestation during the preceding year, compared with only 25 percent of companies during 2000.4 Bedbugs spread actively by migrating from one infested room to another, often through ventilation ducts. They also spread passively, carried in the seams of travelers’ luggage, bedding, or furniture.5 Bedbugs do not travel directly on human hosts.6
In comparison to other insect bites, bed bug bite marks are usually in groups of three or more when they appear on the skin. This is sometimes called the “breakfast, lunch and supper bites”. As you can see in the picture below, the bites are rather close to each other. Their bites often look like little red bumps, pimples or even blisters and welts. Some people can also mistake them for flea bites. If one of these insects bite you, you usually won’t even feel it as it uses a form of anesthetic which dulls the pain. Bed bugs also are known to leave bite marks in a straight line, also in close proximity to each other. A single bed bug can bite you a number of times during the night. However, if you have a bed bug infestation, there are usually a large number of these little pests and this can result in a multitude of bite marks. Please also remember that some people may not have a negative reaction to these bites. In fact, sometimes they are mistaken for spider bites, even by medical professionals so make sure you let your doctor know if you feel it could be a bite from bedbugs. Lastly, you will be happy to learn that bed bugs do not fly so you won’t be attacked from the air.
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.
While the former methods are helpful, insecticides are widely used by most pest control companies. A variety of EPA-registered materials are available formulated as liquids, dusts and aerosols. Baits used to control ants and cockroaches are ineffective in this case since bed bugs must bite and feed on blood. Professional-use insecticides such as Temprid®, Transport® and Phantom® tend to be more effective than bed bug sprays sold by retailers. Bleach, alcohol, cigarette lighters, etc. should NOT be used to control bed bugs. Besides being ineffective, such actions can result in fires and other dangerous outcomes.
The first question I would ask that person is, what makes you think you have bed bugs? A skin reaction alone does not necessarily indicate the presence of bed bugs. Other bugs, allergies and irritants in the environment can produce similar skin reactions. And it's hard to confidently identify a bed bug bite because reactions vary from person to person. My next question would be, have you seen an insect in an area where you sleep and, if so, was it the correct size and shape to be a bed bug? Carpet beetles in an immature stage are commonly mistaken for bed bugs. The carpet beetle actually doesn't look anything like a bed bug, but it is the right size. And it's another common insect to have indoors around the bed. If you find an insect that you think is a bed bug, save it in a pill bottle or another container so its key characteristics won't get crushed and a professional can identify it.
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!
Hey Tyler! Besides calling an exterminator (since you cannot afford it), I would recommend washing all your bedding, clothes and other linen that may have come into contact with bed bugs and if you still have a problem, get your things steam cleaned. The heat will kill them and its great for treating the mattress, especially since you can do it yourself. Good luck!
If I go to an infested apartment, then when I leave I check my shoes very carefully for bugs that may have crawled onto them. I also keep a change of clothes in my garage and put them on before entering my house. Once inside, I immediately put the clothes I wore to the infested apartment in the dryer, which is located in a room just off the garage.
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.
Medicated shampoos–both over-the-counter and prescription–can help get rid of them, as can combing and re-combing your hair carefully and disposing of the critters. If you do get head lice, don’t share anything that goes on your head (including hats, brushes, headphones, or hair accessories), and make sure you clean bedding and clothing that could have been infested in hot water.
I have read a lot and saw a video where professionals can heat up your house with a machine to 140deg which will kill the bed bugs.They do make bed bug sprays (raid and others) and you can get mattress covers at wallmart. the ones for allergens will do. Don’t forget to seal up zippers. Read you can mix baking soda and water to a paste put it on for an hour or so. Wichazel, st johns wort and lemon juice, aloe and peppermint oil in tub may help relieve itch. Hope this helps.
Bedbugs are most often found in hotels, hostels, shelters, and apartment complexes where lots of people come and go. Because bedbugs hide in small crevices, they can hitch a ride into your home on luggage, pets, furniture, clothing, boxes, and other objects. Bedbugs are found worldwide, but are most common in developing countries. Once rare in North America, they may be on the rise due, in part, to increases in international travel.