The likelihood of bed bugs increases if the affected individual has been traveling, or if they have acquired used beds or furnishings before symptoms started to appear. Bed bugs also are suspect if you wake up with itchy welts you did not have when you went to sleep. It’s important to recognize, however, that not all bite-like reactions are due to bed bugs. Confirmation requires finding and identifying the bed bugs, shed skins, fecal spots, etc., which often requires the help of a professional. (Other possible sources of irritation that may be mistaken for bed bugs are discussed in University of Kentucky entomology fact sheet ENT-58, Invisible Itches: Insect and Non-Insect Causes).
Firstly, its important to remember that, despite their daily diet of blood, bed bugs will not transfer blood based diseases (such as AIDS, etc.). However, in very rare cases, these bites have been known to cause Anaphylaxis, which is an adverse allergic reaction that covers the entire body in a rash. After being bitten by a bed bug, be alert for any of these potential complications:
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.
Adult bedbugs are reddish brown in color, flat, oval-shaped, wingless and approximately 4-5 millimeters in length. Immature bedbugs (nymphs) may be translucent or light tan in color and therefore very difficult to see. Bedbugs are often more red in color after feeding. Bedbugs are attracted by warmth, and they generally feed during the night, often just before dawn. They tend to feed every five to 10 days, though they can survive without feeding for several months. Bedbugs pierce the skin and inject saliva that contains anesthetics and anticoagulants into the host, which often make their bites painless initially. After feeding on the host's blood for several minutes, bedbugs will crawl back to their hiding place. They will generally try to hide and remain within close range of their warm-blooded host. Affected individuals may feel and see the consequences of the bedbug bite afterward, though many individuals will not develop any physical signs of a bite. Bedbugs do not transmit or spread human disease.
We took a road trip with our kids, stayed in a nice hotel and guess what? Bed bug bites on all of us. I usually carry a product with us as it works on insect bites so we decided to try it… thank goodness it worked and got rid of the pain and itching quickly… i ordered it from a website but soon found out that I could do the same thing with baking soda and water as mentioned on this site. Before you buy, consider the alternatives! Thanks and good luck to everyone!
recently i have gotten an infestation of bed bugs.. i noticed it not long after i got an exterminator to come spray for ants and other outside bugs.. after he sprayed i noticed an increase of spiders(especially black widows) and a lot more bugs coming inside.. i have a fairly new home(5yrs old) and i shouldn’t have this problem… make sure you get a real professional company to come and do the work. ask what they are spraying/laying down, and what they are treating for and research it to be sure.. i think my house was baited rather than treated
Oh, I just killed one crawling up my arm as I’m typing right now and it was filled with MY blood!!!…I don’t know what to do or where to turn…I’m a senior citizen and I am on a limited income so I can’t spend alot of money on this….I am so discouraged and sleep deprived that before I started typing this I sobbed for at least an hour…I cam covered in bed bug bites and treatment is not working anymore. I live in an apartment complex for people 65 and older and someone came down the hall and knocked on my door and ask me if I was alright…I just said I was having a bad night which is an understatement!!!
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?!
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!
I am afraid I have brd bugs on my couch.I’m not really for sure or not.I have been sleeping on it and I have been itching lately in different spots of my body.This morning I have a small bump on my left arm that looks like a pimple but its itchy.I just want to really know how to detect bug bugs so I can see if my couch has brd bugs on it.I’m really worried!
the Red bug bite is just as painful and itches with no let up like the Bed Bug bites,,,only difference is the Red Bug is in your skin living under your skin until you kill them. I remember my mom and dad use to say when fresh grass is cut not to roll around on the ground because the Red Bugs ( or Chiggers) would get ALL OVER YOUR BODY, and they were right so back in the 60″s we had only few treatments and the old remedies were passed down from family to family. ( you can buy Chigger ointment from pharmacies like Polks or old timers Drug Stores) we used Micureocome and Methilate for bites and scrapes. My spelling isn’t great.
Hey Walter! I always recommend natural treatments (a few are outlined in this article) but based on your description, I recommend seeking professional medical assistance. When it comes to bed bugs, if there are a few bites that are not swollen or inflamed, you can usually just treat them with a cream but if you are having an adverse allergic reaction, you may need something much stronger. Keep an eye on it and rather be safe then sorry
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.
Bed bugs will also succumb to cold temperatures below 32°F, but the freezing temperatures must be maintained for a longer period (e.g., one to two weeks). Consequently, heating tends to be a better option throughout much of the country. Efforts to rid entire dwellings of bed bugs by raising or lowering the thermostat will be unsuccessful, although pest control firms are able to achieve lethal temperatures with supplemental heaters (see the subsequent section entitled "Heat Treatments" for more details).
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
In most infestations, consultation with a professional exterminator is advised because elimination is more likely to be effective if multiple pest management methods are used. These include monitoring devices, canine detection, clutter removal, vacuuming, heat or cold treatment, sealing cracks and crevices, and judicious use of nonchemical and chemical pesticides. Monitoring devices include moat-like devices (e.g., Climbup Insect Interceptor) that trap bedbugs ascending and descending furniture legs, and emitting devices that use carbon dioxide, heat, and/or chemicals (e.g., Nightwatch monitor) that attract and trap bedbugs. Specially trained dogs are reported to detect bedbugs with 97 percent accuracy and are able to differentiate live bedbugs and viable eggs from debris remaining from previous infestations.41 Vacuuming is a highly effective method for removing bedbugs, but not eggs because these adhere to surfaces.42 High-efficiency particulate air filters eliminate bedbug allergens and debris.42 Nonchemical treatments include petroleum jelly (which can be applied to legs of furniture to prevent bedbugs from ascending), heating, and freezing (see Table 36 for effective killing temperatures).
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.
Apply as a coarse, low-pressure spray to harborage areas including crevices, baseboards, loose plaster, behind bed frames and headboards, beneath beds and furniture, and to bedsprings and bed frames. After removal of bed linens, apply Transport Mikron to mattress and boxsprings. Apply to tufts, edges, seams and folds (do not spray clothes or bed linens). Your may apply it to furniture, but not to areas where there is direct access to seating or arm placements. Infested bed linens should not be treated, but should be removed, placed in sealed plastic bags, and taken for laundering and drying at high temperatures.
General housecleaning measures, (e.g. vacuuming floors and surfaces), seldom reach where bed bugs hide. For this reason, repetitive vacuuming by occupants may not be worth the effort, especially compared to other important preparatory activities. Targeted vacuuming of bed bugs and infested harborages, however, can help remove some of the bugs before other treatment measures are undertaken. Bed bugs and especially the eggs can be difficult to dislodge. Optimum results will be achieved by moving and scraping the end of the suction wand along infested areas such as seams and fabric folds of beds and sofas, and the perimeter edge of wall-to-wall carpet. Bed bugs can survive the high speed trip down a vacuum, so it’s important to carefully dispose of the vacuum contents in a sealed trash bag afterwards.
I’m suffering a similar problem. I had a friend who stayed with me on and off for a few months. She just didn’t tell me she had bed bugs right away. I had three kids and one on he way at the time. I bombed everything, threw out lots of things, and washed everything. Its now been a year and they’re back. Only now i have three kids and I have recently become the only income. Im barely holding rent and i don’t know what to do. I’m about ready to burn everything i own. I just can’t take it. I work 40 hrs., go to school, and have a child starting school in a week. Urgggg!!!!!!
Hi Samantha! I highly recommend spending about 15min to investigate your bed (especially on the corners and don’t forget to look under the sheets, etc). If there are no signs of bed bugs, then I suggest that you don’t worry about it. Additionally, I have had itchy bites after a nights sleep and it turned out to be a once off occurrence, so just take action if it keeps happening. Hope that helps, sorry for the delayed response.
Bed bugs occur around the world. Before the 1950s about 30% of houses in the United States had bedbugs. Rates of infestations in developed countries, while decreasing from the 1930s to the 1980s, have increased dramatically since the 1980s. Before the 1980s they were common in the developing world but rare in the developed world. The increase in the developed world may have been caused by increased international travel, resistance to insecticides, and the use of new pest-control methods that do not affect bed bugs.
Prior to the mid-20th century, bed bugs were very common. According to a report by the UK Ministry of Health, in 1933, all the houses in many areas had some degree of bed bug infestation. The increase in bed bug populations in the early 20th century has been attributed to the advent of electric heating, which allowed bed bugs to thrive year-round instead of only in warm weather.
NO you cannot contract HIV from Bed bugs in fact as far as I know they haven’t been found to transmit ANYTHING they are just a nuisance and if your allergic to the bites its worse otherwise they are not dangerous. However there is always the danger from infection I mean the bites becoming infected if you don’t take care of them like any wound not HIV. And they are creepy but ultimately mosquitoes could be more dangerous if u there is west nile around or something.
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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.
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.