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.
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.

I have various skin lesions which might or might not be bed-bug bites–small, raised, sometimes red, sometimes itchy. The problem is I live right next door to a large park and get all kinds of insects in summer, may small enough to get through my window-screen. Also, I have Parkinson’s disease, and the meds I take for it can produce hives and itching as a side-effect. And, my bedding and mattress are all dark colored, so I likely would not see fecal stains or shed bed-bug skins.


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Hey Ruth! If there are absolutely no signs of bed bugs (upon close inspection), its unlikely that they are the cause for the bite marks. I recommend taking another look for dark brown marks (dried blood) and other signs of their presence. Regardless, if you want to kill any bug on that mattress, just get a handheld steamer and blast it. The heat will kill everything and its completely natural. Hope that helps!

Often, bedbug bites are clustered along lines usually following arms and legs. Theories range from the idea that bedbugs are feeding along blood vessels to the idea that bedbugs remain with their bodies touching the bedding while they feed, and the bugs are left to feed only along lines where the skin is touching the bedding in just the right manner.
Chances are, you or someone you know has had a run-in with bed bugs. It might have happened in a scrupulously clean bedroom. Or maybe it was a hotel room, office or college dorm. In the February issue of Scientific American entomologist Kenneth Haynes of the University of Kentucky explains how, after a lengthy absence, bed bugs are staging a comeback. The good news is scientists are intensively studying these insects, and their insights suggest novel ways of detecting the bugs and eradicating infestations. Some of those potential solutions are a long way off, however. In the meantime the best bet is to avoid bringing bed bugs home in the first place. I called Haynes to ask him how to do that and what to do if one suspects an infestation (eek!), among a bunch of other practical-minded questions.

Hey Ruth! If there are absolutely no signs of bed bugs (upon close inspection), its unlikely that they are the cause for the bite marks. I recommend taking another look for dark brown marks (dried blood) and other signs of their presence. Regardless, if you want to kill any bug on that mattress, just get a handheld steamer and blast it. The heat will kill everything and its completely natural. Hope that helps!


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.
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