Data Sources: A PubMed search was completed in Clinical Queries using the key terms bedbug, rash, bites, and infestation. The search included meta-analyses, randomized controlled trials, clinical trials, case reports, and reviews. We also searched the online databases of the Environmental Protection Agency, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Jefferson Clinical Images. Lastly, we used Essential Evidence Plus. Search dates: February through June 2011.
People don't often consider bed bugs until they've left their mark. The appearance of flat, red welts in zigzag lines or small clusters is a key sign of bed bugs on humans. Bed bugs can also leave their bites in straight rows and, while they don't spread diseases to humans, their bites are quite irritating and scratching them can lead to bleeding and infection.
I just discovered the cause of my skin reaction this morning. Been spending a lot of time at a friends place and started to get red spots that were intense and itch. It just got worse and worse. The dermatologist did a biopsy and found no bacteria or virus. Skin scrapping found no fungus. It was a matter of finding out what was causing my skin to become so swollen I couldn’t see some of the bite marks. It only affected my legs, feet, arms, upper back, chest, neck, and shoulders. No midsection bites.
Bed bugs occur in all regions of the globe.[7] Rates of infestations are relatively common, following an increase since the 1990s.[3][4][6] The exact causes of this increase is unclear; with proposals including greater travel, more frequent exchange of second-hand furnishings, a greater focus on control of other pests, and increasing resistance to pesticides.[4] Bed bugs have been known human parasites for thousands of years.[2]

The bites usually last about 7 days, even if they are treated correctly. However, if you have sensitive skin like myself, they can last a couple weeks or in my husbands case, they last only a few days. As mentioned, if you scratch the bites its going to make things worse and besides running the risk of a bacterial infection, they will also take longer to heal so keep your nails away from them!


A deterrence for them that we’ve found, as well as the bleach, is lavender. Blood sucking bugs don’t seem to like it too much. I don’t personally like it because the lotion that we have makes my skin itch, and I’d rather just deal with the bites since my reactions aren’t so bad to them. However, the lavender lotion has been seemingly working, at least a little bit, for my mother and sister. Although this is the case, I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone. It’s okay to use, but it doesn’t seem to be too strong at keeping them away.
Bed bugs are obligatory bloodsucking. They have mouth parts that saw through the skin, and inject saliva with anticoagulants and painkillers. Sensitivity of humans varies from extreme allergic reaction to no reaction at all (about 20%). The bite usually produces a swelling with no red spot, but when many bugs feed on a small area, reddish spots may appear after the swelling subsides.[15] Bedbugs prefer exposed skin, preferably the face, neck, and arms of a sleeping person.
Bedbug bite reactions are self-limited and typically resolve within one to two weeks without intervention.15 There is no evidence that any treatment alters the natural history of bedbug dermatitis.8 If pruritus is present, nonprescription topical antipruritic preparations containing the active ingredient doxepin, or intermediate potency corticosteroids may be beneficial. Mupirocin (Bactroban) and/or systemic antibiotics should be considered in the treatment of superinfected bites.8
If you are seeing bites everywhere and wondering, what do bed bug bites look like, have a look at the bed bug bite pictures below. They illustrate how bed bug bites look on different parts of the body, making it much easier to identify the bites. Write a comment below if you need help determining if you have been bitten by bed bugs or some other insect. You are also very welcome to submit your own bed bug bite pictures, like many of our other members have already done. Just write a comment and I will get back to you on how to upload images.
8 days ago my friend & i decided to crash at my grandmas house after a wild night out. in the morning we woke up in horror seeing how they freely crawled all over her mattress cover. Within the last 7 days, bite marks have been appearing all over my body, i am practically covered; as to my friend, well lucky her she has only 3 on her arm. The problem isn’t only that i have more bites than her but i believe i have an allergic reaction, the bites have massively grown in size. I do not know what else to try, Calamine doesn’t work, baking soda with water made it worse, Benadryl hasn’t done anything either. I am at a point where i am about to cry. The worst part is that in less than a month I am going on my first tropical vacation. I simply cannot handle the stress, i suffer from mild anxiety & these massive rashes have turned these 7 days into hell. I have stopped scratching because it seems to irritate the bites. Please help.
I am 59 and never had any allergies before.. My other half never got bit until recently, and it is only recently I’ve seen the bugs.. we got a new kittie and he gets them before or after they get me. That’s how I finale got to see one, he woke me up chasing it..the bites I cover with alcohol for 2-3 days, the itching stays down… am going to try the Diatomaceous earth trick, am on a small pension and can not afford Orkin or any others..love this site, great information..
Hi so I am 32 years old and never heard of bedbugs intill 2 years ago I thought if u where dirty u can get it IM a clean freak and i got them I just moved into a new place and was only there for 2 months and I am also diabetic i got real sick and was in and out of the hospital and the drs just keap saying I need to clean my house and said they can’t do anything for the bedbugs bite and made it seem that it was my fault I was like I just moved in and don’t have anything in my place yet come to find out the apartments where all in feasted with bedbugs even my dog got sick the drs put me on so many different meds I was drug up with 2 kid’s to take care of i got bit from head to toe my ho body looked like i had something I was getting bit everyday with it leveing me with swollen skin that looked red as a Apple that was on fire that I would have to jump into a cold shower and just see steam come off my body i would cry all day cause if i wasn’t in pain i was feeling things crowing all over me and my head and face but couldn’t see anything but only see little bites or some that looked like blisters that had white yellow ish puss dripping or some that popped into black hos or some that would dry up and have colors like tan brown mixed with red look like a critical and i would scratch and it felt like sharp and pain coming off my skin so I moved and have been staying in a motel for 2 1/2 months to find out they have bed bugs and now me abd my husband and 2 kid’s have been getting bit to find out for me getting bit so much I got a real bad infection called prurigo nodularis
Within 20 of exposure I started coming down with bumps. They started to.on my forearms but now have spread to legs. My company sent a exterminator to my home to check to make sure I didn’t spread them to my home, my home declared bug free:). They sent me to employee health where I was put on strong antibiotic and cortisone like cream to put on wounds. They are red, cluster like itchy. Frustrating thing is I keep getting more. I am so itchy I can’t sleep. Could it be something different then bugs that I was exposed to? Just frustrated with continual bites
Im staying with these people in another town going to school I am mid fifties, I always bring home like these brown bag like “dinners” my room got infested with ants and I cleaned it up, ever since then i have developed these very sore 1/4 in bumps on back near my right armpit its also very major on the back of my upper arm, it dose not itch but is sore, What the heck is it! Should I be concerned,Will it go away!Should I get some benedryl?My friend said it will go away in five days or so,Any suggestions?
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.
Claude suggested a “hot as you can stand it” shower or bath to treat the bites. The itching will intensify for a few seconds, but then there is the relief which lasts for many hours. Some believe that the heat from the water overloads the ends of your nerves and prevent them from telling your brain to itch. Some think that the heat causes your body to release more histamine than usual and thereby less histamine around the bite. Whatever the reason, it’s commonly used as a solution to itching caused by bites.
Use a Hand Bellow Duster to apply dusts into the cracks and crevices with the Cimexa Dust. Put dust into duster. Remove switch plates and electrical outlet covers and dust into the openings. Another tool used for dusting would be a small paint brush or small makeup brush. Apply a small amount of dust on the tip of the brush, brushing into cracks and crevices. Dust any items hanging on the wall such as pictures with a small paint brush. Use a small paint brush to paint dust in seams and around buttons of mattress. Use dust or aerosol in all joints of the bed frame.
If the bed bugs are coming from someplace other than your bed, I’d sprinkle uncalcinated diatomaceous earth around cluttered areas and the walls, and bleach the crap out of surrounding furniture. What the diatomaceous earth does is basically attach to their exoskeleton, dehydrate the insect, and they’ll either die of dehydration or get shredded apart as they crawl. Unless your pet or kid would directly eat the diatomaceous earth, it is safe to be in contact with since it’s not a chemical pesticide and it’s fairly cheap.

The prognosis for bedbug bites is excellent. The vast majority of people who experience bedbug bites will recover without any long-term problems, and many individuals who are bitten may not exhibit any physical signs at all. However, the recent resurgence in bedbug infestations will require increasing public education and awareness, instituting effective preventive and control measures, and continuing research into the development of more effective, safe insecticides.
Hey Jessica! Sounds like bed bug bites to me but don’t stress, although bed bugs are known to travel with you from other locations its not a guarantee that they always do. I recommend giving all your clothing a hot wash when you get back home (and your travel bags) and to inspect your bed for signs of their presence. As a precautionary measure, you can put DE under your sheets for a day or two and that will kill any pests that are hiding there. Good luck
Ive had a boy friend that stayed at a gospel mission in seattle and complained an complained how bad they were there. He came over to my house, which im not blaming him, he has never been bitten. Plus we had another person at our house that came over that has the same problem. Ive been getting bit for about 4 months. Kids sleep in my room an they havent got bit at all. I bombed the room, ive vacuumed, scraped mattress,washed all clothes several times in hot water searched everywhere took off matting that was on my box spring and I could not find a single one!!!! Well since i bombed I havent been bit, but tonight as i was sitting here i finally saw one crawling on my clothes that were on the floor. Now im freaked out! Could there only be one? Or do they always produce a family?
The common bed bug (C. lectularius) is the species best adapted to human environments. It is found in temperate climates throughout the world. Other species include Cimex hemipterus, found in tropical regions, which also infests poultry and bats, and Leptocimex boueti, found in the tropics of West Africa and South America, which infests bats and humans. Cimex pilosellus and Cimex pipistrella primarily infest bats, while Haematosiphon inodora, a species of North America, primarily infests poultry.[42]
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.
To reduce the effects of swelling and rashes, you could take an over-the-counter antihistamine, which is usually in the form of an oral pill. Be sure to check the product label for possible side effects, though: some may cause drowsiness, dizziness, irritability, and vision changes, ringing in the ears, and other disrupting symptoms. You’ll want to be careful about taking these pills if you’re going to be driving or operating heavy machinery, and you definitely want to talk to your doctor first if you’re pregnant or have high blood pressure.

We suggest if you are wanting to use any type of pesticide that you should hire a professional. Bed bugs often hide in places where pesticides can’t reach and pesticides can be very harmful if not used properly. If you are still wanting to treat bed bugs yourself we suggest using food or animal grade Diatomaceous Earth instead. Diatomaceous Earth is non-toxic and will dry out the bed bugs. Also here is a link to our 8-step approach to getting rid of the bed bugs. Please let us know if you have any other questions.
DIY approaches come with risk. It's not uncommon for someone to use a pest-control bomb or fogger that is available over the counter. These don't work well against bed bugs, according to research from Ohio State University. They can also expose people to toxic chemicals. Neither are over-the-counter aerosol insecticides effective against bed bugs. Most of these products have either pyrethrin or a pyrethroid as a main ingredient and those compounds have the same mode of action as DDT, which bed bugs have become resistant to. If you spray the bug directly you might kill it, but that is not going to get rid of the infestation. The problem is finding all the bed bugs. Some just can't be reached with insecticide. It's difficult for nonprofessionals to do anything more than kill what they can see, but that's just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what's there.
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.

Bed bugs usually bite people at night while they are sleeping. Hungry bed bugs may also feed during the daytime, especially if this is when the occupant normally sleeps. They feed by piercing the skin with an elongated beak through which they withdraw blood. Engorgement of the bed bug takes roughly three to 10 minutes, but because the bite is painless, the person seldom realizes they are being bitten. Bed bugs normally do not reside on people like head or body lice do; instead, immediately after feeding, bed bugs crawl to a secluded location to digest their meal. Symptoms after being bitten by bed bugs vary from person to person. Many develop an itchy red welt within a day or so of the bite. Others have little or no reaction. Sometimes the reaction is delayed days or even weeks after the actual bite occurs, which can make it difficult to determine where or when bites actually occurred. Studies conducted in bed bug-infested apartments suggest about 30 percent of people do not react even when bitten repeatedly over time, and there is still higher incidence of non-reactivity among the elderly. Unlike flea bites, which occur mainly around the lower legs and ankles, bed bugs feed on any skin exposed while sleeping (face, neck, shoulders, back, arms, legs, etc.). The welts and itching are often wrongly attributed to other causes, such as mosquitoes. For these reasons, infestations may go a long time unnoticed, and can become quite large before being detected. 
Hello there Trish from Reno we found bed bugs oh my gosh, I am am the only one who has been getting bit last yr on my feet this yr on my hands. My husband saturated our mattress with rubbing alcohol baseboards and I am washing everything tomorrow should we spray our entire you’re house too even our cloth furniture? What else should we do. Thanks you for this site. Sleepless in Reno…

The treatment of bedbug bites depends on the symptoms and their severity. The bites should heal and disappear in one to two weeks whether you treat them or not. The goal is to prevent scratching the itchy rash, which can lead to a skin infection. You can use over-the-counter (OTC) anti-itch creams such as calamine lotion or those containing diphenhydramine or cortisone. Be sure to read the product label and don't use these creams around the eyes, anus, or genitals.
Before you run off and buy every cream the pharmacy stocks, you’ll want to confirm that the marks are actually from bed bugs. Even if they match the description – round, red marks that may bump, swell, itch, and/or burn – the marks could be allergic reactions to food or fabric, irritations from a rough material, or bites from another pest like mosquitoes or carpet beetles.
Last Saturday, I slept over my boyfriend’s house to be safe from that hurricane that came to NY. His house is pretty infested with them, but he bombed the room where I slept, and sprayed a whole lot of bug spray on and around his mattresses, did all his blankets and pillows, and yet I’ve either been bitten so much, that I can’t even tell if they are “breakfast, lunch, dinner” dots, or just rashes from a bad reaction to something. And the baking soda trick, to my surprise, didn’t work! Grrrrr!!!

Insecticides might also have their work cut out for them: Entomologists have known that the common bedbug has built up resistance to some typical insecticides such as those containing certain pyrethroid chemicals like deltamethrin, according to Entomology Today. Deltamethrin apparently paralyzes an insect's nervous system, according to Cornell University.
Mechanical approaches, such as vacuuming up the insects and heat-treating or wrapping mattresses, are effective.[3][6] An hour at a temperature of 45 °C (113 °F) or over, or two hours at less than −17 °C (1 °F) kills them.[6] This may include a domestic clothes drier for fabric or a commercial steamer. Bed bugs and their eggs will die on contact when exposed to surface temperatures above 180 degrees and a steamer can reach well above 230 degrees.[31][15] A study found 100% mortality rates for bed bugs exposed to temperatures greater than 50 °C (122 °F) for more than 2 minutes. The study recommended maintaining temperatures of above 48 °C for more than 20 min to effectively kill all life stages of bed bugs, and because in practice treatment times of 6 to 8 hours are used to account for cracks and indoor clutter.[32] This method is expensive and has caused fires.[6][15] Starving them is not effective as they can survive without eating for 100 to 300 days, depending on temperature.[6] One expert recommends not trying to get rid of bed bugs exclusively on one's own.[29]
If possible get your treatment from a local outlet like Home Depot, a hardware store or an agricultural/farm supply store. If you can afford it get one of those steam mops like Shark has. It comes with a unit designed for hand steam treatments of the bed and the hot steam will kill the bugs. You will also need it if you have to treat carpeting. Professionals use a combination of treatments and you will too in order to be successful. Good luck!

They will starve but not die off completely. That’s why you need to sweep, vacuum, and steam the floors daily. If bed bugs don’t feed on you then they can’t lay eggs. Eventually the numbers will diminish. They might even consider relocating. If you share an apt, it would speed up the process if your housemates do the same thing. It may take months to fully get rid of them but at least you won’t be their meal if you follow me bed proofing instructions.


Encasing mattresses is one of many good parts of a solution, but it doesn't get rid of the infestation. There are going to be other bugs away from the mattress, hiding nearby. What mattress covers are good at is entombing the sometimes large number of bed bugs that can live on a mattress. And because the covers tend to be uniform in color and don't have a lot of seams that the bugs can hide in, it's easier to see the insects.
Bed bugs are active in summer and winter and are not considered "seasonal" in the same sense that mosquitoes, ticks and stinging insects are. Still, many consider bed bugs to be a greater problem in the warmer months, however it is not the bed bugs that are more active in the summer months - the humans are. In warmer weather we typically travel more, often sleeping in hotels and motels, using various modes of transportation, and thereby increasing our risk of exposure to bed bugs. The bed bugs themselves are year-round pests.
Check the mattress throughly, paying close attention to seams and tufts along the edges. Flip the mattress over and inspect the bottom carefully as well. Pay particular attention to any rips in the fabric. View the fabric on the bottom of the box spring and shine a flash light to verify that bed bugs have not penetrated the interior of the box spring.
I recently flew on Airtran Airways, First trip I went well. flying back I had a 30 minute layover in ATL (not enough time to sit down). By the time I got home I was covered in bites from the back of my thighs to my neck. I counted over 100 bites! We have got a serious problem here. these bugs are on planes. I knew nothing about these bugs. Thank you for your stories and remedies. I won’t think twice next time they ask me if I want to upgrade to first class.
We have bedbugs. They are all over the house. In all of the rooms. My daughter feels that it would be safer to sleep outside than in this house. My son has really sensitive skin and the bedbugs love to attack him. One night he just kept twisting and turning because he must have been itching. We have had to get rid of all of our beds and have had to sleep on the floor. The floor is safer than the beds but not by much. The bedbugs seem to be everywhere. On the walls, on the floor, with you, or in your beds. We have tried many things so if anyone has any advice, it would be very much appreciated.
Don't assume your bites are bedbugs. Bites can be hard to identify, even for doctors. Rule out mosquitoes, fleas, mites, and biting gnats by conducting a visual inspection. It's best to collect and identify bedbugs to confirm bites. Look for the bugs themselves or their bloodstains, especially along the seams of mattresses. Further, look for dark spots of insect waste where bedbugs might crawl into hiding places on furniture, walls, and floors.
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