Bed bugs are annoying insects that hide in soft, warm places like beds, couches, and clothing. These bugs feed on their hosts at night, leaving small bite marks that, though rarely dangerous, should be treated right away to prevent unwanted symptoms and potential allergic reactions. To prevent more bites in the future, you’ll need to get rid of your bed bug infestation completely.
Bedbugs are small oval-shaped non-flying insects that belong to the insect family Cimicidae, which includes three species that bite people. Adult bedbugs reach 5 mm-7 mm in length, while nymphs (juveniles) are as small as 1.5 mm. Bedbugs have flat bodies and may sometimes be mistaken for ticks or small cockroaches. Bedbugs feed by sucking blood from humans or animals. Cimex lectularius is the scientific name for bedbugs.
The life cycle stages of a bed bug are egg, nymph, and adult. The reason they are called bed bugs is that they readily infest mattresses, bed frames and box springs. Eggs are laid along the edges of or around buttons on the mattresses. Eggs can also be glued to rough surfaces. Bed bug females lay about 200 eggs, usually at the rate of three or four a day. Eggs are placed in cracks, crevices and other isolated and protected shelters. Females lay eggs after a blood meal. Eggs will hatch in one or two weeks into Nymphs. Newly hatched bugs (Nymphs) begin feeding immediately. At room temperature, and with an available food supply, the nymphal period will last 14 to 30 days. They shed their skin (Instar) five times before becoming adults. Bed bugs will mate soon after becoming mature, so the time from egg hatch to egg laying is 4 to 9 weeks, under favorable conditions. The average life span of the bed bug is 6-12 months and they feed every 10 days or so during this time. Bed bugs can survive many months without a blood meal and their reproduction is high.
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.
Bedbugs have resurged worldwide and these blood-sucking insects (both the Cimex lectularius and Cimex hemipterus) are a problem in many homes and hotels. Fortunately, bedbugs aren't known to spread contagious diseases. However, it is difficult to eradicate an infestation and you will want to take steps to prevent bringing bedbugs home. Learn how to identify and treat these pests.
The first sign of a bed bug problem is obvious: the bed. After bed bugs feed on humans, they'll leave behind blood stains resembling small rust spots. These will usually be found near the corners and edges of the bed. Bed bugs also shed their skin, or molt, several times as they mature, so you may find their oval brown exoskeletons during your search.
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.
However, low-level infestations are also much more challenging to find and correctly identify. Other insects, such as carpet beetles, can be easily mistaken for bed bugs. If you misidentify a bed bug infestation, it gives the bugs more time to spread to other areas of the house or hitchhike a ride to someone else's house to start a new infestation. Learn about identifying bed bugs.
Flea bites are caused by the parasitic insect, the flea. The most common species of flea in the US is the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis. Signs and symptoms of flea bites in humans include itching, hives, a rash with bumps, red spots with a "halo," and swelling around the bite. Treatment for flea bites includes over-the-counter medicine and natural and home remedies to relieve and soothe itching and inflammation. The redness of a flea bite can last from a few hours to a several days.
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.
Summer means more time outdoors–and more opportunity for annoying critters to bite you. Most of the time, all you’ll get is a little red bump with itching and maybe a little swelling. These insect bite symptoms can be treated easily with anti-itch creams and over-the-counter antihistamines. Occasionally, bites can cause allergic reactions that lead to severe swelling and shortness of breath; if that happens to you this season, you need to be seen by a doctor.
Hello all I just want to put this out there that heat is the best way to kill these little pests. I work for a company that uses heat to do structural pasteurization, in other words we heat the entire house up to 140°+ (which is higher than the the thermal kill point for bedbugs) for an hour or more (though they can only withstand that heat for less than 15 min) This has been the ONLY way to kill them with a 100% success rate since they are becoming resistant to chemicals and DDT is illegal. Some things work for some infestations but not for all, there are a lot of good ideas on here :-)
Bed bugs were first mentioned in Germany in the 11th century, in France in the 13th century, and in England in 1583, though they remained rare in England until 1670. Some in the 18th century believed bed bugs had been brought to London with supplies of wood to rebuild the city after the Great Fire of London (1666). Giovanni Antonio Scopoli noted their presence in Carniola (roughly equivalent to present-day Slovenia) in the 18th century.
Although treating bedbug bites isn't difficult, actually getting rid of the bedbugs is another story. A professional exterminator can help. You will need to discard infested mattresses, box springs, and pillows. You can heat treat or cold treat items such as clothing by laundering or freezing. However, the room itself will need to be treated to eliminate bedbugs that can live in cracks in walls, floors, and furniture.
Also, we do have pets and a 10 year old living with us as well. 3 cats and a dog. They have been fine with the bleach smell, though it seems to be making one of my cats a little wild. A suggestion I have, if you try what we’re trying, is put the animals up until the KABOOM has dried, because, where as our animals are seemingly okay, it could still harm them. Luckily our cats are indoor/outdoor cats, so we can put them outside while we do it.
Most bites will have a small clear area in the center surrounded by redness that may or may not be raised. People tend to become more sensitive and have larger reactions after each episode. Reactions can include itch, swelling, rash and wheals (large round red area on the skin). Severe reactions can cause skin blisters and trouble breathing, although these reactions are very rare.
I am having a severe allergic reaction to bed bug bites and I’m 3month pregnant. So bad first they are hives that turn in blisters even on my eye lid, on the top of my hand and on my lower back, I’ve taken benedrel which only gives me about an hr of relief, then it returns and hives last for days. I’m debating going to er, how do they treat this when you’re pregnant?
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
A number of other symptoms may occur from either the bite of the bed bugs or from their exposure. Anaphylaxis from the injection of serum and other nonspecific proteins has been rarely documented. Due to each bite taking a tiny amount of blood, chronic or severe infestation may lead to anemia. Bacterial skin infection may occur due to skin break down from scratching. Systemic poisoning may occur if the bites are numerous. Exposure to bed bugs may trigger an asthma attack via the effects of airborne allergens although evidence of this association is limited. There is no evidence that bed bugs transmit infectious diseases even though they appear physically capable of carrying pathogens and this possibility has been investigated. The bite itself may be painful thus resulting in poor sleep and worse work performance.
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, I’ve been in my apartment for over 8 years. We just had new neighbors move into our building. Now me and my children are getting bit at night by something. So, this morning, I was sitting on the couch in my bedroom and a bug crawled up my pants’ leg. I captured it in a plastic bag. I believe it’s a bed bug but is there a way to submit a picture to you, so you can take a look? Thank you!
Hi please help me out Natasha! A few days ago I woke up at midnight to find 3 bites in a almost straight line and I was afraid that it was a bed bug my mom said that there was a chance of it being a misquito since I was outside all night long but I’m still getting this weird feeling that it could be bed bugs what do you think it is can you take a guess. Help!
when i was a young kid and got the chicken pox my mom had bathed me in warm water and oat meal, when my children developed chicken pox i did the same for them, this helps with the itching for several hours. You can buy packets of oat meal at a drug store for purposes suck as chicken pox, poison ivy, poison oak, etc. The packets sold at stores contain oat meal and other ingredients to ease itching and burning. I hope this is helpful for anyone who is willing to try it, it works for my family.
It’s been over a week since the first attack. I did not know where or when I got bit. Then a few days later in the night, I connected the dots. At 3 am I was up comparing bite pics on the internet and sure enough my fear was confirmed. I slept on the couch which is only 10 feet away in my studio with no problem. I did not see the actual bugs. I went and bought Steri-Fab spray–a gallon of it. I cleaned, vacuumed, sprayed the crap out of everything. I washed all my bedding in hot water. I threw out a throw rug. Sprayed baseboards again and around that side of the apartment.
That's very possible. I have heard of couples reporting that only one partner is getting bitten. The truth is that both are getting bitten, but only one has a reaction to the bites. Thirty percent of people or more don't react to bed bug bites at all, and the elderly are less reactive than the rest of the population. Among those people who do react to the bites, most of them don't respond to early bites, but develop a sensitivity to subsequent ones. Those individuals who are not sensitive to bed bug bites may not know they have an infestation. Because bed bugs are nocturnally active, it's hard to see other signs of their presence—unless you're accustomed to waking up at 3 A.M. and taking a census. With a huge infestation, bed bugs start to move away from the bed, so you're more likely to see one in an exposed place during the day. In very severe infestations people can become anemic. That takes a lot of bugs though—maybe 100,000 feeding once a week or more.
Bedbugs do, however, have a unique bite pattern. Although some bites may appear alone, most bites occur in a row of three to five bites (termed "breakfast, lunch, and dinner") or in a cluster of red bumps (a rash called bedbug dermatitis). The bites often appear in a zig-zag formation, but may appear in a straight line if the bugs bite you in the morning.
Cracks and crevices of bed frames should also be examined, especially if the frame is wood. (Bed bugs have an affinity for wood and fabric more so than metal or plastic.) Wooden support slats, if present, should be removed and examined since bed bugs often congregate where the ends rest on the frame. Screw holes, knots and other recesses are also common hiding places. Headboards secured to walls should be removed and inspected. In hotels, the area behind the headboard is often the first place that bed bugs become established. Bed bugs also frequently hide within items stored under beds.
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.
Bedbugs lurk in cracks and crevices and they've been living on human blood for centuries. Though they aren't known to transmit disease or pose any serious medical risk, the stubborn parasites can leave itchy and unsightly bites. However, bedbugs don't always leave marks. The best way to tell if you have a bedbug infestation is to see the live, apple-seed-size critters for yourself. Unfortunately, once bedbugs take up residence in homes and businesses, they can be difficult to exterminate without professional help.
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.