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.

My fiance and I have been dealing with bed bugs for 3 years. In the beginning I was the one being bitten. Just recently my fiance has been covered in bites. His lip is swollen this morning. We don’t know what to do anymore. This entire process is expensive and hard for us to afford. we’ve been treated by 3 exterminators. None have worked. I’m very upset because all of our belongings are damaged because of this! The Land Lord keeps bring exterminators and nothing’s working. we follow all the directions. I’ve checked my cat he seems to be fine, but I don’t know anymore. we’re miserable. I think we are stuck for life.
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.
About five weeks ago bed bugs were found out work, then two weeks ago they spread, pest control has seen continuously coming to check and yesterday they gave the place the green light. I work with a largely indigent populace, the office I work at was not sprayed, during the night at some point, I will feel painful stings, hours later I have been finding small lumps or even large and hard ones, Could it be bed bugs? There is a particularly painful lump on the back of my thigh, it’s very hard too.
Heat treatment: Heat of 120 F for two hours will kill bedbugs. Wash items in hot water (120 F or above). This may not be enough, though, so it's recommended that you place items in a clothes dryer on hot heat for at least 30 minutes. In a hot climate, you can bag items in a black plastic bag and leave them in direct sunlight for 24 hours. For travel or home use, there are portable heating units that can be used for clothing and luggage. A garment steamer can also be used on some items, such as luggage.
After being treated by a dermatologist for nearly 2 mos for red marks all over my body – he stated that I did not have bed bug bites (he even took a biopsy of my skin) and said I had leichen planus. I took pills for 2 weeks and then began ultra violent light treatments – nothing was helping them go away. Finally, I called an exterminator to inspect my home only to find out we have bed bugs and the marks on my body are bed bug bites. I stopped going to the dermatologist and wasted 2 months precious time in getting rid of the bugs. They are driving me crazy – had my first extermination done (2 more needed) and still seeing the bugs and getting bit – can’t sleep a wink – any suggestions to help with the anxiety I’m going through would be greatly appreciated.
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.
I work @ a hotel, and just found out that one of the rooms has a bed bug problem. I work at the front desk, and never go into the rooms. But i work third shift, and sleep in the chair in the lobby. Just wanted to know what my chances were of catching them? I will be going home and looking just to make sure. But since i work here, and its un-avoidable, what are some things i can do to protect myself from taking them home?
Did you or someone else in your home recently come home from a trip? Bugs can stow away in clothing and in the recesses of your luggage. A good preventative measure is to check lodging you are staying in immediately after arrival. As mentioned before, signs are evident, even during the daytime, include the blood-colored excrement they leave behind.

just got back from two weekends of traveling to two diff locations. noticed a slight rash yesterday on the side of my ribs and a couple smaller itchy spots on one side of my stomach, etc. i don’t think it was from the first weekend of travelling as my bed companion didn’t get anything. the second weekend was at a college campus, but i had wiped the bed down before putting sheets and a sleeping bag over it. got back home sunday and noticed the itch yesterday (tuesday). so now i’m freaking out and assuming the worst scenarios. i’ve washed and dried all my clothes (though i did leave my suitcase out for two days before i even realized the itch), my sheets, and used a handheld steamer on my mattress, clorox / lysol the edge of my bed and the wooden frame, vacuumed all open areas on my wooden floor, etc. not sure if i should go to urgent care or what, but i’ve so far used hydrocortisone (previously already prescribed). can you please help or can i send you photos since you’re more familiar with this? never happened to be at home before all 20 something years so now i’m terrified i brought something back with me!
I have done all of this to my home, bed bug dusted and bed bug pesticide sprayed, My cat had been attacked by them I have given her 2 bathes since with Dawn soap. she’s been rubbed down with coconut oil when I had not known of the neighbors upstairs infestation and after the first Dawn bath was periodically rubbed with baking soda. I have bought her a flea color but not for this just cause I am truly a depressed person and full of anxiety both.The place has been vacuumed most thoroughly and floors washed , clothing laundered/dried . I am just asking for further instruction and the best advice to continue any treatment needed to my cat and home. Lastly , I am just overwhelmed by pretty much everything that i am breaking down to tears and unable to sleep properly.. Please HELP
Reports of bedbugs can be found in the popular press and on hotel and travel review sites, and they appear to be making a comeback. The good news is that they typically do not pose serious health risks, even though their bites may be uncomfortable. These slides show you how to recognize bedbugs, know where they're hiding, and learn what to do to prevent getting bitten.
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.

Hi Natasha !! I recently saw a bed bug crawling on my bed. So, I immediately cleaned all clothes in my room with hot water and put in high heat in the drier. I also sprayed the whole house with bed bug spray. Now on closer look of the mattress I found some bug remaining like its cover/shell, 2-3 blood stains but I did not find a colony/cluster of the bugs (which I was sort of expecting). So I bought a steamer and steamed my mattress and box spring. I also bought covers for the mattress and the box spring so that in case I missed any, they might get suffocated (at least I hope so). After all this, the next morning I woke up and found some sort of bite marks on my face. Also since I could not find any cluster of bugs, could they still be somewhere in my room ? where should I look for them ?

Treatment is symptomatic.[2] Eliminating bed bugs from the home is often difficult.[2] Part of this is because bed bugs can live for a year between feeding.[2] Repeated treatments of a home may be required.[2] These treatments may include heating the room to 50 °C (122 °F) for more than 90 minutes, frequent vacuuming, washing clothing at high temperatures, and the use of various pesticides.[2]


Bedbugs are highly resistant to many sprays. There are, however, certain sprays that may be able to kill bedbugs. Check with a professional exterminator about advice using sprays to try and remove the bedbugs yourself. Dead bedbugs usually won't move, may be arched back, or red in color. Ultimately, you may be better off replacing your mattress and bedding and fumigating your home to kill the bedbugs.
About five weeks ago bed bugs were found out work, then two weeks ago they spread, pest control has seen continuously coming to check and yesterday they gave the place the green light. I work with a largely indigent populace, the office I work at was not sprayed, during the night at some point, I will feel painful stings, hours later I have been finding small lumps or even large and hard ones, Could it be bed bugs? There is a particularly painful lump on the back of my thigh, it’s very hard too.
Avoidance is the best means of preventing bedbug infestation.8 While traveling, sleeping quarters and bedding should be closely inspected for signs of bedbugs. Suitcases should be placed on metal racks away from walls and furniture. Frequent travelers might consider obtaining a portable heating unit for luggage and clothing (e.g., Packtite) as an additional precaution. Items at yard sales and secondhand stores should also be carefully examined before purchase.8  All potentially infested items should be sorted and sealed in plastic bags and removed only when ready to be disinfested (see Table 36 for instructions regarding effective care of infested items). Wearing long-sleeved nightclothes can minimize exposed skin, and although insect repellants have not been shown to be reliably effective, oil of lemon eucalyptus or diethyltoluamide (DEET) might help deter bites.44,45
Bed bugs are challenging to eradicate. Since they can hide in so many places, inspections must be thorough and elimination is not always a certainty. Whenever resources allow, it’s prudent to enlist the services of a professional. Experienced pest controllers know where to look for bed bugs, and have an assortment of tools at their disposal. Nonetheless, owners and occupants can assist the professional in several important ways. Affording access to all living areas is crucial, and excess clutter will need to be removed. Belongings strewn about rooms offer many places for the bugs to hide, and impede inspection and treatment. Since bed bugs can disperse throughout a building, it often will be necessary to inspect adjoining rooms and apartments as well. 
Known to be international travelers and expert hitchhikers, bed bugs are everywhere. As you travel, you increase your chances of being bit. However, knowing how to identify the bites and what your treatment options are will help you decide your next course of action. Learn more about where to look for bed bugs and how to avoid them with these great blogs:

Bed bugs were first mentioned in Germany in the 11th century, in France in the 13th century, and in England in 1583,[50] 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.[52][53]

We vacuumed up the nests and I went in with a blowdryer after that to attempt to kill the eggs. A few hours later, we also sprayed the nests with KABOOM spray, a bleach for clothing. Ever since then, there has been a huge lack of bed bugs. I have found very few adults, and the ones that we have found, have either been /dead/, or dying. We have found hatchlings, but I consider this a good sign, though, as this is showing that what we’re doing is working. I’ve been spraying the KABOOM around where I sleep on the floor since then, and I’ve been able to find a kill any of them that have bitten me for the most part over the past few nights.(I sleep on the floor in the living room because it’s better than sleeping up in my room where we haven’t gotten to yet)


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.
The decline of bed bug populations in the 20th century is often credited to potent pesticides that had not previously been widely available.[44] Other contributing factors that are less frequently mentioned in news reports are increased public awareness and slum clearance programs that combined pesticide use with steam disinfection, relocation of slum dwellers to new housing, and in some cases also follow-up inspections for several months after relocated tenants moved into their new housing.[66]
My family and I have had bed bugs for about 6-8 months we have tried everything that we could except hire an exterminator because we cannot afford it. I am actually awake right now because I just found 3 bugs in my bed!!! I have been rubbing baby oil over my whole body and have not got bit I suggest that you try it, it has helped me I can honestly say I do not get any bites when I use the baby oil
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!
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
Around the time I started getting bites, I noticed more and more neighbors throwing out mattresses, furniture… I got suspicious. We live in apartments. I react differently to different kinds of bites so I can always tell the difference between mosquitoes and ants and such. I didn’t know what those bites were until I caught one of the little hellions crawling across the sheets.
Bring in only what is needed, and avoid sitting or placing coats and other items on beds, floors and sofas where the bugs commonly reside. Essential items can be placed on a tabletop or other hard surface, preferably away from bedrooms and sleeping areas. Better to sit on a hard (non-upholstered) chair than on sofas and recliners. Also try to avoid leaning or brushing against beds and upholstered furniture. If such items are carried out of infested dwellings (e.g., by sanitation workers or firefighters), it’s best to wrap them in plastic or at least not hold them against your body during transport. Emergency Medical (EMS) personnel may need to take additional precautions, such as removing a patient’s bed bug-infested shoes or clothing, or installing plastic sheeting before transporting them in the emergency vehicle.    
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.
Each of the following pictures of bed bug bites shows typical skin reactions to the insect's saliva. Most people  are not hypersensitive to the bites and will show no reaction at all with the exception of two small dots where the bedbug punctured the skin. Other people can develop red papular eruptions (raised inflamed areas) or in severe cases, blisters.
"We originally thought the bedbugs might prefer red because blood is red and that's what they feed on," study co-author Corraine McNeill, an assistant professor of biology at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska, said in a statement. "However, after doing the study, the main reason we think they preferred red colors is because bedbugs themselves appear red, so they go to these harborages because they want to be with other bedbugs, as they are known to exist in aggregations."
Bed bugs occur around the world.[36] Before the 1950s about 30% of houses in the United States had bedbugs.[2] Rates of infestations in developed countries, while decreasing from the 1930s to the 1980s, have increased dramatically since the 1980s.[3][4][36] Before the 1980s they were common in the developing world but rare in the developed world.[4] 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.[37]
No one tactic alone will be effective. A good pest control operator will develop a strategy to deal with the bed bugs that takes the particulars of the setting into account, and will return several times to check on progress. Dry ice sprays that freeze bed bugs have limited potential to reach hidden bugs. Steam has somewhat better penetrating ability. The downside of steam is that it leaves moisture behind. Dry ice doesn't leave any residue at all. Vacuuming has a role, but it has limitations, too. Some insecticides leave behind deposits that are slow to act but are effective in the long-term. Other insecticides kill on contact, but only reach insects that are in view. Insecticide resistance makes the choice of tactics more difficult.
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!!!!!!
Did you or someone else in your home recently come home from a trip? Bugs can stow away in clothing and in the recesses of your luggage. A good preventative measure is to check lodging you are staying in immediately after arrival. As mentioned before, signs are evident, even during the daytime, include the blood-colored excrement they leave behind.
Until fairly recently, most people (and even pest control professionals) had never seen a bed bug. Bed bug infestations actually used to be very common in the United States before World War II. But with improvements in hygiene, and especially the widespread use of DDT during the 1940s and ‘50s, the bed bugs all but vanished. The pests persisted, however, in some areas of the world including parts of Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe. Over roughly the past decade, bed bugs have made a dramatic comeback in the U.S.― they’re appearing increasingly in homes, apartments, hotels, health care facilities, dormitories, shelters, schools and public transportation. Other places where bed bugs sometimes occur include movie theaters, laundries, rental furniture, and office buildings. Immigration and international travel have contributed to the resurgence of bed bugs in the U.S. Changes in modern pest control practice, less effective insecticides ― and a decrease in societal vigilance ― are other factors suspected for the recurrence. 
First, make sure that the suspected bugs are bedbugs, because other insects or arthropods such as a carpet beetle, scabies mite, a bat bug, louse, or other bugs may be mistaken for bedbugs. If there is confirmation of a bedbug infestation, several measures can be taken to help control or eradicate the infestation, using both nonchemical and chemical (insecticides) methods. It can take several weeks to months to achieve complete eradication of a bedbug infestation, and it may take several treatment cycles to completely eliminate them. In many cases, it will be necessary to hire a pest control service in order to implement a comprehensive extermination strategy.
The next sign is that the bites will occur nightly while sleeping and the rashes will increase daily. These rashes will usually be located on the legs, arms, neck, face and back, which are the most common areas. The reason these places are the most common sites is because these areas are usually exposed during the night. Exposed areas of the host are what they prefer.
Hi can you respond to me privately? I inspected my bed mattress and linens for any signs of bed beg fecal matter and any grown bed bugs or spots of feces. I have not found any traces blood-type residue or brownish type feces in the mattress. Is it normal to find an occasional bites from something other than bed bugs? Sometimes after shaving, I will have red pimples where I have shaved.
In conclusion, bed bug bites can be a pain to deal with (pun intended) but with a few natural or product based remedies, treatment is rather easy. Most of the time, these bites can be extremely itchy and may cause a slight swelling, depending on how sensitive the victims skin is. However, caution needs to be taken when more adverse symptoms develop and if this happens to you or a family member, it’s a good idea to contact your doctor immediately! I invite you to share this post with your friends and I hope you have a fantastic day! 

The exact causes of this resurgence remain unclear; it is variously ascribed to greater foreign travel, increased immigration from the developing world to the developed world, more frequent exchange of second-hand furnishings among homes, a greater focus on control of other pests, resulting in neglect of bed bug countermeasures, and increasing resistance to pesticides.[4][38] Declines in household cockroach populations that have resulted from the use of insecticides effective against this major bed bug predator have aided the bed bugs' resurgence, as have bans on DDT and other potent pesticides.[39][medical citation needed]
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.
Hey there! So I recently stayed in a condo through a timeshare. After two nights of staying there I woke up with about 30 bites all over my boxy (head to toe) throughout the day more and more bites appeared. They have began to itch very, very badly and are now beginning to blister. I did go to a nearby lake as well so it could possibly be something from the lake. I went to two separate physicians and neither one of them could diagnose the bites as anything. I am no longer there to inspect the bedding and furniture, unfortunately. Although I didn’t not see any blood spots, egg shells or any of that matter on the bed sheets. Do you think the bites could be from bed bugs?
The creatures don't have wings and they can't fly or jump. But their narrow body shape and ability to live for months without food make them ready stowaways and squatters. Bedbugs can easily hide in the seams and folds of luggage, bags and clothes. They also take shelter behind wallpaper and inside bedding, box springs and furniture. The ones that feed on people can crawl more than 100 feet (30 meters) in a night, but typically creep to within 8 feet (2.4 m) of the spot its human hosts sleep, according to the CDC.
Reports of bedbugs can be found in the popular press and on hotel and travel review sites, and they appear to be making a comeback. The good news is that they typically do not pose serious health risks, even though their bites may be uncomfortable. These slides show you how to recognize bedbugs, know where they're hiding, and learn what to do to prevent getting bitten.
We’ve randomly gotten bites here and there but it’s summer so we were unsure. We had a cleaning lady come in recently and use her vaccuum so we suspect that could’ve brought in bed bugs! Last night was worst ever but I was outside yesterday but didn’t notice these bites til I just woke up. No signs of spots left behind on mattress, maybe one dot on bedding but could be anything. What do you think?? I have about 6-8 on my middle back and they are about an inch or so apart in one line across bra line area

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.
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.
Just because you can't see bed bugs, does not mean that they are not still there. Bed bugs are rarely seen in the day, out in the open or on the surface of beds or chairs. They have been described as champions of hide-and-seek. So, it is not uncommon to miss the bed bugs altogether. Bed bugs love to hide in the cracks and crevices associated with mattresses, cushions, bed frames and other structures, which is why it is very important to look for telltale symptoms of bed bugs and signs of an infestation, such as shed skins and specks of blood or feces on linens, furniture, mattresses and other areas where the bugs might be hiding.
I am trying to type this and get relief at the same time from the terrible itching that has robbed me of my sleep for several nights now….Anyway, now as I said, my new recliner is ruined because even after covering it with plastic and then covering with a new sheet I just took out of the package, it still was stained with vaseline I had put on my arms from all the bites and itching I’m going through…I also resorted to covering it with corn starch which seems to brush right off, but I’m afraid the vaseline is here to stay…I’m heartbroken about my recliner and the whole mess in general!!
Bed bug eradication is challenging and it’s prudent to hire a professional when resources allow. However treatment can be expensive, often costing hundreds or thousands of dollars. Those who cannot afford this often must cope with the problem themselves. A useful step that anyone can take to combat bed bugs is to install bed encasements. Covering the mattress and box spring can help eliminate a substantial portion of the bed bug population -- especially if discovered early while most of the bugs are still confined to the bed area. Extra care should be taken when installing budget encasements since these can tear easily, especially on metal bed frames. Ideally both the mattress and box spring should be encased. If only one encasement is possible it’s often best to cover the box spring which is harder to subsequently inspect.

Some people develop allergic reactions to bedbug bites, which can include a fever, difficulty breathing, hives, or a swollen tongue. Others may develop an infection where the bite starts oozing pus. If you experience either of these reactions or you develop blisters where the bites occurred, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with a dermatologist.

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