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.
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.
The first question I would ask that person is, what makes you think you have bed bugs? A skin reaction alone does not necessarily indicate the presence of bed bugs. Other bugs, allergies and irritants in the environment can produce similar skin reactions. And it's hard to confidently identify a bed bug bite because reactions vary from person to person. My next question would be, have you seen an insect in an area where you sleep and, if so, was it the correct size and shape to be a bed bug? Carpet beetles in an immature stage are commonly mistaken for bed bugs. The carpet beetle actually doesn't look anything like a bed bug, but it is the right size. And it's another common insect to have indoors around the bed. If you find an insect that you think is a bed bug, save it in a pill bottle or another container so its key characteristics won't get crushed and a professional can identify it.
Ticks are known transmitters of disease to humans and animals. Tick-borne diseases include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Q fever, tularemia, babesiosis, and Southern tick-associated rash illness. Infected ticks spread disease once they've bitten a host, allowing the pathogens in their saliva and mouth get into the host's skin and blood. Tick bites are typically painless, but the site of the bite may later itch, burn, turn red, and feel painful. Individuals allergic to tick bites may develop a rash, swelling, shortness of breath, numbness, or paralysis. Tick bite treatment involves cleaning and applying antibiotic cream.
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]
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.
First, there should be a thorough inspection of areas that may be infested to identify bedbugs. Once a room is identified as infested, don't remove anything from the room unless it is sealed in a plastic bag. Furniture and items that you want to discard rather than treat should be bagged and destroyed so other people don't use them. Call your trash collection agency to arrange for an immediate pickup. Reduce the clutter in the room and discard any cardboard boxes as they can harbor bedbugs. Vacuum the area and seal the vacuum bag in a plastic bag and discard it.

Infested mattresses and box springs can be discarded or wrapped in plastic to trap the bedbugs. Washing bedding and clothes in hot water and drying with high heat can kill bedbugs and their larvae. Cleaning and vacuuming furniture and floors can also help get rid of bedbugs. Shake out suitcases after traveling. Only use an insecticide in cracks on floors or furniture in areas that do not come into contact with skin. An exterminator can help if you're unable to rid the home of bedbugs.
Check to see if you can identify the rust-colored fecal stains, egg cases, and shed skins (exuviae) in crevices and cracks on or near beds. A sweet, musty odor is sometimes present. You should also look at other areas such as under wallpaper, behind picture frames, in couches and other furniture, in bedsprings and under mattresses, and even in articles of clothing. While fecal stains and skin casts suggest that bedbugs have been present, these do not confirm that the infestation is still active. Observing the bedbugs themselves is definitive confirmation that an area is infested. You may require professional assistance from a pest-control company in determining whether your home has a bed bug problem.
Very helpful article, plus everyone’s comments. I wish you all the best of luck with bedbug problems. We went to a cabin near Yosemite before Christmas and I saw bugs on the bed. Luckily we didn’t sleep there and left right away. However I’m afraid some came home with us. About 3 weeks after our trip, I got a rash on my neck, but it’s not very itchy. Haven’t seen any bugs at home, but am worried. Will try the tips in the article–any suggestions how to heat a bedroom to 120 degrees?
They also have the ability to travel beyond the bedroom, so all adjoining rooms should be checked for infestation. Any area that offers a layer of protection, e.g. dark, isolated areas, should be checked. They do leave excrement droppings behind, so even if they are not seen, you can often see where they have been. The best method to find them is to check only at night, and with a red light.
Its important to note that bed bugs can easily be transferred from other locations (such as hotels, friends, etc.) into your bedroom, something your definitely want to avoid! Its important to always check your skin, clothing and bags for any signs of bed bugs (and their bites) before entering your bedroom after sleeping away from the home. If you have been bitten a couple times, there is usually no urgent need for medical care. In fact, there are a number of effective home remedies that you can use to treat these insect bites. However, sometimes medical assistance is required. When is this the case and how can you identify when professional help is needed?
Infestations with bedbugs date back to ancient Egypt.1 The incidence of bedbugs in developed countries decreased in the 1940s because of the availability of more effective pesticides (especially DDT) and improved economic and social conditions.2 In the past decade, however, a significant resurgence of bedbug populations has occurred. This is attributed to a combination of factors, including increased pesticide resistance, more frequent travel, lack of public awareness, and inadequate pest control programs.3 In a 2010 survey, 95 percent of more than 500 U.S. pest management companies reported encountering a bedbug infestation during the preceding year, compared with only 25 percent of companies during 2000.4 Bedbugs spread actively by migrating from one infested room to another, often through ventilation ducts. They also spread passively, carried in the seams of travelers’ luggage, bedding, or furniture.5 Bedbugs do not travel directly on human hosts.6
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.
A number of vital tasks carried out during sleep help maintain good health and enable people to function at their best. Sleep needs vary from individual to individual and change throughout your life. The National Institutes of Health recommend about 7-9 hours of sleep each night for older, school-aged children, teens, and most average adults; 10-12 for preschool-aged children; and 16-18 hours for newborns. There are two stages of sleep; 1) REM sleep (rapid-eye movement), and 2) NREM sleep (non-rapid-eye movement). The side effects of lack of sleep or insomnia include:
Another solution you hear about is vacuuming. You can vacuum up a lot of insects, but eggs are harder to get, and vacuuming won't in and of itself kill bed bugs. Indeed, vacuuming can end up spreading bed bugs to other rooms—when emptying the canister, for example. Pest control operators who use vacuums take measures to prevent bed bugs from escaping when the vacuum is emptied.
I am constantly being bitten and it wakes me up from the itch, I bought calamine lotions and anti-itch products the calamine works the best for the itch. I don’t scratch them because they can get really infected…but it keeps me up for hours through out the night which keeps me tired all the time and I have to go to work in the morning with lack of sleep. I had to go to the board of health in my town to get the landlord to have my apartment treated…it’s a long process and it could be expensive with all the lotions I have to buy for the itch.
The Internet abounds with so-called miracle cures for bed bugs. But bed bugs are hard to get rid of, so anything that advertises an immediate solution is not accurate—it's snake oil. These "cures" have included (as reported by pest control operators who come in afterward to tackle bed bugs correctly) using bleach, ammonia and even DIY heat treatment, which carries fire risk.
If you have bed bug bites, they may or may not look like the ones on the pictures. The bed bug bite pictures are meant as a guidance that should be used to eliminate other common insect bites. Please note that allergic reactions and a few other insect bites can look exactly like bed bug bites, so you shouldn’t make this your only step in identifying the bite. If you aren’t sure, contact your doctor and let him or her look at it. So what do bed bug bites look like? Have a look at the bed bug bite pictures below and see if they look similar to your own bites. If you have been bitten by bed bugs, then you should start bed bug bite treatment as soon as possible.
I have had one bite in threes which cleared up in days and an occasional acne looking sore on my but and arm. I have noted in my car lots of little bites but no marks. My son does not appear to have bites. once he had one on his back that cleared quickly. I really needs some help here as I am getting obsessive with cleaning and making my child change and bath. I have checked my cat for flees and bought her a flee collar as I am thinking the stinging bites I get in the day may be from flees but no itch or real marks. Help please.
Hey I went to visit friends this Saturday and Sunday. Saturday I slept fine Sunday I slept in a different location, I kept feeling bites but was unsure through the night. I woke up the next morning with red bumbs like two clusters of three and four on one arm, four on my other arm not far apart, four on my leg, three on my lower back. As they day went by they got bigger like lumps and really itchy, I had benedryl and creme I could not sleep last night at all. Some of them hurt a bit I try not to scratch them. Ooh and three on my face, my skin is very sensitive, my friends sat on the same chair I sleep on noone got bit. How long does the itching last, Iaautomatically knew it had to be bed bugs does it sound like them??
While encountering bed bugs in hotels is possible, typically only a small number of rooms have problems. If bed bugs are discovered, guests can request another room, preferably in another area of the building, since problems often extend to nearby units. Should you experience itchy welts suggestive of bed bug bites during your stay, it would be prudent upon returning home to place all clothing directly into the washer and/or dryer. Inspecting or vacuuming luggage upon arrival home is less useful since it’s hard to spot bed bugs inside a suitcase. The suitcase itself can either be treated or discarded. 
Bed bug bites can look a lot like other insect bites. Some clues that can suggest the presence of bed bugs include finding red, itchy bites upon awakening - especially if the bites line up in a row on the skin. Bed bugs typically bite at night on exposed areas of skin, so the bites are most commonly found on the face, neck, hands and arms. Although some people develop a bite reaction immediately, others may take two to three days before a reaction becomes noticeable, and not all people have obvious bed bug bite symptoms. A bed bug bite can appear as a tiny puncture wound without a surrounding reaction, and can easily be missed. In fact, 30 percent of individuals living in bed bug-infested dwellings report a lack of bites or skin reactions. This appears to be more common amongst the elderly. On the other hand, other people have exuberant reactions, with large, red, raised and itchy welts. This is especially true if one becomes sensitized to bed bug bites, so that with repeated bites there is an increased risk of an exaggerated reaction to bed bug bites.

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?
This morning, I stood in front of the mirror for my daily grooming routine when the most gruesome red bumps appeared before me and it’s at the side of my neck! Thankfully it’s Saturday coz I will not spend my time with my co-workers! I researched and stumble upon your website. I wish you could help me The bites are getting itchy and what would you recommend? Natural or modern medicine? Thanks i’ll be waiting for your answer…
Your replies to these questions are great! I have a question for you. I’ve recently returned home after spending a week in a hotel and the day after I returned I noticed 4 red dots which could be bites on my waist line. They don’t itch or hurt but I’ve never had anything like this before. I can send you a picture if you tell me how. I’m worried that they may be bed bug bites.
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
Its important to note that bed bugs can easily be transferred from other locations (such as hotels, friends, etc.) into your bedroom, something your definitely want to avoid! Its important to always check your skin, clothing and bags for any signs of bed bugs (and their bites) before entering your bedroom after sleeping away from the home. If you have been bitten a couple times, there is usually no urgent need for medical care. In fact, there are a number of effective home remedies that you can use to treat these insect bites. However, sometimes medical assistance is required. When is this the case and how can you identify when professional help is needed?

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..
Maybe before you go fear mongering, you should at least Google whatever your about to say that makes you look bad? First read above. Second to answer your question how did you say it….. oh yes ……. Is the blood cleaned by the bed bug when sucked up from infected people? Well the answer is yes and no. HIV can’t live very long at all once the blood has been exposed to air much less been digested by something(ick).
I have been getting bit maybe once a week but the bite marks disappear within a hr and no longer itch I have not found the culprit and I have bed bugs climb up interceptors under my bed for almost 4 months and still don’t see anything do you have an idea what could be biting me the marks appear in a row of three sometimes just one bite on my arms and in my face but no where else im clueless
Hi there! Honestly, if you have checked properly (like really well) and you don’t see any signs of bed bugs, it might be another insect. Unfortunately, there are so many little insects that could be biting you (such as fleas, etc.) but maybe start with giving all your laundry a good hot wash. Once that is done, see if you continue getting the bites and then we can investigate. Good luck, if you appreciated my help, please share my blog with your friends and family.

The significant resurgence of bedbugs in the past decade has been attributed to pesticide resistance, more frequent travel, lack of public awareness, and inadequate pest control programs. Bedbugs are obligate blood parasites (insect family Cimicidae). They can withstand a large range of temperatures but are attracted to warmth and carbon dioxide. They typically feed just before dawn. Cutaneous reactions to bedbug bites can include macules, papules, wheals, vesicles, bullae, and nodules. Bites may be confused with other skin conditions. Bedbug bite reactions are typically self-limited and resolve within one to two weeks without treatment. Bedbug infestation may cause significant psychological distress. The diagnosis of a bedbug infestation is based on history, appearance of bites, and inspection of sleeping quarters. Although there is no evidence that bedbugs transmit disease, systemic reactions may include asthma, angioedema, generalized urticaria, iron deficiency anemia, and, rarely, anaphylaxis. An integrated pest management strategy should be employed to eliminate infestation. Tactics include vacuuming, heat or cold treatment, trapping devices, and pesticides.
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.

All these bed bugs can be dealt with. it is best to use a non chemical treatment to make it safe for your environment . here is one i found, food grade Diatomaceous Earth found at garden centers, follow instructions, and move beds away from the walls, sprinkle in the carpet deeply, on to base boards , ( it works like borax powder for fleas and roaches) .

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.

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
My husband works for a garbage company (this is how we think the invasion started) and at the moment they are localized to our bedroom and our bathroom. However, the first place we found them was in our headboard & footboard. It is wood with an intricate carving. We checked the mattress and box spring and didn’t find a thing. But they LOVE that wood.

A common concern with bed bugs is whether or not they transmit diseases. Although bed bugs can harbor various pathogens, transmission to humans has not been proven and is considered unlikely. Their medical significance is most commonly attributed to itching and inflammation from their bites. Antihistamines and corticosteroids may be prescribed to reduce allergic reactions, and antiseptic or antibiotic ointments to prevent infection. Though not known to carry diseases, bed bugs can substantially reduce quality of life by causing discomfort, sleeplessness, anxiety, and embarrassment. According to some health experts, the added stress from living with bed bugs can have a significant impact on the emotional health and well-being of certain individuals. 
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.
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.[5][10] Due to each bite taking a tiny amount of blood, chronic or severe infestation may lead to anemia.[5] Bacterial skin infection may occur due to skin break down from scratching.[5][11] Systemic poisoning may occur if the bites are numerous.[12] Exposure to bed bugs may trigger an asthma attack via the effects of airborne allergens although evidence of this association is limited.[5] There is no evidence that bed bugs transmit infectious diseases[5][7] even though they appear physically capable of carrying pathogens and this possibility has been investigated.[5][3] The bite itself may be painful thus resulting in poor sleep and worse work performance.[5]
Scratching can cause superinfection, leading to impetigo, cellulitis, or folliculitis.27–32 Reactions typically resolve within one to two weeks without treatment.32 Systemic reactions have been described, including asthma, generalized urticaria, angioedema, iron deficiency anemia, and, very rarely, anaphylaxis.33–36 Although bedbugs have been suspected to be vectors of more than 40 microorganisms, there is no evidence that they are involved in the transmission of disease.5

Bedbugs often invade new areas after being carried there by clothing, luggage, furniture or bedding. The creatures don't discriminate between dirty and clean homes, which means even luxury hotels can be susceptible to bedbugs. The most at-risk places tend to be crowded lodgings with high occupant turnover, such as dormitories, apartment complexes, hotels and homeless shelters.


Bed bugs have five immature nymph life stages and a final sexually mature adult stage.[13] They shed their skins through ecdysis at each stage, discarding their outer exoskeleton.[14] Newly hatched nymphs are translucent, lighter in color, and become browner as they moult and reach maturity. Bed bugs may be mistaken for other insects, such as booklice, small cockroaches, or carpet beetles; however, when warm and active, their movements are more ant-like, and like most other true bugs, they emit a characteristic disagreeable odor when crushed.
The bites themselves don't usually pose any major health risk since bedbugs are not known to spread diseases, but an allergic reaction to the bites may require medical attention, CDC officials say. There have also been some strange cases linked to bedbug infestations. Researchers reported in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in 2009 that they treated a 60-year-old man for anemia caused by blood loss from bedbug bites. Another study published in 1991 in the Journal of the Egyptian Society of Parasitology found that people with asthma might be more susceptible to allergic reactions from bedbug bites.

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.

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