Bed bug bites typically appear in groups of three, called the "breakfast, lunch, and dinner" pattern. Each victim's reaction to bed bug bites is unique. Some may have a slight reddening of the skin. Others may have a more severe reaction, causing a raised, itchy rash. A raised rash may obscure the individual bites, making it challenging to identify. Sometimes, bites and lesions can throb and become very painful for days after the bugs bit you.
Bed bugs are small, brownish, flattened insects that feed solely on the blood of animals. Although the common bed bug (Cimex lectularius) prefers feeding on humans, it will also bite other warm-blooded animals, including dogs, cats, birds and rodents. It has done so since ancient times; bed bugs are mentioned in medieval European texts and classical Greek writings back to the time of Aristotle.

If you have been bitten by bedbugs, the good news is that they aren't associated with any disease. You need only to avoid scratching the bites and getting a skin infection. Anti-itch creams may help. Treating your home or possessions to eliminate an infestation is more of a challenge, and you may need both nonchemical and chemical treatments. Learn how to treat your bites and get rid of bedbugs.

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.
No. Bed bugs are also pests in poultry operations, and they're known to parasitize bats. Some labs that study bed bugs rear them on guinea pigs and mice. The bugs might feed on cats and dogs. Fur is probably a barrier to them, but they could feed at any place on the body without fur. Bed bugs are not specific to humans, but they are adapted to parasitizing us.
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.
Bed bugs are active mainly at night. During the daytime, they prefer to hide close to where people sleep. Their flattened bodies enable them to fit into tiny crevices--especially those associated with mattresses, box springs, bed frames and headboards. Bed bugs do not have nests like ants or bees, but do tend to congregate in habitual hiding places. Characteristically, these areas are marked by dark spotting and staining, which is the dried excrement of the bugs. Also present will be hatched and un-hatched eggs, the tannish shed skins of maturing nymphs, and the bugs themselves. Another possible sign are rusty or reddish smears on bed sheets or mattresses from crushed engorged bed bugs. Although it’s often stated that bed bugs have a telltale “buggy” odor, the smell is seldom evident except in extreme infestations and should not be relied upon for detection.
Bedbug bites don’t normally require treatment by a doctor, though there are a few precautions you should take at home. (8) Start by cleaning the area with soap and water to lower your risk of infection and to relieve itchiness. If the bites are itchy, pick up a corticosteroid cream at your local drugstore and apply it to the area. The bites generally will heal within a couple of weeks. (9)

In the lab we handle all the bed bugs in a specific room that we steam clean once a week, and we have double-stick tape barriers that they can't walk through (as long as the adhesive remains dust-free). And the bed bugs themselves are enclosed in containers that they can't get out of. We actually feed them inside those containers—we lay a blood reservoir against the cloth "lid" and the bed bugs have to push their mouthparts through the cloth into the reservoir to eat.

Hi! I was just curious, I am staying at my parents (which Ive never had an issue before) and have 21 bites on my bicep/forearm/in the bend of my arm which I noticed yesterday. They dont itch and are already losing the redness. This morning I woke up and have no new bites. My husband and son do not have bites either (they both are very sensitive to insect bites too). We checked the bed before bed last night and there were no signs of bed bugs. Is it possible that its still bed bugs???
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.

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.


Many chemical pesticides are available, with more than 300 registered by the EPA. Pesticides should be applied to walls, floors, cracks in furniture, and seams and buttons of mattresses.21 The EPA’s Bed Bug Products search tool (Web site: http://cfpub.epa.gov/oppref/bedbug/) allows users to search by product name, company, EPA registration number, location of intended use, and pesticide type. The National Pesticide Information Center (Web site: http://npic.orst.edu/; telephone: 800-858-7378) is another useful resource. Silica gel dusts are a safer alternative to traditional pesticides, because they are less concentrated and less toxic.21 Plastic mattress and pillow encasements can help trap bedbugs and restrict spread.42 Regardless of the integrated pest management strategy used, a follow-up inspection 10 to 21 days after extermination is advised to detect and manage a persistent infestation.42

Bed bug bites can leave you with painful inflammation and since they love to hide in beds, you may be bitten a number of times before you wake up in the morning! If you have a severe allergic reaction, its recommended that you seek professional medical assistance as soon as possible. Besides medical creams and pills, things like tea tree oil, baking soda and even lemon juice can also give you relief at minimal cost. I highly recommend that you try these first as they work really well.


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.
Here’s one for ya…I drive over the road truck. On Friday 8/13 it was miserably hot so I stayed the night in a reputable motel. I now have bed bugs in my truck!!!! I’m getting a new mattress but am going to tell them to wrap it and tape it real well until I get home and bomb my truck. Being such a small space I figure using an insect smoke bomb will work. Well, at least it better!!! I have tons of bites all over my ankles, feet, several on my face, on one arm and on both thighs. Yup, the itching sucks…
I sleeped over my boyfreinds house just for a night my 4month old daughter and I slept on the bed and we got bit bad but my poor baby seems to have pus on her bites..she got bit even on her face her fingers etc..but funny thing my boyfreind didnt get bit, I got home and i washed everything we took in hot water dried in hot washed my beeding all her blankets the car seat was left out in the heat for 2 days..then i washed it in hot water i vacumed the whole room sprayed alcohol on the carpet on my matress..question is what more can i do? is there any chance that they could still be in my room?
I know this is a few years late, but I just wanted to let you know we had a similar situation, but it was for a few months every summer. Turns out there were bats in our attic, and the bat bugs will still bite you like bed bugs except they don’t really love humans so it will be infrequent and you won’t have to worry about an infestation! When you get rid of the bats, they go away eventually.

Unlike cockroaches and flies that feed on filth, there is often no relationship between bed bugs and cleanliness. Since the bugs feed solely on blood, pristine dwellings can be as vulnerable to infestation as are places of squalor. That said, poverty and privation can lead to increased risk of bed bug problems, as can the inability to hire a professional exterminator.    
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.
Diagnosing bed bug bites can be hard for medical professionals. We often hear of doctors assuming a variety of skin conditions before bed bugs – especially doctors who haven’t encountered patients with bed bug bites before. While there is no specific test to determine whether bites are from bed bugs there are tests that can show whether or not it’s an insect bite. This is useful for ruling out issues like eczema or allergic reactions, but not for determining that any specific insect bite is a bed bug. To be sure you’ll want to check for other signs of bed bug infestation, such as the bugs themselves, moltings, and the characteristic staining of their blood meal feces.
Once you have a suspicion or a confirmed infestation, do not spread things outside of the bedroom. Don't take linens off the bed and go to sleep somewhere else—that will just move the infestation to other rooms. Ultimately pest control operators will tell you to put everything you can through the washer and dryer, since bed bugs cannot withstand high temperatures. I don't think bed bugs would be able to survive solvent-based dry cleaning, but I don't have any first-hand knowledge that that's true. Unfortunately, dry cleaners and Laundromats can be places where people pick up bed bugs. I think it's a low probability, but it only takes one adult female bed bug that has been mated to get an infestation going.
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.
Bedbugs may enter your home undetected through luggage, clothing, used beds and couches, and other items. Their flattened bodies make it possible for them to fit into tiny spaces, about the width of a credit card. Bedbugs do not have nests like ants or bees, but tend to live in groups in hiding places. Their initial hiding places are typically in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards where they have easy access to people to bite in the night.
×