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.
General housecleaning measures, (e.g. vacuuming floors and surfaces), seldom reach where bed bugs hide. For this reason, repetitive vacuuming by occupants may not be worth the effort, especially compared to other important preparatory activities. Targeted vacuuming of bed bugs and infested harborages, however, can help remove some of the bugs before other treatment measures are undertaken. Bed bugs and especially the eggs can be difficult to dislodge. Optimum results will be achieved by moving and scraping the end of the suction wand along infested areas such as seams and fabric folds of beds and sofas, and the perimeter edge of wall-to-wall carpet. Bed bugs can survive the high speed trip down a vacuum, so it’s important to carefully dispose of the vacuum contents in a sealed trash bag afterwards.
But the bites will look different from person to person, and some people won’t develop any reaction whatsoever. “The same bedbug could bite two different people and one could have no reaction at all and the other can have an extreme reaction with a swollen arm or itchy rash,” says Eric Braun, a board-certified entomologist and business manager for the national pest control company Rentokil Steritech, who is based in Redding, Pennsylvania. Some people end up developing a rash that looks like eczema. (5)
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.
Bed bugs do not transmit MRSA. Although there have been reports of persons developing methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections, such as boils or abscesses associated with bed bug bites, it turns out the bed bugs really weren't directly at fault. Rather, the cases of MRSA infections associated with bed bug bites are actually an example of scratching leading to minor skin trauma and subsequent secondary bacterial infections. In these cases, people who are carriers of MRSA scratch at the itchy bite sites and provide a port of entry for the MRSA (which was already present on their skin) to get in and under the skin and cause the secondary infection. While it can be blamed for some other bed bug symptoms like itching and red welts, the bed bug cannot be blamed for the infection.
This pair of bed bug bite photos below show the immediate (left) and next day (right) reaction after feeding a colony of bedbugs from a container in the lab. (That's why they are contained in a small circular area). The hive-like immediate symptoms are replace by dark red rash type reaction the following day with inflammation and less severe redness radiating out to a larger area.
Our place is pretty cluttered so I was freaking out. Luckily we have hardwood floors and not carpet. We tried different things. It gets really hot here, so I loaded up any nearby sheets, pillows, comforters, clothes, etc into trash bags and tied them off so nothing could get out. I put those in the car so the sun could beat heat into them all day. Never thought I’d be so thankful for Texas summers… Still got bites. We bought a mattress cover. Still got bites. We thought, okay, maybe they’re coming from the wall socket from a neighbors or something. We couldn’t close it so we kept the bed away from furniture and walls and put sticky traps on the legs. Caught NO bed bugs but STILL GOT BITES. I was losing my mind.
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.
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.
Chances are, you or someone you know has had a run-in with bed bugs. It might have happened in a scrupulously clean bedroom. Or maybe it was a hotel room, office or college dorm. In the February issue of Scientific American entomologist Kenneth Haynes of the University of Kentucky explains how, after a lengthy absence, bed bugs are staging a comeback. The good news is scientists are intensively studying these insects, and their insights suggest novel ways of detecting the bugs and eradicating infestations. Some of those potential solutions are a long way off, however. In the meantime the best bet is to avoid bringing bed bugs home in the first place. I called Haynes to ask him how to do that and what to do if one suspects an infestation (eek!), among a bunch of other practical-minded questions.
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.
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.
When people are bitten, they often do not notice at first. It’s a possibility that one reason could be that these blood sucking insects feed late in the night, before the breaking of dawn. Humans are often in a deep REM sleep during that time. Upon arising, individuals can find bite marks; however it can take up to ten days for adverse or allergic reactions to develop.
I spent the night at my boyfriends house 5 nights in a row, knowing that his family owns a couch infested with bed bugs. I find it weird that I’m the only one, out of 7 family members, that gets bit by the bed bugs! Its crazy! I get bit during the day when I sit for a few mins, or even sleep on the bed at night, but it still baffles me that I’m the only one who is suffering from the itch of the bites. My son who I share the bed with does not get bit at all, which is great, but I’m curious, “why only Me?”
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.
However, another thing which has helped me with the intense itching is a regular hair brush! I was scratching so much that I grabbed the hair brush and used that to cover more territory! I have found that even if I “brush” intensely, it will not bleed and slowly the itching will subside. I have also heard of a quirky aid in “bug direction”…..used dryer sheets will discourage bugs from the area….what I saw was the sheets tucked in between the mattress and box spring by each bedpost.
Likewise, if I get bitten by a bed bug, I usually get a rather bad rash which is extremely sensitive to touch while they are hardly visible on my husband. If your bites become very itchy, you need to resist the urge to scratch the affected area as this can make the problem worse and cause further inflammation, infection or even bleeding. According to the Center for Disease Control, bed bug bites can even cause insomnia due to the fear of being bitten. This can result in a lack of energy and dramatically increased anxiety levels.
One trick to make this disposal easier involves using the cut-off end of a nylon stocking (or a knee-high nylon stocking) and a rubber band. Insert the stocking (toe first) into the end of the vacuum suction wand/tube, leaving the opening of the stocking protruding out of the end of the suction wand. Then fold the stocking opening back over the end of the wand and use the rubber band to secure it there. When the vacuum is turned on and the bed bugs are sucked into the tube, they will be trapped in the stocking. Afterwards, carefully remove the rubber band and retrieve the bug-filled stocking. Then secure the end of the stocking with the rubber band and dispose of it.
Every morning, even after countless treatments of our bed and linens, I wake up with 20-30 new bites. I react extremely strongly to them, they can swell as big as a half dollar, and they itch sO badly I often end up ripping them open, leaving them prone to infection. I’m now a diagnoses anemic, which the doctor is sure is because of the number of bites…they are literally eating me alive…and killing me.
I was in europe and have always been healthy and felt fine the 2 months while there, on my drive back home I started itching my arm and didn’t think much of it. During the next few days to weeks the itching turned into welts that itched like crazy and got bigger and harder within hours. The redness would then extend out apx. the size of a 50 cent piece that would form a small scab in the middle as it would heal. Then it would heal , but the next few welts would appear in different places. They would start off as itchy flat red circles that would quickly become firm and red. I sometimes would also feel stings all over . I’ve had this problem now for over a month. One dr. told me I had mites, another said I had bed bugs. I have small scars all over my body now. I used the all over cream 4 nights ago that is supposed to kill mites. The itching is still there but not quite as bad today and yesterday. I’ m going for a third opinion tomorrow. I never knew that itching can keep me from working or actually doing anything else except for keeping calamine lotion beside me and rubbing it on me every 10 minutes. Good luck to all of you that are dealing with the same nightmare.
Just came back from a hotel stay, have one VERY itchy bite on my wrist. I don’t know for sure that it is a bed bug bite butI haven’t unpacked my bags yet, so hopefully everything is safe. Right now I have an aloe and lidocaine gel over the bite, but when I get home I may try soaking it in tea bath. the tannin in black tea can also help with itching and swelling.
thank you natasha! i’ve reached out to both locations i’ve traveled to and they confirmed their pest control vendors have found nothing. and i had a visual/dog inspection from a reputable pest control company to check my entire house and they’ve found nothing as well. so hopefully this is just a one off and / or mosquito bites that just like biting in a line…can’t help but still be paranoid and sleep bundled up with socks
Some firms want beds stripped and furniture moved before they arrive, while other firms prefer to inspect first and perform these tasks themselves. Clutter and belongings on floors (especially beneath beds) must be removed since they impede treatment and afford additional places for bugs to hide. Bedding and garments normally will need to be laundered and/or hot dried (120°F minimum) since they cannot be treated with insecticides. An effective and efficient alternative to laundering is to simply place bedding, clothing, toys, shoes, backpacks, etc., in a clothes dryer set at medium-to-high heat for 10 to 20 minutes. This can be done in lieu of washing and will kill all bed bug life stages.
While you are sleeping, bed bugs will bite using their mouthparts, commonly referred to as beaks. As they bite, they release an anticoagulant in their saliva preventing your blood from clotting. This allows them to receive a steady two- to three-minute blood meal—what they need in order to survive and reproduce. Bed bugs will not bite in defense, they will only bite for the sole purpose of feeding.
Vigilant travelers may also want to elevate suitcases off the floor on a stand, tabletop or other hard surface rather than storing them on the floor or another bed. Hyper-vigilant travelers may further opt to keep belongings in sealed plastic pouches and their suitcase in a zippered tote — however each traveler must decide how cautious they wish to be.
Caregivers, firefighters, and other service providers are sometimes required to enter and work in bed bug-infested dwellings. In doing so, there is the potential to transport some bugs home or to the workplace. It should be noted that bed bugs do not fly, nor jump onto people/pets as fleas do. During the day, bed bugs usually remain hidden and immobile, becoming more active at night when seeking a host. Consequently, the chance of picking up bed bugs by merely walking into an infested dwelling during the day is unlikely. The risk may increase while providing care but can be lessened by taking some precautions.
These bugs are extremely sensitive to heat in every stage of their life. Thermal death point of a common bed bug is just 111°F to 113°F. Many times even temperatures that are lower than this, 97°F to 99° F can kill multitudes. If the temperature is raised to 140° F for about an hour or to 120°F for several hours most infestations will be eradicated.
The likelihood of bed bugs increases if the affected individual has been traveling, or if they have acquired used beds or furnishings before symptoms started to appear. Bed bugs also are suspect if you wake up with itchy welts you did not have when you went to sleep. It’s important to recognize, however, that not all bite-like reactions are due to bed bugs. Confirmation requires finding and identifying the bed bugs, shed skins, fecal spots, etc., which often requires the help of a professional. (Other possible sources of irritation that may be mistaken for bed bugs are discussed in University of Kentucky entomology fact sheet ENT-58, Invisible Itches: Insect and Non-Insect Causes).
First and foremost I think the wisest course of action to take is to get rid of your bed. the whole shebang…the mattress and box spring and all your linens, blankets, pillows and articles of clothing you use to lay in bed with (robes, pajamas and underwear). It’s just not worth it. Get a temporary air mattress for a few weeks if need be. You will be better off in the long run.
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?
Bedbug bites may go unnoticed or be mistaken for flea or mosquito bites or other types of rash or skin conditions, since the signs of bedbug bites are difficult to distinguish from other bites or skin conditions. Bedbugs also have glands whose secretions may leave musty odors, and they also may leave dark fecal spots on bed sheets and around places where they hide (in crevices or protected areas around the bed or anywhere in the room).
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.
First off you should ALWAYS go to pest control if you think you have bedbugs! You shouldn’t try and get rid of them yourself, 99% of the time it does not work. Plus even if you removed infected areas and wash them it wouldn’t kill the eggs. Plus bedbugs are very easy to get but very hard to get rid of. So you should never do it yourself it won’t work!
The bites are on my arms and my legs (below my knees). I was wondering if someone could give me advice on how I can heal the old bites that I scratched till they bled. They have been healing but its quite slow and some seemed to have scarred. I’m getting tired of people at my high school asking about the bites on my arms and I hate that I can’t wear anything like shorts, skirts and dresses without them being visible.
Not sure how we got it since we never go anywhere. Been dealing with this for almost a year. I have terrible bites, scars, scabs and bumps all up and down both hands and arms. Have a bite on my cheek and some on my neck. Hubby has bumps that you can’t see, but you can feel them. I am going crazy itching. I don’t like leaving the house because of how I look. I use cover up and foundation on my hands to mask how bad my hands look. I wear a long-sleeved, summer weight sweater to hide the mess on my arms. Plus I can pull the sleeves down to help cover some of my hands.
Preparing for bed bug treatment is tedious yet important. Very comprehensive preparation is necessary when infestations are heavy and the bugs are widely dispersed. More limited prep may be adequate for light infestations since at these levels the bed bugs typically are more confined to sleeping areas (beds, sofas, and recliners). Pest control firms have their own policies, however, regarding preparation requirements which may also depend on the manner of treatment.
These bloodsuckers love exposed areas of flesh such as closest to their nest such as the face, forehead, arms and known to attack babies.. Those repeatedly bitten over time are more likely to become sensitive. You may even find the person sleeping next to you does not show any signs of bed bug bites while you do. In fact, the person next to you may not have been bitten at all – a good sign that the infestation is closest to you.
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)