Bed bugs usually bite people at night while they are sleeping. Hungry bed bugs may also feed during the daytime, especially if this is when the occupant normally sleeps. They feed by piercing the skin with an elongated beak through which they withdraw blood. Engorgement of the bed bug takes roughly three to 10 minutes, but because the bite is painless, the person seldom realizes they are being bitten. Bed bugs normally do not reside on people like head or body lice do; instead, immediately after feeding, bed bugs crawl to a secluded location to digest their meal. Symptoms after being bitten by bed bugs vary from person to person. Many develop an itchy red welt within a day or so of the bite. Others have little or no reaction. Sometimes the reaction is delayed days or even weeks after the actual bite occurs, which can make it difficult to determine where or when bites actually occurred. Studies conducted in bed bug-infested apartments suggest about 30 percent of people do not react even when bitten repeatedly over time, and there is still higher incidence of non-reactivity among the elderly. Unlike flea bites, which occur mainly around the lower legs and ankles, bed bugs feed on any skin exposed while sleeping (face, neck, shoulders, back, arms, legs, etc.). The welts and itching are often wrongly attributed to other causes, such as mosquitoes. For these reasons, infestations may go a long time unnoticed, and can become quite large before being detected. 

A variety of low-odor sprays, dusts, and aerosol insecticides help with bed bug control. People must apply these pesticides to all areas where the bugs are observed as well as hiding places or spaces where they may crawl. The pest control company can help you determine if an infested mattress can be disinfected or must be discarded. Since beds cannot readily be treated with insecticides, it's often necessary to discard infested mattresses and beds.

The diagnosis of a bedbug bite can sometimes be difficult, as bedbug bites may appear similar to the bites of other insects. A health care professional will ask detailed questions and perform a physical exam, focusing on the skin. Other organ systems will also be examined to assess for any signs of an allergic reaction or for signs of infection. No blood tests or imaging studies will be necessary. If someone is able to bring in a specimen of the insect that may have bitten them, this can be helpful in making the diagnosis.
Some patients develop blisters filled with blood or bloody fluid, especially on the arms and legs. These blood blisters are extremely rare and can burst, causing bleeding or oozing of the bloody fluid. Healthcare providers are not sure if the cause of these blisters is related to the bug or the human but have found groups of patients that were all bitten by bugs on the same train exhibiting this sign.
Most people will find bed bug bites to be small and very itchy. These bites are often mistaken for something else such as eczema. It can be hard to diagnose bed bug bites due to this, especially if someone inflames their skin further by scratching the area. There are some signs that point more strongly to bed bugs over other types of bugs. The number one thing to look out for is a line of bites going straight up your body: bed bugs commonly bite in this pattern as they bite you at the crease where your body meets the bed sheets. It’s very rare to find a single bite like you would with spiders or mosquitoes, and much more common to find clusters and lines. It’s also rare for bugs to bite your face. They most frequently bite your lower body, but anywhere can be bitten.
Help!! I have had a long and exhausting experience with these nasty bugs. My mother in law had stayed at my house for a few nights and a few weeks later after returning home she discovered she had a severe infestation of bed bugs.. so of course I took precautions at my home thinking she gave them to me. I threw my mattress away then taped off my entire bed with very sticky tape. No signs or bites at all . Then a few weeks later my son started to sleep in his bed again and sure enough he woke up with 3 bites in the shape of a triangle that were swollen and itchy. I searched his bed and found a casing shell and 3 blood stains under his box spring .I called a exterminator he came out and said we had a mild infestation and there was no signs in my bed but he found one live bug in my son’s bed. He treated the bedrooms and living room. Then my son and i were getting these little bumps on our body that looked nothing like the triangle bites and didn’t itch so the exterminator came again and treated but found no evidence of bed bugs and this cycle happened four times! So he has treated my apartment 4 times and found no signs of bed bugs and even had a dog come out to sniff around .. this was all over the course of about 5 months . The exterminator insists that we do not have bed bugs anymore but my son is still getting these bumps on him, some are reds dots and some are skin colored but no complaining of itching . I’m very overwhelmed and exhausted and havery no idea what to think. I think the tape on my bed prevented them from getting back into my bed after I threw my mattress out but again the exterminator said tape does not work. Are they hiding somewhere else like in the walls to where the exterminator think the problem is gone ?

I’ve found that the locoid lipocream he gave me to be the most effective. He also gave a sample of foaming medication in a small can which didn’t seem to work. The swollen areas were much worse that you would imagine, I experienced flat out pain by nighttime. I treated my arm 3x that day with the lipocream and by morning it was 100x better with significantly reduced redness and swelling.


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!
After I noticed the first bites on the center of my back, I moved to the living room, thinking that would be fine. But obviously not because I have three more to the collection. I don’t know if I can fix the bedbug problem or not, but I only have a little under a month until I move out. I just wanna make the pain go away. Not to mention they look awful.

Some pest control firms also employ commercial steamers or spot-freezing equipment to treat areas where bed bugs are found or suspected. Used correctly, they kill bugs and eggs on contact. Neither method, however, affords residual protection against bed bugs which may have been missed. Steaming and spot-freezing equipment also have limited ability to penetrate fabric, wood, and other materials where bed bugs often reside. 
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.
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!!
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.

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.
My husband returned from a Military Deployment…and brought bed bugs home with him. The day after we realized we had them, an exterminator that specializes in Bed Bugs came to our house and sprayed. They scheduled themselves to come back in 14 days to spray again (to kill the new bugs that hatch after the initial spray). We were old the spray would kill all the adults and babies…and the second spray would get the new hatchlings. 3 days after the initial spray, we started seeing adult bugs again!
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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.
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…

recently i have gotten an infestation of bed bugs.. i noticed it not long after i got an exterminator to come spray for ants and other outside bugs.. after he sprayed i noticed an increase of spiders(especially black widows) and a lot more bugs coming inside.. i have a fairly new home(5yrs old) and i shouldn’t have this problem… make sure you get a real professional company to come and do the work. ask what they are spraying/laying down, and what they are treating for and research it to be sure.. i think my house was baited rather than treated

Bed bug bites are caused primarily by two species of insects: Cimex lectularius (the common bed bug) and Cimex hemipterus.[3] They are about 1 to 7 mm in size.[7] Spread is by the bugs walking between nearby locations or being carried within personal items.[2] Infestation is rarely due to a lack of hygiene but is more common in high density areas.[8][2] Diagnosis involves both finding the bugs and the occurrence of compatible symptoms.[5] Bed bugs spend much of their time in dark locations like mattress seams or cracks in the wall.[2]


Hi Samantha! I highly recommend spending about 15min to investigate your bed (especially on the corners and don’t forget to look under the sheets, etc). If there are no signs of bed bugs, then I suggest that you don’t worry about it. Additionally, I have had itchy bites after a nights sleep and it turned out to be a once off occurrence, so just take action if it keeps happening. Hope that helps, sorry for the delayed response.
I woke up this morning trying to figure out what’s this pain on my back and sadly I found out it was munched by a bed bug! It’s so gross and I don’t want my girlfriend to see it!  Can an antibiotic cure me from these bites? I only have antibiotics here and the nearest mini convenience store is 5 kilometers away so yeah help me please! Thanks Natasha!
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.
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How to treat and prevent chigger bites A chigger is a form of mite that feeds on human skin cells. Although they are so small that the naked eye cannot see them, chiggers can inflict extremely itchy bites that can last up to a week without treatment. Here we look at how to avoid getting bitten as well as how to recognize and treat any existing bites. Read now
Another clue to infestation is odor. Like many species of bugs, bed bugs release odors called alarm pheromones. When a group of bed bugs gets disturbed, you may get a whiff of that odor, which is similar to the odor stink bugs give off. At higher concentrations the odor is unpleasant. Some people say at low concentrations it's a pleasant smell—like coriander. In fact, older literature refers to the bed bug as the coriander bug. I've tried to smell the coriander scent in bed bug alarm pheromones and have not been able to make the connection, however.
To prevent bringing bed bugs to one's own home, travelers are advised to take precautions after visiting an infested site: generally, these include checking shoes on leaving the site, changing clothes in a garage before returning to their home, and putting the used clothes in a clothes dryer outside the house. When visiting a new lodging, it is advised to check the bed before taking suitcases into the sleeping area and putting the suitcase on a raised stand to make bedbugs less able to crawl in. "An extreme measure would be putting the suitcase in the tub." Clothes should be hung up or left in the suitcase, and never left on the floor. [29] The founder of a company dedicated to bedbug extermination said that 5% of hotel rooms he books into were infested. He advised people never to sit down on public transport; check office chairs, plane seats and hotel mattresses, and monitor and vacuum home beds once a month.[30]
As mentioned earlier, applying insect repellent at bedtime will probably not deter bed bugs from biting. When working in severely infested dwellings, there may be some benefit to spraying tops and bottoms of shoes with DEET-based repellents. Those working in bed bug-infested environments may also want to hot wash or run clothing, etc. through a dryer upon returning home or to the office.    
I know when you get infested with these, the bedding and mattresses all have to go. We are just barely scraping by as it is, and we have a bed for each kid no matter how often they come to see us – including ours, that’s SEVEN mattresses and bedding sets. Our landlord is not returning our calls, and although I know that he is responsible for not treating the problem which (per neighbor reports) the previous tenants had, too. But the lawyer wants $500 to even send a LETTER, let alone go to court. And I keep thinking that even if we go to court and win, the courts will make him treat the apartment…not replace the furniture that’s effected because of it. So…we sleep on floors, with newspapers?
Luckily we were at the tail-end of our trip and once I arrived back home I immediately soaked in a hot-hot Epsom Salt bath. I used 3 cups of Epsom Salt, repeated that twice…and shazaam! The bites reduced in size and the itch was “almost” completely relieved. I had an extremely severe reaction going on and at one point considered going to a dermatologist or hospital to get some professional care.

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.
Medicated shampoos–both over-the-counter and prescription–can help get rid of them, as can combing and re-combing your hair carefully and disposing of the critters. If you do get head lice, don’t share anything that goes on your head (including hats, brushes, headphones, or hair accessories), and make sure you clean bedding and clothing that could have been infested in hot water.
I’ve found that the locoid lipocream he gave me to be the most effective. He also gave a sample of foaming medication in a small can which didn’t seem to work. The swollen areas were much worse that you would imagine, I experienced flat out pain by nighttime. I treated my arm 3x that day with the lipocream and by morning it was 100x better with significantly reduced redness and swelling.
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.
About a week ago I woke up with bites on my legs starting at my ankle up to my thigh. They were sparse but could be counted as grouped or lined. I have no bites anywhere else and have not gotten anymore bites since this happened. My husband shares the bed and our two small children (3 years and 17 months) are frequent bed joiners and none of them have any bites. I sleep with pj pants on and under blankets so it wouldn’t be the most exposed skin that I have at night. However I have no recall of being bitten and had pants on during the day. The bites were itchy for about two days and then they are just red. I am wondering if they could be bed bugs. I am having trouble sleeping because of the uncertainty. I have pics I could post.
Aerosols (D-Fense NXT, Crossfire Aerosol, or Bedlam Plus) Usage: Simply attach the plastic tip to the aerosol can. Apply as a crack and crevice or spot treatment where evidence of bed bugs occurs. This includes bed frames, box springs, inside empty dressers, clothes closets, curtain rods, hollow spaces, carpet edges, high and low wall moldings and wallpaper edges.
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
I found something that works. Diatomaceous earth or perma guard. Buy a big bag. About a good 5 pounds and put it around the whole house yard in your bed in every crack the carpet. I mean all over and give it a couple days. They will be gone. I live in an apt I ha e a cat n dog. It isn’t harmful to pets or humans its 100% safe to use around kids and best of all no bed bugs no ants no roaches. I paid about $10 on ebay. Good luck and I’m telling u this worked for me.
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
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