Bed Bug Bites – Easy Identification and Remedies

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. Besides medical creams and pills, things like tea tree oil, baking soda and even lemon juice can also give you relief at minimal cost.

Since bed bugs can be found throughout the world, many people have suffered from their bites. Their primary diet is blood, which makes humans their meal of choice, definitely not good news for us! Based on personal experience, they can leave a rather nasty, red mark which can itch like mad. No wonder people say “Goodnight and don’t let the bed bugs bite!” What do these bites look like (and what to do if you are bitten) and what are some ways that you can get rid of them?

What Do Bed Bug Bites Look Like?

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. ;)

bed bug bites The biggest problem with these bites is that, depending on the persons skin and their tolerance to bacteria, their appearance is different on different types of people. I have noticed in the past that if I get bitten by a mosquito, I get a rather large red mark (even without scratching), whereas my husbands skin hardly shows any signs of the bite.

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.

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?

Should I Visit a Doctor if I Have Been Bitten?

Firstly, its important to remember that, despite their daily diet of blood, bed bugs will not transfer blood based diseases (such as AIDS, etc.). However, in very rare cases, these bites have been known to cause Anaphylaxis, which is an adverse allergic reaction that covers the entire body in a rash. After being bitten by a bed bug, be alert for any of these potential complications:

  1. Sharp pains around your stomach region.
  2. Breathing or swallowing becomes more difficult.
  3. Skin starts becoming painful to touch (not just around the bite itself)
  4. Swollen tongue or an increasing temperature.
  5. Very light headed or nauseous.

While I understand that these reactions may have other causes, if you have just had a number of bed bug bites symptoms (listed above), I highly recommend contacting a doctor as you may be having an allergic reaction. However, the good news is that its rather rare so there is usually no need to worry yourself.

How To Get Rid of BedBug Bites Effectively

Lets have a look at few products you can use to alleviate the itchiness of these bites and ultimately get rid of them. However, before trying anything, something that you should do immediately is give the affected area a quick wash with water and a mild soap. This will ensure that any bacteria is killed and there wont be any potential infections.

  1. Antihistamine cream (Benadryl is a good one) can give you relief from itchiness. Usually you can get this over the counter (without a medical script).
  2. Cortisone cream is also great for accelerating the healing process and calming the skin down.
  3. Antibiotics can be prescribed by your medical practitioner for inflammation and allergic reactions.
  4. Calamine cream can protect dry skin while you body repairs itself.

There are also a number of natural bite treatments that have proven to be very effective. I personally love these! Here are a few that work well:

  1. Relief can be found by putting the affected skin under warm water (NB: Avoid hot water as this can make it worse!)Antihistamine Cream Lotion
  2. Apply tea tree oil to the bite marks. Peppermint oil is also a great option to stop the itching and accelerate healing.
  3. Baking soda paste (mix with water), applied to the bed bug bite marks and left for 30 minutes can also yield great results
  4. Lemon juice and Aloe Vera gel has calming and regenerative properties can can be used to treat the bites.

However, always remember that these simply treat the problem and do not get down to the root cause. You will still need to take steps to get rid of them! Here are a couple home remedies to get rid of bed bugs that have been extremely helpful to the community. I encourage you to take a look at that article if you are serious about removing them properly.

Where Do Bed Bugs Usually Bite and How Long Do the Red Marks Last For?

Bed bugs are not too picky when it comes to feeding. As long as skin is exposed, it’s a juicy target. However, it seems that bed bugs enjoy feeding on the neck region, making their feeding habits very close to those sparkly vampires you see on Twilight. Since most people wear pajamas when they go to sleep, other common areas for bites include the arms, hands, feet and face since they are also exposed. If you are sleeping in a hotel and are nervous about bed bugs, simply wear extra clothing to completely cover your skin. You can also purchase plastic covers to protect yourself against these pests while sleeping out.

The bites usually last about 7 days, even if they are treated correctly. However, if you have sensitive skin like myself, they can last a couple weeks or in my husbands case, they last only a few days. As mentioned, if you scratch the bites its going to make things worse and besides running the risk of a bacterial infection, they will also take longer to heal so keep your nails away from them!

Pictures of BedBug Bites For Easy Identification

Here are a few more picture of bed bug bites for your viewing pleasure. If you have any more and would like to contribute to this post, please feel free to contact me and I will put them up!

Bed Bug Bitten On Back Picture 2

Red Marks From Bed Bugs

Bed Bug Measured Bites Picture 3

Bite Marks Measured

Bed Bugs Hand Bites Marks Picture 4

Bed Bugs And Their Bites

 

 

 

Red Marks Bed Bug Bits Picture 5

Large number of localized bites

Small Bed Bug Bite Marks Close-Up Picture 6

Many Small Bite Marks

Bed Bug Bite On Arm

Inflammation from many bedbug bites

 

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! :)

Natasha Anderson

Natasha Anderson

Hi there! My name is Natasha and I would like to thank you for reading this guide. If you have any concerns or would like to ask a question about this article, I encourage you to leave a comment below and I will provide a reliable answer within about 24 hours. Remember, all this information is provided at absolutely no cost and if you have enjoyed what you have read, please show your appreciation by sharing this post on your favorite social network below. I look forward to helping you!
Natasha Anderson
Natasha Anderson
Please note that the contents of this guide is for informational purposes only. If you would like to receive professional advice to diagnose a pest control related problem, please contact your local exterminator immediately.

Comments

  1. David Etherington says:

    Another great article Natasha :)

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Thanks David! Based on your experience with pest control, that means a lot coming from you :)

  2. Moneecaaaa says:

    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! :)

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Monee! Yes, an oral antihistamine will work (for insect bites) but be aware that it may cause drowsiness. You will be better off using some of the natural suggestions in this article. Good luck!

  3. TyLeR says:

    Hi! My name is Tyler and I live here in Toronto. What is the best way to fight off bed bugs? Sadly, my sister has bed bug bite marks all over her legs and i’m very worried of what her playmates will think of her socially. I don’t want to call an exterminator. Damn they bill too much! I like your articles btw. Informative :)

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Tyler! Besides calling an exterminator (since you cannot afford it), I would recommend washing all your bedding, clothes and other linen that may have come into contact with bed bugs and if you still have a problem, get your things steam cleaned. The heat will kill them and its great for treating the mattress, especially since you can do it yourself. Good luck!

  4. Walter Kervingston says:

    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…

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      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 ;)

  5. Randy says:

    For about 5 years now, I get bit during the night, but only around the end of June and only for a couple weeks, then the biting stops.
    The main area I am bit is along my waste line. I have a few stray bites other places, but my bites are only under clothing.
    My wife shows no signs of being bit.
    Does this sound like bedbugs?
    I get very swollen at the bite location and the itching is almost unbearable.
    We live in Minnesota.

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Randy! Based on your description of the situation, it does sound like bed bugs. Since you have had the similar experience for 5 years, I highly recommend getting someone to take a look at your bed for bed bugs. Something that you can try in the meantime is a close inspection of your linen. If you find any tiny blood marks on the sheets, that’s a tell tale sign of the presence of bed bugs. If you like you can send me a picture and I can take a closer look :)

  6. Kris says:

    For about 3 almost 4 weeks now something has been bitting me around my ankles and feet. My fiancé hasnt been bit by anything and if he has he can’t tell. I took all sheets off the bed, found nothing. i have no idea if its bed bugs or fleas. But the itching is driving me insane. My fianc roommate did bring a stray kitten into the house not to long ago, and I’m thinking its fleas. But I don’t know for a 100%. I have a couple bites on my arms but mainly on ankles and feet.there is no carpet in house, just hardwood and one rug in living rm. I saw 2 tiny tiny bugs last night, but I couldn’t grab them in time. Pplease help its driving me insane and grossing me out

    Kris

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Kris! Your best bet would be to dust your bed with DE (under the sheets) as this will kill fleas and bed bugs after only a couple applications. Check out my article on this subject under the “fleas” category at the top of the blog. If you have any questions after reading it, please feel free to message me and I will help you further :)

  7. Jessica says:

    I am super freaked out. I’m covered in bites. They start out small but swell up red. Most are in a diagonal line with 5-6 bites and I have them everywhere. Is it spider bites or even worse bed bug bites because I’ve been staying in a hotel for work but also could have got them from home? Please help! What should I do?

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Jessica! Sounds like bed bug bites to me but don’t stress, although bed bugs are known to travel with you from other locations its not a guarantee that they always do. I recommend giving all your clothing a hot wash when you get back home (and your travel bags) and to inspect your bed for signs of their presence. As a precautionary measure, you can put DE under your sheets for a day or two and that will kill any pests that are hiding there. Good luck :)

  8. Ruth says:

    Hello, i was worried that we had bed bugs in our room and i hired an exterminator to come in and have a look. He said there was no evidence of bedbugs. And also because the bites were really only on the torso. Regardless, a few months later we had the opportunity to change the entire bedroom set and cleaned all the sheets on sanitize cycle – the bites all went away. Now, however, about 6 months later they seem to be coming back. Does this sound like a bed bug issue to you? If so, now what should we do? I cant but another bedroom set.

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Ruth! If there are absolutely no signs of bed bugs (upon close inspection), its unlikely that they are the cause for the bite marks. I recommend taking another look for dark brown marks (dried blood) and other signs of their presence. Regardless, if you want to kill any bug on that mattress, just get a handheld steamer and blast it. The heat will kill everything and its completely natural. Hope that helps!

      • ruth says:

        Hi Natasha, I think I will treat the mattress and other areas in the room for bed bugs just in case. What kind of handheld steamer should I get and where can I find one?

        • Natasha Anderson says:

          Hey Ruth! I am not too sure where you live but you can usually grab them from Amazon (online) or a home improvement store. You don’t need anything too fancy, just something that will blow hot steam to fry those bed bugs ;)

  9. Lou Sorkin says:

    Don’t forget that in some cases a person does not react to bed bug bites at all. It’s really not that easy to easily identify bed bug bites. Often a diagnosis of spider bite is given when the person really doesn’t know what is causing the lesion(s). Spider bites are often an over diagnosed condition. Also, a hot or warm dryer is much more useful than washing clothes in hot water. Certain studies have shown that some bed bugs will withstand the wash, but not the dryer.

  10. trissa says:

    Hello there Trish from Reno we found bed bugs oh my gosh, I am am the only one who has been getting bit last yr on my feet this yr on my hands. My husband saturated our mattress with rubbing alcohol baseboards and I am washing everything tomorrow should we spray our entire you’re house too even our cloth furniture? What else should we do. Thanks you for this site. Sleepless in Reno…

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Trissa! I wouldn’t spray your house, just complete your rubbing alcohol treatments (please be careful as its extremely flammable) and then keep an eye out for them. From the sounds of it, you don’t have any sort of major infestation so you should be fine. Glad I could help, keep me updated :)

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