7 Common Bug Bites & How To Identify Them

The truth is that bedbugs live across the globe, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say. They’ve been found in parts of North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa, the CDC says. And staying at a fancy, five-star hotel isn’t a guarantee that you’ll avoid them.

Bedbug bites are typically red, itchy and raised. Some people may have more severe reactions. Joel Carillet / Getty Images

That’s why they’re most often found in areas of the bedroom that are close to where people sleep, like the headboard or crevices in the wall or floorboards, Frye says. “They can fit into very tiny cracks that are the thickness of a credit card, and they will actually aggregate in those areas.”

bed bug bites what do they look like

What do bedbug bites look like? Pictures to help you identify and treat them


The over-the-counter topical options are worth trying, Ungar says, but tend not to have much of an effect on bedbug bites. A dermatologist can prescribe stronger versions of those medications that are more likely to help, he says.

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Signs you might have bedbugs

Bedbugs have not been shown to transmit any diseases to humans. Unlike mosquitoes, bedbugs do not pose a risk of illness through their bites. However, they can have a negative impact on mental health due to the stress and embarrassment associated with an infestation.

While there are some clues to determine if you have bedbug bites, “they’re by no means foolproof,” says Ungar, who is the director of the Alopecia Center of Excellence and director of the Rosacea and Seborrheic Dermatitis Clinic at Mount Sinai.

Even then, not everyone develops a noticeable skin reaction after getting a bedbug bite, the CDC notes. And even if you do have itchy bites, it can be tough to really know whether your bites came from bedbugs or another insect, or if they’re another type of rash or hives.

What Do Bedbugs Bites Look Like

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From New York City apartments to Paris Fashion Week, it seems like bedbugs are pretty much everywhere.

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How to know if you have bedbugs:

“They really prefer to be located as close to a food source as possible,” Frye says. “And in this case, the food source is going to be people.” Bedbugs can also be skittish and easily scared by a food source that moves, so they prefer to strike while people are immobile, like when they’re asleep.

Depending on their age, bedbugs may feed for anywhere between five to 15 minutes at a time, Frye says. They may spend that whole time in one place or they might move around trying to find the ideal spot on your skin, leaving multiple bites along the way.

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Videos of bedbugs crawling around the Paris Metro were published on social media this week along with reports of people seeing the critters in movie theaters and at Charles de Gaulle Airport, NBC News reported. With the Paris Olympics set to kick off next summer, worries about bedbug infestations in the city are mounting — and both tourists and residents are on high alert.

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What do bedbug bites look like?

When bedbugs aren’t feeding, “they tend to retreat” into those crevices, as well as places like electrical outlets or even inside computers, Kimsey says.

“If there are a couple of adult bugs that are all feeding at the same time, you can probably have five to 10 bites that are from those two to three bugs,” he explains.

Bed Bug Bites: Symptoms & 5 Natural Treatments

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Transport Minister Clemente Beaune vowed to “reassure and protect” in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. And, in a letter to Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne, Paris Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Grégoire called on the government to take action against the “scourge” of bedbugs before the 2024 Olympics, NBC News reported.

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Are bedbug bites itchy?

In many cases, people only notice the bites. And it can take a lot of training to pick up on the other signs that you have a bedbug infestation, Kimsey says. “It’s so hard to find their resting places,” she says.

Bedbugs can live in any dark, compact space, Kimsey says, like the folds along the seams or piping of a mattress or sofa.

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