What Do Bed Bug Bites Look Like? Bed Bug Bite Pictures, Symptoms, and Treatments

“There’s nothing truly unique about lesions caused by bedbugs” that can be used to diagnose them, dermatologist Dr. Benjamin N. Ungar tells TODAY.com.

If bed bugs are the cause of your bites, realize there’s no urgent need to panic. Yes, they might cost you a pretty penny and can be a pain to get rid of, but bed bugs can’t do any serious damage to your body. “They don’t kill people,” says Gibb. “A parasite would have a hard time surviving if it killed its host, and these do not.”


What Do Bedbugs Bites Look Like

Madeleine, Prevention’s assistant editor, has a history with health writing from her experience as an editorial assistant at WebMD, and from her personal research at university. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in biopsychology, cognition, and neuroscience—and she helps strategize for success across Prevention’s social media platforms.

The trouble with identifying a bed bug bite—as is true for a lot of insects, including mosquitoes—is that it can be hard to identify the source, as not everyone’s immune response is the same. “Everybody’s going to respond differently,” says Timothy Gibb, Ph.D., a clinical professor of entomology at Purdue University. “Same thing’s true with a mosquito bite. Some people are going to swell up and it’s going to itch. That same mosquito could bite someone else and it’s hardly noticeable.”

Although the duration and intensity of a bed bug bite will vary from person to person, you typically won’t feel the effects of a bed bug bite—like itching and those raised red bumps—until mid-morning after a bite due to the anesthetic the bug injects prior to biting, says Gibb. “So they certainly don’t feel it when the bite is occurring, but shortly after, probably within a day,” he adds.

Bed Bug Bites Photos and Tips

Brielle Gregory previously worked at Men’s Health magazine, where she reported, edited, and fact checked all things health, nutrition, and weight loss related; she currently spends her time digging into similar topics as a freelancer writer and editor. She’s a doting dog mom to a half-corgi and an aspiring world-traveler who’s probably planning her next trip right now (the dog included).

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In fact, bed bugs don’t even transmit anything dangerous to you. “They’ve never been shown to transmit any diseases,” says Rajotte. “Unlike mosquitoes and ticks and things, which can transmit some pretty bad diseases, bed bugs do not,” she says.

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

bed bug bites what do they look like

To treat an allergic reaction, the doctor may prescribe an antihistamine, corticosteroid, or epinephrine injection. If the area is infected, he or she might prescribe an antibiotic or recommend an over-the-counter antiseptic. Finally, if it’s severe itchiness that you’re dealing with, applying corticosteroid or taking an antihistamine in pill or liquid form may be able to help.

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How to know if you have bedbugs:

Bed bugs are also excellent at moving in between adjacent rooms, especially in older buildings where door seals and baseboards are worn, leaving easy-access entry points, says Crumbley. “This, along with their small size and flat body plan, allows them to hide in many areas throughout a room, making controlling bed bugs especially challenging,” she notes.

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.”

What Do Bed Bug Bites Look Like? Bed Bug Bite Pictures, Symptoms, and Treatments

What Do Bed Bug Bites Look Like? | Reader's Digest

No, reactions to bedbug bites can vary from person to person. Some may have no reaction at all, while others may experience extreme reactions such as swollen arms or itchy rashes. Some may have an immediate reaction while for others it may be delayed.

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Common Questions & Answers

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.

For most people, bedbug bites result in itchy bumps where the bite occurred, within a day of being bitten. (4) The bites usually look like mosquito bites and will appear as a somewhat swollen red spot that might itch. (1)

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