What Do Bedbugs Bites Look Like

In fact, Gibb says some people’s skin doesn’t respond to a bed bug bite at all, which is especially the case for the elderly population. That’s why it can be difficult to determine if your bite is from a bed bug just by looking at it.

Bedbugs prefer to feed on the blood of humans (but they can survive on the blood of mice, rats, or other animals, too). You probably won’t catch the bugs in the act of biting, however, because the bedbug injects an anesthetic and an anticoagulant to numb the area as it bites you. (1)

According to Changlu Wang, Ph.D., extension specialist in entomology at Rutgers University, bed bugs typically feed every two to three days when a host is present, so if fresh bites appear in such a frequency, the timing could be another indicator of their presence.

bed bug bites what do they look like

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

Bed Bug Bites Pictures, Symptoms: What Do Bed Bug Bites Look Like?

Bedbug bites appear as swollen red spots that often itch, similar to mosquito bites. They can appear anywhere on the body that is exposed while sleeping.

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However, there are a few things that can tip you off to the fact that bed bugs are the culprit of your bites. Here’s what to know, including bed bug bites pictures to help you visualize the symptoms.

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.”

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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Bed Bug Bite: What Are the Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction?

As the name suggests, bedbugs bite at night when you’re asleep in bed, usually about an hour before dawn. (2) If you wake up with a bite, though, don’t immediately assume bedbugs are to blame. The bites look very similar to other insect bites. Here’s what to know to confidently identify bedbug bites and how to go about treating them.

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The key bed bug bite symptom to look for is a red, raised bump, says Gibb, similar in appearance to a spider or mosquito bite. But what sets bed bugs apart from other insects is that oftentimes, their bites will present in a line or cluster on one part or side of your body. This is the result of what’s called “probing.”

When you think of annoying, common house bugs, your mind probably jumps to stink bugs, flies, cockroaches, and spiders. But there’s one home invader that is very different from the rest: bed bugs. While bed bug bites might not be the most common bug bites to receive, if you’ve recently woken up with a few itchy bumps, you might want to keep reading.

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.

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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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To prevent future infestations:

For a new infestation to occur, bed bugs must have been brought from one area to another through human intervention, says Emma Grace Crumbley, entomologist for Mosquito Squad. “For example, if you stay at a hotel that has a bed bug problem, and bed bugs get into your clothes and luggage, it is very likely you will have a bed bug problem at your next destination, be that another hotel or your own home,” she explains.

Meet the Experts: Emma Grace Crumbley, entomologist for Mosquito Squad; Timothy Gibb, Ph.D., a clinical professor of entomology at Purdue University; Edwin Rajotte, Ph.D., a professor of entomology at Penn State University; Changlu Wang, Ph.D., extension specialist in entomology at Rutgers University.

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)

What Do Bedbugs Bites Look Like

Bedbugs

If you wake up with a line of three to four itchy, swollen bumps, it could be due to bed bugs.

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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)

“We’ve found it’s most active when people are most sound asleep, and that’s usually from about 2:00 to 4:00 in the morning,” says Gibb. “That’s natural for a parasite like that to do that because it’s going to protect it. People won’t see it, they won’t feel it. It makes their survivorship much more probable.”

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