Do You Have Bed Bugs? Know the Symptoms to Stay Safe
Bed bugs are the stuff of nightmares for a lot of renters and homeowners. Once you get them in your space, getting rid of them can be nearly impossible. Even professional treatment doesn’t take care of bed bugs the first time in some cases.
While you want to do everything you can to prevent getting bed bugs in the first place, knowing the signs and symptoms of bed bug bites and how to get rid of bed bug bites is important. Use this guide to learn more about spotting bed bugs and their bite.
Being aware of bed bug bite symptoms can help you get rid of them before they become a serious problem in your home.
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How to Tell if You Have Bites
Bed bugs tend to spread in certain areas like an outbreak or epidemic. However, even areas that aren’t known for bedbugs can still get them. Once they’re in your home they can be incredibly hard to get rid of.
Watch for these signs to see if you have bedbugs in your home:
- Check your sheets for anything moving. Bed bugs are small, but if you watch for a few minutes and you do have them you should see them moving around.
- Look for rust-colored or reddish stains on your bed sheets or mattress. These can occur when bed bugs get crushed while you are sleeping.
- Check for small dark spots about the size of a dot made by a ball point pen on your sheets or mattress. These are typically bed bug excrement.
- Try to find tiny eggs or eggshells that are about 1mm in size. These shells are the sign of bed bugs that have just been born or are waiting to be born.
Where to Look for Bed Bugs
Knowing what to look for when searching for bed bugs in your home is an important first step. You also need to know where they typically hide and can be found within your home if you want to stomp them out though.
Check for bed bugs around your home in these locations:
- Under loose wallpaper, pieces of art or behind tapestries in your home.
- Under the corners of rugs, particularly in your bedroom or bathroom area.
- Where your walls and ceiling meet overhead. These junctions are common places for bedbugs to nest and hide for long periods of time.
- In cushions, the seams of couches and loose fabric on chairs or other upholstered items. Bed bugs can even hide under throw blankets tossed on a bed, chair or couch if it isn’t routinely moved.
- In the joints of drawers. Nightstands, dressers, closets and bathrooms are especially susceptible to bed bugs, though they can hide in areas like kitchen drawers as well.
- In electrical receptacles around your home. Bed bug can also hide out in appliances within your home.
Bedbugs bite humans and animals around them to feed on their blood. Like mosquitoes and other creatures of this type, they’re attracted to the skin for this reason.
Bite marks tend to look like small red bumps, not dissimilar to the bite of a mosquito. The area that forms is generally referred to as a papule and it can become inflamed and infected if you aren’t careful.
Bites on My Skin
Bed bug bites on humans are typically found around the hands, arms, shoulders, neck and face. You’ll usually find that bed bug bites are grouped together as well since these small creatures don’t typically cover much ground at once. This is not always the case however, and bites do not have to come in clear clusters or groupings.
While these bugs are small, you will see their bite since inflammation of the bite area, along with redness and swelling are common. Bed bug bites on toddlers and small children are even easier to notice. They should be treated immediately to keep small kids from scratching and potentially spreading an infection.
Bed bug bites can be extremely problematic for young children who will likely want to scratch the area. Many children also won’t know if they have bed bugs, so inspecting their skin regularly if you think you may have an infestation is important.
Do Bites Itch or Hurt?
The bites typically cause minor discomfort to humans, though many people are bitten when they are asleep because these bugs commonly live within sheets and bedding.
After being bitten by bed bugs, humans are likely to experience a variety of symptoms:
- Burning at the bite site. Many people notice a little bit of discomfort and an initial burning sensation when bitten by bed bugs.
- Itching around the area where person was bitten. This is common, though scratching is not ideal since it can spread infection. The problem can be even worse if you’ve got a large bed bug infestation and a large wound area.
- Redness and swelling. For some people, being bitten by bed bugs can cause a reaction that’s a bit like an allergy. Anti-inflammation medication can help control swelling if it appears after being bitten by bed bugs.
Can the Bites Make Me Sick?
Bed bug bites typically do not make people sick if they take care of them properly. When a person does not clean the bite area regularly, or they scratch the skin and spread infection, there can be health problems associated with being bitten by bed bugs.
Like other small bugs that survive on blood, there’s also the chance that infection can be spread when a bed bug bites more than one person. The risk of getting a serious infection this way is not high, but it can happen, particularly in places like hotels.
In general, bites that are taken care of properly will not pose much risk to humans.
Take care of bed bug bites by:
- Washing the bite area regularly. You need to keep bite sites clean, though they do not have to be covered with bandages or anything else.
- Reduce inflammation with a cool compress or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications.
- Do not scratch the bite site even if it is itching. Use a cool compress, calamine lotion or colloidal oatmeal to reduce the feeling of itching.
It is also important that you quickly wash sheets and bedding around your home to minimize your exposure to bed bugs if you think you have been bitten. Many people don’t do this fast enough to stop the spread of bugs.
Unfortunately, bed bugs can lay up to 500 eggs in their relatively short lifespan, all of which could be in your home!
How Can I Know if a Bed Bug Bit Me?
The easiest way to tell if a bed bug has bitten you is to look for small, dot-like bite marks on your skin. These tend to get red a few hours after you are bitten and they can swell up like mosquito bites.
Bed bug bites typically form in clusters as well, which can differentiate them from flea bites and mosquito bites. If you haven’t been outside, it’s the wrong season for mosquitoes or you don’t have pets, bed bugs are also a much more likely choice for what has bitten you.
It’s also important to remember that bed bug bites typically cause a small, yet sharp pain at the time of the attack. If you’re awake when bitten by bed bugs you should immediately stop and look for them, related eggshells and eggs in the area.
Bed Bug Bites vs Flea Bites
Bed bug bites typically occur in a straight, cluster-like line, which can help differentiate them from flea bites. You’ll usually find three or four bed bug bites in a row, though this isn’t always the case.
Flea bites are also more likely to cause swelling faster than bed bug bites. If you notice swelling after an hour or less, or the bite is more like an open sore or blister after a day or two, you probably have flea bites instead of bed bug bites.
Bed Bug Bites vs Mosquito Bites
Mosquito bites are felt immediately and show a swollen area within minutes when most people are bitten. This is not always the case with bed bug bites since many people have only a very mild reaction to them. For these people, bites will look more like a reddish dot on the skin than a large, swollen bite.
Mosquito bites also itch immediately while it takes some time for bed bug bites to begin itching in most cases.
Bed bugs can be incredibly annoying for renters and homeowners since they’re so small that finding them is often difficult. Their bites can also cause a great deal of irritation and discomfort. Worst of all, they breed at an alarming rate, and if you have a few in your home now, you could have an infestation soon if it’s not caught quickly.
The good news is that bed bug bites generally don’t cause much harm to children, adults or even pets. They can create some discomfort, itching and swelling with their bite, but the spread of infection is rare if bites are dealt with properly.
Use the tips above to find beg bugs quickly and get them out of your home. The longer you let them live in your home or bed, the more likely you are to face a serious infestation down the line.
You can find further details of Bed Bugs Control here.