Bed bug bites are never pleasant, and they’re frequently misdiagnosed. After all, if you have a painful welt, your first thought is unlikely to be bed bugs unless you’re aware of an infestation. The reality is that you’ll probably discover an infestation through realising that you’ve been bitten.
In this article, we’re going to take you through what a bed bug bite looks like (and how they differ from things like a flea bite), what bed bug bites feel like, how to ease any symptoms and more.
What do bed bug bites look like?
Bed bug bites look like red bumps or blisters and usually present in a zigzag pattern. They can sometimes be difficult to differentiate from a bite from another insect (such as flea bites or mosquito bites – particularly if you’re on holiday and in a country where mosquitoes are common). There are a number of bed bug bite pictures available online to give you some indication and comparison.
How can you tell if your bites are from bed bugs?
A telltale sign of a bed bug bite is a small red dot in the middle (where you’ve actually been bitten) surrounded by a raised red area. The surrounding swelling is actually caused by your body’s reaction to the saliva of the bed bug.
Where are bed bug bites usually found on the body?
Bed bug bites can be found anywhere on the body. However the most common areas are places such as hands, face, feet and torso. This is due to the fact that these areas are usually uncovered as you sleep – bed bugs tend to like to hide in bedding and mattresses and bite at night when you’re sleeping.
How do I check for bed bugs?
To check for bed bugs, you should look out for the physical signs of an infestation. These can include:
- Blood spots
- Shed exoskeletons/skin
Adult bed bugs are around the size of an apple seed, meaning that they’re visible to the naked eye. Young bed bugs are slightly more difficult to spot due to their size. You can find more information on checking for bed bugs in our bed bug guide. We cover everything from the signs of a bed bug infestation all the way through to steps you can take to protect against one.
Are bed bug bites dangerous?
Bed bug bites are generally not dangerous and do not pose a serious health threat. However, they can cause discomfort and irritation, and in some cases, may lead to more serious complications, such as infection. In rare cases, some people may have an allergic reaction to a bed bug bite. This could be anything from minor increased swelling (which can be solved by an antihistamine or topical cream) to more serious anaphylaxis which requires medical attention.
In most cases, bed bug bites are not harmful and will resolve on their own within a few days to a week. However, if the bites become infected, it is important to seek medical attention. Signs of infection may include increased redness, swelling, and pain, as well as the presence of pus or other discharge.
Are bed bug bites itchy?
Yes, bed bug bites can be itchy. This is due to the response that your body’s immune system produces against the saliva of a bed bug after they have bitten you. They can present similar symptoms to hives.
Bed Bug Bite Treatment
Bed bug bites can be treated at home using a combination of home remedies and OTC treatments. Below we’ve listed a few ways that may help to treat bed bug bites and their symptoms:
Wash the bites with soap and water: Wash the affected area with soap and water to remove anything that might cause further irritation.
Apply an over-the-counter topical cream: This can help to reduce itching and inflammation caused by bed bug bites.
Use a cold compress: Applying a cold compress, such as a cold washcloth or ice pack, to the affected area can also help reduce any inflammation or irritation.
Avoid scratching the bites: itchiness is a primary symptom of a bite, but it is important to avoid scratching the bites, as this can cause further irritation and may increase the risk of infection.
How long do bed bug bites last?
The length of time that bed bug bites last can depend entirely on their severity and if you’ve actively tried to treat the bites. Different people will respond differently to a bite, and they’ll also respond differently to treatments so it’s impossible to give a time frame on how long your bite may last.
How to prevent bed bug bites
As with all pests, we believe that prevention is far superior to cure when it comes to keeping bed bugs out of your home – this is the only way to prevent bites. To minimise your risk of bed bugs, we’d recommend:
- Remove any unnecessary clutter (bed bugs love to hide here)
- Wash your bed sheets regularly at a high temperature
- Hoover your mattress and upholstery (that includes your bed frame if it has any fabric attached)
We offer a bed bug treatment service that can cover both prevention and cure for infestations.
Do bed bugs bite every night?
Yes, bed bugs can bite every night but this tends to depend on the level and location of infestation. Broadly speaking, it’s possible to be bitten every night when an infestation is ongoing.
Bed bug bites can be a nuisance and can cause discomfort and irritation, but they’re typically not dangerous as long as they’re not infected. They are, however a strong indicator of bed bug infestations. If you’re concerned that you may have signs of bedbugs then we’d encourage you to get in touch with a pest control technician as soon as possible.