Symptoms of Bed Bug Bites
- Usually cause itchy, red bumps in a group or line
- Often they look like a hive or mosquito bite
- Bite may have a red dot (puncture) in the center. This is where the bed bug bit through the skin.
- Occasionally, a small blister can occur in the center
- Bites are usually on exposed skin (arms, legs and face)
- Bites are usually first noted in the morning.
Diagnosis of Bed Bug Bites
- Live bed bugs hide and are not usually seen. Close inspection of the mattress may find some.
- They are ¼ inch (6 mm), flat, oval shaped, reddish-brown bugs.
- Suspect bed bugs if over 3 red bumps in a row are on exposed skin. The bumps or bites are very itchy.
- Bed bug waste is found on bedding or mattress seams. It looks like dark brown flecks or coffee grounds.
- A blood stain on the sheet may sometimes be found. This is from a bug smashed after feeding.
Cause of Bed Bug Bite Reactions
- The skin bumps are the body's reaction to the bug's saliva.
- While the bug is sucking blood, some of its secretions get mixed in.
- Bed bugs are small visible blood-sucking bugs. They are about ¼ inch (6 mm) in length.
- During the day, bed bugs hide in the corners of mattresses. They may also be found in bed crevices, floors, and walls.
- At night, the bed bugs come out of hiding. They feed on humans for about 5 minutes.
Prevention of Getting Bed Bugs
- Over half of bed bug infestations within homes start after recent travel.
- Avoid hotels and hostels where bed bugs have been reported.
- When you check into a hotel room, look for signs of bed bugs. Look for flecks of their waste (like coffee grounds) in the bedding and mattress. If present, ask for another room.
- Keep your luggage and clothing on a luggage rack off the floor.
- When you return from a trip, place all travel clothing into the clothes dryer. Run the dryer for 20 minutes. Reason: the heat will kill any bed bugs or their eggs that are present. One pregnant bed bug can spread bed bugs to an entire house.
Frequent Questions (FAQs)
- Can bed bugs transmit HIV or hepatitis? This is highly unlikely. It has never been reported.
- Do bed bugs like dirt? Not really. What bed bugs like is the warmth of the human body. Dirty and cluttered spaces just give bed bugs a place to hide.
- Are bed bugs too small to be seen? No. You can see adult bed bugs. They are about the size of an apple seed (4-7 mm; ¼ inch).
- Are bed bugs scared of the light? They do prefer darkness. But keeping the light on will not stop bed bugs from biting you.