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Bed Bug Bite Pictures: What Do They Look Like?

bed bug and their bites on a person's back

Steps To Find Out If Red Bumps Are Bed Bug Bites

When you wake up in the morning and see those reddish raised bump, your mind will almost always go straight to the worst thing you can think of….BED BUGS BITES! Assuming you found this post when searching for some answers you’ll be happy to know you’ve arrived at the right place for some. Everyday we get calls, chats and requests asking us to come and inspect for bed bugs in homes and apartments. YOU’RE NOT ALONE!

Bed bugs are mainly active in the evening and at nighttime. They almost always bite people when they are fast asleep in bed or on a sofa. Bed bugs feed until they are engorged by piercing the skin and drawing the blood like a mosquito. They can take up to 10 minutes to finish a feeding. Surprisingly, although they can take almost 10 minutes to feed the biting process can go unnoticed. The bed bug biting process starts painless but will eventually turn into itchy welts. If you think you may have bed bugs bites, I will always suggest you start an inspection in the bedroom where you’ve been bit. It may take a large amount of time to find any because of the difficulty locating them. This can often give people a false sense of hope. That’s why I usually suggest that homeowners do multiple inspections themselves. Take a look at this guide on how to inspect for bed bugs in your bedroom. You should also inspect your furniture for bed bugs and more specifically you should inspect your bed and mattress.

List Of Detailed Items To Inspect
Bed bugs may turn up in unexpected places, in moderate and large infestations. If the infestation is large, every object in the affected area should be carefully inspected. Bed bugs thrive in small cracks and crevices so no item is too large or small for them to find homes in. Therefore, be sure to take your time during a bed bug inspection.

Some Key Spots To Inspect For Bed Bugs

  • Television and other remote controls, in the battery compartment
  • Telephones, cell phones and cordless phones
  • Lamps and alarm clocks
  • Computers and other electronics
  • Cardboard boxes in closets and under the bed
  • Children’s toys and stuffed animals
  • Jewelry boxes
  • Brick walls and “popcorn” or other textured ceilings
  • Books, magazines, newspapers, and files
  • Inside hollow doors
  • Ceiling light fixtures, smoke detectors
  • Heating units, air conditioners and ducts
  • Wheelchairs

Photos, Signs And Symptoms Of Bed Bugs

A visual identification is the best way to verify bed bugs, but unfortunately this is not always possible. This is especially true in the first few months of infestation and getting bit. Since bed bugs don’t come out until it is dark, it can be very difficult to spot them. But just because you don’t see them when tearing your bed apart doesn’t mean they aren’t there. In fact, not finding anything and getting bit is actually an indication that it is bed bugs. This is because of their strong ability to remain hidden. This can lead to large and long gestation with huge infestations before we are even called in to address the issue. Bed bugs are extremely hard to find and also very good at hiding (especially during the day), so chances are they are not going to come out and start waving.

Bed bugs are not even visible to the naked eye until months after development. They have been taking blood meals on you before you have even realized it because their mouth parts are so small they draw blood without the host noticing. You probably won’t see them during the day, and they get into the smallest areas so inspection can often result in failure to identify.

When populations are small, or in the early stages, they are not consistent. As populations increase you will see bites become more regular. Bed bugs are attracted to carbon dioxide but will only come out in the dark. This means that if you are not always sleeping in the infected room, they will be very active once you return from vacation or wherever you have been sleeping. Once they take a blood meal, they won’t need one for a while so that specific bed bug will not bite again until it’s preparing for its next development stage.

Below we are going to breakdown exactly what the questions and approach should be to finding out whether those bites are bed bugs bites or what is exactly going on. If you have done a detailed and thorough inspection and haven’t found any signs of bed bugs, take the time to read through some of these questions and see if it helps you get the answers you need.

Here is a quick list of things that could be causing raised reddish bumps on your body. Please note, we always recommend a doctor rule out some of these issues. We are not a medical resource, but this is our experience with calls and contact from people who are trying to investigate the bites they are getting. I like to break it down to seven (7) categories:

  1. Medical Issue: Itchy Skin, Hives or Rash
  2. Allergic Reaction To Detergent or Bedding
  3. Stress Rash or Hives
  4. Bed Bugs
  5. Fleas
  6. Mosquitos
  7. Mites

This categorization makes it easy to see that we are dealing with either a medical or a pest issues. Are there more reasons that these seven? The answer is yes, but they are so rare that I have seen them (maybe once or twice in my 20 years in this business, so infrequent that they are not worth the trouble describing). Let’s break these down even further.

Common symptoms of bed bug bites are inflammation and irritation. The symptoms will be based on the host sensitivity. Those who are hypersensitive will develop severe symptoms to the bites and demand medical attention. Even those who are not sensitive will have some level of discomfort including but not limited to:

  1. difficulty breathing
  2. blisters
  3. fever
  4. nausea or flu like symptoms
  5. heartbeat irregularity
  6. burning painful sensation
  7. hives surrounding the small red bumps
  8. red or reddish-brown staining on sheets or mattress from bed bug fecal matter
  9. small red bumps with a zigzag pattern
  10. itchy bumps with clear center
  11. raised or flat patches of inflamed skins or popular eruptions

You can see below the different reactions to bed bug bites and how they can affect people in different ways. These bed bug bites pictures show some adverse reactions to bites.

bed bug bite photo - bellybed bug bite picture - neck

bed bug bite picture - backbed bug bite picture - face

Other Common Types Of Insect Bites

Pest Related Bites Are 95% Bed Bugs Bites:

Bed bugs bites are the most common type of insect bite. This is especially true if you are getting bit during the evening. I can’t explain how many people try to rationalize that they are not getting bit by bed bugs. Or they develop an idea that there is some magical new insect that that arrived at their property in New York State and is biting them. Maybe it’s the vampire movies. If it bites like a bed bug and it happens at night while you’re sleeping, chances are you’ve got bed bugs.

Flea Bites: Identifying and Ruling them Out:

flea bites
Flea Bites

Fleas are not discriminate biting insects. They will come out all the time and anytime to get a blood meal. They are going to bite the lower parts of your legs and ankle only because they are closet to the ground. Fleas also need pressure to be pushed out the egg and will want a blood meal immediately. They are easier to spot and see in the early stages after egg development. Most of these bites will not happen in the evening while you’re in bed. Also, fleas will live in the carpeting and open areas so they can be seen while cleaning a vacuum cleaner or other obvious ways to inspect for them.

Unless someone has seen clear signs of bed bugs or has an indication their home may be infested, there is almost invariably the question of whether these bites are from fleas. Here are some comparisons to make when looking at the difference between flea bites and bed bug bites.

Difference #1 – Bite Location: Flea bites are mainly around the feet, ankles and legs. In comparison, bed bug bites will be anywhere on the body they can feed on exposed skin.

Difference #2 – Bite Visual: Flea Bites have a red spot in the center of the bite. Bed bugs do not have a red center. This is due to the design of the elongated beak used for withdrawal.

Difference #3 – Bite Grouping: Bed bug bites tend to be in clusters more often than flea bites. Look for groups of bites.

Bird Mites: Are These Biting Me At Night?: Mites will causes rashes, and they bite hosts like any other blood based feeding insect. There are varieties of mites, but we find dust mites and bird mites are the most common. The bites will be very small, almost hard to see and the rashes can be more reddish with very, very small raised bumps (almost unnoticeable). Sometimes if a bird nests in the walls or soffits, mites will start to enter the property. This can happen often in bedrooms just because they are close to the attic which provides good nesting sites for birds. Check your attic or soffits for bird mites.

Dust Mites: Baseboard Dwellers: Dust mite bites are small and have the same look as bird mites. We often see these types of mites in homes with hardwood floors. They breed in the dust that collects under the baseboards and areas that are hard to clean. The best way to check for mites is to place a glue board under the bed and check it. They will look like small grains of sand. Very hard to see without a magnifying glass or microscope.

How to Treat Someone for Bed Bug Bites:

Of course, contacting a doctor or physician is crucial to ruling out rash or allergic reaction to something other than bed bug bites. If you think you have been bitten:

  • check for fever or irregular heartbeat
  • use topical cream for anti-itch or Benadryl for inflammation or irritation
  • call your doctor
  • monitor the bites for allergic reaction or infections

If you feel you may have been bitten by a bed bug, don’t panic. Take the time to find out exactly what your dealing with and give us a call or contact to determine the next step. There are things that can be done in the meantime to prepare for a treatment and alleviate you’re situation even before a bed bug pest control professional. Your physician will not be able to determine the exact source of the bite, you should start the process of identifying if you have a bed bug problem and where it is.

Call A Bed Bug Pro

Any indication of the above should be a case for contacting a professional pest control company. Remember, the bed bugs have likely been in your home for months before you realized it so anyone handling your situation should have a long warranty (we recommend at least a year). Also the exterminators should focus on residential treatments. Many large national firms are more focused on commercial properties and warehouse treatments. We know what to do in someone’s home and how to do it right.

If you discover bed bugs, ants, bees, mice or other pests in your home, contact EnviroPest Exterminators for immediate relief. Our certified team is educated in the most advanced bed bug protocols and equipped with the state-of-the-art resources necessary for complete eradication of these pests. You can also sign up online or call. We’re the exterminators NY trusts and we look forward to discussing your issue.

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