What Bed Bug Bites Look Like

Bed Bug Bites

Look for Red Welts

The first sign of bedbugs may be red, itchy bites on the skin, usually on the arms or shoulders. It is possible to develop an infection from scratching. If you have an allergic skin reaction, use creams with corticosteroids and take oral antihistamines - when in doubt, always see your doctor.

Other insects may leave bites like bed bugs – for example, mosquitos, flees or bat bugs. In some cases, allergic reactions to food and other irritants may present red looking welches on the skin.

Bed Bug Bites

It is Possible You are the Only One Getting Bites

Not everyone will have a reaction to a bed bug bite. In fact, it is possible that two people that sleep in the same bed are both bitten by bed bugs and one will breakout with welts or sores as a result of the bed bug bites and other person will not.

Interestingly enough, the majority of people over 65 don’t have any sort of reaction whatsoever and children will even have bed bugs bites on their face while adults will not.

Other Insect Bites

Mosquito Bites

mosquito bites vs bed bug bites

Most people have immediate reaction to mosquito bites. They will feel it within minutes. With bed bugs there may be no visible symptoms at first. Virtually everyone reacts to mosquitos, but some people have no reaction to bed bugs.

Thanks to the anesthetic, it may take a few days before the reaction to bed bug bites is seen. A typical mosquito bite appears as puffy white and reddish bumps that begin a few minutes after the bite and become darker after a day. Sensitivity to mosquito bites usually decrease as people are exposed to mosquitos more and more. The opposite is true for the bed bugs – people tend to develop stronger reaction to their bites as they get bitten more. Mosquito bites usually heal much quicker than bed bug bites. Also, unlike mosquitoes, bed bugs will rarely bite you on the back on knees or in the folds of skin

Flea Bites

flea bites vs bed bug bites

Flea bites will often appear as small clusters of dots that are red, hard, and swollen – similar to a mosquito bite. Fleas tend to bite the human host randomly, whereas beg bugs bite strategically in a linear pattern.

Flea bites are often found around lower legs, especially ankles, the easiest access from where they are – carpeted floors, upholstery, pets.

Most people experience greater allergic reaction to flea bites and will see symptoms as soon as an hour after the bite.

Bat Bug Bites

bat bug bites vs bed bug bites

Although they live on bats and feed on the blood of bats, they will bite people. We sometimes see this after the bat infestation of the house. Bat bugs look very similar to bed bugs. Bat bugs have not been found to transmit any diseases. Although bat bugs will feed on humans, they will not be able to reproduce on that food source. In addition to humans bat bugs will feed on humans, dogs, and cats.

The treatment for bat bugs is very similar to the treatment for bed bugs, however removing and excluding the bats from the structure must be done before treating for the bugs.

Spider Bites

spider bites vs bed bug bites

Spiders have no reason to bite humans - they are not bloodsuckers, like bed bugs or mosquitos. In the United States, only 2 kinds of spiders have the ability to bite humans - black widow and brown recluse.

Both carry toxic venom that they can insert under our skin, both can cause serious health complications if the bites left untreated.

The first sign of a black widow spider bite is acute pain or stinging at the site of the bite. Brown recluse spider bites are expecially dangerous. They often go unnoticed initially because they are not painful - like a light sting. Symptoms usually develop hours after a bite. Most bites cause little tissue destruction, so please see a doctor as soon as possible.

Hives / Allergic Reactions

hives vs bed bug bites

Urticaria, or hives, is an outbreak of swollen, pale red bumps on the skin that appear suddenly. Hives are extremely itchy but may also burn or sting. They often have a red flare around them. The wheals usually occur in batches – at least 3, frequently on the face or the extremities, including the arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet, and toes.

To confirm that bed bugs are a problem, look for other problems such as rust-colored stains on corners of the mattress or an actual insect. Remember, bed bugs are really good at hiding. You can live with a bed bug infestation without seeing a single one. You will need good light, magnifying glass to find them.

To make sure, call a professional. We will be happy to inspect your house to either confirm the problem, or, hopefully find nothing.

Bed Bug Habits

Bed bugs tend to bite every 2.5 days on average. If you see new bites every 2-3 days, then it may be a tell-tale sign they are in your home.

Bed bug bite patterns such as three bites (breakfast, lunch and dinner) in a triangle or three bites in a row or line occur when the bed bug is feeding and is then disturbed by movement. Bed bugs feed on human blood. A single bug may bite several times in one place on the body.

Bed bugs like to bite skin areas that are exposed - they do not bite through clothing. The bites are frequently seen on the lower arms and legs. If you can, try wearing tight pajamas to cover as much skin as possible. It the clothes are too loose; the bed bugs can get under the clothes. You don’t typically see bed bugs biting faces and the bottoms of the feet.

"Bed bugs don't travel on people, they travel on stuff", - says Marc Cohen, the owner of At Once Pest. "I deal with bed bugs all the time and I get bitten. But I don't have them in my home."