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Bed Bug Bites — Photos and Pictures

What Do Bed Bug Bites Look Like?

Single bed bug bite
Single Bite
Multiple bed bug bites
Multiple Bites

Bites There is no simple answer to this question. Just as some people will have no reaction to something like Poison Ivy while another person will swell up just from walking past it. Some will say their bite marks looked similar to mosquito bites, but itch more. It is common to hear people refer to their bites as a rash or hives.

The bites may appear in threes or in a straight line. If you don’t have any reaction you may not realize you have Bed Bugs until their population grows to a larger population and they begin to run around the headboard or bed area.

Photo of Bed Bug Bites in a line:

A line of Bed Bug Bites

Photo of Bed Bug Bites in threes (sometimes referred to as Breakfast-Lunch & Dinner):

Row of Three Bites

Different Reactions to Bed Bug Bites

It is not uncommon for several people to be showing bites while one or two members in the dwelling may not have any bite marks. Most likely the person or persons are getting bitten too, but just don’t have an immune system that reacts to the bites. It can be difficult for a doctor to diagnose.

Recognizing Bed Bug Bites

I can think of several cases in which several students went to see different dermatologist to ask if they had bed bug bites. Each student was told that they did not. Eventually one of the girls saw a bug scamper across her bed sheets and it was at that point that they realized that they did indeed have bed bug bites.

Delayed Reaction to Bites

It is also common for people in the United States to have a delayed reaction to the bedbug bites. If they are bitten on a Monday it might take until Wednesday or Thursday before the insect bites appear and begin to itch. Europeans have dealt with bedbugs longer than Americans and so their immune system may react to the bites the same day.

Where Bed Bug Bites Appear

Bed Bug bites usually appear on areas of skin that are easily exposed. They do not try and crawl into pajamas or socks. Common bite areas are arms, hands, neck, face, legs and back. Mosquito bites, Bed Bug bites and flea bites are all very similar in the way they look, but Bed Bug bites tend to itch more intensely. According to the CDC Bed Bugs do not transmit disease, but constant scratching can cause the area to become inflamed, irritated, red and tender. Lots of scratching allows other bacteria to enter the skin leading to secondary infections.

How to Treat Bed Bug Bites

If you are bitten by Bed Bugs try to relieve the itching so that you do not scratch the area making it more inflamed, irritated and possibly getting it infected. You can use an over the counter cream like cortisone cream, Benadryl gel, an oatmeal bath, or steroid creams. You may also find taking an oral antihistamine like Benadryl helpful in relieving the itch.

Remember that a Bedbug only feeds on blood once every seven days (in optimal conditions). If you find that you are getting bitten every night that tells you that you have a large infestation and should be able to find the bugs behind the headboard, pictures, or box springs and mattress areas.

If you are only noticing bites once a week you may have a very early infestation which can be much harder to detect. Check the bed carefully, paying close attention to seams and button areas. Also check your box spring by removing the thin fabric that covers the bottom section.

Bed Bug Detecstion Dog
Scarlet's Certification/

In a very early infestation with 3 to 5 bugs you may not be able to find any evidence of bed bugs and may want to consider hiring a company with a certified Bed Bug detection dog.

Our company has an IBBMA certified K9 named Scarlet and she has been certified to find 5 or less live Bed Bugs and we routinely train her to locate one Bedbug up to as many as 500. Scarlet is good at finding Bed Bugs, but she is also helpful when no Bed Bugs are found. I recall one situation where a lady was certain she had picked up bed bugs from a recent hotel stay. Scarlet did not detect any Bedbugs and once we began discussing other things that bite we realized that the lady had a dog. Upon further examination the dog was found to have a good many fleas.

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Bed Bug Detection Remediation Services of South Carolina is a division of FFR, Inc.

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