What do bedbug bites look like?
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Bedbugs are tiny, nocturnal pests that feed on the blood of humans and animals. Their bites can be hard to identify, but knowing what to look for can help you determine if you’ve been bitten by one.
- Bedbug bites typically appear as small, inflamed, red bumps, often in a line or zigzag pattern on exposed skin during sleep.
- Symptoms of a bedbug bite include red, itchy bumps; inflammation; and sometimes a burning sensation or rash.
- While not dangerous, bedbug bites can lead to discomfort and potential skin infection due to scratching. Some people may have allergic reactions.
- If you find bedbug bites, it’s important to check for an infestation at home and take action, which may include cleaning, heat treatment and professional pest control services.
Identifying bedbug bites
Bedbug bites are often mistaken for other insect bites or skin conditions because they can look similar. However, there are some distinctive characteristics that can help you identify them:
- Appearance: Bedbug bites usually appear as small, flat or raised areas that may become inflamed, itchy, red or blistered. They sometimes have a darker red spot in the middle.
- Pattern: While other insect bites tend to be randomly scattered, bedbug bites typically appear in a line or zigzag pattern.
- Location: Bedbugs tend to bite exposed areas of skin while you are sleeping. Common areas include the face, neck, hands, shoulders, arms and legs.
- Timing: Bedbug bites may not appear immediately after you’re bitten. It can take a few days for the bites to become visible, and the reaction can vary from person to person.
Because the appearance of bedbug bites varies, don’t rule out bedbugs even if your bites don’t show as much inflammation as you’d expect.
“Everyone responds differently to pest bites and stings,” said Megan Wede of Done Right Pest Solutions in Minnesota. “The key to look for is the markings/bites in a line or a clump on a person’s body.”
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Symptoms of a bedbug bite
The primary symptom of a bedbug bite is a red, itchy bump on the skin. These bumps often appear in a line or cluster and may become more inflamed over a few days. Some people may also experience a burning sensation at the bite site or develop a rash.
It’s possible that you won’t see a reaction the first time a bedbug bites, since it sometimes can take the body a while to react.
“Bedbug bite reactions vary from person to person, and some may not exhibit any visible symptoms,” said Jordan Foster of Fantastic Pest Control in London.
» DISCOVER: What do bedbugs look like?
Are bedbug bites dangerous?
Bedbug bites themselves are not considered dangerous, and there’s no evidence they can spread disease to people. The bites can be itchy and uncomfortable, however, and if you scratch a bedbug bite enough to break the skin, it could lead to an infection.
You may be allergic to the bites, which can lead to hives, blisters or intense itching. If you develop a rash after being bitten by a bedbug, or if the itchiness doesn’t subside, it might be a good idea to seek medical attention.
How to treat bedbug bites
Treatment for bedbug bites primarily involves relieving the itching and inflammation. Over-the-counter creams and ointments for insect bites can help, as can antihistamines. If the itching is severe, you may need a prescription medication from a health care provider. Avoid scratching the bites as much as possible to prevent infection.
What to do if you have bedbug bites
If you’ve identified bedbug bites, it’s crucial to check your home for an infestation. Bedbugs can hide in mattresses, furniture and cracks in the walls. They’re nocturnal and very good at hiding, so they can be difficult to spot.
Once you’ve confirmed an infestation, it’s time to take action to get rid of the bedbugs. This often involves a combination of cleaning, heat treatment and possibly professional pest control services.
» GET PROFESSIONAL HELP: Best pest control companies
Can bedbug bites be mistaken for other insect bites?
Bedbug bites are often mistaken for other insect bites or skin conditions because of their similar appearance. However, bedbug bites typically appear in a line or zigzag pattern, which helps distinguish them.
Are there any home remedies for relieving the itchiness of bedbug bites?
Applying a cold compress or using a soothing lotion like calamine can help relieve itchiness. If the itchiness is severe or persistent, however, you should seek medical advice.
Can bedbugs bite through clothing?
Bedbugs typically bite exposed skin, but they can bite through very thin clothing. It’s more common for them to crawl under clothing to reach bare skin, though.
What should I do if I find bedbug bites on my skin?
If you’ve identified bedbug bites, it’s crucial to check your home for an infestation. If an infestation is confirmed, it’s time to take action to get rid of the bedbugs. This often involves a combination of cleaning, heat treatment and possibly professional pest control services.
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