bed bugs on skin

How to Identify Bed Bug Bites

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How to Identify Bed Bug Bites

It can be hard to identify specifically a bed bug bite.  You should look at the overall pattern an timing of the bites, and spot any other signs of bed bugs to confirm.  Some individuals develop itching, red welts or swelling the morning after being bitten, but for some, they do not react to the bite of the bed bug and they will remain unaware of their bed time friends.  However sometimes it can take days for the bites to appear.

The good news is that bed bugs have not been shown to transmit any disease and their actual bites do not hurt. However, getting bites can still be very distressing and in some cases they can become sore and itchy and lead to a painful skin rash and potentially secondary infection.  These can occur in children, the elderly or people who may be immune compromised, but with all insect bites, it pays to keep them clean and disinfected, particularly if you keep scratching them.

Bedbug bites on persons neck

Bed Bug Bite Symptoms

Our bodies can react very differently to bed bug bites. Some people have no reaction at all, whilst others can have minor swelling and itching and even develop a rash.  But all bed bugs feed on blood, and at various stages through their life cycle they may feed more regularly, so they are the original vampires.  Bed bugs have an elongated 'beak' that they use to peirce human skin, they also deliver an anaesthetic whilst they extract the blood, so they remain uninterrupted for up to 10 minutes it can take for each feeding.

Where do bites occur?

Bed bug bites can occur anywhere on the body but are often close to blood vessels near the skins surface. Check for signs of bites on your:

  • Neck
  • Hands
  • Arms
  • Legs
Bedbug biting person close-up image

Pattern of bed bug bites

Several bites tend to appear in a line or row along an exposed area, such as an arm or leg. A single bed bug may bite more than once in the same area, if disturbed whilst feeding. Bites found in different parts of the body can indicate being bitten by several different bed bugs.

When do bites happen?

Bites often occur at night when we are sleeping, but they can also occur if you are sat or resting for a sustained period of time. Bed bug bites are unlikely to wake the victim, as bed bugs inject an anaesthetic whilst drawing blood from the host (victim).

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Bed Bug Rash

A small proportion of people can react very badly to their bites and develop a skin rash. The red spots which indicate the location of a bite, may become raised and very itchy over time. If this causes you distress or continues for a long time you should seek medical treatment. In general, most people will respond to a bed bug bite slightly worse than to a mosquito bite.

Worried about your bites?

At Rentokil, we can offer industry leading treatments to solve bed bug problems in your home or business.

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